A reader writes:I am at a crossroads in my life. I feel I am being drawn to grief education. I want to become a certified bereavement counselor/educator/specialist. I have no idea where my path is going, only that I need to take the journey. I have been told there is special training/certification I need for that, but I can't find anything at the different universities. Any information you can provide would be helpful.
I love to read, and I suppose because of the work I do, I am drawn to stories that teach me about grief, most especially those that describe the myriad ways people survive it, as they manage to transcend the most tragic of losses and find meaning in them. I also love to go to the movies, and once again, my favorite films are those about overcoming loss.
In my article, Grief Observed: Using Movies to Move through Grief, I’ve shared my belief that movies can serve as a valuable tool, because—when selected carefully and intentionally— they can help us get in touch with painful, blocked or pent-up emotions, and help us see our own grief issues from a different perspective.
Before I see a first-run movie, I like to read the reviews to help me decide if it’s worth my time (and money), but occasionally I take a chance and go see a film despite what I’ve read about it, and sometimes I am pleasantly surprised. Here is one of those pleasant surprises:
Legend has it that one evening an elderly Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside every one of us. The battle, he said, is between two wolves. One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego. The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith. His grandson thought about this for a moment, then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf wins?" His grandfather simply replied, "The one you feed."
The best bridge between despair and hope is a good night’s sleep. ~ E. Joseph Lossman
[Note: Since its original appearance, this post has been updated regularly with links to additional articles, below. The most recent update was added on June 16, 2016]
A reader writes, “I can't seem to get to sleep until after 3:00. I am tired all day, but I don't seem to be tired enough when everyone else is going to bed. I was having problems before my husband died, but now it is a LOT worse. Benedryl makes me sleepy but it has not helped at all. How long should I let this go on before being concerned?”
Disruptions in normal sleep patterns are very common in the first weeks and months of grief. If you're having trouble sleeping, you might try some of the simple methods recommended by experts in accredited sleep centers:
When someone we love loses a special companion animal, we may not be sure what we can do to help. If anything, we feel helpless, since we know there's nothing we can do to bring the pet back. We can't take away the pain of the loss. We have no answer to the question, "Why?"
Sometimes another person's loss reminds us of our own past losses -- or of ones we ourselves eventually must face. If we've never been as strongly attached to a pet as our friend or family member was, we may not consider the loss as significant as it really was to them. If we've yet to experience the loss of a special friend or loved one, human or otherwise, we may not be familiar with how painful such grief can be. And some of us were raised in families that didn't express feelings openly, so we never learned how to comfort others.
Sadly, for fear of saying or doing the wrong thing, many of us shy away from the person who is grieving, or we never go beyond saying "I'm sorry."
What else can we do to help a friend who's hurting when a cherished pet is lost?