Monday, May 29, 2023

Grief In The Second Year: "Harder And More Painful Now"

Sometimes the first anniversary of his death is one of peace when we realize that we managed to survive the worst year of our life, but then we wake up to the second year and find a whole other set of challenges to meet.  ~ Pat Bertram

A reader writes: How does one deal with the overwhelming grief at 14 months and 9 days? For me it is harder and more painful now. Am I crazy Marty? I have not dreamed of my beloved since he went to Heaven, except a nightmare the night he died, that they lost him in the tunnels in the hospital. I can't feel him, no one will say his name and I am trying desperately to understand this all. Does it mean that since I cannot dream or feel him that I did something wrong? I feel that way. My doctor/therapist told me that the second year may be harder and she was so right, am I the only person that feels this way?

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Understanding and Managing Grief, May 21 - May 27, 2023

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

Children process grief differently from adults. The grief and sacrifice of a child who loses a parent in military combat are ongoing. Children can process the death of a soldier parent, but the realness and permanence may be hard to accept. Memorial Day: A Hidden Audience in Grief « Psychology Today

Monday, May 22, 2023

Supporting Children and Adolescents in Grief

As an adult or child, experiencing grief means to “feel,” not just to “understand.” Anyone old enough to love is old enough to grieve.  ~ Alan D. Wolfelt

Children and adolescents grieve just as deeply as adults, but depending on their cognitive and emotional development, they will experience and express their grief differently from the grown-ups around them.

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Understanding and Managing Grief, May 14 - May 20, 2023

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

Grief can blindside us at otherwise ordinary moments. Grief is an invisible wound because all our pain is internal. Sharing these experiences can help educate others about grief. How Your Pain Helps Teach The World « Psychology Today

Monday, May 15, 2023

In Grief: Feeling Numb, Unable to Cry

Tears have a wisdom all their own. They come when a person has relaxed enough to let go to work through his sorrow. They are the natural bleeding of an emotional wound, carrying the poison out of the system. Here lies the road to recovery.  ~ F. Alexander Magoun 

A reader writes: My only sibling and big brother passed away six months ago, he was 30 years old. I used to be able to cry. I mean I would cry at work when things got stressful, and I would cry after fighting with friends, or cry if I were purely frustrated. My brother passes away and no tears. No tears at the funeral home. No tears at the hospital. No tears at the funeral. And no tears ... six months later.

Sunday, May 14, 2023

Understanding and Managing Grief & Pet Loss, May 7 - May 13, 2023

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

For practical suggestions on how to cope with grief on Mother’s Day ~ or on how to better understand and support a mother, mother figure, daughter, grandmother (or a dad!) in grief ~ you're invited to access one or more of the helpful articles and resources listed here:  Coping with Grief on Mother's Day: Selected Resources « Grief Healing

Monday, May 8, 2023

Using Antidepressants to Manage Acute, Normal Grief

Encouraging words are good medicine for the soul. 
Lailah Gifty Akita

A reader writes: About four weeks ago, I came off an antidepressant which allowed the unresolved grief issues over my brother’s death to surface. I believe that the antidepressant kept me from fully grieving his loss, which I am in the process of doing now. A colleague, therapist, and good friend who has known me over the years knows exactly where I am and says perhaps just a small dosage of an antidepressant (not the one that I was on) could be beneficial until resolution and integration is accomplished. I see my M.D. next week to explain what has been going on, and to get a med check (I am also on a thyroid medication). I seem to be doing well and don’t really want to take any more meds. I would appreciate any advice in this respect.

Sunday, May 7, 2023

Monday, May 1, 2023

Voices of Experience: Saying Yes to Help (Saying Yes to Everything)

Never say "there are no words" to the grieving.  ~ Colin Campbell 

In his new book, author Colin Campbell offers an honest account of his journey through profound loss and grief, while providing guidance and practical tools for others going through similar experiences. Loss and grief are universal experiences but too often shrouded in isolation and discomfort.

