Grief Loss and Bereavement

What to Say to Someone Who is Grieving

What do you say to someone whose life comes crashing down around him or her; whose life, as they knew it, is forever and profoundly changed?

The first thing to really recognize is that when someone experiences the death of a loved one, the loss is so pervasive, the pain so excruciating, that there are no words that will be particularly helpful or meaningful to hear.

You see, grieving is a wholly feeling experience. The intellectual recognition that someone has died is present inside us immediately, and is very different from the emotional recognition that someone has died; really getting that you will never see his face again; never hear her voice again; never be able to throw your arms around each other and share a bear hug.

The emotional recognition is a normal, natural and necessary process we call grieving.

Recognize that people who are grieving the loss of a loved one – even the death of an elderly person who had a good life and whose death was expected – are experiencing something that is incomprehensible. Inexplicable. Unimaginable. Inconsolable.

And in fact, sometimes people say the most stupid things to people who are grieving – even with the best of intentions.

Don’t Say This to a Grieving Person
Continue reading

Divorce is a Legitimate Choice

For many men and women in a wide variety of situations divorce is a legitimate and appropriate choice.

Getting divorced is a process and consists of 3 main elements:

  • Emotional
  • Financial
  • Legal

Healing from divorce is not easy. It is often a long and excruciating process and always brings out strong emotions. The divorce process frequently leaves people feeling lonely, flawed, enraged, undesirable, helpless, empty and emotionally raw and overwhelmed.

If you or someone you know is going through a divorce, the best recommendation I have is to put together a team of knowledgeable, experienced professionals who will work on your behalf for the best possible outcome for you!

Lawyers, mediators, therapists, coaches, accountants, clergy and financial planners all have valuable points of view to consider. If you have children, stay in close communication with your children’s teachers and the parents of their friends.

An important part of the repair process is learning to honor and heal the many emotions of divorce. Please remember that all these emotions are a normal and natural response to divorce: Continue reading

The End of a Relationship Can Be a Terrible Loss

Breaking up, getting divorced and the death of your partner are among the biggest loss events in life.

There are three important things to remember:

  1. Grief is the reaction to a loss event
  2. Grieving is the normal, natural, and necessary process that restores us to wholeness
  3. Grieving is a wholly feeling experience

Grieving is as unique as your fingerprints. No two people will react to the same loss event in the same way and no two people will grieve the same way.

The cognitive or thinking part of self is not the grieving part of self. Think of your personal energy as being 100%. In a perfect world, 50% of your personal energy is your outside self and 50% of your personal energy is your inside self.

The job of the outside self is to think, assess, evaluate, make decisions, go to work, pay your bills, read the paper, plan for your future, remember to send your mother a birthday card; behaviors that occur outside of you.

The job of the inside self is to feel your feelings, be creative, intuitive, inspired, insightful, spiritual, intimate, passionate, joyful, compassionate; experiences that occur inside you.

If you fall down and injure your leg, the blood supply leaves parts of your body and goes to the injured leg to help it heal. You will respect the injury, modify your physical activity, not stress or otherwise re-injure the injured leg, and allow it time to heal.

Similarly, it is correct to think about the injury to your emotions as an emotional rupture. Your normal, natural, and necessary emotional response to an emotional rupture includes shock, numbness, disbelief, anger, sheer terror, and many other feelings and physical body responses.

Continue reading

What to Say to Someone Who is Grieving

What do you say to someone whose life comes crashing down around him or her; whose life, as they knew it, is forever and profoundly changed?

The first thing to really recognize is that when someone experiences the death of a loved one, the loss is so pervasive, the pain so excruciating, that there are no words that will be particularly helpful or meaningful to hear.

You see, grieving is a wholly feeling experience. The intellectual recognition that someone has died is present inside us immediately, and is very different from the emotional recognition that someone has died; really getting that you will never see his face again; never hear her voice again; never be able to throw your arms around each other and share a bear hug.

The emotional recognition is a normal, natural and necessary process we call grieving.

Recognize that people who are grieving the loss of a loved one – even the death of an elderly person who had a good life and whose death was expected – are experiencing something that is incomprehensible. Inexplicable. Unimaginable. Inconsolable.

And in fact, sometimes people say the most stupid things to people who are grieving – even with the best of intentions.

Don’t Say This to a Grieving Person Continue reading

After Divorce: Falling in Love or Falling for Comfort

Healing from divorce is not easy. It is often a long and excruciating process and always brings out strong emotions.

The divorce process frequently leaves people feeling:

  • Lonely
  • Flawed
  • Enraged
  • Undesirable
  • Helpless
  • Empty
  • Emotionally raw and overwhelmed

An important part of divorce is the repair process. The repair process includes learning to honor and heal the many normal and natural emotions of divorce:

  • Anger at yourself and your ex-partner
  • Shame and guilt that haunts you and keeps you stuck and unable to think about many of the alternatives and possibilities
  • Sadness and despair over the loss of the relationship
  • Anxiety over the disruption of the family
  • Loss of a lifetime of hopes, dreams, expectations

I recommend that you wait to start dating until you complete the repair process and regain some of your personal strength and resilience. I strongly urge you not to move in with anyone or get into a committed relationship during this all-important process.

The repair process takes more or less time depending on various factors:

  • What was the nature and structure of your relationship?
  • How much conflict, resentment, or power struggles did you have in your marriage?
  • How available are you to the normal, natural and necessary feelings you are feeling?
  • How strong is your external support system?

Continue reading

Dr Jackie Black Newsletter


Hello. I am Dr. Jackie Black, your Couples in Trouble Expert. Since 1999, I have guided many formerly frustrated and desperately unhappy Couples in Trouble to happiness, closeness and having more fun together than they ever imagined. My years of experience combined with your commitment to your personal growth will enable you to welcome the results you have always wanted and never believed were possible in your marriage.

Learn more at DrJackieBlack.com