Sunday, November 25, 2012

Voices of Experience: Sacred Presence, Silent Compassion

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by Joyce Marie Sheldon

We have all experienced grief and loss during our journey on this earth. It isn't always about the death of a loved one, but can be the loss of a job, a relationship, financial security, our own health.

There's much written on how to be supportive to others during their time of grief and I contemplate the many good suggestions for being a friend and supporter during times of stress.

For me, however, the greatest gift, often brought by hospice or home care during my husband's illness, was Sacred Presence and Silent Compassion.

Let's talk about Sacred Presence and Silent Compassion as it relates specifically to the caregiver during the illness and subsequent death of a loved one. However, let's remember these simple guidelines can be incorporated into the setting where you are wondering how to show love and support for those suffering other types of loss.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Caregiving and Hospice, November 18 - November 24, 2012

Best selections from Grief Healing's Twitter stream this week:

Categorized Technology for Family Caregiving, http://buff.ly/WGuKX5 from @CaregivingCafe via @NFCAcaregivers

Five Principles For Elder Caregiving, http://j.mp/TgGzh1 via @SeniorList

Engage With Grace This Thanksgiving, http://j.mp/UVcGm2

Create your caregiving team with family and friends: Start a Personal, Safe, Free Website for Any Health Event,  http://ow.ly/eZgki « CaringBridge

Often confused with hospice care, the scope of palliative care is broader, http://bit.ly/QusSPJ via @hospicepharmacy

Understanding and Managing Grief, November 18 - November 24, 2012

Best selections from Grief Healing's Twitter stream this week:

Strengthen Your Spiritual Link As You Mourn The Death Of Your Loved One, http://j.mp/ShyhIc

New bereavement support standards for palliative care services in Victoria (pdf), http://bit.ly/10m5LIA @LDMatters via @tweet_acgb

Absolutely stunning: The Poetry of Sandy « Art Beat | PBS NewsHour | PBS, http://j.mp/TleffS

Terrific film review: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel  
http://j.mp/UjdJzB « The Family Plot Blog

For That, I Am Thankful,  http://j.mp/XDjlbR « Grief Healing Blog

Coping with Pet Loss, November 18 - November 24, 2012

Best selections from Grief Healing's Twitter stream this week:

Lean on me: Loving and losing a dog, http://ow.ly/fwsUx via @MySmartPuppy

New England Pet Hospice: But What if I DON'T Feel Thankful? http://j.mp/UMeDAT

How to know when it's time to say goodbye to an animal companion, http://j.mp/QRDDv4
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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

On This Day of Giving Thanks ~

On this Thanksgiving Day ~ and throughout the holiday season, dear readers ~ please know that I am thankful for each and every one of you.  ~ Marty Tousley

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Grief Support Groups: What Are the Benefits?

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A knowledge that another has felt as we have felt, and seen things not much otherwise than we have seen them, will continue to the end to be one of life’s choicest blessings.
~ Robert Louis Stevenson

A reader writes: Today is exactly two months since my husband died. I have been crying since Sunday, after my son and his fiancé left. I can't seem to find any joy in anything. Two of our children are getting married, I have a new grandchild on the way, there is so much happy stuff going on, and I just want to cry. Maybe I’ve been trying to be brave. Nobody likes a downer, but damn it, I feel like a downer. I just saw an ad in the newspaper for a grief group that’s starting this month, and I really feel I need this. I have never been one to join a group, but this is more then I can deal with. Do these groups really help? There are six sessions, all dealing with different steps. Is it worth trying? Any advice would be welcome. Thank you.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Caregiving and Hospice, November 11 - November 17, 2012

Best selections from Grief Healing's Twitter stream this week:

What Is Palliative Care? An Interview with Dawn Gross, http://j.mp/T2mA5E « SevenPonds Blog

Helpful! Tips for a Grinchless Holiday Season, http://bit.ly/UIRSUw via @todayscaregiver

Furry friends are powerful allies in getting through tough days of caregiving! http://ow.ly/ewiM4 via @KathrynMurphyCK

Excellent! Act Like You’re Dying to Start Living Well, http://buff.ly/UJmy2b by @LostInYourCare via @CaregivingCafe

Start a Calendar as a Meal Planner, http://buff.ly/UJhNWh Caregiving Tool by @CaringBridge via @CaregivingCafe

Understanding and Managing Grief, November 11 - November 17, 2012

Best selections from Grief Healing's Twitter stream this week:

The source of the love we feel is always with us, http://j.mp/TKlmdY

Well said! Am I In Love With Grief? http://j.mp/QP9Ing

Webinar: Helping Children Cope with Their Own Dying or the Death of a Loved One, offered Tuesday, November 20, from 12 noon to 1:30 PM Eastern Time, http://bit.ly/PYYUla by @hfahospice

When You Are Grieving, Thanksgiving Day Feels Painful, http://j.mp/UJemEJ by @HopefulMJ via @selfgrowthnow

Poem "Where is the Angel?" http://j.mp/T0upst by @HopefulMJ

Coping with Pet Loss, November 11 - November 17, 2012

Best selections from Grief Healing's Twitter stream this week:

While we are mourning the loss of our friend, others are rejoicing to meet him behind the veil. ~John Taylor,  http://bit.ly/VZtQV8

If You've Ever Loved a Dog, http://j.mp/TOjjIm by Nancy Calhoun 
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Monday, November 12, 2012

Coping with the Holidays: Suggested Resources

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If you find special days (holidays, birthdays, death day anniversaries and the like) to be more than you can bear, please know that you are not alone. Support is available! Many community agencies make an extra effort to provide  programs to help you cope with special days, especially at this challenging time of year. Contact your local hospice, funeral home, or healthcare organization to learn what offerings and services are open to you.

