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“Get over it!”

There's a saying that if you hear something — a phrase or a story — three times in a short time, it means the universe is trying to get your attention. Well, I'm listening.

In the past week, I've heard or read three different stories from people in grief who were told to “get over it” because some time had passed since the death of a loved one. The advice is never helpful.

In Thursday's Voice section, reader Debbie Palaniuk wrote about her 16-year-old daughter, Kaylene, who died Dec. 4, 2009.

She wrote:

For you that have used the phrase “Get over it!” there is no getting over it. We lost the most important thing a parent can lose – a child. I know people mean well when they say we need to move on or get on with our lives, or “I wish you could be your old self.” However, we will never be who we were before the loss of Kaylene. I know I am a kinder, more considerate person. I do not laugh as quickly as I used to. The drop of Kaylene’s name brings me to tears, sometimes happy and sometimes sad, although friends can make all the difference.

 Thank you, Debbie, for your important message. And your daughter was beautiful!

(Photo of Debbie and Kaylene courtesy of Debbie Palaniuk)

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About this blog

Writer Catherine Johnston of Olympia, Wash., addresses issues facing aging baby boomers and seniors as well as issues of serious illness, death and dying, grief and loss.

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