Finding the Words: Working Through Profound Loss with Hope and Purpose is a powerful and personal exploration of grief, as a bereft father shares his experience of losing both his children, Ruby and Hart when a drunk driver hit their car, and changed what was a pleasant family outing to the worst day imaginable. Colin Campbell addresses the fear, pain, denial, guilt, rage, despair and isolation that accompanies grief and encourages readers to find community and ritual in the face of loss. 

Sunday, April 30, 2023

Understanding and Managing Grief, April 23 - April 29, 2023

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

People in acute grief are especially vulnerable and may be very private or open to interacting with others about the details. Though the expression of sorrow may be sincere, one's personal beliefs may not be shared by the acutely bereaved. Being present and simply expressing sorrow for the person's loss is usually well-received.  What Not to Say to Someone Acutely Grieving « Psychology Today

Monday, April 24, 2023

Seeing a Specialist in Grief Counseling: Why It Matters

A reader writes: I’ve been suffering from depression for a long time and am under the care of a psychiatrist. I went to see my doctor for the first time since my father died and was a complete wreck since I had to re-tell what happened. I was crying because it's hard to talk about Dad's sudden downfall and last day, but my psychiatrist seemed to think that I was being overly emotional. I tried to tell him that I'm not upset every day and that I didn't think that my sadness less than five months after Dad's death was abnormal. I did confess to doing some stupid things immediately after he passed and how hard some things have been, but I walked out of his office feeling like I should be over it. 

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Understanding and Managing Grief, April 16 - April 22, 2023

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

It is normal both to feel great sadness and relief after your loved one passes away. Your relationship to your loved one can further complicate how you experience and process your grief. 6 Things Caregivers Should Know About Their Grief « Psychology Today

Monday, April 17, 2023

Children, Pet Loss and The Power of Story

The one best place to bury a dog is in the heart of its master. ~ Ben Hur Lampman

Death of a pet may be a young family’s first encounter with significant loss, and one of the questions parents will face is how to explain it to their children. Depending upon their age, personality and level of development at the time, children may have a tough time understanding death and the grief that accompanies significant loss, and parents may be at a loss as to how to explain it to them.

Sunday, April 16, 2023

Understanding and Managing Grief, April 9 - April 15, 2023

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

Disenfranchised Grief describes a loss you don’t feel entitled to, that no one seems to understand, and that isn’t openly acknowledged, mourned or publicly supported. Many situations can lead to this, and it’s incredibly valid. What Is Disenfranchised Grief? Here's What To Know. « Huff Post

Monday, April 10, 2023

In Grief: When A Loved One Is Missing

Not every loss was confirmed by an officer at the door. Nor a telegram with the power to sink a fleet. Loss, often the worst kind, also arrived through the deafening quiet of an absence. ~ Kristina McMorris

A reader writes:  I honestly think I'm going a little mad. Three months ago my brother took a break from moving into his apartment [in Jamaica], went out for lunch, and never returned. Boxes were not opened and he never slept in the bed. His car was never recovered, which makes things more complicated. From all indications the police have a suspect(s) but according to them, without a confession or a witness there is absolutely nothing they can do.

Sunday, April 9, 2023

Understanding and Managing Grief, April 2 - April 8, 2023

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

A new study finds differences between men and women in the "widowhood effect." Men have a higher likelihood of dying themselves after the death of their spouse than women do. I Can’t Live Without Her: When Grieving Men Die « Psychology Today

Monday, April 3, 2023

When Hospice Care Fails to Meet Caregiver's Expectations

The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.  ~ Henry Ford

A reader writes: I lost my husband from a cancer. He was a fighter and I stood by him day and night all the way for seven months. I watched him deteriorate to a skeleton and when hospice was called in they did such a horrible job by letting him suffer that I cannot forgive myself for me having to shove pain medicine into his mouth with a little bit of water in a straw. I still hear him asking me what are you doing to me? Are you trying to kill me? and he was in such pain. I hate hospice for letting this happen.

