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San Diego Author Writes About Living Without The One You Can't Live Without

San Diego author Natasha Josefowitz is pictured with her late husband, Herman Gadon, in this undated photo.
Natasha Josefowitz
San Diego author Natasha Josefowitz is pictured with her late husband, Herman Gadon, in this undated photo.
San Diego Author Writes About Living Without The One You Can't Live Without
San Diego Author Writes About Living Without The One You Can’t Live Without GUESTS:Natasha Josefowitz, author, "Living Without The One You Cannot Live Without" David Peters, marriage and family therapist

PEOPLE GRIEVE DIFFERENTLY. THERE ARE THOSE YOU MIGHT THINK ARE TOO SAD OR NOT SAID ENOUGH. WHOSE GRIEF IS TOO SHORT OR WAY TOO LONG. THERE IS NO MANUAL, NO SET OF RULES THAT CAN GUIDE US THROUGH THE DEEP PAIN OF LOSING A LOW POINT -- LOSING A LOVED ONE AND MOST PEOPLE ARE NOT ABLE TO EXPLAIN WHERE THE GRIEF IS TAKEN THEM. A RECENTLY PUBLISHED BOOK OF TONE TRIED TO TAP INTO THE GAMUT OF EMOTION THAT MAKE UP THE GRIEVING PROCESS WRITTEN BY A PERSON INDUCTED INTO THE SAN DIEGO COUNTY WOMEN'S HALL OF FAME CALLED LIVING WITHOUT THE ONE THAT YOU CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT. WRITTEN BY THE POET AND LONGTIME EDUCATOR NATASHA JOSEFOWITZ P EXPECT ALSO JOINED ME TO TALK ABOUT THIS PROCESS OF GRIEF IS MY GUEST DAVID PETERS, MARRIAGE AND FAMILY THERAPIST WITH OFFICES IN MISSION VALLEY. WELCOME BACK. THE TO JOIN THE CONVERSATION NATASHA, THIS BOOK CHRONICLES THE OWN EXPERIENCE WITH THE LOSS OF YOUR HUSBAND. HOW DID THE WRITING BEGAN? WAS IT A RELEASE, A SAFETY VALVE ? I HAD NO CHOICE. I HAVE WRITTEN TEXTBOOKS FOR COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES AND THOSE I WRITE WITH MY HEAD. THE POETRY I DO NOT WRITE, GETS WRITTEN. IT'S A TOTALLY DIFFERENT PROCESS. IT IS THE NEED. IN OTHER WORDS, AS I WAS SUFFERING THE LOSS OF MY HUSBAND BY THE WAY TODAY'S TWO YEARS THAT MY SON HAS DIED. SO THEN MY BROTHER DIED A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO. I'VE HAD A LOT OF GRIEF. I'VE INTERVIEWED 50 PEOPLE WHO HAVE LOST SPOUSES BECAUSE MY GRIEF WAS SO INTENSE I THOUGHT I'M CRAZY. THIS IS AWFUL. HOW DOES ONE NOT DIE OF ALL OF THIS. WRITING THE POETRY I WAS EXPRESSING WHAT I WAS FEELING. SOMEHOW IF I DIDN'T WRITE IT, IT GOT WRITTEN BY SOMEPLACE AND MYSELF AND I KNOW I HAVE SEEN PEOPLE WHO HAVE SAID THAT WHEN THEY WRITE A BOOK IT GETS WRITTEN. I UNDERSTAND THE PROCESS. I DON'T KNOW IF IT IS IN MY GUT SOMEPLACE. IT SOMEPLACE IN THERE THAT IT COMES FROM . WHEN THAT SOME PEOPLE MIGHT ASSUME WHEN A COUPLE HAS BEEN MARRIED FOR MANY YEARS AS YOU AND YOUR HUSBAND WERE, THAT THERE HAS BEEN SOME PREPARATION FOR AN INEVITABLE LOSS. WAS THAT THE CASE WITH YOU AND YOUR HUSBAND ? HE HAD PROSTATE CANCER AND WAS GIVEN NINE MONTHS. HE DIED. I LOOKED AT PREPARATION AND NOT PREPARATION. WHEN SOMEBODY JUST DIES, LOW, THERE