In order to get somewhere else, you have to start from somewhere specific. In order to
measure the distance you have traveled, you must know the starting point and the point of
destination. The same is true in grief  recovery. We know for certain sure that the point from
which we began the journey was the day the loss occurred.

For me, in reference to the two-year, eight-month battle my son, Richard, waged a battle
against renal cancer, the journey began the day we were told that he did, in fact, have cancer.
His father and six other men in his father's family had either died of the disease, or as in one
case, had surgery and survives today. Two of them were Richard's first cousins of his age. I
knew in my heart that he, too, would not survive. That is when my endurance for the journey to
recovery began to be tried. I told a friend of mine when asked how could I face yet another
funeral when just a year previously, we had buried his oldest son after a tragic motorcycle
accident. I answered that Richard's funeral was the climax of a two-year, eight-month funeral,
and now I could begin to recover.

That was in 1995, and today, I am emotionally healthy again. In Kubler-Ross' latest book on
death and dying, Journey of Beginning, she says that until we have a change of thought
process about the loss of a loved one, we are not yet truly recovered. Like many, many
people, she states that we just submerse the grieving to a tolerable level and 'just live with it'. I
can speak from experience of having gone through all the stages of grief, and even more,
through the Journey of Beginning; her words are all too true. That is when we turn our grieving
experiences to a positive use in counseling others who are not yet to the destination of full
recovery.

Losing someone dear is a terrible teacher's education school, but it is as necessary as
studying in college for a bachelor's degree in Distributive Education. There are no substitutes
for learning first hand about grieving.   I truly have empathy for and with you, not just
sympathy. The difference is: Sympathy is feeling badly for someone, empathy is feeling badly
WITH someone. I do truly understand your loss and pain and I am here trying to help you
through it in order that you can live a full, productive, happy life from now on, and be more able
to cope with the next unexpected tragic event you face if there ever is one.
Walk this way ... Please!
© Betty Sue Eaton


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