I believe in order to truly work through your grief, you must first EMBRACE it wholeheartedly. Live it; breathe it; examine it; and steep yourself in it. And as you sit mired in the muck of how you may see your life right now, YOU can decide how to pull yourself up and out of it.

When you think of the word embrace, the picture that might come to mind is a pleasant one...perhaps, two loved ones with their arms clasped around one another. Let's look at how Webster defines the word and see how it can be applied to grief.

Embrace means to clasp in the arms (as mentioned above).
We must put our arms around grief wrestle with it; figure it out; and eventually champion over it.

Embrace means to take up (especially readily).
Perhaps you do this hesitantly, but you "must" take up your grief and work through it or you will not be able to move forward in the new life waiting for you to embrace.

Embrace also means to take in or include as a part, item or element of a more inclusive whole.
In grief, you can introspectively examine your emotions and thoughts and decide which are appropriate and which are inappropriate. Next, you can determine which are going to work for you in your new life. Lastly, you will decide which to keep (embrace) and which to discard.

TO EMBRACE, when looked at in this light, is hard work and will most probably cause you to feel sad. However, in order to move through your grief (relieving yourself of sadness), you must first examine (or embrace) your grief. After all, you cannot get rid of something at which you have never looked or held.

As National Survivors of Suicide Day approaches on November 20, 2010, I urge suicide survivors especially to embrace all of their feelings about the loss of their loved one, including any lingering guilt.

As a suicide survivor, I offer you this short video as food for thought on how to better understand some of the emotions you may be feeling. It is by no means definitive -- simply a small glimpse into some of the ways I dealt with and worked through my own loss.

Additionally, I have written a book on coping with suicide that includes stories of suicide survivors. I believe these stories will give you hope that your loved one is still accessible to you – perhaps not physically, but maybe in another dimension close by. "Figuring Out Life and Death: Musings, Stories and Questions About Suicide" is available through Amazon.

Ellen Gerst is a Life Coach who specializes in grief and relationships and the author of several books on both topics, including
"101 Tips and Thoughts on Coping with Grief", an easy-to-read reference guide filled with suggestions for every day use on moving through the grief journey, and "Love After Loss: Writing The Rest of Your Story", a blueprint on how to use her successful method to redesign your life to include a new love connection after the loss of a partner from death, divorce or break-up. She is also the co-editor of Thin Threads of Grief and Renewal, a collection of stories by authors who experienced great loss and who went on to find tremendous personal renewal. Connect with Ellen on Facebook at Love After Loss and Thin Threads of Grief and Renewal.

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Comment by yvonne raymond on December 11, 2010 at 1:18pm


I have just lost my father three days ago, I loved my father very much,but we had a strange relationship. I had not spoken to my mother or father for thirty years since I moved from England to Canada, five years ago I went back things had not changed with my family but a least I got to say that I loved him for me it was important to do this, it was a very difficult childhood for me, it mostley was my mother who is very controling everything has to be her way so dad just taged along, after sixty years togeather he passed, is death was not peacefull it was agony all the way, what I am feeling I do not know it is pain I have never felt before, there was so much I did not say, the problem is the funeral is Tuesday and I'm not aloud to fly Doctors orders, my mother is so angry that I,m not going she does not see things the way I do, I know she is going through a hard time, I know this will not be easy but how does one hurt so bad after not being in someones life for so long, it is like I still need his approval.

Comment by Cami J MacKenzie on November 17, 2010 at 7:44am
I lost my dad almost 9 years ago to ( SUICIDE)and it still to this day is one of the most hardest things I have had to deal with,I cant get passed it and dont know why.

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