WAS AN ACCIDENT IN YOUR ACCIDENT IS DEAD. -- YOUR HUSBAND IS DEAD AS OPPOSED TO BEING A CAREGIVER. WHEN SOMEONE LEAVES THIS PLANET, IT IS SHOT. IT IS SOMETHING THAT IS NOT QUITE BELIEVABLE. THE PERSON IS GONE. IT DOES NOT MATTER -- IT IS MORE OF A SHOCK IF IT IS RECENT, OBVIOUSLY. BUT IT IS STILL A SHOCK. I COULD NOT BELIEVE HE WAS GONE. IT WAS DIFFICULT FOR ME TO THAT'S WHEN I WOULD HEAR THE PHONE I WOULD THINK THAT IS HERMAN. NO, OF COURSE, IT CANNOT BE. THE KIND OF THING. IT IS USUAL FOR PEOPLE TO FEEL THAT WAY . DAVID, DO YOU FIND MANY PEOPLE ARE AS NATASHA HAS DESCRIBED HERE, BASICALLY COMPLETELY UNPREPARED FOR THE LOSS OF A LOVED ONE ? MOST OFTEN, UNFORTUNATELY, WE ARE UNPREPARED FOR A LOSS OF A LOVED ONE THAT'S ONLY CASES WHERE SOMEONE IS A LONG, SLOW PROCESS OF ILLNESS AND DEATH DO WE PREPARE FOR IT. BUT MOST OFTEN TIMES, IT IS A HEART ATTACK, CAR ACCIDENT, THIS SORT OF THING PICS MAKE SOMETHING WE DON'T WANT TO THINK ABOUT THE EXPECT IT TAKE -- IT TAKES SUCH TIME TO GET USED TO THE NEW REALITY. WHAT DO YOU MEAN JOHN IS THAT? HE CANNOT BE DEAD. I SAW HIM LAST WEEK. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?'S MY MIND CANNOT PICTURE THAT YET. MY MIND IS NOT USED TO THIS YET. FOR THOSE OF US WHO HAVE LOST A LOVED ONE, I LIKE TO SAY IT TAKES TIME FOR THE HUMAN MIND TO GET USED TO THE NEW REALITY AND ALL OF THE ASSOCIATIONS. MONTHS PASS BY AND YOU FIND A GOOD BOOK YOU WANT TO TALK THAT SHE'S NOT HERE. A BIRTHDAY, ANNIVERSARY OR REMEMBER WHEN WE USED TO OH, YOU ARE NOT HERE . IT TAKES TIME TO GET USED TO THE FACT THAT THESE NEW ASSOCIATIONS YOU HAVE THAT TYPE BACK TO THIS REALITY OR THAT REALITY OF MEMORY, YOU DON'T HAVE THE PERSON TO SHARE IT WITH . WHAT HAPPENS EXACTLY BY WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT, YOU ALL OF A SUDDEN GET IN TOUCH WITH HIS ENORMOUS AMOUNT OF PAIN WHEN ALL OF A SUDDEN YOU REALIZE THE PERSON IS NOT THERE. YOU HAVE WRITTEN A MOVING POEM ABOUT THAT. IT IS CALLED PAIN. AND IT GOES LIKE THIS: THE PAIN COMES ON SUDDENLY. WHEN I DRIVER EAT DINNER OR TALK TO A FRIEND. THE PAIN IS TERRIBLE. IT SITS SOMEWHERE IN THE CENTER MY BODY AND RADIATES OUT EVERYWHERE. IT'S THE PAIN OF BEING AWARE OF HOW I MISS HIM. AT THAT MOMENT, THE OVERPOWERING AWARENESS OF HIS ABSENCE. AND THERE'S NO ONE TO TURN TO, NOWHERE TO GO, NO GETTING AWAY, THOUGH POSSIBLE REFUGE. NO STOPPING THE PAIN. IT SITS THERE ENVELOPING ME AND I'M HELPLESS IN ITS GRIP CONTEMPLATING WITH ALL THE IMMENSITY OF HOW MUCH PAIN ONE CONVEYOR WITHOUT DYING FROM IT. THAT IS NOT TOUCH OF -- THAT IS NATASHA JOSEFOWITZ, READING A POEM CALLED PAIN CALLED LIVING WITHOUT THE ONE YOU CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT. THAT REMINDS ME THAT SOMETIMES OF THIS COUNTRY, WE ARE COME A DAVID, NOT ABLE TO DEAL WITH INTENSE EMOTION. WE WANT TO LOOK AWAY. WE DON'T WANT TO FEEL IT. WE WANT A PILL TO GO -- MAKE IT GO AWAY. I COUNSEL MY CLIENTS DO NOT RUSH IT AWAY. WELCOME