Brett seeks help to fight grief

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]

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