GRIEF sometimes comes like a thief in the night. At other times, it’s more like a slow moving train. 

Either way, Grief hurts.  When someone we love dies, it creates a painful void in our lives that we aren’t sure how to live with and if we even want to live with. Grief often changes our relationships, the way we see the world,  our ability to trust in the goodness of life and  others. 

Suddenly we feel like a stranger in our own skin and perhaps in our own home, neighborhood, church, and work.  It seems as though people look at us differently, and we may wonder if we have suddenly grown two heads. Sometimes they just look away and pretend not to see us. We may wonder what we have done to cause this behavior.  Someone we love has died; we feel so alone and now others seem to be avoiding us. Once again, nothing in our world is making sense.

We may look in the mirror thinking surely others must be seeing something we don’t, but there in the mirror is the face that has always stared back at us. That fact surprises us because we don’t feel the same any more.  We seem to think and do things in very slow motion; our body weighed down by grief. It feels as though we have sand in our veins and cotton in our heads where our brain used to live.  We may begin to wonder if all of those things went with our loved one on the day they died, our brain, our energy, our balance, our trust; our ability to connect with others, and to make sense out of life.

People may tell us to be patient; that time heals all things.  We remember hearing those words before, maybe even having said them to someone.  Suddenly those words don’t seem to make much sense or to help us in our grief.  After all, we want to feel better now, not someday. And we can’t believe that someday will ever come.  How could we possibly enjoy life again? Don’t they understand? Don’t they get it? Our loved one has died and we’re still here.  

Deb Kosmer 2011

Deb Kosmer

Deb Kosmer

Deb has worked at Affinity Visiting Nurses Hospice for ten years, the first two as a hospice social worker and the last eight as Bereavement Support Coordinator supporting families before and after the death of their loved ones. She provides supportive counseling, developed and facilitates a variety of grief support groups, including a well-attended group for men only as well as other educational events. Deb received her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from UW-Oshkosh and her Master’s degree in Social Work from UW Milwaukee. She received her certification in Thanatology through ADEC. Her writing has appeared in New Leaf Magazine, We Need Not Walk Alone, Living with Loss, Grief Digest, numerous hospice publications and EAP publications. Some of her poetry on death and dying will be included in a college textbook for social workers in end of life soon. New Leaf has also used some of her poetry for a line of sympathy and anniversary of death cards. On a personal level, Deb's 14-year-old son died after being struck by a car. Her 31-year-old sister had died in a car accident eight months earlier, and her 56-year-old father died from a heart attack exactly three years before. These three unexpected deaths within three years started Deb on a journey she never wanted to be on and she learned first-hand the importance of having the help and support of others. In the years since, she has experienced other losses, the most recent being the unexpected death of her 44-year-old step-daughter who died from complications three months after routine surgery. Deb's passions are writing, reading, education, nature, and family. She is currently working on a book of her grief poetry. She recently moved with her husband to Waypost Camp, Hatley WI. Her husband accepted a job there as Property Manager and his position allows them to live on-site with acres of woods and a lake. She anticipates the quiet beauty to be a strong catalyst for writing.

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