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Getting Over It, or Not . . . - August 12, 2016

Frequently in the course of counseling with someone, the conversation will turn to an area of hurt and sorrow over the death of someone very close. As we talk more in this area, tears often begin to flow and the pain is relieved. And then there will be an apology: "I know I should be over it by now...I don't know what's wrong with me that I keep feeling this way."

My reply usually goes something like this: "I don't think you should expect yourself to get over it. Why get to the point where the loss of this dear person is a matter of emotionless intellectual reflection only? This person was a part of you—about whom you care deeply. You will go on without that person, but will there ever be a point in your life when the memory will not evoke feelings?"

A friend of mine told me about a conversation he had with an aged woman. She had lived a full and active life. She had two married sons, and had also given birth to a baby girl. The baby girl had died. She told about it now with tears—with pain. Even though sixty or more years had passed, the sorrow was still intense. She had never ‘gotten over it.’ But because she hadn't, she was a warm person . . . caring, compassionate, and very real; her life was authentic and meaningful.

Another person told me that her friends and relatives keep saying to her, "Where's your faith?" because she is still frequently talking about and crying over the emptiness in her life since her husband died nearly two years ago. This woman sought professional counseling, in part because those around her seemed to be saying, "Don't grieve with us...There's something wrong with you if you haven't gotten over it yet." Another way of describing this is to say she had to ‘purchase friendship’ from a counselor because her friends were unable to tolerate her emotions.

The tears, empty feelings, loneliness, and guilty feelings that are part of the consequences of the death of a dear one—they will diminish with time. But it is unfair and unreal to expect them ever to be totally gone. They'll always be there.

Life must go on. That's the important thing. New friends, new dear ones, new activities, new joys, and work can come into your life. But those past hurts can still co-exist with the new life.

Jesus said, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted."

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  • Silly Thoughts

    I don’t have gray hair. I have 'wisdom highlights'. I’m just very wise.

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