• Dear Therapist: Will I Ever Get Over My Wife’s Death? by L. Gottlieb

Dear Therapist: Will I Ever Get Over My Wife’s Death? by L. Gottlieb

Dear Therapist: Will I Ever Get Over My Wife’s Death? by L. Gottlieb

“We were married for 47 years, and I can’t picture life without her.”

Dear Therapist,

I am a fairly successful international attorney. My wife of 47 years died last December. It has been the worst three months of my life, and my depression does not go away.

How long will this go on? I still expect her to come out of her room daily. Should I go to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings again—although I have no desire to drink—just to talk? See a thanatologist? Is there anything to ease the solitude?

Anonymous

Dear Anonymous,

I’m so sorry for your tremendous loss. …

…Many people don’t know that Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s well-known stages of grieving—denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance—were conceived in the context of terminally ill patients coming to terms with their own deaths.

It wasn’t until decades later that the model came to be used for the grieving process more generally. It’s one thing to “accept” the end of your own life. But for those who keep on living, the idea that they should reach “acceptance” might make them feel worse (“I should be past this by now”; “I don’t know why I still cry at random times, all these years later”).

How can there be an endpoint to our love and loss? Do we even want there to be?

…The grief psychologist William Worden looks at grieving in this light, replacing “stages” with “tasks” of mourning. In the fourth of his tasks, the goal is to integrate the loss into our lives and create an ongoing connection with the person who died—while also finding a way to continue living.

…Just as our physiological immune system helps our bodies recover from physical attack, our brains help us to endure a psychological attack. A series of studies by the researcher Daniel Gilbert at Harvard found that in responding to challenging life events, from the devastating (becoming handicapped, losing a loved one) to the difficult (a divorce, an illness)—people do better than they anticipate.

They believe that they’ll never laugh again, but they do. They think they’ll never love again, but they do.

Read the rest here.


More:

Regarding Grief, Sickness and Depression: Hold Your Tongue and Offer Your Heart Instead by Heather Plett

Practical Advice on How to Help A Depressed (Possibly Suicidal) Friend by C. Madden, PhD

Understanding Grief, by Jane E. Brody

Rob Delaney Wants To “Destigmatize Grief” By Opening Up About His First Christmas Since His Son Died by M. Blackmon – And: 2018 Examples of Grief

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