When grief is new, photographs can create significant pain. Looking at a picture of a deceased loved one may cause a flood of tears, triggering the feelings of loss and devastation.

If you have experienced a recent loss, as a grief therapist, I encourage you to put photos away. Allow for some healing time without the pictures eliciting increased feelings of hurt.

As you heal and begin to feel stronger you can bring them out one by one. Using them to raise your spirits by focusing on treasured memories and good times that were shared when the photo was taken.

When I was young I had a best friend from birth, whose name was also Elizabeth, however, she went by Beth. Beth was vivacious and outgoing, the opposite of my introvert tendencies. She was the yang to my yin, we complemented each other beautifully.

My biggest challenge was being eight months younger, because I couldn’t get my driver’s license or legally get into a bar for a long eight months after her, oh the trials and tribulations of youth!

After we graduated from high school and began our lives as adults, Beth met her future husband at age 20 and they married at age 22. Eight months later they were both killed in a vehicle accident.
I was totally devastated!

Up until this time my losses had included a distant grandmother and a family pet. This loss seemed very unfair. How could such a vibrant, incredibly loving, young woman be taken off the planet at such an early age?

We had such plans and dreams for the future.

My grief was overwhelming, I didn’t have a huge circle of friends and Beth was the constant in my life. However, life carries on and with it comes healing. Beth’s death at such a young age really defined my 20s and helped me not to take life for granted. It made me a more compassionate, understanding person.

Now as I look back on our short 22 years together, I am filled with feelings of love for the friendship we shared.

I still wonder what she would be like now, and how we would’ve traversed the seasons of life.