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Let’s think about anger. I believe that anger finds its root in feelings of helplessness or powerlessness. In our grief over a significant loss, we often question “why”. “Why did my loved one have to die?  Why does my life have to be one of suffering and sorrow? Why is this happening to ME?”   We feel anger because there are often no obvious answers to such questions, although many people try to suggest some with their clichés.  But what has happened does not seem fair.   Life is not always fair. Harold Kushner stated “why is not so much a question as a cry of pain.” When we are powerless to do anything to change the finality what has happened, finding more questions than answers, our response may be one of anger. Anger is most often a protest against any loss. The rage and resentment we feel is because we can do nothing to control or change the situation. This explains why we become irritable with friends and family:  they cannot give us what we want most, the return of what or who we have lost.   The greatest problem with anger is that it tends to be transferred …

Earlier this month, Toronto hosted the  Invictus Games, spearheaded by concerned veteran and hero, Prince Harry. Everyone was inspired by the courage of the 550 wounded service people who travelled from 17 different countries to compete. The Latin word “invictus” is translated “unconquered, unsubdued, invincible”. As Prince Harry said to the competitors: “Right now, you’re on a high, at the summit of a mountain many of you thought was too high to climb. But you have done it. This is the moment, right here, right now, shoulder to shoulder: You are Invictus.” As one competitor put it: “We can look at each other and know that every single one of us had to fight some battle to get from where we were to where we are now.”  Those words could be a call to arms for ALL grieving people whose lives have been touched by tragedy. In the field of post-traumatic stress, the concept of “Post-Traumatic Recovery” is emerging. It shifts the belief of trauma as an “injury” or a “sickness” to where the ordeal is better regarded as “impact”. That paradigm shift moves the conversation away from “what is wrong with you” to “what has happened to you”, away …

Probably most of us have experienced loneliness at one time or another. Maybe it was our first time away from home, or traveling somewhere away from family and friends. But what surprises many is: Loneliness has nothing whatsoever to do with whether or not you are alone. It is possible to be lonely in a crowd. It is equally possible to be alone without being lonely. There’s a definition of loneliness by Robert Weiss that I find helpful. “Loneliness is the sense of isolation that is caused by the absence of a needed relationship.” When someone dies, we feel so terribly alone … that is the isolation, or as someone aptly described it, the “unwanted individuation”. And the cause of that is the absence of a needed relationship. When we feel lonely we are saying “I had a relationship with that person. I needed it, wanted it, counted on it, and now that it is no longer here, I miss it … and indeed, I wonder how I can go on without it.” And that is a very important point. We can have all kinds of other relationships … family, friends, church, community … but this is the relationship we …

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