How to Become Bigger than our Grief

“I am an orphan. Both my parents have died.” That’s what a client recently told me. I had the exact same feelings when my mother died two years ago. My father preceded her five years earlier.

I don’t want to ask you, “Have you been touched by death?” I want to ask you, “HOW have you been touched by death?” Most all of us have experienced the death of at least one family member, or a friend, or a beloved pet.

The Covid-19 pandemic brings heightened awareness to all of us about death and dying.

I want to tell you about a podcast that may interest you.

Mitch Albom interviewed David Kessler, a world-renowned expert in death and dying. I had the pleasure of attending a seminar with David Kessler last year. I found him to be warm and engaging.

Both men have experienced the death of a child. David’s son died at age 21 from an accidental drug overdose. Mitch’s daughter died at age 7 from brain cancer. It’s rare to hear two men talk so openly about grief.

David Kessler was a protégé’ of psychiatrist Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. She authored the five stages of grief: shock, bargaining, anger, depression, and acceptance. David assures us that Elizabeth never intended for the five stages to be dogmatic. We may grieve all of our lives.

David emphasizes that we can learn how to become bigger than our grief. We can find a purpose in our lives which includes our experience of grief. David talks about this in his most recent book, Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief.

One mother created MADD (Mother’s Against Drunk Driving) after her son died when a drunk driver hit him. Another mother whose son died from suicide became a leader in an organization that helps families who have experienced suicide.

Helping others gives us a constructive channel through which our love can flow even though we can never bring our loved ones back.

Letting ourselves receive help from others when we are grieving may be one of the most important things we have to learn.

Do you know who Mitch Albom is? He’s the author of Tuesdays with Morrie, one of my very favorite books. It’s a deeply moving story about a relationship between a teacher and a student. It was a New York Times bestseller for almost four years. In this true-life story, Mitch is a workaholic sports reporter who is in a long-term engagement but terrified of marriage. He doesn’t have time for sappy emotions.

Mitch learns that his old college sociology professor, Morrie, is dying of ALS. In weekly conversations with Morrie, Mitch confronts his own fears about death and dying. Morrie’s warm-hearted way helps Mitch become comfortable talking about death. Morrie’s wisdom helps Mitch soften his hardened workaholic heart that has protected his tender vulnerable emotions. The loving relationship with Morrie deepens, and Mitch is changed forever. He’s finally able to feel comfortable making a marriage proposal to his fiancé.

Most of us in the USA have had little training in how to talk about grief or other uncomfortable emotions. We are a performance-driven society. We don’t know what to say to people when their loved ones die. David Kessler gives us suggestions.

Don’t say, “I know what you’re feeling. My child died, too.” Rather say, “I have no idea what it’s like for you, but I’m here to listen. I care about you. If you want to play card games or shoot hoops or talk … whatever it is, I’m here for you.”

David said that one of the most outstanding characteristics of Elizabeth Kubler-Ross was that she was a profound listener.

I invite you to become more comfortable with grief and death and dying. I invite you to help other people get more comfortable with grief. You don’t have to know all the right things to say.

When you listen with an open heart, your very presence is healing.


You can find free grief support groups, free tools, and books at David Kessler’s website:

You can listen to the podcast with David Kessler and Mitch Albom by visiting Click on the “News” tab. Look for this podcast: Episode 40 – The Sixth Stage of Grief with Special Guest, World-Renowned Grief Expert David Kessler

If you would like grief counseling, you may contact me. Complete the contact form for a complimentary Discovery Call, and I’ll respond to you within three days, Monday-Thursday.

I love you. I bless you. I believe in you.

Benita A. Esposito, MA, LPC, LCMHC

Benita Esposito is a psychotherapist in Georgia and North Carolina with four decades experience.

If you would like to schedule a complimentary 10-minute phone chat to see if we are a good fit for counseling, please complete the Contact Form.

I offer “distance counseling” by Zoom videoconference. I also offer FaceTime during this Covid-19 crisis to all residents of Georgia and North Carolina. In non-crisis times, I see clients in my Blairsville, Georgia office.

If you live in another state, it may be possible to receive counseling from me because the federal and state guidelines have changed during the Covid-19 pandemic. Please inquire on the website of your state’s professional counselor licensing board.

Please comment on this article or leave a question. Please share this article with your friends on social media.


12 Ways to Get a Better Night’s Sleep

Covid-19 Support Series #2

I hope you are well and safe during this Covid-19 pandemic. It’s a scary time. We can’t always control the things that happen around us or to us, but we can control how we react to them. How we manage our sleep impacts our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being and our relationships. Read more


Reduce Your Stress During Covid-19

Covid-19 Support Series #1

I am sending you my love and blessings during this world crisis due to the coronavirus Covid-19.  I bless you with the wisdom to make healthy choices and to keep you and your loved ones safe from harm. Read more


Breathwork Healing Stories – Laura

Story #1. Laura’s Chronic Shoulder Pain

Laura didn’t think the pain in her right shoulder would ever go away since the injury in 1994, so she didn’t even try to heal it. That was not the intended focus of this breathwork session that took place in 2002. Read more


Healing Trauma: Abortion and Open-heart Surgery

This article was written by one of my clients who chose to remain anonymous. I’ll call her Sally. She was a smart business leader whom people respected. She felt confident at work, but she had trouble forming meaningful friendships. She felt empty inside. Read more


Why Breathwork Creates Rapid Changes

Visit the Events Page for all the retreat updates.

While weekly therapy sessions help sustain steady growth, sometimes this may be too slow for you. If you are eager to make faster progress, I’d like to tell you about a technique that creates breakthroughs better than any method I know.

Read more


Why We Think We Shouldn’t Be Needy

“In insecure relationships, we disguise our vulnerabilities so our partner never really sees us.” ―Sue Johnson, Love Sense: The Revolutionary New Science of Romantic Relationships

Do you judge yourself for being needy? Well, I did for the longest time. Read more


Breathwork Workshop

1 day Saturday, March 10, 2018 9:30am-5:30pm

Young Harris, Georgia

In the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains

Early Bird: February 3. Save $29.00


While weekly therapy sessions help sustain steady growth, sometimes you want to take giant leaps forward. I’d like to tell you about Breathwork, a mind-body-spirit technique that creates breakthroughs better than any method I know. Read more


5 Keys to Fast Track Your Personal Development

Here’s a summary of the most important insights I have gained from my four decades of personal and spiritual growth work.

Key 1.  In the early days, I searched for the right psychological and spiritual techniques to get rid of my emotional and physical pain. Read more


Taming the Inner Critic with Meditation

Peacock-Eye-150x150If you’re like me, all too frequently your mind wonders off into a jungle of negative thoughts causing stress, anxiety or depressed mood. Like little kids taunting you on a playground, your Inner Critic harasses you with nasty messages such as: You’re not good enough. Keep trying harder. You don’t have time to rest and meditate. You don’t have time to schedule a day to play with your friend. Keep going. Complete that next task. The Inner Critic relentlessly cracks the whip. Read more