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John 'really brilliant' for talking openly on grief

JOHN McAreavey's poignant revelations about the loss of his wife Michaela is a groundbreaking step in helping Irish men deal with grief.

Bereavement expert John Lahart said it is "really brilliant" that the Down man has spoken so openly about Michaela's honeymoon murder.

"Men stereotypically have problems expressing themselves. So John has made an important contribution to the way men deal with grief," Mr Lahart told the Herald.

In the DVD, A Calling For Everyone, Mr McAreavey said he thanked God for the 12 days he spent married to Michaela before her tragic murder in Mauritius and that he still feels he is her husband.

The DVD was produced by the Catholic Archdiocese of Armagh and was officially launched by the Cardinal Sean Brady.

It is the first time the 27-year-old Gaelic footballer has spoken since the trial in Mauritius which saw two men accused of her murder acquitted.



Positive

Dr Lahart, who works at Riversdale House in Rathfarnham, said that John assertion that he is "still very much married to Michaela" is healthy.

"Research says that maintaining a continuing bond with a loved one after their death is an important and positive way of coping with the death.

"It does not mean the person is in denial over the loss. Seeing himself as still married is part of the way John McAreavey accommodates her death within himself."

John also spoke about how faith was the foundation of his relationship with Michaela and that he had found solace in her faith in God's plan.

Experienced psychotherapist Lahart said that faith and a strong family and community support structure were two of the most useful things for someone grieving.

He also said that grief is unique to everyone and that John's decision to talk about his bereavement may be a normal reaction to such a shocking death that had such a public audience.

"Grief is dependent on mediators such as the relationship to the deceased and the circumstances of the death. This DVD could just be him accepting the public dimension of his wife's death."

He praised John for sharing his experience so that others might realise that they can survive a tragic loss.

hnews@herald.ie


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