Sunday, September 27, 2020

Understanding and Managing Grief, September 20 - September 26, 2020

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

Fear + anxiety = emotional unrest, which leads immediately to insomnia. The global pandemic has made restful sleep an uphill battle.  COVID Insomnia « Laurie Burrows Grad 

I am pleased to report that both the Grief Healing Blog and the Grief Healing Discussion Groups websites continue to be fully compliant with Health on the Net Foundation’s HONcode. Grief Healing Notified of HONcode Certification! « Grief Healing

Monday, September 21, 2020

Birth Grandparents and The Grief of Adoption Relinquishment

Whenever we allow a child to be adopted we are also saying to the parents of that child that we do not value their parenthood, because we are willing to eliminate their role and to provide their child with a new birth certificate, which allows the false assumption that they as parents did not exist. Most children have grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and often siblings. Adoption denies that those relationships exist. The denial involved in adoption devalues the entire family of origin. This is an insult to the child, to the parents of the child and to all other family members. How could we expect people not to be deeply hurt by such an experience? 
~ Evelyn Robinson, Adoption and Loss -- The Hidden Grief

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Understanding and Managing Grief, September 13 - September 19, 2020

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

Learn about mourning rituals that validate loss during social isolation in our interview with death doula and activist Michelle Acciavatti. When Funerals Move Online, How Can We Create Mourning Rituals That Truly Validate Loss? « Seven Ponds Blog

Monday, September 14, 2020

In Grief: Mourning A Lost Love

But nothing makes a room feel emptier than wanting someone in it.
  ~ Calla Quinn

A reader writes: I am a 20-year old female who lost someone I considered a very good, close friend. We had broken up a year before, but still remained the best of friends. My friend and I had been in a bad wreck together, and we both almost died that day. We were the lucky ones, but the driver of the car we hit wasn't so lucky.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Understanding and Managing Grief, September 6 - September 12, 2020

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

For many Americans the feelings of grief associated with this event may seem as new and as raw as they did when these terrorist attacks first happened in 2001. September 11: Coping with Aftershocks « Grief Healing

Monday, September 7, 2020

Voices of Experience: Grief and Fear in My Life Today

by Anne M. Gorman

“Research demonstrates that how we appraise or interpret a situation can influence our physiological response. So one potential option is to shift our mindset. Instead of interpreting the situation as being cut off from others, we can focus on doing this to protect those that we love. When mitigating distressing feelings of loneliness, research has found that mindfulness-based meditation as well as engaging in creative arts and expression may also be effective.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Understanding and Managing Grief: August 30 - September 5, 2020

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

Hospice nurse Barbara Karnes receives a question from a follower whose father is in hospice care. The family was told 2 weeks ago that the father's death was imminent but he hasn't died. They have questions about what to do next. Dad is dying. Give him fluids? « YouTube

Monday, August 31, 2020

When Words Matter: Tips on Writing Sympathy Thank-You Notes

Appreciation can make a day, even change a life.  Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary.  ~ Margaret Cousins

Upon the death of a loved one, it is customary to send written thank you notes as soon as possible, usually within two weeks of receiving a gift. But if ever there is a time when you’re entitled to ignore the rules of etiquette, or a time when immediate thanks is neither expected nor required, it is when you are in mourning.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Understanding and Managing Grief & Pet Loss, August 23 - August 29, 2020

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

64 of the hardest grief lessons learned by the What's Your Grief community, in no particular order. Keep the list growing by adding your own . . . The 64 Hardest Lessons That Grief Taught Me « What's Your Grief?

Monday, August 24, 2020

Pet Loss: PTSD Following Euthanasia Decision?

Dogs' lives are too short. Their only fault, really.  ~ Agnes Sligh Turnbull

A reader writes: After agonizing over this decision, I decided my beloved 16-year-old dog was no longer able to live without suffering, and I had him euthanized at home. This of course was the beginning of absolute anguish for me. Since then I have read alot, gone to grief counseling groups, conferred with a counselor, joined the APLB chatrooms (they suggested I contact your website when I told them that the chatrooms were too upsetting and intensified my pain), written copious diary entries as well as love letters to my dog, and finally, have started reading, responding and communicating with others on your website.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Caregiving & Grief, August 16 - August 22, 2020

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

Hospice of the Valley has been awarded a federal grant to serve more families living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Hospice of the Valley earns prestigious Alzheimer’s grant « AZ Big Media 

I didn’t know that grief changes you on a soul level, the way falling in love changes you, the way becoming a parent changes you. This Is Why I Write About My Grief « Yahoo!Life