THE WAY THE PAIN IT'S HOW WE GREET KICK SOMETIMES IT GETS OVERWHELMING AND CAN BECOME A CLINICAL DEPRESSION BUT OFTEN TIMES GRIEF IS NORMAL. BE READY FOR IT. THE POEM DESCRIBES THE WAVES OF PAIN THAT HIT US AND HOW THEY CAN STOP US COLD IN OUR TRACKS AND LEAVE US UNABLE TO MOVE FORWARD FOR A MINUTE OR HOUR. THIS IS A NORMAL EXPERIENCE FOR MANY PEOPLE. CAN I DISAGREE WITH YOU? I'M DISAGREEING WITH ABSOLUTELY ALL OF THE LITERATURE. I THINK DENIAL CAN BE OKAY. I TELL YOU WHEN. I HAVE A MAN FRIEND AND I SAY IF YOU HAVE A FRIEND WHO LOST HIS WIFE, WHAT WOULD YOU DO?'S I WOULD TAKE THEM OUT FOR LUNCH AND WE WOULD TALK OF OTHER THINGS. IF I ASK THE WOMAN YOU HAVE A FRIEND WHO LOST HER HUSBAND, WHAT WOULD YOU DO?'S I WOULD COME OVER WITH FOOD AND WE WERE TALK. MEN TEND TO GO INTO DENIAL AND I'M A DAVID, I THINK SOMETIMES IT CAN BE OKAY. AND I DO NOT KNOW THAT IT IS TRUE THAT IF YOU DO NOT GRIEVE NOW IT WILL COME BACK TO HAUNT YOU. I DON'T KNOW THAT THAT IT'S TRUE. I'VE SEEN -- I LIVE IN A RETIREMENT COMMUNITY AT WHITE SANDS OF WE HAVE A LOT OF WIDOWED MAN. A LOT OF THEM ARE IN DENIAL AND SEEM TO FUNCTION NICELY. WHEN YOU -- YOU HAVE SAID SOME RESEARCH WITH THIS BOOK OF POEMS. ONE OF THE THINGS THAT YOU DO, YOU HAVE FOUND IS YOU THINK THERE IS A MARKED DIFFERENCE IN THE WAY MEN AND WOMEN TEND TO AGREE. ABSOLUTELY. IT IS AMAZING HOW DIFFERENT IT IS. FOR INSTANCE, I GIVE YOU AN EXAMPLE. THERE'S A FRIEND OF MINE WHO JUST TOSSES WIFE AND I SAID HOW ARE YOU DOING? HE SAID OH, IT'S LIKE GOLF, IF I MISS A SHOT I DO NOT THINK ABOUT IT ALL DAY. I THINK, OH, MY GOD. NO WOMAN WOULD EVER SAY SUCH A THING. IT'S A VERY TYPICAL MALE THING. MEN DO NOT LIKE TO GO TO GRIEF WORKSHOPS BECAUSE BIG BOYS DON'T CRY. SO THEY DON'T LIKE TO BE IN A SITUATION WHERE THEY MEET -- MAY TEAR UP. I'VE SEEN THE DIFFERENT PATTERN. NO ONE HAS EVER LOOKED AT BIRTHRATES. PEOPLE HAVE BEEN RAISED AS ONLY CHILDREN HAVE SOME RESOURCES THAT PEOPLE HAVE BEEN RAISED WITH A LOT OF SIBLINGS DON'T HAVE SO WHEN THEY ARE ALONE, THEY HAVE BEEN ALONE IN RAISED IN ALONE CHILD AND I'VE SEEN A DIFFERENCE THERE WHICH IS INTERESTING. THE LITERATURE HAS NEVER LOOKED AT THAT. IN BIRTH ORDER. ALSO EATING PATTERNS. MEN WILL GO AND BUY A ROTISSERIE CHICKEN, STAND AT THE KITCHEN SINK ANY WITH THEIR HANDS. MEMBER -- WOMEN SIT DOWN WITH A PLAYED A KNIFE IN FORT ERIE -- PLAYED, KNIFE, AND FORK. IS DENIAL AND MEN MORE THE THING YOU TEND TO SEE ? I KNOW WHAT NATASHA IS REFERRING TO. THERE IS A GENDER DIFFERENCE IN GENERAL. OF COURSE THERE IS INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES THAT VARY WIDELY BUT YES, MEN WILL WANT TO OFTEN MOVED ON AND NOT INDULGE TOO DEEPLY. THE RISK IS IF IT HITS THEM HARD, THEY END UP NEUROTICALLY ACTING IN WAYS THAT ARE UNHEALTHY WITHOUT REALIZING IT. LIGHT DRINKING TOO MUCH OR BECOMING RECKLESS. WERE PUSHING OTHER PEOPLE AWAY SO AS TO AVOID THE RISK OF BEING HURT AGAIN. IT CAN BE ALSO HEALTHY TO