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TALKING page 66
These don'ts include the follow-
portant, the listener should not be
so sympathetic that he or she al-
• Time heals all wounds. lows the grieving spouse to ele-
`Time hasn't healed an emotion-
vate the deceased to sainthood.
al wound yet," Mr. Friedman said.
`There's a tendency to create a
It's what you do with that time larger-than-life memory, an en-
that counts. 'The Grief Recovery
shrinement," Friedman said. "But
Handbook' encourages mourners you can't complete the grieving
to "emotionally complete" their re- process with a myth. You need
lationship with the deceased.
Once completion happens, deep
At this point, the listener
sadness is lifted.
should gently note that the dead
• Be grateful you had him spouse was not superhuman.
or her as long as you did.
"I would say, 'I haven't met a
"There's nothing wrong with be- perfect person yet, and I don't
ing grateful," Mr. Friedman said.
think your spouse fits that de-
"But it's important to know that
scription,' " Mr. Friedman said.
you can be grateful and sad at the
"It's important to remember (the
deceased) the way we knew them
• You have to be strong. "If in life, not in death."
this were true, we'd all be lifting
Besides sharing with a good lis-
Arnold tener, Mr. Friedman recommends
Schwarzenegger," Mr. Friedman
grievers write a letter to the de-
said. Strength actually comes
ceased, expressing feelings pre-
from being vulnerable enough to viously unexpressed.
share your feelings about the loss
In the end, Mr. Friedman said
with another person.
the grieving process can be bro-
• I know how you feeL "Very ken down into five steps: aware-
simply, no, you don't," Mr. Fried- ness, acceptance, recovery, action
and moving beyond.
• It's God's will, or he or she
"The Grief Recovery Hand-
is in a better place. "You may book" offers several tips for mov-
believe it's God's will, but saying ing beyond. They include:
that does not help the griever in
• When making decisions,
any way," Friedman said. "It just check things out with your trust-
makes him angry."
ed listener, don't listen to just any-
• Keep busy, and you'll feel
one. For instance, there was the
better. "No you won't," Mr. Fried-
widow who constantly awoke at
man said. "Keeping busy is just a
3 a.m. (the time her husband
died) and felt startled by the pic-
• Take a trip or a cruise to
ture of her husband near their
help yourself forget. "You bed. One friend told her to throw
might as well take a gun and away the picture. Her trusted lis-
shoot them," Mr. Friedman said.
tener suggested she simply place
"Forgetting is not what is need- it in another room.
• Use a "three-pile plan" when
Mr. Friedman said that when
dealing with the deceased's be-
a person experiences the loss of a longings. Pile A is for things you
spouse, his or her mind immedi- are certain you want to keep. Pile
ately begins a review of the entire
B is for things you are certain you
want to throw away. Pile C is for
"It preoccupies the brain so that
those things you aren't sure of.
the loss is all you want to talk These items may be bagged or
about," Mr. Friedman said. "It's a
boxed and placed in the attic or
normal process, and it's going to
happen whether you want it to or
• Accept that anniversary
dates may be painful. The date of
During this process, the mind death, a wedding anniversary, a
gets stuck on the unfinished emo-
birthday and other special dates
tional business with the person may bring up uncomfortable feel-
who has died.
"These are the things you wish
• Reach out to others, particu-
had happened better or more of- larly those who are more recent-
ten," Mr. Friedman said. 'These ly widowed. Helping others may
are the broken hopes, dreams and help you.
Ms. Hall found that last rec-
Even older couples who have
ommendation to be especially
lived together for decades will true for her.
have broken dreams, Mr. Fried-
"I reached a point in my griev-
man said. For example, there are
ing when I said, How can I help
couples who spend years planning others?' " she said. "Now in the
retirement only to have one
group, I focus on how we can get
spouse die shortly after retirement
through this together."
For many, going it alone
The widow or widower needs
to express his or her feelings to a
'There's something about the
sympathetic listener, Mr. Fried-
contact," Ms. Hall said.
man said. As part of this process,
"The talking and the hugs.
the person left behind may make
They're healing." ❑
amends for things left undone or
unsaid, or offer forgiveness for
some hurt caused by the deceased. Barbara Fitzsimmons writes for
Though understanding is im- Copley News Service