Loss and Healing in The River Warren

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Loss and Healing in The River Warren

Each of us, in time, will experience a heart-stopping reality - the death or loss of someone or something we love. Maybe it will be of a family member or just a pet we dearly cherished, but the feelings we have are all too real and all too painful. This loss is probably by far the greatest and most severe emotional trauma we can encounter, and the sense of loss and grief that follows is a healthy, natural, and important part of healing ("Death"). In The River Warren by Kent Meyers Jeff Gruber learns to deal with the grief associated with the loss of his younger brother, Chris. This grief is perhaps the strongest of all emotions that bind families together, but it can also be the hardest to overcome. We never really get over these feelings; we just absorb them into our lives and move on. According to Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, there are five basic stages of grief. They are denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance. It is not unusual for people to be lost in one of the first four stages, and until they move on to acceptance

their lives may be difficult and even painful ("Stages"). In The River Warren Jeff Gruber deals with these five stages of grief and finds peace in his life and with his father.

The first stage of grief is denial and isolation. After Chris's death, life went on, but it went

on in silence when it came to picking up rocks. Chris had loved to hear about the glacier that

brought the rocks up, and it was difficult for Jeff and Leo to speak of it. Despite wanting to

scream at Leo for working and pretending Chris was dead, Jeff could not. Instead he confides in

his wife saying, "He never really stopped working, Becca. Just kept on working. Things kept on

growing, and he kept on working." When Becca asked him, "What should he have done, though?

The world didn't end." his reply was, "Didn't it?" (Meyers 76)

His father's capacity for work bothered Jeff. To him it seemed as though nothing had

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