Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.
Louisa May Alcott

Introduction to Restructuring Your Relationship

Historically, the advice given to those who have lost a loved one was to forget the deceased, quit “spending” so much emotional energy on him/her, “move on” with life, and find another relationship to “invest in.” Robert Neimeyer has a good description for this – love was being treated as if it were money that could be easily re-directed from one investment (relationship) to another. However, for a person who has lost a loved one, such advice seems ridiculously simplistic and cruel. How can we so readily forget someone we love, and besides, why should we? That person was an important part of our lives. How can we be expected to just walk away from those emotional binds? Thankfully, we now realize that “forgetting and re-investing” is bad advice – we can’t, and even shouldn’t, try to. Instead, we should do what we do naturally – actively strive to maintain a connection with our deceased loved one.

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Extraordinary Experiences

Sometimes during their mourning, people hesitantly report that strange things are happening to or around them, and they perceive their deceased love one to be involved.  They think they are ”going crazy” because they feel the presence of, talk to, smell, hear, see, or feel the touch of their loved one.   Others may see a message in the sky created by clouds, the lights in the house may flicker at a certain time, a favorite item of the deceased such as a feather may suddenly appears, etc.  The most common experience is the pleasant and reassuring feeling that the deceased is present.

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Linking Objects

No matter how long we are on this earth, no matter how rich or poor we are, we all accumulate some possessions. Even an infant has gifts given to him/her that become his/her possessions. What we are most interested here are the personal possessions (sometimes called “personal effects”) that our deceased loved one owned. Personal possessions can range from tools used for work or hobbies, clothes, writings, artwork, toys, jewelry, musical instruments, personal items such as a shaver or perfume, recipes, etc. They are those items that are closely associated with our loved one. (I am not referring to large-ticket items such as real estate and financial matters that are best handled through a will.)

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