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Tina B Tessina

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· The Commuter Marriage: Keep Your Relationship Close While You’re Far Apart

· Money, Sex and Kids:

· It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction

· How To Be a Couple and Still Be Free

· The Real Thirteenth Step: Discovering Confidence, Self-Reliance and Independence Beyond the Twelve S

· The 10 Smartest Decisions a Woman Can Make Before 40

· The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again

· The Ten Smartest Decisions a Woman Can Make AFTER Forty

· Dr. Romance on Silver and Gold: secrets to making and keeping friends

· Dear Dr. Romance: I feel terrible about not keeping the promises I made

· Dear Dr. Romance: My girlfriend doesn't think she can handle this relations

· Getting Along With Each Other

· Dr. Romance on: It's a Dirty Job: Use the Silly Solution for a Healthy Rela

· When Love is Kind: Mutuality in Relationships

· Dear Dr. Romance: What I fear has happened the second time round

· Dear Dr. Romance: Are there dating guidelines for single parents?

· Resolving Inner Anarchy

· Dear Dr. Romance: It seems to be going in a circle.

· The Shape of Peace

· Inspiration

· Eternal Dance - Christmas 2005

· On Mitch and Jackie’s engagement

· On love

· Bitter lesson

· Redemption


· Storytellers

· Vessels

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How to get through the grieving process and bounce back.

None of us wants to think about it, but the standard definition of a totally successful relationship is the old, traditional “til death do us part.” Any time we love, whether it’s a life partner, a dear friend, a child, a sibling, a parent or even a beloved pet, we are risking the loss of that love.

When you're happy with someone, you often don't think about your happiness or even fully realize it. You may take your contentment for granted. You watch couples around you struggle, or even go through your own struggles, and realize you’re lucky to have a successful partnership, but you don’t dwell on it.

Then comes the tragic event, and the world turns upside-down. If it's a long illness, the support system your partner used to be is gone, and you are required to be the support system. All the little things you took for granted become crystal clear in their absence. If the death is sudden (i.e. auto accident, brain aneurism) you go into shock at first, and go through the necessary awfulness -- identifying the body, making funeral arrangements, notifying people, comforting relatives, friends and children and the memorial itself – like a robot, mostly without feeling. Depending on the length of an illness, you may experience some of this during that period, also. It isn't until weeks or months after the burial that you really get to experience.....Grief.

Grief is an organic process, it has its own wisdom, and it needs a witness. An understanding friend can be that witness. There is nothing you can do to make such a tragedy less tragic, so the grief, anger and frustration that you feel are normal reactions to the circumstances. So you go through the stages of grief: shock, anger, seeking, depression and peace. It's normal to feel fear that this might happen again, rage that it happened at all, a need for prayer and comfort, bouts of being overwhelmed and thinking you can't go on, and, finally, acceptance and understanding that this devastating event is a part of the risky life we humans all live. These feelings will come jumbled up, they'll recycle, and come in different order.

Then, as the shock wears off, and the permanence of the loss sets in, some people may feel a bit relieved, some will be angry, some will pray or question God, and others just feel exhausted, disconnected, and overwhelmed . This jumble of feelings includes the anger, seeking and depression phases.
* If you feel inspired to do something hopeful (for example, setting up a memorial fund, or praying, giving blood, writing letters), do it.
* If you feel discouraged, just feel it -- it will pass, and it may indicate that you need a rest.
* If you feel like laughing, don't worry about it -- it's a good way to manage tragedy. It often signifies the beginning of healing.
* If you feel angry, remember anger is the underside of love -- it's an expression of the value you attach to the life lost, and very appropriate. But it, too, will come and go and fade with time.
* If you are afraid, of course you are. We are all programmed to want to live, and being so heavily confronted with the fragility of life is terrifying. Yes, it could have been you, but humans are resilient, and the fear, too will pass.
* If you feel hopeless, it is because you are realizing that life is not in your own control. This is when faith and a belief in a higher purpose to life is very helpful. If you haven't discovered a belief in higher purpose, then this would be a good time to search. Talk to clergy, read philosophy, meditate, pray, even get your fortune told. All these methods of attempting to understand the ineffable are imperfect, but they all can help.
* If you need support for your own struggle with these issues, gather friends, family and neighbors around you. We never need each other more than at times like this. We need to feel a part of a larger, safer group. Although you may want solitude from time to time, to get your thoughts together, be careful not to get too isolated
* Getting through the grief process will take at least a year, perhaps several. The first year is the hardest, because you encounter special days, birthdays, holidays and anniversaries all around the calendar. Once you've survived each of these once, it gets a little easier.

Eventually you will have survived and healed, and be willing to take another chance. The promise of happiness is strong enough that the risk is worth it. You'll probably experience some guilt, but know that if your former partner loved you, she or he would want you to be happy. This new relationship will feel even more precious than the previous one, because you'll know that it isn't here forever. You'll have a feeling of gratitude toward your previous partner, for the love you shared and what it taught you that makes it possible to have this new love.

To contact me or ask questions, you can visit my website at

© 2003 Tina B. Tessina

Web Site Tina B. Tessina, self-help author, therapist

Reader Reviews for "Surviving Loss and Thriving Again"

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Reviewed by Sherry Russell BCBT BCETS 11/12/2003
I have spent the last 20 plus years as a Grief Managment Specialist and I saw this article and had to read it. Excellent article!
Reviewed by Angela Holko Todd (Reader) 11/8/2003
This is all so very true. The key thing is to indulge your grief, so many times people try to be strong and not show feelings. Very good read and informative. Definately a help to those who need it most.
Reviewed by Julie Donner Andersen 11/7/2003
Excellent advice and perspective, Tina. My husband lost his wife to cancer, but remarried when he met me. The benefits of loss are something people do not discuss, as it seems disrespectful of the dead, but there are several. I know my husband is a better, stronger, more appreciative person who now lives life with gusto and makes every moment count.

Great article - one that I pray will give hope to whoever reads it.

Julie Donner Andersen
Reviewed by The Smoking Poet 11/7/2003
I appreciate your article, Tina. Grief is something we tend to want to avoid... it hurts, after all! but we shouldn't. It is a very necessary part of the healing and, subsequently, growth process, in whatever kind of grief we are going through. Whether it be grieving over the loss of a loved one to death, to infidelity, to divorce, or whatever other issue, the process is basically the same. You've given good advice on how to make that process a little less painful, a lot more healing. Understanding the process, as well as building a support system are crucial.

Books by
Tina B Tessina

The Ten Smartest Decisions a Woman Can Make AFTER Forty

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Money, Sex and Kids:

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The Commuter Marriage: Keep Your Relationship Close While You’re Far Apart

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It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction

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The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again

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The Real Thirteenth Step: Discovering Confidence, Self-Reliance and Independence Beyond the Twelve Step Programs

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How To Be a Couple and Still Be Free

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