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Final Thoughts - Grief And Recovery
Ernest H. Rosenbaum, MD, Isadora R. Rosenbaum, MA and Sabrina Selim, MD

It takes a lot of courage and compassion to stand and act with others during times of distress. The virtue of courage in approaching reality can be an expression of our inner feelings and philosophy on how to live as well as out emotional capacity to endure difficult crises. This can provide a springboard for thoughts and acts toward relatives and friends, as well as a chance to share strength and support with companions during times of great stress and woe. Benevolent acts, no matter how small, such as doing kind deeds or giving friendship, compassion and support, can infuse support and hope.

The philosopher David Hume stated, "Compassion is a natural feeling which by moderating the violence of love of self in each individual, contributes to the preservation of the whole species. It is this compassion that hurries us with reflection to the relief of those who are in distress."

By giving compassion, we share our emotions and our philosophy with another, supporting the hope not only that life is worthwhile but also that it will have meaning. This process supports the desire and will to live. Like birth and marriage, death is a turning point for the dying person and for those around him or her. It is only through kindness and giving that one extends oneself.

This is well stated by Emily Dickinson in her poem
If I Can Stop One Heart from Breaking
If I can stop one Heart from breaking
I shall not live in vain
If I can ease one Life the Aching
Or cool one Pain
Or help one fainting Robin
Unto his Nest again
I shall not live in vain.

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