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There was a recent (January 11, 2015) OpEd in the New York Times entitled, “Getting Grief Right”.  It was written by Patrick O’Malley, a psychotherapist in Fort Worth.

Frankly, it was a relief to finally read an article about grief that felt right.  I had none of the so-called “stages of grief” (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance) so often trumpeted as “the standard”.  After a marriage as long as mine, and with the profound love I felt for my husband, his death left (and continues to leave even 5 years later) an enormous void in my life.

My first trip taken, within 8 months of his death, was to visit the Grand Canyon where I wanted to see a gigantic hole in the ground. I thought that visualizing the enormity of such a hole would help me understand the depths of my grief.

I’ve also imagined that another suitable metaphor for the death of a  person deeply loved would be an enormous tree with an extremely large and deep root system. If such a tree could possibly be extracted from the ground, it would leave an enormous hole.

O’Malley says as much in this remark to his patients:  “I often tell them that the size of their grief corresponds to the depth of their love.” He also recognizes that the idea of accomplishing “closure” isn’t helpful.

“To do so would be to lose a piece of a sacred bond.”

Indeed.