I spoke to Bridget, who nearly one year after her dad’s passing at the age of sixty-four was missing him terribly. She always had a close connection to her dad and was one of his caretakers while he was quite ill the year before he passed away. She believes in an afterlife and believes that her dad might well be “around me some of the time” — but she believed her relationship with him come to an end because he was not physically there. “Actually,” she said, “I believe we can still have some sort of relationship but it is so different now. It’s difficult to see it as a relationship. It’s more like a very diluted form of relationship. Very little substance.”

So I asked her to describe what her relationship was like with her dad when she was a young child, a teenager, a young adult, a middle-aged mom, and finally as her caretaker when he needed a great deal of assistance and had a hard time speaking. She spoke of the DIFFERENT ways they related at each of those times in their life.

“It WAS different,” I said. “But as time went on and you had your own family and you spoke to your dad less often would you say your relationship was somehow diluted? Less substantial?”

“No!” she cried. “It was wonderful. Just…different.”

“The context changed,” I said. “But your relationship was just as strong, just as meaningful. Well, once again the context has changed. He exists in a different dimension. Are you willing to maintain a relationship with him that still has substance”

Bridget realized that the change from earthly life to a heavenly life in no way means her relationship is diminished. It is just playing out on a different level–just as it had throughout her entire life.

Paul Coleman

Dr. Paul Coleman is a psychologist in private practice for over thirty years and the author of a dozen books including his most recent “Finding Peace When Your Heart Is in Pieces” (ADAMS MEDIA, 2014). He has appeared on national television shows such as “OPRAH” and “TODAY” and has appeared on dozens of national radio shows including NPR and WABC. Dr. Coleman specializes in the treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as well helping people through grief and other life transitions. For fun, Paul enjoys acting and has appeared in over forty community theater stage productions. He recently appeared as a grief counselor in the HBO series “I Know This Much Is True” starring Mark Ruffalo. He has written several stage plays—as yet unpublished—but has had readings of his plays performed in New York City and Austin, Texas. Paul and his wife have three children and four grandchildren.

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