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Coping with Loss/7 years of pain and guilt


My mum died when i was just 16 i held her hand as she left this world and everyday since i remember the look in her eyes the smell in the air the way her body felt i have only just started to face she died but the guilt of i could have saved her is to much is there away to learn to live with the guilt? I was young and didn't know what a stroke was so i didn't know she was dying but the nurse told me she died because of me and its made letting go of her so much harder to face

Oh my dear Janine,

What a terrible weight to carry! I am so sorry you lost your mum at such a young age. That alone is devastating, but to believe that you were the cause of her death is unbearable.

First of all, I want to help you understand the concept of guilt. Guilt is a real feeling that is meant to be felt ONLY when you have done something intentionally to cause harm to another. I can safely assume that you did not intend to harm your mother. Am I right? To help you release the guilt you have held onto for so long, I recommend you write a letter to your mum, apologizing for the fact that you didn't know what was happening. In this letter, tell her everything you have wanted to say over the years. After you have finished that letter, use your non-dominant hand to write a letter from your mum to you. In other words, write with the hand you never write with and start, Dear Janine, ....Love, Mum. the writing will be slow and messy, but don't worry, the technique gets your rational mind out of the way. I believe it will open a channel for your mum to tell you what she would like you to know.

I worked as a Chaplain for 3 years in a trauma hospital. I have witnessed the after affects of stroke hundreds of times and I can tell you with absolute certainty that what you did with your mum was in her highest good. What the nurse told you was theoretically true, your mother's body may have been able to continue functioning with life support, but is that truly living? The fact that she died with you right there, tells me that the stroke was severe and she probably would have died at the hospital within a week. That has been my experience hundreds of times. Without realizing it, you gave her a gift. She left this world with her daughter right by her side.

If you have any other questions, please don't hesitate to contact me.

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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Ordained Inter-faith Minister Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist Bachelor of Arts in Religious, Spiritual & Holistic Studies Certified Grief Recovery Specialist

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