Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Bill of Rights for the Bereaved:

Facing the loss of a spouse or life-partner is heartbreaking. Loving is all-encompassing; love took most of our emotional energy as we embraced our spouse or partner. We cared that they were fulfilled and well. We wanted to protect them and make them happy. We were devoted, so much so, that losing this loved one, feels crippling. And so, when they are gone, we need to learn how to transform this energy into something positive. Not a "substitute," but a conversion, from a "we" to an "I".

During this important journey, the first idea we need to fully embrace is that you, the mourner, have rights. What are they?

Bill of Rights for the Bereaved:

We have the right to express our grieving in our own way.

We have the right to know that grieving is slow, hard work and to move through it at our own pace.

We have the right to express our feelings about grief and to explore them.

We have the right to forgive ourselves for the things we think we “should” have done or “might” have done and realize that what we did in that moment of time was based on the information at hand and that we did the best that we could with the knowledge we had.

We have the right to be ourselves and to recognize our strengths and our limitations.

We have the right to participate actively in our mourning, to remember the past with fond memories and to allow ourselves to enjoy our lives again.

We have the right to move forward and to speak of our pain, whether that makes people uncomfortable or not.

We have the right to go back and forth in our grieving; some days making progress and other days slipping back.

We have a right to express our emotions and to have others bear witness to our story.

We have the right to believe that we will have a whole life again!

(c) 2006, THE HEALING POWER OF GRIEF: Transcenting the Loss of a Spouse to Life and Laughter by Gloria Lintermans & Marilyn Stolzman, Ph.D., L.M.F.T. (Champion Press, Ltd., March 2006) ISBN: 1-932783-48-2

More important information on mourning, healing, and loving again in the days and weeks to come. Let's do this together. This is the place to shre your challenges, your goals, your triumphs ... your concerns, comments and questions.


  • I started dating an old high school friend almost a year ago. At that point his spouse of 30+ years had passed just 10 months before. I have tried to honor his feelings for her. He recently told me that he didn't know if he would ever again give his heart away. I feel that he is worth waiting for but at the same time it is difficult to constantly live in her shadow.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tuesday, 12 September, 2006  

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