JUST CONTINUE MOVING ON IN LIFE AND CONTINUE BEING AN ACTIVE PERSON IN YOUR LIFE. I'M GOING TO ASK NATASHA TO READ ANOTHER POEM BECAUSE I DON'T WANT TO LEAVE OUT OF TIME AND NOT HAVE TIME FOR THE GAMUT OF LIFE THAT YOU HAVE EXPRESSED IN THIS BOOK. YOU TALK ABOUT BEGINNING TO COME BACK TO LIFE AGAIN. AND THAT KIND -- WITH THOSE FEELINGS ARE OPENING UP TO. OF POEM CALLED LOOKING AT MEN . THIS IS VERY EMBARRASSING POEM. I'M GOING TO BE 90 NEXT YEAR. I'M STILL THEY ARE LOOKING AT MEN. I CAUGHT MYSELF LOOKING AT MEN. I HAVE NOT DONE THAT IN 70 YEARS. IT USED TO BE BOYS. NOW HIS OLDER MEN. IN MY AGE GROUP. I LOOK AND WONDER WHETHER THEY ARE MARRIED, I WOULD LIKE TO GO OUT WITH A MALE COMPANION FOR A QUIET DINNER, PERHAPS MOVIE. THEN WE CAN TALK ABOUT LATER. I HAVE WOMEN FRIENDS, WHY ISN'T IT THE SAME?'S I'M NOT SURE. I'M ALLOWED TO FEEL THIS WAY, HE DIED JUST FIVE YEARS AGO. IS IT TOO SOON FOR ME TO WISH FOR -- IN MY BEING DISLOYAL TO HIM IN HIS MEMORY? I FEEL GUILTY FOR CATCHING MYSELF SCANNING AT MEN. YOU MUST HEAR THIS SO OFTEN, DAVID . SOMETIMES I DO. SOMETIMES IT IS TIME, THE TIME COMES WHEN SOMEONE SAYS I DON'T KNOW WHAT'S COME OVER ME. I'M LOOKING AROUND, LOOKING AT WOMEN, MEN, WHOEVER IT IS, AND IT IS AN AWKWARD MOMENT. WE WANT PERMISSION. IS THIS OKAY?'S ISN'T THIS HORRIBLE THAT I DID THIS?'S AND MY BETRAYING MY LOVED ONE?'S WELL, NO, THIS IS REAL LIFE. WE WANT COMPANIONSHIP. I THINK IT IS WONDERFUL SIGN THAT WE ARE VITAL . ONE OF THE THINGS THAT IS UNFAIR IS FIRST OF ALL, I DON'T KNOW IF YOU KNOW THIS, BUT THE SUICIDE RATE FOR MEN AFTER LOSS IN 6% MORE THAN THE GENERAL POPULATION. BY THE END OF ONE YEAR, MAN HAS ALREADY PUT UP WITH THE BEST CASSEROLE . IT'S ONE NOT THERE IS A MAN GROWS OLDER HE'S FULL OF AVAILABLE FEMALES IS LARGER AND WHEN OF WOMAN -- HER POOL GOES -- GROW SMALLER PICS BACK GRIEF IS A JOURNEY AND WE DO EMBARK WITH PAIN AND DISEMBARK AS A NEW PERSON. IT'S CALLED HEALING. WHEN ONE IS IN THE MIDDLE OF PAIN, IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO AND VISIT THE TIME WITHOUT IT YET THAT TIME COMES UNEXPECTEDLY, SURPRISING ME BY SUDDENNESS FROM AN AGONIZINGLY SLOW HEALING TO A WORLD OF BRIGHTER COLORS, TO A LIGHTER STEP, TO BEING WHOLE AGAIN. THERE IS AN OLD SAYING THAT WHEN SOMEONE YOU LOVE DIES, THE MAIN DIFFERENCE IS THAT HE IS NO LONGER OUTSIDE OF YOU. HE IS INSIDE. I HAVEN'T INCORPORATED HIM AND I'M POOR FOR THE LACK OF HIS PHYSICAL PRESENCE BUT I HAVE BECOME RICHER FOR HIS CONTINUING TO EXIST TO ME. I WANT TO THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR COMING IN AND SHARING YOUR POETRY, SHARING YOUR BOOK AND YOUR EXPERTISE, DAVID. I'VE BEEN SPEAKING WITH DAVID PETERS, MARRIAGE AND FAMILY THERAPIST WITH THE MISSION VALLEY AND NATASHA JOSEFOWITZ, AUTHOR OF LIVING WITHOUT THE ONE THAT YOU CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT. THANK YOU VERY MUCH. THIS IS INCREDIBLE THANK YOU, MAUREEN . THANK YOU, MAUREEN.

