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Over and Over and Over

Updated: Aug 26, 2022

“Hazel Smyth was waiting for Madeleine to come home. Each footfall, each creek of the floorboards, each turn of the knob was her.

Then not. Every minute of the day Hazel lost Madeleine again.” (p 78 The Cruelest Month, Louise Penny, 2007 St Martins Press.)

When someone you love dies, they do not die just once. They die over and over and over again.

He dies again when you anticipate him coming home from work and the coming home time comes and goes and the silence is deafening. Your son dies again when the thunk of the backpack on the kitchen counter doesn’t happen. There is no backpack, he dies again. When you hear a text alert at 10 pm, from your sister, to say good-night and you pick up your phone and see a blank screen, she dies again. Your dad dies again when you walk into his house and are greeted by an empty chair. Your baby dies again when you hear, “so and so is expecting a baby”. Your mom dies again when you pick up the phone and realize there is no one to call. Your daughter dies again every time your friends welcome a new grandchild into their family, something you will never experience. Your brother dies again when you look at your nephew and he is younger version of your brother.

Life as you know it is forever changed when someone you love dies. Every minute that you are aware of the change, you are reminded of the death. Each anticipated aspect of life that doesn’t happen, brings the death to the forefront, every single time. The sting of death may be acute and loud or subtle and quiet, but the sting will be experienced. Don’t be surprised if you respond in a variety of ways. You may offer up a sigh of gratitude for the love you experienced. You may laugh or smile. At times you may scream, cry or curse. You may wail and plead for the memory of the death to end. Will you feel exasperated? Probably. You may think you are crazy. You are not.

Whenever you relive the death again and again, close your eyes (if you are in a safe space). For the next 90 seconds, breath in through your nose, taking a long deep breath, all the way down to your belly. Exhale slowly through your nose, empty your lungs. Then repeat. Whatever you are feeling, feel it and breathe.

You may think and feel as if you are going crazy. You’re not. You are living with grief in life.


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