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Excerpted from Healing Grief by James Van Praagh. Copyright 2000 by James Van Praagh. Excerpted by permission of Penguin Putnam, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright by SpiritSite.com.

"Grieving is very human. It's a process that can heal our emotional upheaval and mental uncertainty."

James Van PraaghHealing Grief, Part 3

Grieving is a natural process of life, and as a process, it takes time to get through. Instead of allowing ourselves the opportunity to break through the grief barrier and reconstruct our lives with a sense of renewal and hope, we expect to get over it with as little display as possible. But how do we get over our grief without an understanding of what we are going through? My desire really is to assist you by sharing my experiences and the experiences of others who have gone through, and continue to go through, the grieving process. I will also give you ways and methods from a spiritual point of view to observe your own grief, so you can come out of the pain and confusion with an entirely new perspective. Your change in attitude may help you to become a totally whole and loving person. Because you will be learning immeasurable insights about yourself and others, you can, in turn, take the steps necessary to create a happier and more fulfilling life for yourself.

The only way to avoid grief is to avoid life, and live without love. Grieving is very human. It's a process that can heal our emotional upheaval and mental uncertainty. Everyone feels various degrees of anguish and suffering during the process, and these feelings are natural and normal. Healthy grieving is taking responsibility for your own life. In order to continue life in any meaningful way, you must allow yourself to grieve.

One of the first important steps in acknowledging your sense of loss is to say good-bye to your loved ones. Many people refuse to say good-bye because they feel that if they do, they are dismissing the person or ending any opportunity to speak with him or her again. Saying good-bye helps us to realize that this person is only gone physically. The mind needs to have some sort of closure. In our culture, we have created certain rituals for saying good-bye. We attend a funeral or hold a memorial service. We light candles in churches or say prayers for the dead. These rituals are necessary for us as humans.

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