RAGE: This is an emotion we may feel when grieving but be reluctant to admit. When someone we love dies, we feel the raw wound of their absence. The raw emotions that cut like a knife. The raw gut wrenching pain.

ANGER: The force of our anger may surprise us. We may be unable to contain it. We feel the anger that this could happen to us, to them. We may feel anger that it wasn’t us instead of them, at the unfairness of life.

GRIEF: The paradox of grief is it is a kaleidoscope of feelings and feeling nothing at all. Grief exists in a time warp. There are no absolutes, no number of days, or months, or years we can put on it. Since we are unable to control it; it may feel like it controls us.

EMPTINESS:  The absence of our loved one leaves us feeling horribly empty. Suddenly we are left with an enormous void we don’t know how or even want to fill. Sometimes in our desperate need to block out the emptiness we fill it with feelings of anger or rage.

Those feelings are not wrong and may actually be justified. However, we need to be careful that we do not become owned by those feelings. We need to be able to see other aspects of our life unclouded by the rage we may feel about the death of our loved one. Otherwise we stand to lose even more. The people and places we love. The passions and dreams we once had.

HOPE: One day, there will be a flicker of hope. It may come out of nowhere, catching us by surprise. It may be fleeting but it is a beginning of letting go of the pain and getting ready to engage in life once more. Hope does not eliminate sadness but it makes it easier to bear. It lets us know we will not always feel this way. Better days are coming. It gives us something to hold unto while we are getting there.

Deb Kosmer; debrakosmer@gmail.com

© 2012

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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