John W. James
Founder of The Grief Recovery Institute®
Co-Author of The Grief Recovery
Handbook & When Children Grieve
Co-Author of The Grief Recovery
Handbook & When Children Grieve
Where were you when I needed you?
The saddest question we ever hear is, "Where were you when I needed you?"
That's what people ask when they find out what we do in helping grievers. We're presenting helpful and accurate information on this site, at the time you need it most, with the hope that you'll never need to ask that question.
It's an honor and a sad privilege to be addressing you, knowing that each of you has recently experienced the death of someone important to you. We also know some of you are reading this because of your care and concern for someone who is confronted by the death of someone important in their life.
We bring our personal experience in dealing with the deaths of people who were important to us, and our professional know-how in helping grievers for more than 30 years. We'll help you distinguish between the "raw grief" that is your normal and natural reaction to the death, and the equally normal "unresolved grief" that relates to the unfinished emotions that are part of the physical ending of all relationships.
A basic reality for most grieving people is difficulty concentrating or focusing. With that in mind, we asked Tributes.com to print our articles in a large type font to make them easier to read. Sharing our concern for grieving people, they agreed.
From our hearts to yours,
John & Russell
Articles & Media
We Never Forget The Important People In Our Lives.
We recently received a note from a woman named Linda, who had a child die, and who interacts with other parents who’ve also experienced the death of a child. In her note Linda said that one of the mothers stated, “I’m done grieving,” which provoked Linda to ask us this two-part question: “Is it ever too soon to be done with grieving?” and “Are we ever really done grieving the death of our child?” We believe those questions and our response will shed valuable light on a very misunderstood aspect of grief and recovery.
In her note Linda said that one of the mothers stated, “I’m done grieving,” which provoked Linda to ask us this two-part question: “Is it ever too soon to be done with grieving?” and “Are we ever really done grieving the death of our child?”
We believe those questions and our response will shed valuable light on a very misunderstood aspect of grief and recovery.
Thanks for your note and questions.
We’re going to break your first question into two parts.
Part one: “Is it ever too soon to be done with grieving?
Grief is the normal and natural reaction to loss, and includes an incredibly wide array of human emotions. It’s also the most unique and individual of all human experiences based on our own personality, style, and information or misinformation about dealing with our feelings; and based on the one-of-a-kind relationship that we had with the person who died—or the person we were married to, in the case of a divorce.
And, as you will see below in our response to the second part, there are constant reminders of people who are no longer here, each of which may stimulate memories with emotions attached.
Grieving isn’t a time-based or even action-based event. It can get a little too intellectual to try to clearly define the words and ideas that relate to the emotions of grief. Our job is always to move people the critical 14 inches from their heads to their hearts. Incorrect or misstated language can keep people away from their emotional truths.
If we were talking to the lady who said, “I’m done grieving,” we’d probably determine in our conversation with her, that what she meant was that she was adapting to the painful unwanted reality of the death, and that the constant pain and tears, loss of focus, and other common reactions, had subsided. That adaptation though, wouldn’t necessarily mean that she was emotionally complete in her relationship with her child who died.
Part Two: “Are we ever really done grieving the death of our child?”
In order to answer your question, we have to modify it. In our Trainings and Workshops, we talk about the fact that we never use the phrase “get over” as it relates to someone important to us who has died, as that would imply that we could or would forget them.
Therefore we rephrase your question to ask, “Will you ever forget your child who died?” The obvious answer is NO!
Additionally we would ask, “Will you ever stop having feelings about your child who died and your relationship with her or him?” Again, NO!
Those last two points are obviously true when any important person to us dies, not just a child.
However, with the death of a child, there is a much greater awareness of the unrealized future that relates to what and who they would have become. Even years later, people who had a young child die will almost always be aware of children who are the age their child would have been now. When they see a group of kids that age they automatically remember their child and with that, often have some strong emotions. With the death of older children even when they are adults, we always have feelings about the things that never get to happen.
Some people erroneously believe that because they remember their child who died, and some of those memories come with sadness or other feelings attached, that indicates that maybe they are still emotionally incomplete. We don’t necessarily agree. We think you can miss someone and be sad just because they are no longer here, and because all that you had hoped would happen never came to pass.
From our hearts to yours,
© 2016 Russell P. Friedman, John W. James and The Grief Recovery Institute®. All rights reserved. For permission to reprint this and other articles please contact The Grief Recovery Institute at email@example.com or by phone, 800-334-7606.
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We Never Forget The Important People In Our Lives.
We recently received a note from a woman named Linda, who had a child die, and who interacts with other parents who’ve also experienced the death Read More »
On Crying—Part Two
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On Crying—Part One
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9/11: The Aftermath, Loss of Life, Loss of Safety, Loss of Trust, and Loss of Innocence
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Am I Going Crazy?—An all-too frequent question from grievers.
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Father’s Day 2016 - My Dad, Babe Ruth, and the Ball That’s Still in Orbit
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Is It Ever Too Soon To Recover?
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Why Won’t Anyone Let Me Feel Sad?
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Six Major Myths – The Short Version
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For most people, the immediate response to the death of someone important to them is a sense of numbness. After that initial numbness wears off, the Read More »
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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.
Workshops & Training Schedule
The Grief Recovery Institute ® offers Certification Training programs for those who wish to help grievers.
August 2016New York, NY - August 5-8, 2016
Tampa, FL - August 12-15, 2016
Austin, TX - August 12-15, 2016
Spokane, WA - August 19-22, 2016
Wilmington, DE - August 19-22, 2016
Detroit, MI - August 26-29, 2016
September 2016Ft. Collins, CO - September 16-19, 2016
Billings, MT - September 16-19, 2016
Cleveland, OH - September 16-19, 2016
Winnipeg, MB, Canada - Sept 23-26, 2016
Los Angeles, CA - September 23-26, 2016
Torquay, England - September 23-26, 2016