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Excerpted from Blessings from the Other Side by Sylvia Browne. Copyright 2000 by Sylvia Browne. 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.
 

"She was there to ask for my help in her emotional recovery from these two life-altering shocks."

  Sylvia Browne
Blessings from the Other Side
, Part 1

One of the most distraught clients who ever sat in my office had had her life turned upside down in less than a week. On a Tuesday morning she'd been fired from a high-profile job she'd been devoted to for more than a decade, so that the company's new owner could replace her with his brother-in-law. The following Saturday her husband of sixteen years packed his bags and left her for her best friend.

She wasn't there for me to tell her what her well-meaning friends had been assuring her, that her husband was a shallow opportunist whose love for her was solely dependent on her considerable career prestige. (It was true, but this was no time to tell her that.) She wasn't there for me to assure her that the affair between her husband and her best friend wouldn't last. (Also true, by the way. Her husband was cheating on her best friend within a year and begging my client two years later to take him back. She firmly and easily responded, "Thanks, but no thanks.") And she wasn't there for me to confirm that her career wouldn't just survive this outrage, it would flourish, although that was true as well.

She was there to ask for my help in her emotional recovery from these two life-altering shocks. It had been several months and she felt she shouldn't still be feeling as devastated as she was. This was years ago and I can still hear her saying, "I should be doing better than this by now, Sylvia. After all, it's not as if somebody died."

She was a perfect example of the fact that very deep, very legitimate grief in our lives isn't just limited to the death of a loved one, and we do ourselves and each other an injustice when we fail to recognize it so that we can ask for or offer the special support grief demands. A broken relationship, a home destroyed either physically or emotionally, the termination of a valued or needed job, betrayal by someone we trusted, children "leaving the nest" or a dear friend moving far away, a separation or divorce, a major financial setback, an unwanted relocation-any loss of someone or something enormously important to us that severely alters the structure and security of our lives can trigger grief every bit as real as death.

I'm not talking about those drama addicts we've all known, who demand attention by "grieving" over everything from a flat tire to an overcooked meal, as if they equate their importance in this world with the exaggerated importance of their emotions. Trivializing grief does as great a disservice to humankind as being reluctant to recognize it. I'm talking about having the compassion to respect the enormity of grief when it hits us or someone close to us, whether or not there's an actual death involved, and act accordingly.

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