Of course everybody grieves, and grief “experts” are no exception. Like many of you, I’ve suffered tremendous losses, and each time, after falling apart, I have emerged with a deeper appreciation for grief, caring, and resilience. I’ll be sharing some of my own life stories here on my website, in my blogs, video talks and in excerpts from my forthcoming memoir. But if you’re just getting to know me, I’d like to share a few examples here of some of the personal challenges I’ve faced and what they’ve taught me.
Forty six years ago, well before I ever dreamed of being a grief counselor, my dad died of a massive heart attack. Looking back now, perhaps the greatest lesson in the early days of my loss came from Dad’s friend, Edith who told me that as hard as I was hurting, my grief would never completely go away. The pain softens over time, but grief only changes.
My greatest loss since Dad’s death happened in 2017. I’d been a grief specialist for well over thirty years, when my wife died of complications from pancreatic cancer. As I continue to grieve her death, I am inspired everyday by clients and patients, new and old. They are my heroes and teachers – women, men, teens and children I have visited in emergency rooms, children’s hospitals, at their death beds on hospice, in their homes, in classrooms, their places of work, at my seminars and retreats, and in my counseling office. Their suffering, honesty, love of life, courage, wisdom and perseverance have taught me that we’re all in this together. Knowing them has helped me find the courage to keep my broken heart open as I listen and learn.
Fourteen months after Andrea died, I fell in love again. Finding love after a long and good marriage, is nothing less than miraculous, humbling, and wonderful. But as Edith taught me many years ago, our grief never ends. It only keeps changing. So I’ve been learning that even while celebrating my new relationship, I’m also grieving. This isn’t easy to do and its given me a new appreciation and deeper respect and compassion for others that dare to love again. I’ll be writing more about this in future blogs. Stay tuned.
Below are some anonymous evaluations I’ve received at seminars across the country
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