This is an excerpt from The Five Ways We Grieve, available at Barnes & Noble, and Amazon:

When we lose a loved one, fear is one of the strongest emotions we feel. Fear for our safety and our basic security,  fear about what will happen to us and our family.  Fear of not being able to manage our responsibilities on our own.  Fear of being alone.

When we feel connected to others and to the universe,  however, we will not feel fear because, as Borysenko tells us:  “Fear cannot exist where there is connectedness because the core of fear is isolation.”

So many people think that their feelings of grief are unique, that  no one can understand their agony.  Whether you are hurting  from decades-old memories or aching from a recent loss, I assure you that you are not alone.  The death of a loved one is such a personal event.

Yet Donne’s words remind us that we are all interconnected.  “Grief is to be shared with others, perhaps to lessen the burden on the mourners themselves or to remind us that grief is a universal experience.  “

Susan Berger

Susan A. Berger, LICSW, Ed.D. has extensive experience counseling individuals confronting the death of loved ones and other life changes. Drawing on research results and anecdotes gathered from the bereaved over the past ten years, Berger examined how a person’s worldview is affected by major loss. She wrote her book, The Five Ways We Grieve, finding your path to healing after the loss of a loved one, (Trumpeter Books, 2009) to assist professionals, and survivors and the general public understand the lifelong impact of loss on the bereaved. She founded The Center for Loss, Bereavement, and Healing in Framingham, MA, a clinical practice, helping individuals, couples and families cope with life stresses. She also provides workshops on her unique approach to lifelong grieving to professionals, such as physicians, psychologists, social workers, nurses and hospices, as well as presentations to community groups. She has published articles in professional and trade publications, as well as many media, including The Washington Post on mental health, substance abuse, health and human resources topics. She has also been cited nationally in numerous print and broadcast media, and has spoken at many conferences and workshops throughout the country. Previous experience includes academic appointments at Emmanuel College, Northeastern University, Merrimack College, and MassBay Community College. Dr. Berger earned her Doctorate from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, as well as a Master’s degree in Social Work and a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Boston University. To enhance her expertise in the area of loss and bereavement, she earned a Certificate in Thanatology (Death, Dying & Bereavement) from the National Center for Death Education at Mt. Ida College in Newton, MA. Dr. Berger has volunteered as a hospice volunteer working with the dying and bereaved families. She is herself the survivor of early parental loss.

More Articles Written by Susan