Coping with Loss/Losses


I found out on Friday that my Dad whom I have never known has passed away. I was shocked and deeply saddened. Stricken with guilt for a man I never knew took over my thoughts for a few days. I was so confused about the emotions I was having.  This man that has abandoned me my whole life has now re entered one more time to leave me forever. I didnt even get to say goodbye. I was/am devastated. Those were the oddest and hardest days of my life. I would have never gotten through them if it wasnt for my girlfriend. We have been togetther eight years. I love her very much. We have had our ups and downs but we have also a great caring and compassion for one another. Until she started being cold to me regarding my fathers death. She didnt understand how I was feeling and I told it was ok I dont expect her to. She promised she would be there for me. She called me about 4 days later and informed me that she is leaving me and does not feel as though she is in love with me any longer. I am stil grieving the tragic death of my Dad who was only 56. Now Im grieving the loss of her. My focus of sadness has shifted to her. Then 10 minutes go by and Im grieving him again. It is total choas. I dont know how to handle this. Im sick with abandonment. Howcould someone  do this? What possesd people to hurt each other so deeply? Iam 33 years old and I am having severe feelings of neglect and abandonment. I talk to family and friends. They are all in my corner but this doesnt seem to help or be enough. I turn to God and the hurting disapates only temporarily the returns as soon as I am done praying. Any advice?

Dear Pat,

Wow, you are dealing with so many complex feelings right now. First, you should know that the feelings you are having are perfectly normal. It makes complete sense to me that you would be grieving the loss of your dad because while he was alive, there was always a chance, no matter how slim, that you could have a relationship with him. So you are not only grieving the loss of the dad you never had but you are also grieving the loss of the possibility of him ever being a part of your life.

As far as your girlfriend, I hardly know what to say. I don't want to judge her but it seems unkind the way she handled breaking up with you. My guess is that she had already had plans of leaving prior to your Dad's passing because otherwise I'd have to say, she's pretty cruel if she left because of your grief over your dad.

I highly recommend you see a Grief Recovery Specialist in your area as they will be able to help you resolve the unfinished aspect of your relationship with your dad. I would be happy to work with you Via Skype but that's not the point of this response. If you wish to contact me directly, you may email me at

The only way to handle all of this is to feel your feelings and take action to move through your grief. I highly recommend a book called "The Grief Recovery Handbook," It will give you specific actions to take that will help you work through all of the unresolved issues with your dad and your girlfriend.
Take care

Coping with Loss

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Rev. Gabrielle Michel


As a grief expert and spiritual grief counselor, I can answer any questions about loss and the grieving process. I specialize in the loss of an infant up to the age of one year (miscarriage, PROM, abortion, stillbirth, SIDS, premature birth and any other type of infant loss).I can also answer any questions about faith and grief, especially for those dealing with anger with God.


Gabrielle Michel, a pioneer in the grief movement, is an interfaith minister, ordained in 2000, and spiritual counselor whose specialty is helping people work through grief and spiritual crisis. In 2004, she experienced a spiritual crisis of her own. February brought the miscarriage of her first baby; July, the death of her younger brother. In October, she said goodbye to a dear friend who succumbed to emphysema. And on December 22nd, she joyfully welcomed her second baby into the world, only to say goodbye to her the very next morning when death claimed her as well. Seeking solace in the midst of great spiritual pain, Gabrielle embarked on a quest to find comfort. Alone, she stumbled around in the dark trying to find her way back to faith, eventually becoming a Grief Recovery Specialist. Gabrielle researched over 50 books about grief and infant loss, and while they each had a little something to offer, none of them addressed the deep spiritual wound she had after losing her daughter. She found that the books on the market were memoir, psychology-based or religious. In her extensive research, Gabrielle discovered the critical missing pieces of our culture’s current grief paradigms. First, each book primarily focuses on the loss, and second, the books lack the applicable spiritual components needed for grievers to find hope. Her studies, training, and ministerial and spiritual counseling experience, along with her own recovery from deep despair, make Gabrielle a compelling, relatable writer and speaker on the topic of grief. Though the subject is dark and painful, her resilient spirit, disarming sense of humor and accessible demeanor allow her to produce articles, books, workshops and lectures that engage, inspire and empower.

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