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After hearing Jessica and Kathy's stories of shopping addiction and denial, psychologist Dr. Robin Smith stresses to Kathy the importance of moving on. "You're still alive," Dr. Robin says. "You still have three kids, and you've got to go on and live."

Dr. Robin says that many times, people try to fill the void of losing a loved one by taking on a "surrogate." That surrogate can be anything from shopping for expensive clothing to overeating, drinking alcohol or having an affair.

"You know, we can find something [that] will ease the pain," Dr. Robin says. "And temporarily, shopping or eating or drinking or affairs ease it. But it's a cheap way, because life won't let us get away with a cheap Band-Aid on a sacred wound."

One common misconception about grief, Dr. Robin says, is people think the worst pain occurs the day someone dies. But, many times, it takes months and years before reality sinks in and a person realizes his or her loved one is not coming home. To deal with the pain, Dr. Robin says that Kathy disconnected herself from life.
FROM: 9/11 Widow Stuck in Her Grief
Published on October 24, 2005


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