Sunday, April 2, 2023

Understanding and Managing Grief, March 26 - April 1, 2023

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

Wind phones function as a therapeutic salve for people grappling with bereavement. They are typically found in a booth set in natural surroundings, where grieving folks can go to call their departed loved ones on a disconnected “phone” that will carry their words to them with the wind. Call Them on a ‘Wind Phone’ so the Breeze Can Carry Your Words « Goodnet

Monday, March 27, 2023

Grief Is Difficult

Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult -- once we truly understand and accept it ~ then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters. M. Scott Peck, MD

A reader writes:  I read in one of your recent posts a quotation from The Road Less Traveled about accepting the fact that life is difficult. I'm trying to understand the author's words but failing.

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Understanding and Managing Grief & Pet Loss, March 19 - March 25, 2023

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

Grief is a normal emotion, but it can be overwhelming. Coping with death, whether it's the loss of a relative or friend, is vital to mental health. Here are tips for grieving in an effective way.  How to deal with grieving the loss of a loved one « azcentral

Monday, March 20, 2023

Pet Loss: Child Seeks Ways to Cope

How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.  ~ Winnie the Pooh

A reader writes: Today my cat Mischief died! She was the best cat in the world! She died with my parents at our house. I am VERY heart-broken! Besides my dogs she was the only friend that would NEVER get mad at me!!! I mean this is a lot for me to go through at the small age of 10! Do you know of any ways for me to cope but never forget the good times we had?

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Understanding and Managing Grief & Pet Loss, March 12 - March 18, 2023

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

It happened AGAIN today! If you think it can't happen to you, read the comments (114 and counting!) at the base of this blog post. Please, PLEASE pay attention to your cat or kitten's whereabouts. Losing a beloved animal in such a horrific way leaves pet parents traumatized with gruesome images and devastating feelings of grief, guilt and remorse. Pet Loss: Curious Cats Get Killed in Clothes Dryers « Grief Healing

Monday, March 13, 2023

In Grief: Saying The Wrong Thing at A Funeral

Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.  ~ Benjamin Franklin 

A reader writes: I don't know why I'm so unable to say the right thing at the right time but for some reason I just seem to put my foot into my mouth and make so many ridiculous comments. I decided to go to a funeral of a person I was acquainted with through a church activity group. She died last Sunday and her funeral was yesterday. All I could do was think about my mom and I was crying for the loss of my mom more so than I was crying for the loss of this friend. I felt sadness for her family and could see they were going through the same things that I did when my mom died three months ago.

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Understanding and Managing Grief, March 5 - March 11, 2023

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

The International Day of Hope and Healing after Loss is a free online experience brought to you by the Opento Hope Foundation with the mission of helping people find hope after loss. Open to Hope's International Day of Hope & Healing After Loss « YouTube

Monday, March 6, 2023

Looking for Aswers in Grief

He who has a why to live can bear almost any how. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

A reader writes: I have never been a religious person. But it seems that when you have such a tragedy in your life like losing a husband of 40 years that you seem to turn that way because you are looking for an answer. All the books that I seem to read talk about the plan that God has in store for you. Why I get so upset is that I was completely happy with my old plan - being with the love of my life until we were, say, 90 years old (not just 60). So why take my wonderful plan away and make me so miserable because He has a plan for me?

Sunday, March 5, 2023

Understanding and Managing Grief, February 26 - March 4, 2023

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

The first step in offering support is to acknowledge that this is their loss, too.“Support doesn’t have to look different for either partner. It just needs to be actively demonstrated,” said Jacqueline Fernando, a California therapist who specializes in infertility and pregnancy loss counseling. How To Support The Non-Pregnant Partner After A Miscarriage « Huff Post

Monday, February 27, 2023

Voices of Experience: Navigating Grief in the Wake of A Husband's Suicide

After taking her sons on a hike with the family dog one beautiful fall afternoon, Charlotte Maya returned home to find a police woman, a policeman, and a priest in her driveway—there to deliver the news of her husband’s suicide. Charlotte knew her husband had been stressed about work, but she had no idea he was suicidal. She thought he had stayed home to take a nap. 

