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~ Condolence & Deepest Sympathy ~
tearConsolation springs from sources deeper far than deepest suffering.
William Wordsworth

The Condolence & Deepest Sympathy Section was designed to help those who may be feeling the immediate shock or numbness having just experienced a loss, crisis or life-changing event and support those who have embarked on their personal journey of grief.

Along with A Healing Place this section includes calming images for the times when grieving visitors may be too distraught to read, but may still benefit from just sitting and experiencing the colors and images on the site. This section also includes soothing messages, words of condolence, hope and inspiration and some ways of remembering, all Grief AIDEs provided to help with the initial painful and numbing phase, to nullify the shock and assist in the slow process of healing.

Pain—has an Element of Blank—
It cannot recollect
When it began—or if there were
A time when it was not—
Emily Dickinson

Perhaps a scene that illustrates this painful, mind-numbing state is from "Sleepless in Seattle." Tom Hanks' character describes the days following the death of his wife, reliving those feelings as he is interviewed on the phone. He states " I had to remind myself to breathe." Equally descriptive are the words of Pink Floyd. In this stage of the grief process, as part of the body's natural protective response to loss, a person may become "comfortably numb." I can remember times when in the early stages of grief, listening to this music and these lyrics and going numb.

There is no pain you are receding
A distant ship, smoke on the horizon.
You are only coming through in waves.
Your lips move but I can't hear what you're saying.

When I was a child I had a fever
My hands felt just like two balloons.
Now I've got that feeling once again
I can't explain you would not understand
This is not how I am.
I have become comfortably numb.

Pink Floyd

The Ache that Never Leaves
This section also provides resources and support for those who continue to experience long-term grief, the ache that never leaves. This kind of loss is one in which—

..the pain never truly goes away, it just gets smaller and condensed, tucked away in a corner somewhere in the deep recesses of the heart. There it remains at a constant low level ache, which with time may be overridden. There may be times when a site, a smell, a place, a song, an anniversary or birthday will trigger the old memories and the intensity of the grief and loss will return again. These feelings often arrive without warning and can be just as painful making one feel as though he/she was experiencing the loss anew.
Kirsti A. Dyer, MD, MS
Journey of Grief
The Journey of Grief following a loss, a crisis or a significant life change is a very personal and often a very private one. Each person experiences his or her own unique journey. In the Journey through Grief, the bereaved person must learn how to deal with the loss, crisis or significant change. This requires learning how to cope with what may be a vast array of intense, painful and at times conflicting emotions. The grieving person must learn how to weather the storms that come their way, without losing courage or hope, realizing that in time they will overcome them.

You will embark on a fair sea,
and at times there will be fair weather, but not always.
You will meet storms and overcome them.
You will take it in turns to steer your boat through fair weather and foul. Never lose courage.
Save harbour awaits you...in the end.
Daphne Du Maurer

Grieving people must also recognize that they may never "get over" their grief. Some losses never entirely fade e.g. loss of child, loss of spouse, diagnosis with a terminal illness. Instead what happens over time is that they learn how to integrate the loss or change into their lives and keep living. The grieving process usually ends when the person realizes that they will survive, decides not to let the loss control his/her life, and begins to focus their energy on living.

The season of mourning,
like spring, summer,
fall and winter,
will also pass.

Molly Fumia
4 Seasons

Mourning can go on for years and years.
It doesn't end after a year, that's a false fantasy.
It usually ends when people realize that they can live again,
that they can concentrate their energies on their lives as a whole,
and not on their hurt, and guilt and pain.
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

See how to write a condolence letter or how to write a condolence note .

See the Emergency 911 Page for links to immediate resources
if you are feeling helpless, hopeless, overwhelmingly depressed, or suicidal.

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Last update March 18, 2002