Until it happens to you, it's hard to understand the ways losing a loved one can impact your life.
Loss of a Loved One Resources
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My Dad died in July of 2011, only 11 months after my mother passed away.  This is the piece I read at his funeral.  It was one of the hardest things I've ever done.  If you've never been with someone when they pass, it can be a beautiful thing.  In my hospice training, they told us that people pass how they live (some fight and some go peacefully).  That was certainly true for my parents.  My dad's passing was very peaceful and beautiful (as odd as that may sound).