A book by a San Diego author attempts to explain the gamut of emotions people may feel during the grief process.

The book, "Living Without The One You Cannot Live Without," is a compilation of poems. It was released in 2013 by Natasha Josefowitz.

Josefowitz, who was recently inducted into the San Diego County Women's Hall of Fame, wrote about the death of her husband of 35 years, Herman Gadon. She said she couldn’t help but express her grief through poetry.

“I had no choice,” Josefowitz told KPBS Midday Edition on Tuesday. “I’ve written textbooks, and those I write with my head. But the poetry gets written. I was writing what I was feeling.”

She said she interviewed about 50 people who lost loved ones and said all feel a sense of shock after the deaths.

“When a person leaves this planet, it is something really not quite believable,” she said. “You’re all of sudden getting in touch with this enormous amount of pain when you realize the person is not there. I couldn’t believe he was gone.”

David Peters, a San Diego marriage and family therapist, said it takes time for the mind to adapt to the lost of a loved one, but people should embrace the pain.

“Welcome the wave of pain,” Peters said. “It’s how we grieve. Grief is normal.”

Resources: Coping With Grief

WebMD provides information on dealing with grief.

The American Psychological Association has resources online.

Below is the poem "Lost in the Periphery:"

After my husband died

I was no longer

the center of anyone’s life

nor is anyone

the center of mine

family and friends

are supportive and comforting

but they are peripheral

as I am peripheral

in their lives

they can continue

without me

as I am supposed

to continue

without him

without the one person

I cannot live without

San Diego Author Writes About Living Without The One You Can't Live Without

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