As a young widow, Charlotte cried, cursed, meditated, medicated, downward-dogged, and ran as a way to make sense of her husband’s suicide. As the mother of two bereft sons, she summoned her inner strength and clarity in order to provide steady guidance for them to navigate their own ways through the ensuing months and years. Her story offers intimate moments, powerful lessons, as well as practical ways through which not only suicide survivors but any of us experiencing loss can move forward to live lives of joy and purpose.

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Understanding and Managing Grief, February 19 - February 25, 2023

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

Everyone's grief is different. Good intentions don't necessarily bring good advice. Giving advice can be a subtle route to power. Why You Can Ignore Advice About Grief « Psychology Today

Monday, February 20, 2023

Mother's Death Threatens Couple's Love Relationship

The death of a mother is the first sorrow wept without her.  ~ Unknown

A reader writes: I've been with my fiance for almost two years. His mother passed away unexpectedly nine months ago, and he was the one to find her. I understand this is a significant emotional struggle for anyone. I've tried to be there for him as much as possible, but any time he loses his temper, it's usually taken out on me.

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Understanding and Managing Grief & Pet Loss, February 12 - February 18, 2023

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

If Dog Mountain were just a joyful place where dogs can run around, or plop into a nice pond, it would still be pretty special – 150 dog-friendly acres in the scenic hills of northern Vermont. But there is much, much more to this story. It's actually a real tear jerker, sweet but sad.  A dog lover's pilgrimage to Dog Mountain « CBS News

Monday, February 13, 2023

Teen Grief: Worried About My Daughter

Avoidance has never been a great tactic in solving any problem. For most situations in life, not addressing what's going on only makes matters worse.
  ~ Luvvie Ajayi

A reader writes: My daughter is 16. Her brother was 17 when he was killed three months ago. As we live where there is no other family she had to be the second one to identify his body. She won't talk. It's like he never existed. I have tried getting her to counseling but she isn't interested. The counselor told me to just be here for her when she needs me and that she is taking her cues from me. But I am really worried that if she bottles this up it will compound later on. I'm not so sure I am right. Can you shed some light please?

Sunday, February 12, 2023

Understanding and Managing Grief & Pet Loss, February 5 - February 11, 2023

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

February 14 can be a difficult day for those of us who are grieving, and for some it will be the first Valentine’s Day since our precious Valentine died. For us there is no celebration; there is only grief. Grief Rituals Can Help on Valentine's Day (Or Any Special Day) « Grief Healing

Monday, February 6, 2023

Pet Loss: When Needed Support Is Lacking

Disappointment to a noble soul is what cold water is to burning metal; it strengthens, tempers, intensifies, but never destroys it.  ~ Eliza Tabor

A reader writes: Dear Marty, since I lost my beloved animal companion a week ago I haven't been able to participate in your online Pet Loss Forum, as I cannot express in words the anguishing pain I’m feeling.  As vulnerable as I am, I cannot expose my feelings to anyone but the most deeply understanding people, and so I'm not ready to expose myself yet. I've already been further aggrieved by some around me, so can't take even one more slight hurt right now, whether intentional or not.

Sunday, February 5, 2023

Understanding and Managing Grief & Pet Loss, January 29 - February 4, 2023

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

"No one warned me how badly grief can make you yearn for physical intimacy – or how much backlash I would get for wanting to talk about it." When grief makes you horny « The Spinoff

Monday, January 30, 2023

Disenfranchised Grief: When A Friend Dies

Some people come into our lives and leave footprints on our hearts and we are never ever the same.
  ~ Flavia Weedn

A reader writes: A friend of mine died last month. I have been struggling to cope since then. We met only a few months ago when I did some work at the theater where he was based. We knew each other a very short time and I realize that if you've lost someone you've known for years this may seem so selfish and silly, but we really connected and I miss him so much.

