Tag Archives: grief

I’m fortunate that, early in my 8th decade of life, I’ve had few people close to me die. The most significant loss has been of my father. Besides that, it’s mainly been aunts and uncles, acquaintances, and distant friends. Should … Continue reading

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Dealing With Bereavement: Irrational Thoughts and Hope

In Joan Didion’s memoir of grief, The Year of Magical Thinking, she reports that her thoughts were often irrational. Her husband John Gregory Dunne died on December 30, but, according to her, “It was deep into the summer… before I … Continue reading

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Life Changes Fast–Dealing With Sudden Bereavement

“Life Changes fast. Life changes in the instant. You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends.” So starts Joan Didion’s memoir The Year of Magical Thinking. She’s alluding to her husband John’s death from a massive heart attack … Continue reading

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Complicated Grief

There was recently an article in the New York Times about complicated grief. Virtually everyone experiences intense suffering after losing someone they are close to, but most don’t have that intense suffering continue on for over a year without lessening … Continue reading

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Loss and Simplification in Later Adulthood

In my last post, I introduced the idea that the main psychological task of late life is to mourn our losses. I ended by suggesting that such grieving does not mean that we older adults are constantly in a state … Continue reading

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Midlife Grief, Late Life Happiness

I wrote earlier in my other blog about the cover story of the December, 2014 Atlantic on happiness in midlife. Jonathan Rauch, the author of the article, describes the “happiness U-curve,” a graph of data from numerous studies showing a … Continue reading

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James A. Ritzema, RIP

You’re never ready. My dad had heart surgery 25 years ago, carotid artery surgery 13 years ago, and memory problems for about 10 years that eventually cascaded into severe dementia. Three months ago, he reached the point where he was … Continue reading

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When Older Adults Think of the Dead

In a recent post about the unprocessed emotions that many older adults accumulate, I quoted a line by 93-year-old essayist Roger Angell to the effect that advanced age provides plenty of opportunities for bad news. Angell also describes his experiences with loss; in this post … Continue reading

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The Death of a Parent, Part 2

In a recent post I described an article by novelist Mark Slouka on the effect that his father’s death had on him. I provided a few quotes from the article, each followed by my reflections. Here are some more quotes, … Continue reading

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Unfinished Business

I recently wrote a brief article on “unfinished business” for the website at Psychology Associates of Grand Rapids, where I work part-time as a therapist.  According to psychologist Fritz Perls, our unfinished business consists of all the emotionally significant events … Continue reading

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