Need help with grieving


Need help with grieving


your avatar   Lola, 24-year-old woman

Hi. I have been involved with my boyfriend for 2 years. I am writing because of him. He lost his sister in 1996 to illness, his father in 1997 to unexpected sickness and sudden death, and in 1998, his mother, because she was heavily depressed and didn't want to live any longer. They all passed away around Christmas time and he associates it with their death. He always wants to take overseas trips and go to places so he can escape the idea of Christmas, but just last night he realized that that's not the best way to help. He is from a European country, and his country views sharing emotion as something that shouldn't be done. I know he drank heavily after his father's death and then stopped, but I do not know to what extent he has truly grieved.

Would you please, please, please recommend some books for someone who has lost many close to him in a short time, and is not open to talking it over with a counselor?


    Bob Rich, Ph.D.

Dear Lola,

I hope you will read this answer. I wish you'd posted an email address -- you can do so, using a webmail service, without betraying your identity.

Your idea of having your friend read a suitable book is excellent. You might also suggest to him to try counseling by email. Then he doesn't need to actually see a helper, but can do it all in writing. People who have difficulties in opening up their emotions often respond very well to email counseling.

The book I recommend to people who have problems with grief is :

Neeld, Elizabeth H. (1990) Seven choices: Taking steps to new life after losing someone you love. New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell.

It is a wonderful book. Everyone who has read it talks about the author as 'Elizabeth', because she becomes a special friend. This lady was a professor of English, when her husband suddenly died. She eventually worked through her own grief by becoming a grief counselor.

The book may well be out of print, but there may be copies in public libraries, University libraries where they teach psychology or social work, and you may be able to track down a second hand copy.

Lola, your boyfriend is a lucky man to have such a caring person as you around. Please email me at if you read this answer, and visit me at

Good luck,


This question was answered by Dr. Bob Rich. Dr. Rich has 30+ years of experience as a psychotherapist. Dr. Rich is also a writer and a "mudsmith". Bob is now retired from psychological practice, but still works with people as a counselor.For more information visit:


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