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That Grief Term: “Letting Go”

Letting go. The term and its derivatives come up frequently in grief circles. I detest them. I cringe when I hear them used.

It’s typically thrust at us, as in, “You need to let go” or if you do this or that “then you will let go.” Or we ourselves decide our healing is in “letting go,” thus we strive to stop crying, or obsessing, or feeling. Or we strive to release a loved one’s clothing. Or their car. Or their home.

adult art artist artistic

Photo by Anthony on

It seems so long ago that I sold the house where I grew up, the place where my parents died. I suppose that means my life has been filled with other pursuits for a year, but do not assume I did not miss the place. In fact, I’ve grieved letting it go. You can learn more about surviving this process in Letting Go of Where You Grew Up

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“I Know How You Feel”: What To Do With Grief Platitudes

How should we respond when well-meaning people say things that injure us? Has anyone ever delivered any of these platitudes, clichés or other expressions meant to comfort you as a griever?

“I know how you feel.”

“Time heals all wounds.”

“God must have needed her more.”

“You can have more children.”

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Photo by Tomaz Barcellos on

“She’s in a better place.”

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Parkinson’s & the Impact of Prolonged Illness on Grief

What is the impact of prolonged illness on grief? Does it give us time to get used to the idea of death? Does the anticipation in some way lessen the sting of loss?

I think on these questions as we mark Parkinson’s Awareness Week and World Parkinson’s Day, April 10th on the 2019 calendar. My dad had Parkinson’s. His symptoms began in the late 1990s, but doctors initially believed mini-strokes caused his shuffled gait.

person in hospital gown using walking frame beside hospital bed

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I remember the phone call. My mother was on the other end. A neurologist diagnosed Dad with Parkinson’s disease. The year was 2000. She sounded relieved. Almost happy. I understood why.

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What Death Cannot Snatch Away

Grief isn’t simply a loss of what was. It also is a loss for what might have been if mother, father, husband, sister, brother, grandparent or friend had lived.

Because of this, life gives us endless opportunities to reflect on our loss. And yet, as I celebrated 10 years of marriage to my husband last week, I instead embraced a celebratory attitude.Anniversary10thPeabodyDrink

In other words, I didn’t let what was not let ruin what was. I can’t say I’m always capable of doing that, but this time I really let my hair down, sort of speak. March 28th was a grand day.

Nonetheless, it was not without pause. Why? I mean, what does my wedding anniversary have to do with the loss of my parents? There again, grief’s complex nature lies in wait.

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