If you"ve never lost a job, a spouse, a child or been touched by a vanished hand or still hear the sound of a voice that is still, thoughts may arise that you understand this dynamic.Everything from falling down to getting up, from morning sunrises to sunsets...everything has a beginning and an end. So, we can reason, the art of new beginnings, of dusting ourselves off and starting anew is something we practice every day.

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When I lost my first job and my only wife, people kept saying to me, "Something better always comes from being canned."Or, "I hear it gets better in a year."It did.In both cases, it got "better." in that I could go for days without thinking too much about the fact that someone I still loved as dearly as I ever did was dead.And, I always found another job.

But to expect the grief to heal is to imagine that it is possible to stop loving, to stop wanting, to stop reaching, and to reconcile yourself to the fact that the lost one or one"s best job is somewhere else.

So, heal isn"t the right word.

A loss is like an amputation.If the blood doesn"t stop gushing soon after the operation, then you will die.To survive means, by definition, that the blood has stopped.But the amputation is still there.

Complicated grief like a difficult job loss, it seems, is more like an amputation that won"t stop bleeding, threatening your very survival.I can understand why therapists want it designated as a psychiatric disorder in the DSM, though it makes me nervous that the more people think of it as something that should be treated by doctors, rather than supported by everyone.

What I remember after losing my first job and later, losing my wife to cancer, is that when memories you haven"t thought of since the death and loss first come up, they hurt.But I kept finding that it hurts less to remember things a second time.I think this is why people say it gets better after a year - even though after a year you"re not done with mourning, you have cycled through the seasons, the holidays, etc., without the person/job who"s gone.

I believe it is somewhat accurate, however, programmatic it seems, you do go through memories and alter them because now they"ve been accessed in the context of separation.Of course, certain memories remain particularly vivid - whenever I remember them, they feel like razor icicles, burning my mind.

I remember a tangled dream I once had.I woke up and went to my computer to write what I could remember:This little period is now behind us.

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I"ve never actually considered the closeness to the words "not" and "now."

My wife and my first job are not now.But she and my first job were, and she and my first job are now, in the minds of those who remember us - all in us.