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When the Grief-Stricken get Grief-Stuck

Two techniques to help the grieving complete the journey.

Timothy often took a lawn chair to the cemetery to sit by Sally's grave and talk to her. He'd tell her what he had been doing and how much he loved her. He often left the cemetery in tears. They'd been married 32 years. Two years after her death, Timothy still grieved her loss.

This was understandable, but when I discovered that he broke off every new relationship out of guilt, and that he went to the cemetery to cleanse himself for allowing a female friend in his life, I realized something was wrong. Timothy wasn't progressing through the healing process of grief. He was "stuck."

Many people who see pastors for counseling after the loss of a loved one (usually through death or divorce) come because they struggle to move through their pain and into new life. Time may have begun the healing, but it hasn't finished the job. Not all their stories, however, are as unusual as Timothy's.

Sue and Bill lost their baby in the ninth month of gestation. On a rainy afternoon, they invited me into their ...

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