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Grief, Death, and Friendship

Help me get over the death of a dear friend.

(this is raw unedited text, computer transcribed directly from the audio, without voice inflection, pauses etc. Sometimes this results in the text implying the opposite of the intended meaning.)

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Amy, you're dealing with some grief.

Yes, I am, Dr. Kenner. We recently lost a very, very dear friend, we had known him for about 13 years, he died of a sudden heart attack at age 59. unexpectedly. Okay, and so I'm just, I personally am, I'm having a hard time understanding that he's gone.

Okay. And that's one of the tasks of grief is going to take your mind a while to experience that, How close were you to him?

We saw him about twice a month for well, on average, for the last, you know, 10 years or so.

And what did he mean in your life?

He was a very humorous person. And, and he had a very, very strong personality. And I had in as I had talked with my friends, recently, you know, he always had this very, very crazy, funny sense of humor. And, I mean, I can, I can, you know, think of him now and think of all the good time, you know, that we had, and that kind of John personality he had, and that kind of laughs that he had. And he, we really got along personality wise, and I'm going to be actually meeting tomorrow with a couple of friends who had known him for, well, probably over four years. And and I've kind of put myself in the role of kind of an event planner for them, basically.

So you're faced with what question? What's pressing on your mind?

I guess I'm just trying to figure out what, it's a difficult situation, because his best friend had known him for 45 years, and I'm just, I want, I want to be sure that I can comfort them as best that I can. And, and we have a whole bunch of different kinds of personalities that we're meeting with tomorrow. And I just, you know, I just want it to go smoothly, but...

So you're giving yourself two different tasks on one hand, you really miss this person. Yeah. And you're doing your own grieving, you're missing the laughter your mind needs to recognize the fact that oh, my gosh, she's not coming to our gathering tomorrow, right? He's not coming to our gathering tomorrow. He's, and I won't ever hear his laugh again, unless we play videotapes. But that'll be so painful. Yeah. And you'll feel that loss. And your loss will be different from someone who's known him for 45 years and might have grown up with him. And they might have shared a whole huge history to get correct. They did. Yeah. And if you're with that person, then that puts another focus in your mind. And that's how do I comfort this person? While I'm grieving my own loss while I'm running an event, right. So I would definitely try to be good to yourself. Yeah. Because the main person to comfort in this situation is home. Who would it be for you?

The main person that I would need to comfort as myself is yourself. And if you keep the focus on that, rather than feeling like you meet need to meet everyone's needs, how many people are coming? 10 people together if you have, so if you have nine different you plus nine other people, correct? Yeah. So if you have all of you in the room, and if your goal is to make everyone feel at ease, and make everyone comfortable, yeah. And let's say the next person . . .

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Hey, I got to interrupt this because we've got to pay some bills. 30 seconds. That's it. A very quick ad and then Ellen will be back :

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Man, if your goal is to make everyone feel at ease and make everyone comfortable. Yeah. And let's say the next person you're number of Person Number one, Person number two, whose goal in the room is to make everyone feel at ease and make everyone feel comfortable. Person number three set the goal before they came into this meeting to focus on everyone else. Make them all feel comfortable, right? Person number four is doing that. You were in a model, a psychological model, you're laughing, what's connecting?

Well, I just I can see that I can see that happening. As matter of fact, I can see that one of the people who know who knew him for over four years, I'm sure they're going to try. I'm sure that that's what their focus is going to be to make sure that, you know, I wouldn't go ahead that everybody, okay?

Okay. So if you all focus on what you all personally need to do to recognize the loss of this dear friend, then it's much more respectful. And it when you can tell if a person invites you in and just says, you know, I miss him, Can I tell you a story I remember. And if you're in the mood to listen to a story, go for it. If you're overwhelmed, which sometimes that can happen. Sometimes you can feel intense grief, from the loss of someone that you didn't know that well. But because you're about to lose a family member, or I recently lost a family member. So it integrates with that. And it may you may be on overload, in which case, you've got to respect your own mind, you don't have a duty to have to listen to his story. Yeah. So it's in you can tactfully tell the person you know, I'm feeling a lot of emotions right now, this isn't the best time for me. Maybe another time. So if you manage the grief in a very self respecting way, tack being tactful with other people, and you don't try to make make everyone feel healed and one gathering Yeah, then I think that's more respectful. It's, it's also it's can also be strange, because people have different experiences, I've had clients that have come in and said that, you know, I hated my dad, he was so mean to us growing up, and I don't want to go to this gathering, you know, a family members, whether it's a wake or a funeral, or some sort of sitting Shiva, you know, whatever it is, they said, because I didn't feel the same way they did towards them. They didn't know him well enough. They these are neighbors, and these are people that think he was great, but I knew the truth. You know, he used to beat me up. And so I don't even want to go there. So people feel a whole range of different emotions. And within one person, you can fail a range of emotions, you can fail. Oh, I love his laughter. Yeah. But he never really asked me about myself. I never felt like he knew me as a person. So there may be some resentment there.

Well, actually, he was a very, in the moment sort of person and it didn't, I gotta say, he had some of his cork, but nothing that nobody got into an argument over because he understood that, you know, what was I mean, he was he really knew what was important in life. And it's just gonna be, you know, hard to,

yeah. Tell me about that. What's going through your mind right now?

Well, he was, he really held her group together. So anyway, use me.

Okay, but notice that you just hit a super important point for yourself personally didn't do. Yeah, he held the group together, and you don't want to brush away those tears. We wouldn't be able to talk about it on radio, obviously. But for yourself, you can write it you can journal right now, right after we get off the phone and write down who what will we do to hold the group together? What does it need? What did he bring to it? What do we not have anymore? Well, how can we solve this problem of keeping the group close? The way he was able to manage that? Right, and that's a wonderful gift for yourself. And if you would enjoy doing that keeping the group close. That's wonderful if it if not, then you don't have a moral obligation to do that. Yeah, yeah. Thank you so very much for your call. Amy. And I wish you the best. Thank you big hugs for you.

Oh, thank you, Dr. Kenner. You're the best.


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Here's an excerpt from the selfish path to romance the serious romance guide book by clinical psychologist Dr. Ellen Kenner and co author Dr. Edwin Locke, who is world famous for his theories on goal setting:

When it comes to relatives so children, your partner comes first, parents and in laws must not become a source of marital resentment. If one's partners parents constantly belittles the other partner or intrudes into the relationship physically or emotionally. It's important to address the situation by speaking up partner to partner and then partner to parent. Respectful boundaries must be set between partners and their parents. Suppose as the husband in this situation, your mother is critical or mean to your wife. If so, it is your job to protect her. And the same goes with Coltrane never allowed them to monopolize your attention at the expense of your partner.

You can download chapter one for free by going to, and you can buy The Selfish Path to Romance at