Monday, August 17, 2020

Disenfranchised Grief: When A Friend Dies, At A Distance

What we have once enjoyed deeply we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.  ~ Helen Keller

A reader writes: One of my very good friends died from lung cancer. We live far apart and I hadn't been in touch with her recently and I learned a few days ago that she passed away two weeks ago. I missed the funeral and I'm having a very difficult time dealing with her death.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Understanding and Managing Grief & Pet Loss, August 9 - August 15, 2020

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

In the next weeks and months some of our loved ones may be dying basically alone. They will probably be in a hospital ICU with health care attendants clothed like astronauts, who are overworked and short of time. Sorry, I know this does not paint the picture we want for those we love. What can we do? How to Say Goodbye When You Are Not There « The Rowan Technology Report

Monday, August 10, 2020

In Grief: Am I Making Too Much of My Grandpa's Death?

Young people need something stable to hang on to — a culture connection, a sense of their own past, a hope for their own future. Most of all, they need what grandparents can give them.  ~ Jay Kesler

A reader writes: I lost my grandpa just a few days after his 82nd birthday and I miss him so much. I went to be with him as often as I could and in the last weeks of his life, though it tormented me to see this dignified man, who I more often saw in suits and nice shoes - and now in only in a diaper. The last days of his life seemed to me characterized by only pain and being out of rightful mind. Whether this was due to the beginnings of Alzheimer's or the morphine, I'm not sure.

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Understanding & Managing Grief, August 2 - August 8, 2020

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

Peter was my husband, my companion, and my very best friend. We shared a home, a bed, and a most wonderful life for 20 years. Unbeknownst to me for all of those years, he was — and is — gay. My Disenfranchised Grief When I Discovered My Husband Is Gay « Seven Ponds Blog

Monday, August 3, 2020

Newly Widowed Grief Counselor Seeks Advice

A bend in the road is not the end of the road…unless you fail to make the turn.  ~ Helen Keller

A reader writes: I am a hospice bereavement counselor, and as you can imagine, things have been difficult since the sudden, unexpected death of my husband. I had to close up his business which will be going on for a bit longer. I have one son away at college and a younger son who is still here with me in high school. There are a zillion decesions each day but I try to take it as slowly as I can get away with. 

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Caregiving & Grief, July 26 - August 1, 2020

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

In the absence of rituals surrounding the dying — such as visiting the bedside, viewing the body and having a funeral — the picture of the experience has been rapidly transformed.  How Coronavirus Complicates the Grieving Process « Pain Medicine News

Monday, July 27, 2020

Teen Grief: When A Friend Moves Away

Truly great friends are hard to find, harder to leave, and impossible to forget.  ~ G. Randolf

A reader writes: I am 14 years old. Can you tell me what the 7 stages of grief are and which one I am going through? I am hurt right now because my friend moved away to Texas. She moved away 2 months ago and I'm still sad. Help me.

My response: You've asked about the so-called "stages of grief." You may be thinking of the stages of dying first described by the famous Elisabeth Kübler-Ross: denial, anger, depression, bargaining and acceptance. Please know that, wonderful as her work in death and dying was, her "stages" model was never meant to be applied to those who are grieving the loss of a loved one.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Understanding and Managing Grief & Pet Loss, July 19 - July 25, 2020

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

Animals give us innumerable gifts during our lives together. Even as we understandably mourn their physical presence, it’s important to understand that the gifts from our animals do not go away at death. Cherishing The Legacies Our Animals Bequeath To Us « Animal Souls Matter

Monday, July 20, 2020

Pet Loss: When A Pet's Routine Surgery Goes Bad

If a cat spoke, it would say things like 'Hey, I don’t see the problem here.'  ~ Roy Blount Jr.

A reader writes: Three months ago, my dear cat passed away from cancer. I became very familiar with your online Loss of A Pet forum. It helped immensely. Now, I need advice.

I adopted two kittens shortly after my cat's death. They are now 20 weeks old -- got them at 9 weeks. Well, I took both of them in to get spayed and neutered. The neutering went fine, but one of my dear kittens is now blind.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Caregiving & Grief, July 12 - July 18, 2020

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

A fun and boisterously positive adult coloring book for anyone affected by cancer: "F*ck Cancer: A Totally Inappropriate Self-Affirming Adult Coloring Book" by Jen Meyers « Seven Ponds Blog

I've been thinking about what our immediate and most basic needs are in grief. I guess we could call them "basic grief needs." What's Your Most Basic Grief Need? « What's Your Grief?

