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Study Examines 'Normal' Grieving

Emotions Typically Peak Within 6 Months

Talking About Death continued...

Prigerson acknowledges that the grief model may not apply to other populations, such as survivors grieving deaths from unnatural causes like car crashes and suicide, or parents grieving the loss of a child.

But the researchers point out that more than nine out of 10 deaths in the U.S. are the result of natural causes, and the vast majority of these deaths occur among middle-aged and elderly people like the ones reflected in the study.

Grief counselor David Fireman says even among this population it is difficult to characterize what it normal when it comes to reactions to the death of a loved one.

Fireman is director of the Center for Grief Recovery in Chicago.

"Grief is very personal and many variables are involved," he says. "Grief is a process, not a condition, and from my perspective there is no correct timetable for the waves of grief that people feel."

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