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John James, founder of The Grief Recovery Institute

John W. James

Founder of The Grief Recovery Institute®
Co-Author of The Grief Recovery
Handbook & When Children Grieve

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Russell Friedman, Executive Director of The Grief Recovery Institute

Russell Friedman

Executive Director
Co-Author of The Grief Recovery
Handbook & When Children Grieve

Featured Article

Am I Going Crazy?—An all-too frequent question from grievers.

“Since my mother’s death, I’ve had the experience of being in one room, deciding to go to another room to do something, and when I get there, I don’t have a clue what I’m there for. Am I going crazy?”

No, you’re not crazy. For most people, the immediate response to the awareness of the death of someone important to them is a sense of numbness. After that initial numbness wears off, the most common physiological reaction is a reduced ability to concentrate. The rest of the world goes out of focus. Nothing else is important. It is normal and natural that your entire being is centered on what happened and your relationship with the person who died.

The length of time that the reduced ability to concentrate lasts is individual and can vary from a few days to several months, and even longer. It is not a sign that there’s something wrong with you. Realistically, the fact that the emotional impact of the death of that person has altered your day-to-day routines indicates something very healthy. It would make no sense for you not to be affected by the death.

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Ask John & Russell – We often lie about our feelings because we think we might be judged for having them. (Published 5/19/2015)


My grandmother died recently and it hurts so much to lose someone who I’ve been so close to. It also hurts when I talk to my husband. I cry about it and tell him I’m missing her so much. She was more like my mother rather than my actual mother, but I can't seem to cope with being around others when I think about her. All I do is cry and when they say “is something wrong,” I just look at them and say “no.” They ask me what I’m crying for. I say, “Nothing,” and that’s why I hardly have any friends, because I can’t seem to get over that she’s never coming back.

Russell Friedman Replies:

Dear Nicole,

Thanks for your note.

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Find Local Support

If you or someone important to you wants help with grief: Look for a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist℠ in your community. The Grief Recovery Institute ® trains and mentors Certified Grief Recovery Specialists℠ throughout the United States & Canada.

See Russell and John's blog at Psychology Today

Workshops & Training Schedule

The Grief Recovery Institute ® offers Certification Training programs for those who wish to help grievers.

    May 2015
    Los Angeles, CA - May 15-18, 2015
    Indianapolis, IN - May 15-18, 2015
    Leeds, UK - May 15-18, 2015
    Brisbane, QLD, Australia - May 21-24, 2015
    Mexico City, DF, Mexico -May 29-June 1,'15
    Vancouver, BC, Canada - May 29-June 1,'15
  • June 2015
    Birmingham, AL - June 5-8, 2015
    Adelaide, SA, Australia - June 11-14, 2015
    Minneapolis, MN - June 12-15, 2015
    Sacramento, CA - June 12-15, 2015
    Toronto, ON, Canada - June 26-29, 2015
    Guadalajara, Jal, Mexico -June 26-29, 2015
    Dallas, TX - June 26-29, 2015

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