Terri's advice to those in mourning - throw away grief book
TERRI Irwin held back tears about life after Steve during a televised interview.
The talk between the Australia Zoo owner and CPA Australia chief executive Alex Malley for The Bottom Line was the subject of an encore screening on GEM.
The program brings together leaders from all walks of life to share their insights on success, challenges and opportunities.
Mrs Irwin fought back tears while discussing the seven years since Crocodile Hunter Steve was fatally pierced through the heart by a stingray barb.
"I think looking back it's an interesting journey," she said.
"In some ways it seems like an eternity and in other ways I still wait for Steve to walk through the door.
"I think initially the most important thing to do is to not think you're going to be able to deal with everything.
"I always considered myself a very strong person, very self reliant. What shocked me most when we lost Steve is that I was afraid.
"I expected grief but was very much afraid. This was something I couldn't deal with."
Terri said she called a psychologist friend shortly after Steve's death to seek his advice.
"I asked, 'What do I do to help my kids?' and he said something very profound. He said, 'When someone that close to you dies it's like losing a piece of your heart ... you're not going to get that back'. I was astonished," she said.
"I thought there'd be steps … but there aren't."
Terri said anyone going through any similar grief should not fear it.
"For me it was saying, 'How do I get through this?' Obviously I'm not through it.
"It's okay to still be sad. I discovered that at my saddest, when I'm having my hardest time, it's important for me to be alone.
"The grief books will say let kids see you crying ... don't, I'm telling you now.
"When children lose their father who is infinitely stronger and more powerful and more able than me … and see me falling apart?
"Throw away those books and go with what you feel in your guts."