Responding to Grief

Jeff Weber, a well-informed writer and editor, writes about health and health-related issues and events for the Courier News, The Home News Tribune, and On February 9, his column, Healthwise, published  my story, People Handle Grief in their Own Way.  I received  many responses including the one below. I sent this particular response on to Jeff because of the last few lines and he  posted it to his blog, Heartbeats,

Thanks Jeff, for your interest. This is a topic of importance for all of your readers.



Posted By Jeff Weber On March 11, 2010 (5:10 pm) In Uncategorized

On Feb. 9, we published a Healthwise commentary from Suzann Goldstein of The Valerie Fund titled “People handle grief in their own way”. It was a wonderfully written story that accurately depicted what people go through when they lose a loved one to a dreaded disease such as cancer.

The story really resonated with Bridgewater resident Catherine Donnelly, who wrote a letter to Goldstein, who then passed it on to me. Here is Donnelly’s letter in its entirety:

“I just finished reading your article in the Courier News. I was moved. I, too, lost a child — Carolyn, back in 2003, when my daughter was 18 years old. Not from cancer, although when a child dies it certainly doesn’t matter how they died. The pain is real just the same. Sometimes unbearable.

“I related to your article in so many ways. Yes, we never ‘get over it.’ The advice from friends after a child dies sometimes makes you so angry. ‘She’s in a better place.’ ‘God wanted her.’ ‘When God closes a door he opens up a window.’ WHAT????? Sometimes we wish people would just say they are sorry or say nothing at all.

“When someone I don’t know asks how many children I have, I do count Carolyn as one of my children. Of course, the next step is deciding if I want them to hear my story. Will their eyes glass over? Will I make them uncomfortable?

“Suzann, it was good advice about support groups. They work for some parents. I tried, but they did not work for me. I chose to see a tragic death grief counselor. She saved my life. She taught me so many things. And the most important piece of advice she gave me is ‘You can’t change what happened; change what you can.’

“In closing, it was a good article in Healthwise. We seldom read about grief in the local newspaper.”

HEARTBEATS SAYS: Suzann and Catherine — you can be assured that there will be more stories about support groups and grief down the line. It is an important topic, and your voice has been heard.

Article taken from Heartbeats –
URL to article:
Editor: Edwin C. Goldstein