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By Jeannie Ewing, Catholic Exchange, October 16, 2019

When someone suffers a devastating loss, it’s not always clear as to what will help them grieve. We are all called to accompany one another through trials and hardship, but it’s awkward and difficult to be direct and ask, “What do you most need?” In fact, this question can often overwhelm the griever, because it’s such an open-ended one that hardly anyone can answer it with confidence in the hours or days following death or loss.

I remember shortly after Sarah was born, and I couldn’t begin to address the overwhelm I was feeling. This is not something that has diminished with time, either. Yet, as with every form of grief, people assume that a person or family “gets over” or “moves on” with their lives at least a year or so after the loss.

But in some situations, grief lingers far longer than we imagine. And it can take on new forms all the time. In our case, it was welcoming a daughter with a lifelong, complicated rare disease. Becoming a caregiver is not something we will relinquish until Sarah is gone (hopefully after Ben and I are). In other cases, when one becomes a widow or widower, navigating the single life, especially when one has been married for decades, is another form of grief. ….