Sunday, March 31, 2013

How Can the World Go On When My Loved One Has Died?

[Reviewed and Updated January 19, 2023]

I wake up in the morning and I wonder
Why everything’s the same as it was
I can’t understand, no, I can’t understand
How life goes on the way it does
~ The End of the World
by Arthur Kent and Sylvia Dee, as sung by Skeeter Davis

A reader writes: My father died 5 weeks ago. He died at 49 of a heart attack, working in the snow. I was very close to him my whole life. I spoke to him three times the day he died. Little did I know that hours later I would be giving the hospital a positive ID to his body. I have trouble getting that night out of my head. My dad was the funniest and carefree person I have ever known, and I know I will never be the same. Everyone from old friends even down to my own mother has been insensitive and somewhat rude. People think I should be ok by now. I feel like no one around me understands how much it hurts. I can't imagine such a positive part of my life gone forever. I cry all the time everyday. I feel like there is no answer because he won't be coming back. I know my dad thought I was the most gorgeous girl, he was so proud of me, he bragged about me to everyone he talked to. It's hard to know the person who loved me the most is gone, and so is that love. I don't know how to act, I don't know how to treat people. I'm so angry that the world is going on like he wasn't that important. Even my brother who I know loved my dad deeply seems to be fine. I'm far from fine, and I'm starting to think I have a problem. I don't want to go to work anymore because the people seems to think I need to get over it, and a few have said that. I miss him so much I can't believe I will never here him speak again.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Caregiving and Hospice, March 24 - March 30, 2013

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

When Dealing With a Very Sick Spouse, Bravery Is Essential, « Huffington Post

Create a Caregiver Corps that would include debt forgiveness for college graduates to care for our elders, « We The People

After the Diagnosis, the Get-Togethers, « NYT

Caregiving and Taxes: Video post with links to more tax information, by @AmyGoyer « AARP

Powerful Breast Cancer Photo Essay: Man Documents His Wife's Brave Battle With The Disease, « Huffington Post

Understanding and Managing Grief, March 24 - March 30, 2013

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

Thoughtful essay on spiritual challenges of grief, « Memoirs from Widow Island

Eben Alexander, M.D. on the real meaning of Easter,

Easter, Passover and Grief: dozens of helpful articles on coping with holidays,

Easter: Dealing With Grief During the Holidays by @AmyGoyer « AARP

Helpful: Easter and Grief: remembering loved ones,

Coping with Pet Loss, March 24 - March 30, 2013

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

Free compassion fatigue course for pet professionals, by @NEPetHospice via @hrvethospice

Dealing With the Death of a Pet, « Comfort Circle via @eFuneral

Tips on helping kids handle pet loss, from @ForeverPets via @TOCKids

Are pets part of your family? « | Death and Dying

Dealing with guilt and seeking forgiveness after pet loss,  by @MarianneSoucy

Monday, March 25, 2013

Memorializing a Cherished Pet

If we are loved and remembered, then we live on forever in the hearts of those who love us. ~ Ted Menten

As I was leafing through my copy of The Fireside Book of Dog Stories (a treasure I inherited from my father after he died too soon from a heart attack in 1978), I came across an old newspaper clipping I'd apparently tucked between its pages many years ago. I'm going to share the contents of the clipping with you, but first I want to tell you a bit about my father.

My father was a lover of all creatures great and small, but most especially he was a dog lover. It didn't matter what kind -- our family had many different breeds as I was growing up, including a cocker spaniel, a boxer, a collie, a German shepherd and a couple of loveable mutts -- but his favorite by far was the female Saint Bernard-collie mix he named Moose.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Caregiving and Hospice, March 17 - March 23, 2013

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

Tethered to a pole: the challenge of end of life decisions, by Ishani Ganguli

Ask Elizabeth: What Is Palliative Care? by Natalie Strouth, RN

Powerful description of caregiving and grief: Suddenly, They're All Gone, « NYT

Latest Professionally Speaking Interview with Joan Teno, MD, MS, « Hospice Foundation of America

Film Review: Amour « Seven Ponds Blog

Understanding and Managing Grief, March 17 - March 23, 2013

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

A son's touching tribute: My Father's Horniness, by Dax Shepard

Defending Against Loss, by Tara Brach

Film Review: The Way, « The Family Plot Blog

Celebrities speaking up about grief, « What's Your Grief?

Powerful lesson shared: A Death Remembered, by Mtutuzeli Nyoka

Monday, March 18, 2013

Taking Time to Mourn a Mother's Death

[Reviewed and updated June 21, 2021]

A reader writes: I just lost my Mom three weeks ago. She had cancer which spread to her brain. The last year of her life was one of pain initially and then side effects from the chemo and radiation. During the last few months she also became confused due to the tumor pressing on her brain. We were able to bring her home with us during the last 12 days of her life with the help of hospice, which was wonderful . 

