Monday, September 20, 2021

Childhood Sexual Abuse, Mom’s Murder Complicate A Daughter’s Grief

If there is something to pardon in everything, there is also something to condemn. 
~ Friedrich Nietzsche

A reader writes: My Mom was murdered a year ago. She was poisoned by my father....so not only did I lose my Mom, I lost my father as well... As one could imagine, I am not dealing with reality very well. I have and still am going through counseling on a weekly basis but the pain, rage, and guilt is still very much a part of my daily life.... there have been no arrests by the police... they tell me it is one thing to know he killed her but another thing to prove it..... he fed her fatal doses of anti-freeze over time... she died a very painful death....

Monday, September 13, 2021

In Grief: A Note of Thanks

If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, that will be enough.  ~ Meister Eckhart

A reader writes: I wanted to thank you for your wonderful website. I still have much to learn about grief and how to deal with it. But I thank you because through this website I have been able to connect with other people. It's nice to know that there is a place like this that I can go to when I need encouragement.  And it feels good to know that I am able to support others during their time of need.  ~ A.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Understanding and Managing Grief & Pet Loss, September 5 - September 11, 2021

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

Like so many of us, Eleanor vividly recalled the precise moments that rattled and scarred our nation. But unlike the rest of us, she carries a separate grief day in, day out, and not just on the anniversary of the 9-11 tragedies. Mothers do that when they lose a child.  A mother’s never-ending grief « Weirton Daily Times

Monday, September 6, 2021

Pet Loss: Signs of Progress in Grief

You should feel proud of yourself for every small step you make because healing from grief isn’t the result of smoothly navigating a journey. Healing from grief is what happens when you get up each day and decide to keep walking.  ~ Eleanor Haley

A reader writes: Well, it's been a bit over 7 months now and I'd like to say I'm doing wonderfully, but I'm not. I've been feeling pretty terrible and debilitated since my beloved cat died ....despite still DOING things for myself and my future. But I miss my girl more and more each day w/o her and many times still can't even begin to contemplate a world w/o her here.

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Understanding and Managing Grief & Pet Loss, August 29 - September 4, 2021

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

When my yellow Lab died last spring, I was flattened by an overwhelming sadness that’s with me still. And that’s normal, experts say, because losing a pet is often one of the hardest yet least acknowledged traumas we’ll ever face. How to Grieve for a Very Good Dog « Outside Online

Monday, August 30, 2021

In Grief: “I’ve Lost Everything That Was Normal”

There is something about losing a mother that is permanent and inexpressible—a wound that will never quite heal.  ~ Susan Wiggs

A reader writes: My mom died of cancer 3 months ago, after 7 years of fighting. I am 22 years old and I have lost everything that was normal. I miss my mom so very much, she was my very best friend. I just need someone to talk to that understands. I feel so alone. I am a Christian and that helps a lot but I literally don't have anyone, my dad had to move away, my boyfriend of 3 1/2 years broke up with me 1 week after the funeral and my friends are too into college and partying. I feel like I have been robbed.

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Understanding andManaging Grief, August 22 - August 28, 2021

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

I’m not a horse whisperer, but I have a new understanding of horses and their internal power. It began with Dr. Jo Anne Grace’s gentle voice inviting me to participate in a two-day equine-assisted grief therapy program. Equine-Assisted Grief Therapy: Healing with Horses at Humble Ranch « Steamboat Magazine

Monday, August 23, 2021

In Grief: Anticipating The Death of My Mother

Goodbyes are only for those who love with their eyes. Because for those who love with heart and soul there is no such thing as separation. ~ Rumi 

A reader writes: I am new to this. My mother is dying. She has breast cancer and now only a few months left. I am falling apart watching her die .... slowly .... I don't know how to do it. I fall apart at work, in the car, all the time now. I don't want to eat or smile or do anything. I just want to cry and sleep.

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Understanding andManaging Grief, August 15 - August 21, 2021

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

Few of us get through life without experiencing grief, but, as a culture, we don't do a great job of talking about it. What you should know about grief after COVID-19 deaths « The Union Democrat

Monday, August 16, 2021

In Grief: Remembering Only The Good

You should never say anything bad about the dead, only good. Joan Crawford is dead. Good.  ~ Bette Davis on the death of Joan Crawford

A reader writes: Recently I read something about finding a balance in one's mind of what was good and what was not so good in a past relationship. The idea was that remembering only the good can make it harder to come to terms with the loss. And they used a term for finding this balance. Marty, are there any articles you could suggest on this topic?