Monday, July 13, 2020

In Grief: Helping My Partner Mourn His Dad When I'm Still Mourning My Mom

If you want to support others you have to stay upright yourself.  ~ Peter Hoeg

A reader writes: I am at a loss with things right now and I really need some help. My partner's dad is dying and on the advice of his doctor he has been placed in hospice care. My mom passed 4 months ago today and I am still numb from that. I'm still not knowing how to handle my own grief, and now here I am with my partner and his family going thru this themselves.

Monday, July 6, 2020

Helping A Friend with Child Loss

A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.  ~ Walter Winchell

A reader writes: My dear, dear friend and her husband recently lost her two young children in a horrific accident. I so wish I could take some of her pain away. But, I just don't know how to help her. I try to spend time with her and her husband, just listening and holding her, but I feel as if there's nothing I can do for her. I mean, it's not like it makes her feel better, my being there. Her loss is just too big. Can you please advise me on how to help her???

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Understanding and Managing Grief, June 28 - July 4, 2020

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

If you can’t mourn the death of a loved one the way you want to right now, these grief counselors still have tips for getting through it. How to Cope With Grief During the COVID-19 Pandemic « Allure

Monday, June 29, 2020

Surviving A Parent’s Death by Suicide

We cannot tear out a single page of our life, but we can throw the whole book in the fire.  ~ George Sand

A reader writes: My dad died by suicide early yesterday morning. He was pained not only with losing my mom, but with so many other losses in our family too. I don’t know if anger is supposed to be the first feeling but I’m angry. Since my wife's miscarriages and our struggles with infertility, we've had to cope with our losses too, and we're seeing a counselor for that together. I don’t know. I just don’t know what to make of this. I’m just trying to wrap my head around it. I can’t escape what I witnessed. I can’t believe this has happened. I can’t believe I found my dad like I did. I will never forget that image.

Monday, June 22, 2020

In Grief: Loving My Baby While Mourning My Son

There's no tragedy in life like the death of a child. Things never get back to the way they were.  ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower 

A reader writes: My son, who I raised as a single mom for 17 1/2 years was killed in a totally avoidable car accident last January. This boy was the reason for my life--my rock-- I had to get it together for him--and keep it going for all the years of his life. Although I have a 6-month-old daughter (my son was killed when she was 2 months old) I am having an adjustment problem--as life without my son, my best friend, my heart--is hard to buy into.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Understanding and Managing Grief, June 14 - June 20, 2020

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

After my husband died, an old friend asked me what he could offer me, beyond words. I thought of something that our young sons could treasure. Your Papa Is Right Here’ « Modern Loss

Consider this resource if you are having a grief crisis. We’re here for you 24/7. Crisis Text Line « Crisis Text Line

Monday, June 15, 2020

In Grief: Seeking Help for Father Loss

There is no expiration date on the love between a father and his child.  ~ Jennifer Williamson

A reader writes: I recently lost my father and I am unable to handle my loss. I don't know why, but I want to dig him up and bring him back to life. I am so sad and lonely without my father and I have never experienced anything like this before. I don't know if this is a normal reaction or not but I do know that I need help. I do have people around me who love me and are there for me, but it just isn't enough. Can you please write me back with any advice as soon as possible.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Caregiving & Understanding and Managing Grief, June 7 - June 13, 2020

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

A program designed to incorporate hospice and palliative care principles into undergraduate and graduate nursing education could help make a difference in ongoing staffing shortages in those fields. Palliative Care Nursing Curriculum Could Impact Staff Shortages « Hospice News

Monday, June 8, 2020

In Grief: Missing Grandmother’s Funeral

A reader writes: I have been abroad for nearly two years now and just learned that the only grandparent that I have has a stage 4 cancer. Since two or three weeks she has been having hallucinations and seeing dead family members of hers coming to get her on a white horse. I know that I won't be able to make it back home for her approaching funeral and I am really not at ease with this idea. What are the tips to deal with this? Thank you in advance for the counselling.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Understanding and Managing Grief, May 31 - June 6, 2020

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

Experts discuss honoring loved ones lost to COVID-19 and the disproportionate impact the pandemic has had on communities of color. Thrive With Your Family: Coping With Loss and Grief « The University of Michigan

Monday, June 1, 2020

Disenfranchised Grief: In The Wake of Girlfriend's Abortion

Ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.  ~ Kahlil Gibran

A reader writes: My girlfriend and I got pregnant about two months ago. She went and took the abortion pill yesterday.I begged her not to, to marry me and have this child. But she said no. She doesn't want to be in a relationship with me anymore. I am grieiving not only the loss of our possible child together, but the loss of our possible life together. I'm not even sure where to begin, but I still can't believe that she actually went through with it. 

