When a family member dies you go through a period of grieving, and when a family member decides to cut you out of their life, you also end up grieving for that lost relationship – a delicate process that two local authors want to explore further.
"When you're dealing with being abandoned and rejected by your living family members, it's pretty excruciating and people need something to turn to," said Bridget Gaudette of Orlando.
Gaudette, 34, knows what it feels like from experience; the loving family that had always been by her side was suddenly ripped apart 13 years ago -- disowning her when she chose to leave their Jehovah's Witness faith.
"At that point, everyone who knew me was no longer allowed to walk to me,"Gaudette said. "My father didn't walk me down the aisle when I got married, when I received my graduate degree, I didn't have family in the audience, and I wrote a blog about it, and I got a huge response."
Gaudette began to realize how many others could relate to her sudden sense of grief and abandonment along with the lack of resources available to help those dealing with the loss of family members that are still alive.
"I know I've dealt with a lot of depression, anxiety, abandonment issues, trust issues, I need, I know other people need, something to turn to something to help them and this book is going to show, look this is a problem," said Gaudette.
Gaudette partnered with Emma Phillips who she met through her blog -- she too was cut off from her family - together they're writing a book, titled Grieving for the Living: Effects of Disownment in Adulthood.
"We thought, let's be that resource, let's get some information together, let's find some stories," Gaudette said.
And because there's virtually no research on how many people actually suffer from this sort of loss in America, Gaudette and her co-author are also conducting a survey to prove there is a great need for counseling and other resources for those abandoned by family and loved ones… exposing the critical gap in helping them cope.
"You go see a grief counselor, they know how to deal with death, but this isn't death, they're alive, and we want some kind of focused counseling for this," Gaudette said.
For more information about the book or to participate in the survey you can visit Grievingfortheliving.com.