In addition, the Internet is a rich and abundant resource where you can find and read any number of articles, books and tips aimed at helping you discover practical and creative ways to get through these difficult days. What follows is a list of links to many such resources ~ and if you know of any not listed that you'd like to see included, please feel free to add them in the Comments section below.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Veterans Day, 2012 ~ Honoring All Who Served

Our country has established two holidays ~ Veterans Day and Memorial Day ~ to honor the men and women who have worn the uniform of the United States. Unlike Memorial Day (the day we set aside to remember and honor military personnel who died in the service of our country), Veterans Day is intended to thank and honor all those who served honorably in the military, in wartime or peacetime, as well as those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle. Veterans Day is intended to thank Veterans and their families for their service, to acknowledge that their contributions to our national security are appreciated, and to underscore the fact that all those who served ~ not only those who died ~ have sacrificed and done their duty.

In addition to the Veterans Day National Ceremony held each year on November 11 at Arlington National Cemetery at 11 a.m., communities across America plan their own ways to observe the holiday ~ but you need not wait until that day to reach out to veterans and their families.

At AARP's Create the Good site, you'll find dozens of ways to give a lift to military families in your local community.

Joining Forces is another national initiative that encourages all of us to support our military service members and their families with jobs, education, and health-related issues:




© by Marty Tousley, CNS-BC, FT, DCC
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Permission to Mourn This Holiday Season

The following is a gift from Harold Ivan Smith, noted writer, teacher, storyteller and grief expert.  It is reprinted here with his permission.  Especially over the holidays, you may wish to copy, paste and print it, fill it in and share it with anyone who needs help in understanding and accepting where you are at this point in your grief journey.





Permission to Mourn

The holder of this certificate,  ________________________________________,

is hereby entitled to publicly acknowledge his or her loss, mourn openly,

to share narratives of the loss, and to recruit social support in his or her own way and time,

without apology or embarrassment during this holiday season.

Tears, memories, silence, uncertainty, and strong emotions are hereby enfranchised.

Please treat this griever with kindness, compassion, and love.

Signed this _____ day of __________, in the year _____.

This certification has no expiration date.
~



Text © by Harold Ivan Smith and reprinted with permission
Illustration © by Kara LC Jones and used with permission

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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Caregiving and Hospice, November 4 - November 10, 2012

Best selections from Grief Healing's Twitter stream this week:
  • What Henry Winkler wants you to know about stroke caregiving, http://j.mp/UbFFBp « Caring.com

Understanding and Managing Grief, November 4 - November 10, 2012

Best selections from Grief Healing's Twitter stream this week:

Coping with Pet Loss, November 4 - November 10, 2012

Best selections from Grief Healing's Twitter stream this week:
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Monday, November 5, 2012

Mother Loss and the Grief of Abandonment

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There were many ways of breaking a heart. But what really broke the heart was taking away its dream -- whatever that dream might be.  ~ Pearl Buck

A reader writes: I was recently informed that my mother has died, and I am grieving. My mother left me when I was a little girl. It hurt. I denied it for 40 years. So far I have attended two different bereavement groups. Both are filled with people who are grieving a loved one. I am not. I do not have a string of memories of our times together to talk about: how she taught me how to bake a pie, helped me plan my wedding, helped me through my divorce, paid for college, took care of my kids while I met my second husband, etc. I do not fit into those groups. They are grieving such a beautiful memory that I’m afraid I will poison their precious period of grief if they hear my story of abandonment. I didn’t have a mother to maintain kinship ties with an extended family. I had an evil stepfather who was remote and distant and lied to me about why my mom was gone: “She left you.” 
           Where is a group for me? I am mourning (a) my mother's death and my loss of a hope of a reconciliation where she tells me she is sorry, (b) my initial wound / loss that I never faced, and (c) finally facing that for 40 years I walked around with a huge ball of grief that I never admitted. There is no one to help me. I am all alone. There was no funeral, no coffin, no wake, no gravesite. No one came to me. No one sent flowers. 
          Today I bought myself a dozen roses. For the rest of my life, I will buy myself flowers every week, if that is what I need to be nurtured.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Caregiving and Hospice, October 28 - November 3, 2012

Best selections from Grief Healing's Twitter stream this week:

Understanding and Managing Grief, October 28 - November 3, 2012

Best selections from Grief Healing's Twitter stream this week:

Coping with Pet Loss, October 28 - November 3, 2012

Best selections from Grief Healing's Twitter stream this week:
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