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Understanding and Managing Grief, May 24 - May 30, 2020

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

Thanks for the kind review! "This reputable blog provides professional insight into the latest news on grief with a focus on the needs of professional and family caregivers. Grief Healing Blog’s professional insight is given by author and grief counselor Marty Tousley RN, MS, FT. She regularly features her responses to readers’ questions about grief in her blog posts." Blog Profiles: Grief Support Blogs « Beyond Bylines

Monday, May 25, 2020

In Grief: College Student Struggling with Too Many Losses

What we once enjoyed and deeply loved we can never lose, for all that we love deeply becomes part of us. ~ Helen Keller

A reader writes: I don't know what to say, what to do, or where to go anymore. I have lost four very good friends within a 10 month time span -- two to death, one to multiple strokes and the other is in a psych institution for the entirety of his life. They were all my good friends, friends I trusted, friends I confided in, friends I did things with; they were all I had, and, now, they are gone. I am lost, sad, alone, and as each and every day goes by I get lonelier and lonelier without them.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Understanding and Managing Grief, May 17 - May 23, 2020

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

We can’t visit the dying in hospitals, and we can’t gather for funerals—but technology can lessen the pain. Grief in the Time of COVID-19 «  Scientific American

Monday, May 18, 2020

Voices of Experience: Noticing The Signs


It’s only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye.  ~ Antione de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince

If you are like me, you want to know if the person you miss is at peace, happy, and is okay. You may have asked, “Is my loved one really in heaven? or “Is her spirit still with me?” You may struggle with these questions and look for proof and validation, as I originally did.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Caregiving, Grief & Pet Loss, May 10 - May 16, 2020

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

Many people falsely think that we get over grief, we recover from grief, we recover from a loss. The reality is [that] we learn to live with it. And we're learning to live with this. Now, what is important for us to understand is: there is no night that hasn't given way to a new day; there is no storm that didn't pass. This will pass, this will end someday.  David Kessler on learning to live with grief in a "grief-illiterate" culture « KCRW

Monday, May 11, 2020

Pet Loss: When Social Support Is Lacking

We don't heal in isolation, but in community. ~ S. Kelley Harrell

A reader writes:  As one who loves my companion animal and thinks of him as a family member, I am especially interested in the issue of moral/social support. If my husband were to be diagnosed with leukemia, I would be flooded with cards, flowers, and casseroles from family and friends. But if my cat is diagnosed with feline leukemia, it would hardly register a blip on the consciousness of even my closest friends and family members.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Caregiving & Grief, May 3 - May 9, 2020

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

Optimal strategies for helping people develop new rituals to remember those who die during the COVID-19 era: Death, Grief and Funerals in the COVID Age « COVID White Paper

In the midst of a global pandemic, this day might actually feel a bit more aligned with what I want it to be. A Widowed Mother's Day à la COVID-19 « Modern Loss

Monday, May 4, 2020

In Grief: Young Widow Seeks Support

"I was supposed to spend the rest of my life with you ~ and then I realized that you spent the rest of your life with me." ~ Pinterest

A reader writes: Thanks for your advice that you have given to so many of us. I lost my husband 2 months ago. I am 26. He was 24. We were married for only 8 months before this tragedy struck. He and a friend died in a hiking accident. I went through what NO ONE should ever have to go through, unfortunately, all too many individuals suffer similar experiences. My heart aches for my friend and for my beloved husband most of all.

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Understanding & Managing Grief, April 26 - May 2, 2020

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

With so many deaths around us from COVID-19 and the deaths that would occur even without the pandemic, how are these sorrows mourned? Is grief itself changed because of what is going on now? What a Pandemic Does to Grief « PsychCentral

MNHPC is partnering with the University of Wisconsin-Madison to offer a Grief Support Specialist Certificate course, offered virtually this June. UW-Madison Grief Certificate « MNHPC

Monday, April 27, 2020

Disenfranchised Grief: Coronavirus Took My Partner

[Reviewed and updated May 19, 2020]

My grief lies all within, and these external manners of lament are merely shadows to the unseen grief that swells with silence in the tortured soul.   ~ William Shakespeare

A reader writes: You have so many articles on grief but I was unable to find an article that can help me. I’ve recently lost my partner of 4 years who passed a week ago. We were not married and I lived with him and was his primary caregiver. During his last month of life we were apart due to Covid19 and I didn’t get to see him. He was ill but death was not imminent so this has come as quite a shock.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Understanding & Managing Grief, April 19 - April 25, 2020