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Understanding and Managing Grief, August 8 - August 14, 2021

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

At least 30% of California students surveyed by the ACLU said they’d lost a loved one during the pandemic. “Grief comes in all shapes and sizes, but for everyone, it means that life will forever be changed,” one educator said. “For students experiencing this, just noticing and caring can mean the world.”  How schools help students who’ve lost loved ones to COVID « Lookout Santa Cruz

Monday, August 9, 2021

In Grief: Will I See Her In My Dreams?

Desire is indeed powerful. It engenders belief. ~ Marcel Proust

A reader writes: I know this is probably foolish to ask, but then again the way I have been over the last 2 months anything can be seen as foolish. I have been told by others that have suffered a loss to expect to see my loved one within a few months after death........ I wait, and I wait, and I'm still waiting... I want so much to tell her one more time that I love her ...as I sit in the dark I look and listen for her.

Monday, August 2, 2021

Voices of Experience: Love and Light Live in The Wake of Loss

From the time we’re born, our brothers and sisters are our collaborators and coconspirators, our role models and our cautionary tales.  ~ Jeffrey Kluger

When her younger brother died unexpectedly on foreign soil in February of 2014, the mystery and complications around his death made the grieving process even more paralyzing for Susan Casey. Struggling to traverse her grief journey, she began to write, and as her blog’s audience grew, she experienced firsthand the saving grace of putting pen to paper. Soon she became a contributing writer to Open to Hope and The Grief Toolbox

In her inspiring book, Rock On: Mining for Joy in the Deep River of Sibling Grief, Susan delves deeply into her own experience of grief and includes interviews she conducted of siblings who lost a brother or sister and transformed them into powerfully written narrative grief vignettes.

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Understanding and Managing Grief & Pet Loss, July 25 - July 31, 2021

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

Many people are starting to celebrate the return to a pre-pandemic life. How does that feel to those who have suffered losses and are still grieving? Joy and grief will coexist as Americans return to pre-pandemic life – 'everyday memorials' will help « Religion News Service

Monday, July 26, 2021

Pet Loss: Coping with Multiple Losses

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

A reader writes: I am crying as I write this because I had to put my beloved dog to sleep a week ago today. My other dog also has health problems and has been ill the whole time we went through the trauma of losing our ''girl'' last week. Tonight we had to take our other dog, our little boy, to the vet's. The vet is ''guardedly'' optimistic, although my dog has kidney problems, but has now started being sick to his stomach. I feel like the whole world is crashing down upon me.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Understanding and Managing Grief, July 18 - July 24, 2021

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

Grief is a natural part of life and it may sometimes bring important challenges. Developing coping skills may help you cope in a different way and start on your path to healing.  6 Coping Skills to Work Through Grief « Psych Central

Monday, July 19, 2021

In Grief: I Don't Understand The Process

When one person is missing the whole world seems empty.  ~ Pat Schweibert

A reader writes: My Mom died 2 days ago from Pancreatic Cancer. We hadn't seen each other since Christmas because of what now is something so trivial. Thankfully I'd written her letters and sent flowers on several occasions so I'm certain she knew that if anything I loved her.

It doesn't seem real. I cried my eyes out when I first learned of her death and then was distraught when my brother wouldn't let me see her body. I felt like I needed to see her to believe it. (He is a whole other dsyfunctional issue).

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Understanding and Managing Grief: July 11 - July 17, 2021

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

Because mindfulness is all about being with whatever comes up — good or bad — it makes an ideal companion for healthy grieving. Grief Touches Us All, But Mindfulness Can Help « Healthline

You may not think about them this way, but you already use coping strategies in your day-to-day life . . . Here, experts share seven coping strategies that can help you weather the grieving process. Dealing With Grief: 7 Coping Strategies « Health

Monday, July 12, 2021

In Grief: Widower Tries Going It Alone

Accepting help is its own kind of strength.  ~ Kiera Cass

A reader writes: My wife passed away in hospice five weeks ago. Since then I went home and had scant support from outside sources, to some degree by choice, and I've done everything mostly alone. Hospice people have called and sent literature, and I just couldn't accept my wife's death enough to respond.

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Understanding and Managing Grief, July 4 - July 10, 2021

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

A website, surfsidestrength.com, has been set up as a portal for accessing help later or for those who are grieving from afar — Counselors work to ease grief over Florida building collapse « Spectrum News 1

Your feedback is welcome! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question, or share a tip, a related article or a resource of your own in the Comments section below. If you’d like Grief Healing Blog updates delivered right to your inbox, you’re cordially invited to subscribe to our weekly Grief Healing Newsletter. Sign up here.

Monday, July 5, 2021

In Grief: Contact With The Deceased?

To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.  ~ Thomas Campbell

A reader writes: Two years ago my husband of forty years passed away from congestive heart failure. I'm working through my grief and have done better than I ever thought I would. I have support and love from family and friends. I am secure financially. I am secure in my Christian faith. I am very blessed and I know it.

My question for you is this: Has anyone who's lost a loved one ever told you he/she has had some kind of experience with the deceased? Either seeing, hearing, or feeling the touch of the loved one. I have and I wanted to see what your thoughts are. Below are my own experiences.

Sunday, July 4, 2021

Understanding and Managing Grief, June 27 - July 3, 2021

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

The unfairness of it is breathtaking. Grieving for what your person is missing, for what “he would have loved,” is complicated. There is no way to prepare for it. I'm Grieving For All The Things My Husband's Missing « Scary Mommy

Friday, July 2, 2021

Children and Teens in Grief: Suggested Resources

Given their limited experience with loss, your children may be surprised or embarrassed by the intensity of their grief when a death happens, and they may try to hide it or disguise it. Your best approach is to watch and listen – to tune into your children, to be there for them, and if you’re unsure what’s going on with them, to ask! What else can you do to help them?

Monday, June 28, 2021

In Grief: Conflicting Feelings in the Wake of Loss

The mental mist of ambiguity and the fog of ambivalence hamper human existence.  ~ Kilroy J. Oldster

A reader writes: I am beside myself. I want to be OK with this because my wife had lung cancer and she isn't sick anymore. She no longer requires the numerous medications that were for everything from pain to nausea. I should be glad for her but I miss her. I thought I had said everything I needed to say but now I feel as though I have more to say.

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Understanding and Managing Grief, June 20 - June 26, 2021

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

A new study, published in PLOS One, explores bereaved individuals’ experiences and satisfaction with social support. The researchers’ findings indicate that animal, as opposed to human, supports can be the most satisfactory form of support. Pets More Effective for Grief Support than Humans, Study Finds « Mad in America

Monday, June 21, 2021

In Grief: Helping The Widower of My Best Friend

Can I see another's woe, and not be in sorrow too? Can I see another's grief, and not seek for kind relief?  ~ William Blake

A reader writes: My best friend was only 38 when she died from kidney cancer two years ago, just three days before Christmas. While I still miss her terribly and cry sometimes when I think of her, I think I’m grieving OK. I live on the east coast and my friend's widower and twin daughters, now seven, live in the west. We were all friends long before they married, stationed together at the same US military base many years ago.

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Understanding and Managing Grief & Pet Loss, June 13 - June 19, 2021

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

When compared with every other human group with whom grievers typically interact, animals provided significantly more support than family, friends, colleagues, therapists, social workers, medical staff, spiritual providers and more. Too often with humans, fear gets in the way of love. Animals simply just show up. Social work professor Joanne Cacciatore explores animals’ abilities to help those dealing with grief « ASU News

Monday, June 14, 2021

In Grief: Nursing Student Struggles With Father Loss

No matter how old we are, we still need our dads, and wonder how we’ll get by without them.  ~ Jennifer Williamson

A reader writes: I guess you can say I am new at this. I don't even know if you can relate, and help ME understand what I am going through. I am a single, 22-year old who just lost my father due to a lung disease. I'm a fulltime nursing student with two months until I graduate with my BS in nursing. It’s just a bad time to feel lost and alone. It’s a struggle just to sit in class and not cry somedays... and everyone around me pretends nothing ever happened. How can I possibly deal with my father's death when life won't slow down long to even breathe?

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Understanding and Managing Grief, June 6 - June 12, 2021

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

Given that the risk of a healthy child dying is between zero and infinitesimally rare, it's understandable that many parents are appropriately asking, why vaccinate healthy kids at all?  Think Twice Before Giving the COVID Vax to Healthy Kids « MedPage Today 

Those persons who have never experienced what I refer to as “crushing, gut-busting, overwhelming, debilitating grief” might legitimately ask: Does Grief Hurt? « Centering and Grief Digest Magazine 

Monday, June 7, 2021

Pet Loss: Spiritual Beliefs and Prayer

The wish to pray is a prayer in itself.
~ Georges Bernanos

A reader writes: I know you've worked with people who've lost pets and I'm just wondering: Do you follow any particular belief system or religious point of view when it comes to animals? Such as Native American belief in the spirit of all things, or the Celtic belief in pets as familiars or any esoteric school of thought? And do you ever pray for or pray with your pet(s) or other people and their pets?

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Understanding and Managing Grief, May 30 - June 5, 2021

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

Loneliness and isolation are a giant cause of suffering for grieving people. Try these five tips on how to cope with the loneliness of grief.  Five Ways to Manage Your Grief and Loneliness « Refuge In Grief

A core set of principles separate those who make good and bad policy decisions. Op-Ed: Will the Real COVID Experts Please Stand Up? « MedPage Today 

Monday, May 31, 2021

Coping with Dreams in Grief

I think we dream so we don’t have to be apart for so long. If we’re in each other’s dreams, we can be together all the time.  ~ A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

A reader writes: I'm pretty sure there are a lot of topics about this but I wanted to ask if others have these really vivid dreams in which their lost loved one was still alive, but after waking up you realize she's not there anymore. How do you deal with that and when did the dreams go away? The dreams are strangely comforting but the feeling when you wake up is just devastating.

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Understanding and Managing Grief, May 23 - May 29, 2021

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

We may not travel to Washington D.C. this Memorial Day, but we can take time to pause and remember, to honor the fallen in our own individual and personal ways, and most especially to extend our heartfelt gratitude to the precious members of their families who mourn their losses each and every day. Memorial Day « Grief Healing

Monday, May 24, 2021

In Grief: Learning Independence at 40, Bereaved Daughter Shares Her Progress

If you truly want to be respected by people you love, you must prove to them that you can survive without them.  ~ Michael Bassey Johnson

A reader writes: I am presently not doing as well as I did in the past, I think it is because I think about this time last year and I was still in my old house caring for my parents until they both died, and now I am in the new one, and I guess I am just missing the old one a little bit… I still miss mom and dad but I think a lot of it is because I am lonely and think of them as my family and now I feel I have no one. The reason I am writing to you is to ask if you could help me with a problem I have. I am scared to death to learn how to drive...

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Understanding and Managing Grief, May 16 - May 22, 2021

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

Originally designated as a day “to cherish tenderly the memory of our heroic dead,” Memorial Day is held on the last Monday of May each year. The holiday offers us a great opportunity to recognize and honor the sacrifice of these dedicated service members and their families. Making the Most of Memorial Day « Grief Healing

Monday, May 17, 2021

In Grief: Are You A Christian?

When I do good I feel good, when I do bad I feel bad, and that is my religion.  ~ Abraham Lincoln

A reader writes: The poetry I read on your website's Comfort for Grieving Hearts page seemed to point people to God and Heaven. I was curious, are you a Christian, and do your books and writings dealing with coping, also point to God as our greatest source of comfort? We lost my dad earlier this year, and my brother-in-law last week. My family is definitely hurting, and just wanted to know a little bit more about you and your books -- if you don't mind to share?

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Understanding and Managing Grief, May 9 - May 15, 2021

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

My friend died when we were in ninth grade. He had cancer. He was sick over a year and I knew he probably wouldn’t make it, but his death hit me hard. It's important to understand grief is part of loss « Observer-Reporter

Monday, May 10, 2021

In Grief: My First Big Day Without My Mother

You know the real meaning of celebrating a birthday if you remember the sacrifice of giving birth by your mother.  ~ Elmitch Alarcio

A reader writes: My Mom's 79th birthday happens this week, and this will be my first big "day" without her. She died last winter and at first I truly didn't think I would be able to go on. As time has started to pass, I am functioning but some days are much harder than others. I always find myself reliving the day she died and I'm grateful I was there with her but still find myself focusing on those memories instead of happy ones. I had one dream in which she was there and I was hugging her and crying and telling her how afraid I was to lose her and how I didn't know how I could live the rest of my life without my Mom (I'm 37). That's the only dream I've had even though I pray each night for some sign from her. Now it's her birthday......

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Understanding and Managing Grief, May 2 - May 8, 2021

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

Jana Kramer hosted an emotional and honest episode of her podcast, where she talked about the grief she feels from ending her marriage. On Grief After Divorce « Sounds Like Nashville

Nearly 30 years ago, Carol Smith lost her son. This year, her mother died. As old and new grief collide, this is what she's learned. On Mother's Day Grief: Closure Is A Myth « TODAY

Monday, May 3, 2021

In Grief: A Lovely Tradition on Mother's Day

Mother’s love is bliss, is peace, it need not be acquired, it need not be deserved. If it is there, it is like a blessing; if it is not there, it is as if all the beauty had gone out of life.  ~ Erich Fromm

A reader writes: I just lost my mom a month ago. We had only known for 6 weeks that she had lung cancer. Let me tell you, those six weeks were short. She had just started the chemo treatments. I still can not believe she is gone ~ especially when I think about my first Mother's Day without her.

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Understanding and Managing Grief, April 25 - May 1, 2021

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

Although nothing can replace the love and support of friends or family, sometimes you need to grieve on your own. Here, we take a look at five grief apps that may help you understand death and the emotions you’re experiencing when adapting to life after the loss of a loved one. Five Apps That Can Be Helpful While Grieving « TAP into Westfield

Monday, April 26, 2021

Voices of Experience: Coloring As A Healing Tool in Grief

by Anne M. Gorman

When my husband of forty years died in 2012, I searched for whatever I could find that might help me with my grief. In 2013 I was introduced to the idea of mindfulness coloring for adults, in the form of Johanna Basford's beautiful coloring book, Secret Garden. I've since found this method of coloring to be a wonderful help in calming me and giving me something relaxing to do ~ especially since I live alone. 

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Understanding and Managing Grief, April 18 - April 24, 2021

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

Grief, the experts tell us, is not an emotion, like sadness, but a process by which we come to terms with loss. Seen through that lens, in different ways and for different reasons, we are all grieving right now. Face to Face: Grief in the Time of COVID « UMB News 

Monday, April 19, 2021

In Grief: Searching for Meaning

Never stop just because you feel defeated. The journey to the other side is attainable only after great suffering.  
~ Santosh Kalwar

A reader writes: What’s the point in life, when it’s too often filled with more pain than joy?

My response: You’ve asked a very important question, my dear. At various points in my own life, I’ve found myself asking much the same question, which I suppose is what calls me to keep searching for answers (not unlike yourself).

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Understanding and Managing Grief, April 11 - April 17, 2021

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

It’s no wonder so many people fail to complete grief counseling sessions that are staged over a period of several weeks, with many attendees opting to bail out of such programs after just a week or two.  Why? I believe one of the reasons is because too many of the programs fail to provide a real roadmap to the healing grievers seek. Grief Recovery Programs Need to Include Action Plans « Open to Hope

Monday, April 12, 2021

In Grief and Caregiving: Finding Inspiration to Go On

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.     
~ Lao Tzu

A reader writes: I lost my dad four months ago. It has been a very difficult time for me. We were very close and our relationship grew even stronger 5 years ago when my mom underwent bypass surgery and suffered complications. As a result she developed what they call infarct dementia. Since my dad (who wasn't in the best of health) could not possibly care for her on his own, my wonderful husband  decided it was time for them to move in with us. I helped my dad nurse my mom back to a state where she could walk again and be in the world again. Although her recovery was miraculous in itself she was never again to be the same mentally. But that was o.k. we were just happy to have her back again. And for me it was a true lesson of how the power of love can get  you through your most difficult times. It certainly restored my faith. It was something that father and daughter did together as a true act of love.

The point of all of this is that my dad's passing left me feeling alone and hopeless. I silently asked myself how can I possibly care for my mom by myself?

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Understanding and Managing Grief, April 4 - April 10, 2021

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

If we know someone who has lost a loved one – and especially if they were not able to have a funeral or a memorial for that person as a result of COVID-19 – we need to reach out to them, let them know we are thinking about them, and be present for them during their pain and loss.  Op-Ed: After Death, Grief Shared Is Grief Diminished « MedPage Today

Monday, April 5, 2021

In Grief: Finding Support in A Group

[Reviewed and updated August 7, 2021]

Exploring the unknown requires tolerating uncertainty.  ~ Brian Greene

A reader writes: I am going to go to my first grief group meeting tomorrow afternoon. I have to admit, I have never been to any kind of support group meeting like this before, and I'm feeing pretty uncertain about it. Any thoughts you'd be willing to share with me?

My response: I applaud your decision to participate in a support group. It takes great courage to acknowledge your need for the support of others, and I respect and admire you for taking this important step in your own healing. Remember too that you are not alone in feeling as you do ~ I'm sure you'll meet others in your group who are just as reluctant to be there as you are. 

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Understanding and Managing Grief, March 28 - April 3, 2021

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

My suffering feels irrelevant at times; so many other people around the entire world are experiencing the same struggles, or even worse struggles than my own. With that being said, we need to acknowledge the sheer magnitude of what we’ve been through.  A Grief Unobserved « The University News

Monday, March 29, 2021

In Grief: Struggling With Acceptance and "Letting Go"

[Reviewed and updated July 26, 2021]

The beautiful journey of today can only begin when we learn to let go of yesterday.  ~ Steve Maraboli

A reader writes: I send you a letter, asking for guidance and help, my father passed away two months ago, and it's very hard to accept that he is gone, my mom is angry and sad, can you help us.