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Understanding and Managing Grief, January 22 - January 28, 2023

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

Unlike other causes of death (like illnesses or accidents), which happen to the person, suicide is an act performed by the person who has chosen death, leaving bereaved survivors with guilt and haunting questions. Healing and Rebuilding Your Life After a Spouse's Suicide

Monday, January 23, 2023

Acknowledging Jealousy and Anger in Grief

It would be impossible to estimate how much time and energy we invest in trying to fix, change and deny our emotions ~ especially the ones that shake us at our very core, like hurt, jealousy, loneliness, shame, rage and grief.  ~ Debbie Ford

A reader writes: My counselor came. We talked. I told her about my horrible feelings about other people who have been ill and are recovering. Instead of feeling good for them like a proper empathetic person should do, I feel sorry that they are getting better. How totally awful is that? My counselor said that it's anger that my husband died and they didn't. She said she asked me way back if I felt anger at my husband’s death and I said No. She said now the anger is coming out in resentment that others have survived and my husband has not. I think she may be right. I have struggled with this because it seems such a horrible attitude.

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Understanding and Managing Grief, January 15 - January 21, 2023

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

The truth is: We have very active imaginations. We actually CAN imagine what they're going through. We just don't want to. We recoil at the idea of envisioning ourselves in their shoes. So we tell them, and ourselves, that we can't imagine it, and it keeps the pain at a distance. Can You Imagine How a Grieving Person Feels? « Next Avenue

Monday, January 16, 2023

Voices of Experience: Heartbreak to Hope

Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words. ~ Robert Frost

People who are mourning a loss often don’t have the mental ability to focus on books, so the short length of a poem is a perfect fit. Each of the poems in Kara Bowman's Heartbreak to Hope: Poems of Support for Grief and Loss captures a different aspect of grief. Readers will find their experience reflected on the pages in accessible and easily understood vignettes. They will feel less alone knowing that others have experienced the same feelings. They will move through the process of grief, having words for their emotions. And they will treasure this volume, coming back to their favorites time and time again for comfort and understanding.

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Understanding and Managing Grief & Pet Loss, January 8 - January 14, 2023

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

This year, I encountered my worst nightmare. Despite all of the trauma that I’ve experienced, no level of abuse compared to facing the one thing I feared most in the world: losing my best friend, my emotional support animal (ESA), Willow. How My Emotional Support Animal Continues to Heal Me Even After Her Passing « Your Tango

Sunday, January 8, 2023

Pet Loss: Yet Another Kitten Killed in Clothes Dryer

A deliberate mistake is not the same as an accidental one.  ~ Frank Sonnenberg

A reader writes: My mother saved three kittens from a feral life when she found them on her property by a feral mom. She watched them closely until mom had started weaning them then she took them in and had been raising them for the last couple months. They’re finally big enough for their sterilization surgeries and they are scheduled. I’ve been around animals my entire life. I’ve worked as an assistant in the veterinary field so I’m no stranger to animal care or loss. However yesterday crushed me.

Understanding and Managing Grief, January 1 - January 7, 2023

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

Comedian Cariad Lloyd has spoken to hundreds of bereaved people for her award-winning series Griefcast and a new book on dealing with loss. She shares the lessons she has learned. 16 Ways to Talk to People Who Are Grieving « The Guardian

Monday, January 2, 2023

New Year Resolutions for The Bereaved

Nothing relieves and ventilates the mind like a resolution. ~ John Burroughs

A reader writes: It has been 10 weeks now since my husband died, and I’m noticing that I cannot concentrate on things like I used to. I just daydream so much about him – good things and bad. Also my memory is not so good lately which surprises me. I just write down a to-do list for myself often so that my life won’t completely fall apart. I can’t seem to decide on what to do a lot of the time, and I change my mind so much that I don’t want to promise people anything.

Sunday, January 1, 2023

Understanding and Managing Grief, December 25 - December 31, 2022

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

Personal Perspective: Time brings healing, but also heartbreak. In grief, we must come to terms with leaving our loved ones behind in time. The passage of time is necessary for healing, but at the same time can be painful. Love is impervious to the effects of time. Grief and The Passage of Time « Psychology Today