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During Circles of Hope gatherings, Clough likes to share what she calls her “toilet story.” “My husband could fix anything,” she recalls.

“Shortly after he died, I had a problem with my toilet.

This was crucial for Johnson – who had no idea how to answer the questions she suspected her daughters would ask or what to expect their reactions to be like. “Leanne, who was 5 at the time, reacted exactly how the counselor said she would.

She asked a few questions and then went off to play.

His death left Burdick to raise their two young kids, Laura and Andrew, alone.

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Judith Burdick, a psychotherapist in Bingham Farms, lost her husband Mark suddenly in 1991 when he was just 35, and she 31.But the lack of resources for young widows and widowers compelled her to pursue a career in psychotherapy.She now counsels patients experiencing grief or loss – and has a large patient population of young widows and widowers, an area she considers one of her specialties.I had a Reader’s Digest book about fixing anything. I took my feelings out on this poor guy.” Gunnar Ross has seen so many of the seemingly simple, routine aspects of his life change since Kristen’s death – when he was faced with the new reality of managing a household and the busy schedules of young children solo.It had diagrams and instructions for what was needed. The guy behind the counter said, ‘Now when you get home, have your husband do this … “I plan meals on Sunday for the rest of the week,” he says. If we miss a step, we won’t be able to recover until the weekend.” Even small changes can mean big headaches. That limits what we can do.” Having been widowed young with kids, and working with scores of others who have, both Burdick and Clough counsel grieving parents that they must seek help. “Get as much support as you can from the people around you.Cathy Clough, founder of the New Hope Center for Grief Support in Northville, also was widowed young.

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