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

Honored that Grief Healing is named Best Monitored Discussion Group: "They report that their discussion groups are closely monitored and moderated by the owner to ensure quality, safety, and security." The 7 Best Online Grief Support Groups of 2020 « VeryWellMind

The world is grieving an astonishing amount of loss, and most of us are doing it alone. Losing Touch - Struggling with Grief in the Era of Social Distancing « SevenPonds Blog

Monday, April 20, 2020

In Grief: Dreading The Second Anniversary of A Child’s Death

When fear makes your choices for you, no security measures on earth will keep the things you dread from finding you. But if you can avoid avoidance - if you can choose to embrace experiences out of passion, enthusiasm, and a readiness to feel whatever arises - then nothing, nothing in all this dangerous world, can keep you from being safe.  ~ Martha Beck

A reader writes: I've written to you before, but now the countdown has begun.  In two more weeks it will have been two years since my son lost his life in a horrible accident. I have been waking in these early hours with nightmares -- my son is all broken and I cannot fix him -- my throat is dry from screaming and the sweat is cold -- I am not sure I can keep doing this anymore. I have so many crazy thoughts of jumping on a train track and seeing how long it takes for me to die.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Caregiving, Hospice & Grief, April 12 - April 18, 2020

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

There is a lot of loss involved in what we're living right now. How do we cope? Find out in this video: Grieving the Loss of Daily Life Routine and Milestones During the Pandemic « Refuge In Grief

It’s a staggering thought, but right this moment, there are 5.8 million Americans living with dementia . . . There is help — resources and education that are breaking down the stigma surrounding dementia. Caregivers can live well with dementia, too! « Your Valley

Monday, April 13, 2020

Voices of Experience: Death Is But A Dream

But at the time of transition, your guides, your guardian angels, people whom you have loved and who have passed on before you, will be there to help you. We have verified this beyond a shadow of a doubt, and I say this as a scientist. There will always be someone to help you with this transition.
~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

In his extraordinary and beautiful book, Death Is But a Dream: Finding Hope and Meaning at Life’s End, hospice physician Christopher Kerr, MD, PhD shares his patients' stories and his own research pointing to death as not purely the end of life, but as a final chapter of humanity and transcendence. Drawing on interviews with over 1,400 patients and more than a decade of quantified data, Dr. Kerr reveals why pre-death dreams and visions are remarkable events that bring comfort and exemplify human resilience. Different from regular dreams and described as "more real than real," they frequently include loved ones long gone and mark the transition from distress to acceptance.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Caregiving, Hospice & Grief, April 5 - April 11, 2020

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

As a culture, we’ve never been great at handling grief . . . And now that families no longer have the opportunity to say goodbye to their loved ones, have to wait for hospitals to release the remains, and postpone any in-person gatherings for the foreseeable future, it has left many in a suspended state of grief. Processing Grief During a Pandemic, When Nothing Is Normal « Yahoo!

Monday, April 6, 2020

Complicated Grief: "Maybe I Am Nuts"

Complicated Grief is a form of grief that takes hold of a person's mind and won't let go.  ~ M. Katherine Shear, MD

A reader writes: "Complicated Grief," "Prolonged Grief Disorder" and now "Persistent Complex Bereavement Disorder." In reading about all of these "disorders" with an open mind, I clearly am suffering from all three. And suffering is the appropriate word. It's been over four years since my beloved died and I still don't know my place in this world. Still feel my life is mostly meaningless without her. I've kept her clothes and most of her things just where they always were. I feel like if I got rid of that stuff,  my life would feel even more empty  than it already does. Her things being where they always were gives me a small sense of comfort.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Caregiving & Grief, March 29 - April 4, 2020

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

In this op-ed, "Teen Vogue" identity editor Brittney McNamara explains why it's okay to feel anticipatory grief over seemingly small things during the coronavirus crisis. Anticipatory Grief Is Real, and It's OK to Feel it During the Coronavirus Crisis « Teen Vogue

Monday, March 30, 2020

COVID-19 and The Fear of Dying

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
[Reviewed and updated April 9, 2020]

The future belongs to those who prepare for it today.  ~ Malcolm X

A reader writes: How do we get people talking about their fear of dying and how to live fully now and being prepared??? 

My response: I’m not sure which people you’re talking about, but given the current concern about COVID-19 and all the anxiety surrounding it, I certainly do appreciate your question, especially in these uncertain times. Fortunately the Internet offers a vast array of answers, and I hope I can point you to some resources you’ll find useful, regardless of the circumstances. Here are some I invite you to explore: