Can you imagine losing a seven-year old child? I can’t imagine the tremendous sadness, anger, and grief from such a loss even though I deal with grief everyday in my office. Somer Thompson disappeared on her mile-long walk home from school and her body was recently found in a landfill. How awful that must have been for this little girl and how scary it is for all parents who have children. What does one do with such overwhelming emotion? Can a parent recover from such a devastating loss? At the risk of sounding trite, I believe we can recover from loss-one day at a time. The magnitude of emotion seems unbearable and the waves of emotion intense, but with time, emotional support, family/friends and faith we can overcome adversity such as this. The void will never completely go away, but the intensity of the pain lessens and healing progresses. The grief process is different for everyone and there is no set time frame or structure to the process. It is important to stay connected to people, confront the emotional pain, eventually return to your routine, and say goodbye. The last item is probably the most difficult. I encourage patients to write a goodbye letter, when they’re ready, to read out loud and achieve closure. It can also be helpful to join a support group and in some cases it’s necessary to forgive yourself for the loss. There is life beyond the loss, but it may take time and effort to find that life.
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