When my friend returned to work following the death of her dad, her supervisor told her, “It is now time to put this chapter behind you and get on with your life.” 

Get on with her life? My friend had yet to mourn the death of her father or even begin to process the loss and what it would mean to live her life without her dad. And that didn’t even take into account her mother; how would her mom handle this devastating loss? Would her mom be able to resume her life or would she now be more dependent on my friend? If so, my friend’s relationship with her mom would change and wouldn’t that be another loss?

My friend is not alone. The bereaved often share that people who have yet to experience the loss of a beloved family member or friend do not understand the time it takes to process and mourn the death of a loved one or, that other losses might result from the death as well.

A loss is complicated. The very word “loss” means that something is taken away from us. When someone dies, we go through a process of losing both the physical person as well as the relationship. But there is more to it than that. Maybe your father was your mentor, spiritual adviser, golf partner, confidant, travel companion, cooking teacher, and the list goes on. When you father dies, you lose not only him but all the roles he played in your life too.

We never really get over a loss. It’s something that stays with us always. Your mom might remarry following your father’s death, and you gain a stepdad. Or, you marry and inherit a wonderful father-in-law. While these relationships may be loving and fill some gaps in your life, they never replace the loss of your father.

In time, we can somehow fill the voids in our life, but, we will always feel an absence. That’s what happens when you lose something dear. 


Robbie Miller Kaplan is an author who writes from a unique perspective as a mother who has lost two children. She has written How to Say It When You Don't Know What to Say, a guide to help readers communicate effectively when those they care about experience loss, now available in e-books for "Illness & Death," "Suicide," "Miscarriage," "Death of a Child," "Death of a Stillborn or Newborn Baby," "Pet Loss," "Caregiver Responsibilities," "Divorce" and "Job Loss." All titles are in Amazon's Kindle Store.

Image courtesy of the author

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Comment by Bertil pallares on February 17, 2016 at 9:04pm

The first step is to accept the loss.  if one is not able to do this it is not possible to understand what a loss is.  Our society is so anti death and aging.  We do not accept it. we keep pictures of our loved ones and what movies of our family from when they were around.  this can lead to depression and extended pain.  We do everything possible to stay young and delay death.  after our loved ones pass away our society denies death by using make up and chemicals to keep our loved ones looking as if they were alive before the burial.  This topic is very difficult discuss.  My point is, it would be easier if we accepted death in sociaty as something normal and dedicated the time after death to celebrate the life instead of feeling sorrow and pain.  I for one prefer Cremation.

I hope to teach my children that when I die to not think about what was but to think about what will be.  do not dwell on the past and focus on the future. 

I might be a little bit of topic but my point here teach yourselves and your loves ones to let go.


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