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October 8, 2010


Time to Heal

Readers reflect on finding peace after losing a loved one

Time to HealLosing a loved one is perhaps the most life-changing experience a person can have. For our summer issue, we spoke with clinical psychology professor George Bonanno about research on social stigmas of grief and what happens during the healing process.

In response, you, our readers, told us how important this issue was to you. We received a number of letters after the issue published, and whether a letter-writer agreed with Dr. Bonanno or not, the message was consistent: Grieving is never easy.

Maryland Customer, Jeannette Keller, had lost her husband more than 16 years ago when he was struck by lightning on a fishing trip, leaving her alone to raise their then 5-year-old and 16-month-old children. With the help of friends, family and the financial support of his life insurance policy, she was able to persevere. But the hole he left is still very much with her today.

“I did not have that innate ability that Dr. Bonanno talks about to deal with [my husband’s] death,” Jeannette says. “If I had followed my innate feelings at the time, I certainly would not be here today. I had to learn to grieve. It is only from a long period of time in relating with other people, their grief and learning how they handled it that helped me.”

A Virginia writer, Mathew Bowyer, lost his father in 1932, when Mathew was only 6. In the depths of the Great Depression, his mother was left to raise him and his siblings alone. Thankfully, his father had life insurance. The policy paid out $1,000, an amount that was a lot back then, but wouldn’t even cover funeral costs today, Bowyer notes.

Ohio Customer Jack Lynett, who lost his wife to ovarian cancer three years ago, notes that only those who experience grief and loss can really understand how it feels and that grief is experienced differently based on the situation. He writes, “Tell me the feelings of a parent who has lost a 20-year-old son to Hodgkins disease. Then, tell me the loss of a person who’s lost a parent. And what is to be said to the husband of 52-years, who suddenly loses a wife? Did he learn to cook along the way? Did he even know where the washer and dryer were located? Each of these painful new events brings to the forefront the enormous size of the loss.”

The letters we received were heartfelt. True. Human. And each in their own way captures the value of life insurance in a time of need. Talk to your ERIE Agent about how Erie Family Life* can help.

Read these and other letters on hope and healing. Each one offers hope and shares stories of how readers found light during the darkest of times. •

*Erie Family Life insurance not available in New York.

These statements were excerpted from letters submitted to Eriesense by ERIE Customers. In appreciation for their submission, each received a copy of The Other Side of Sadness, by George Bonanno.

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