Brett seeks help to fight grief and get back out there

Font Size:

Brett has lost two wives to cancer and asks Dr Emmanuella how he can find the strength to start again. Her advice is strong and simple.


Q. Brett
My first wife (the love of my life) died of cancer at just 45; my second wife died five years ago, also of cancer, at age 62. I’m 71 and not sure I can go again, but I love female company. Your thoughts?

A. I’m sorry to hear about your loss, and to such a devastating disease. Grief is like a wave and it is not time limited. Over time, the waves will become less intense and less frequent and, as you have already experienced, there is another side to grief.

It must have been so hard for you to adapt and move on from the death of your loved ones. I’m sure you had doubt early on about whether this was possible, but you did find meaning again with your second wife, and you will again. It will take time and it is possible to be happy again in a different way with a different person.

You have been so brave putting yourself out there. That’s why when you say you are not sure you can go again, I say, yes, you can.

Dealing with such great loss, meeting new people and experiencing life events all strengthen our resilience and our ability to bounce back the next time. It’s perfectly natural for you to feel this way, but while you have experienced a lot of loss, it doesn’t mean you can’t still live and love.

You mentioned you love female company, so I encourage you to find it. There will always be a level of risk with every step we take in life. Life is unpredictable, so I can’t say you will never experience another loss, but I can say that if you wait to overcome your uncertainty, you will miss the opportunity to fully experience and enjoy the present moment.

Don’t postpone your happiness. Get out there and meet a new women; and enjoy today.

Dr Emmanuella Murray is a clinical psychologist who has been practising for more than 10 years. She works with children, adolescents, adults and couples and presents to professionals and community groups.

If you have a question for Dr Emmanuella Murray, please send it to  [email protected]

Join YourLifeChoices today
and get this free eBook!

By joining YourLifeChoices you consent that you have read and agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy


Is love enough to quell fears about the age gap?

‘I love him but I'm not sure I can be his carer in later years.'

Bob’s plea: ‘Ahhh! I just need some me time’

When couples are both finally retired, the extra time together can create issues.

Doctor offers surprise advice on the benefits of slowing down

Jane is scared of slowing down and getting old, but could the opposite be true?


Total Comments: 1
  1. 0

    I highly recommend a book written in the 1960s called “Good Grief” (I cannot recall the author’s name, though his surname ends in berg).



continue reading


Private health rebate levels are dropping, what does that mean?

We are all used to private health insurance rebates on 1 April every year, but this year the rebates will...

Health news

Doctors call for convicted child killer Kathleen Folbigg's release

A group of 90 expert scientists and doctors is calling for convicted child killer Kathleen Folbigg to be pardoned in...


Adorable celebrity pets

Just like the rest of us, Hollywood's A-listers are pretty obsessed with their pets, especially when it comes to sharing...

Health news

Who needs a colonoscopy most? Ensuring those at risk head the queue

Professor Jon Emery Mary was 55 when she started having on and off tummy pains, and noticed she needed to...

Health & Ageing

What stress does to your skin, hair and nails

Stress can be an all-consuming beast. Not only does it overwhelm your brain, but it can have a physical impact,...


Multi-generational family living grows, forcing design changes

The trend towards multi-generational living, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, is producing fresh approaches to Australian housing. Urban designer Craig...

Seniors Finance

Your retirement 'pay cheque'

Nothing beats the reassurance of knowing there's money coming in each month. Then retirement happens and, suddenly, it's up to...

Health news

Scientists closer to developing a vaccine for urinary tract infections

Anyone who has ever developed a urinary tract infection (UTI) knows that it can be painful, pesky and persistent, but...