This past year has been a very trying one for our family. Now that she is gone, I just want to be left alone. My husband, children and sister have been a great support and I need them around me. However, I feel as if others expect me to move on immediately. My dad and his wife were scheduled to come in to visit (they live in another state) about ten days after my mother’s death, and I asked them to postpone it because I wasn't up to it. He took it personally and I found myself comforting him because I hurt his feelings. He has postponed it for only a week later.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Caregiving and Hospice, March 10 - March 16, 2013

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

Helpful! 19 Free Services for Seniors, Caregivers, via @Distinctivept

How Mom’s Death Changed My Thinking About End-of-Life Care, « ProPublica

This Weekend, USA Today Includes a Caregiving Supplement, «

The fine balance between hope and cope in cancer patients,

Give patients end-of-life options says NHPCO board member Joan Teno MD, via NHPCO_news

Understanding and Managing Grief, March 10 - March 16, 2013

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

LifeLines: Using Art to Heal Grief,

After a Sibling Dies - Replacement Children,  « Sunshine In A Blue Cup

Unique challenges of Suicide — Without Warning,  « Grief Digest Magazine

Lessons Learned From Loss – List #1, by @NancysPoint

Stunning commentary on couple's grief following stillbirth: On Carrying Grief (And Carrying Each Other),

Coping with Pet Loss, March 10 - March 16, 2013

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

When Pets Grieve, via @jAIDDog
Wag&Purr Newsletter: Care for the Caregiver (YOU!),

Powerful: Hospice & Horses, « Spurling Silver

Helpful resources for pet loss, « Veterinary Wisdom® for Pet Parents

What to Expect If You Decide to Be With Your Pet During Euthanasia, « Veterinary Wisdom® for Pet Parents

Monday, March 11, 2013

Physical Reactions to Loss

[Reviewed and updated December22, 2022]

A sorrow that has no vent in tears makes other organs weep. ~ Dr. Henry Maudsley

When the stress of an emotional injury is felt, there will be warning signs in the body. Expressing emotional pain indirectly through physical symptoms may be more acceptable in some families, and more worthy of attention. But it is very hard on the body and it can be dangerous. When you don’t express your emotional pain directly, your body may do it for you.

Grief can cause any of these physical symptoms:

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Caregiving and Hospice, March 3 - March 9, 2013

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

ER doctor's perspective on doing CPR on the elderly woman who died,

Amid CPR Controversy, Many Unanswered Questions, « New York Times

5 Ways to Overcome Mid-Life Regret: Tips to deal with could've should've would've,  « 

After the Caregiving Ends, « New York Times

Your Death Is Your Headline, « Anushka Fernandopulle

Understanding and Managing Grief, March 3 - March 9, 2013

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

Outstanding! Brain Injury and Grief: Fact or Fiction,

Self-Portaits: Expressing Emotion Through Art,

Beautiful! Grief: A Letter from A Widow Whose Only Child Also Died,

10 Things To Look For in Your Grief Mentor, by @griefminister01

Widowhood 'Rules': What Is It REALLY OK To Do After Becoming Widowed?

Guiding, trusting, enduring, « Memoirs from Widow Island
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Coping with Pet Loss, March 3 - March 9, 2013

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

Grief commemorates the lives of pets who pass away,

Comforting a child after a pet’s death,

Vet to share how pets can be helped by animal hospice, via @SolariHospice

A song for healing pet loss, « Healing Pet Loss

Memorializing Pets We Have Lost, « Grief Healing Blog
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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Memorializing Pets We Have Lost

[Reviewed and updated on June 8, 2023]

A colleague writes: I am a veterinarian and would like to memorialize the pets we have lost in the past year. Does this seem appropriate, and do you have any specific suggestions which could be helpful? I plan to plant a tree and maybe provide garden stone marker engraving with the lost pet's name, but beyond that I'm open to suggestion.

My response: I think your idea of memorializing lost pets is most appropriate, and I applaud you for your sensitivity and caring. I'd like to offer some suggestions and point you to some resources that might be helpful to you as you develop this wonderful plan, and if I can be of any further assistance, please let me know.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Caregiving and Hospice, February 24 - March 2, 2013

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

For the Elderly, Lists of Tests to Avoid, « New York Times

How to Develop Effective End-of-Life Plans,

How hospice chaplains work with caregivers and patients at end-of-life, from @ctffox via @efuneral

Paws and effect: How dogs lift our spirits, via @thatslauderdale 

Bereavement and grief: What every oncologist should know, « Hematology Oncology

Understanding and Managing Grief, February 24 - March 2, 2013

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

Helpful! Grief Support Groups, Resources and Information, « Death & Dying

Coping with Cumulative Losses, « The Grief Toolbox

Thoughts on How Spring Restores Hope,  « When Every Day Matters

Wonderful ideas to help people at a difficult time, « What's Your Grief

Coping with the Loss of a Loved One, « Psychology Today