Monday, December 28, 2020

Voices of Experience: Offering Comfort

But words are things, and a small drop of ink, 
Falling like dew, upon a thought, produces
That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think. 
~ Lord Byron

When Barbara Abercrombie’s husband died, she found the language of condolence, no matter how well intended, often unhelpful and sometimes downright irritating. In her grief, she yearned for words that acknowledged the reality of what it felt like to survive a loved one’s death, and that could unflinchingly speak to the sorrow and loneliness (and sometimes even guilt and anger) that can show up in the mourning process. 

In searching for a book that she could read during her time of grief, Barbara came up short. Every book she looked at was either too clinical or too flowery. So she started collecting selected writings that resonated with her personal experience of mourning, and The Language of Loss: Poetry and Prose for Grieving and Celebrating the Love of Your Life began to form. Here she shares how she came to write "the book I needed when my husband died."

Sunday, December 27, 2020

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

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

Hospice providers nationwide are reassessing how they provide bereavement care due to the need for social distancing during the ongoing pandemic. With few other options, many are turning to telehealth systems to support grieving families. Hospices Redesign Bereavement Care Due to Social Distancing « Hospice News

Monday, December 21, 2020

In Grief: Longing to Feel A Loved One’s Presence After Death

A reader writes: At the age of 47, I have suddenly lost the most significant person in my whole life. He was my first and only true love. I just cannot go on. I will not harm myself but I know my heart needs to find his. I am empty -- lifeless without him -- I sometimes lay my head down at night and want him to come to me and take me with him. I have not felt his presence and crave it every single second of every single day. I have lost many people close to me including my dad but this pain is unbearable. I don't believe I have ever loved this deeply in my life and I have many loved ones around me. The only comfort I crave is to be in his arms again -- so I ache for something that I will never have.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Caregiving, Hospice & Grief, December 13 - December 19, 2020

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

In this time of Santa we hear the saying “naughty and nice”. Here are four “naughties” that can be turned into “nice”, enhanced experiences common to end of life. Four "Naughties" for End of Life « BK Books 

With employees emotionally drained and residents suffering from loss, many nursing homes and assisted living centers are working with chaplains, social workers and mental health professionals to help residents and staff, and bringing in hospice providers to offer grief counseling, among other strategies. Prayers and Grief Counseling After COVID: Trying to Aid Healing in Long-Term Care « Kaiser Health News

Monday, December 14, 2020

In Grief: Worried About Widowed Mother

Compassion for our parents is the true sign of maturity. ~ Anaïs Nin

A reader writes: My father passed away last July. My mother and he had a terrible marriage and only stayed together for the "kids," then couldn't afford to live apart. He passed away after a brief illness, but had made my mother's life very difficult. For the last 20 years, they just cohabited together with seperate lives - different bedrooms and even different tv rooms.

I did not have a good relationship with him (nor did my brother) - he was mean, selfish and just not a very nice person to us or anyone else. Nonetheless, I did and still do grieve for him. I also grieved for the father I never had, but I did forgive him before he passed away and was present when he died.

Sunday, December 13, 2020

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

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

There is a misconception that grief is just sadness (maybe with some anger thrown in). The reality? Grief feels like so many things. Grief feelings can change from day to day, hour to hour, minute to minute. And they are ALL NORMAL. What Does Grief Feel Like? « What's Your Grief? 

It is only natural that you want to protect your children from being upset at all costs, but it is not necessarily a bad thing that they are introduced to the concept of loss at a relatively early age. After all, death is – sadly – the one inevitability of life, and we all have to come to terms with it at some point. Should you take children to a funeral? « AK Lander

Monday, December 7, 2020

In Grief: Mixing Drugs with Alcohol

[Reviewed and updated April 29, 2024]

Heavy use of drugs or alcohol can intensify the experience of grief and depression and impair the bereavement process.  ~ J. William Worden

A reader writes: I wonder if I might turn out to become one of those complicated grief people. I have all the risk factors. I'm not usually a drinker or a drug taker -- I've been regularly using alcohol and Serax (oxazepam) since my husband died. The same thing happened after we got his diagnosis a year ago, but when we received some positive news that they might be able to beat the cancer or at least control it - I was able to cut out the oxazepam and reduce drinking to a glass of wine a day. Then he suddenly died - and we were completely unprepared. Even the doctors were surprised.

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Caregiving, Grief & Pet Loss - November 30 - December 5, 2020

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

In 2017, Margo Fowkes started the website Salt Water. The website is chock-full of blogs with topics ranging from loss to caring for yourself after loss. It also offers resources for the bereaved as well for tips for comforting the bereaved.  Navigating Grief’s Choppy Waters « Sacramento Magazine