*Please e-mail me with any personal problems you would like addressed in this column. All entries will remain anonymous.

I lost my spouse to cancer a year ago and I can't seem to stop grieving. People tell me that I should be moving on, but I just can't seem to do so. I miss him so much. Why can't I move on?


Dear Kind Soul-

First of all, there is nothing wrong with you with not being able to move on. Grief is a very individualized process, and it does not look the same for anyone. Some people are able to "move on" after a few months, some take years. Some never do. So much of the grieving process depends on your past experiences with loss, your support network (if any), the nature of the loss, and a host of other factors that I don't have room for here. Additionally, depending on your personal life story, your grief can turn into "complicated grief" which can take quite a long time to move through. I should say that in regard to life stressors, losing a spouse is top on the list (*barring any trauma which becomes a person's predominant stressor). I would ask, my dear, that you please be kind and gentle to yourself, for you certainly owe it to your soul. 

When talking about grief, it might be helpful to familiarize yourself with Kubler-Ross' Stages of Grief. The stages provide a framework to help a person understand what she might experience after losing a loved one. The stages are as follows: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. You might not go through all of these stages, or you might not go through them in this order, but if you experience any of them, you can see that you are not alone. 

As you move through the grieving process, please surround yourself with supportive people, not people who are going to urge you to move on. You will move on when the time is right for you; only you will know that. 

Breathe and relax,