Monday, February 19, 2024

Making Comparisons in Grief

I generally find that comparison is the fast track to unhappiness. No one ever compares themselves to someone else and comes out even. Nine times out of ten, we compare ourselves to people who are somehow better than us and end up feeling more inadequate.  ~
Jack Canfield

As news about mass shootings and natural disasters continues to flood the airwaves, our hearts go out to the victims, survivors, and others who witnessed these horrific events, as well as to the people living in those places. As a nation we express our collective condolences, offer our heartfelt prayers, and work to contribute whatever we can toward their healing.

For those of us already struggling with grief, however, such catastrophic events unfortunately can give rise to feeling guilty for feeling bad, as if we don’t have a legitimate right to mourn our own individual losses.

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Understanding and Managing Grief, February 11 - February 17, 2024

Best selections from Grief Healing's X feed this week:

Milestone dates can catch us off guard and bring us to our knees. Preparing ahead of time can bring sweetness and meaning to the day. Create rituals that honor your loved one's life and legacy. Grieving Through Birthdays and Death Days « Psychology Today

Monday, February 12, 2024

In Grief: When An Ex-Spouse Dies

It is harder to accept the reality of loss if one is excluded from the dying process, restricted from the funeral rituals, inhibited from acknowledging the loss, or even given delayed news of the death.  ~ Kenneth J. Doka

A reader writes: I’m not really sure how to explain how I feel after losing my ex-spouse a month ago—especially since he died the same day I was having major surgery. Consequently, I’ve had quite a few complications from my surgery since I started taking care of my two teenage boys and their grief the morning after surgery when I got the phone call about their father. The funeral (which was put on by his new young wife) was about the last four years of his life and didn’t talk about our boys or even mention those years of his life. The people who spoke at the funeral described a man that the boys and I didn’t even know. Most people (at work and friends) don’t know what to say to me because they feel that I have no emotions about this since he was my ex-husband. It’s an uncomfortable subject for my current husband as well.

Sunday, February 11, 2024

Understanding and Managing Grief, February 4 - February 10, 2024

Best selections from Grief Healing's X feed this week:

Advances in neuroimaging are helping people better understand psychological reactions and responses to grief. Just as someone is changed by the arrival of a loved one into their life, they are altered by their departure. Grieving isn’t the problem: It is a solution, hardwired to help individuals navigate the pain of loss. What We Get Wrong About Grieving « Psychology Today

Monday, February 5, 2024

In Grief: When A Tragic Accident Takes A Mother's Life

Trauma is personal. It does not disappear if it is not validated. When it is ignored or invalidated the silent screams continue internally heard only by the one held captive. When someone enters the pain and hears the screams healing can begin.  ~ Danielle Bernock

A reader writes: I'm 25 years old, and I lost my mother in a surprising, tragic accident about 1 week ago. I was devastated for days, but now I don't feel much of anything... I feel saddened and confused, and I don't really know what to do... nothing feels important - but it is as if I should be feeling much worse, I don't know how to put it any better than that. The funeral was yesterday, and almost 500 people showed up to say goodbye (people were standing in the hallway doors looking it was so full), which was pretty touching considering my mom hardly ever left the house (except for work and dog walking), but it was a lovely thing. 

Sunday, February 4, 2024

Understanding and Managing Grief, January 28 - February 3, 2024

Best selections from Grief Healing's X feed this week:

Megan Roantree lost both her dad and her best friend Shauna in her teens, now she reflects on the things it taught her about grief, and what she wishes she knew. What I Learned In Loss – & What I Wish I Knew About Grief « Stellar

A practical, technical or vocational major may have value in the job market, but it won’t provide the emotional or philosophical tools needed to cope with profound personal experiences like the death of a parent. For that, one needs a grounding in the humanities, which delve into the human experience, emotions and existential questions that arise during our most significant life events. How The Humanities Can Aid in Coping With Loss « Inside Higher Ed

Monday, January 29, 2024

In Grief: When A Friend Refuses Support

One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and be understood.  ~ Seneca

A reader writes: I am hoping you can advise me what to do. I have a very dear and close friend whose brother died of suicide a month ago. This was his only sibling. He had to go identify the body and had to come home to a hysterical wife and barely functioning parents. As far as I know he has cried very little if at all. He and I haven't been able to discuss anything at all. My husband and I did everything we could to help the family with things. The problem is now though he will not call anymore and he has pulled away emotionally. He is saying things to me that I would say are hurtful. I have been trying to keep in touch with him, but now he says we are not compatible. I really want to help him through this very tough time. Do I step back and give him space or what do I do??? I am hoping you can give me some guidance. Thank you.

Sunday, January 28, 2024

Understanding and Managing Grief, January 14 - January 27, 2024

Best selections from Grief Healing's X feed this week:

There is a rising tide of positivity around the new year that can feel difficult for those suffering. Ambitious goals and resolutions can exacerbate discouragement or grief. An alternative approach is to focus on ways to steady and support yourself. How to Approach 2024 if Heavy-Hearted or Grief-Stricken « Psychology Today

Monday, January 22, 2024

Grief and Sexuality

Intimacy doesn't mean sharing nudity, intimacy means sharing vulnerability.   ~ Abhijit Naskar

A reader writes: My mother died recently, and although she was older and it happened rather quickly, still it was the saddest thing I’ve ever experienced. Now, three months later, I’m finding it very difficult to become intimate again with my husband. Even being in close proximity to him is difficult for me. It almost scares me. Especially because I want so desperately to know that my mom is watching over me, but I don't want her to see me having sex with my husband! Can you give me some direction on this? 

Monday, January 15, 2024

When Pet Loss Affects Feelings For Those Remaining

Love is what we are born with. Fear is what we learned here.  ~ Marianne Williamson

A reader writes: I had to put my 13 year-old baby Tasha to sleep three days ago. It was so hard. Even my vet and the vet tech cried. It was comforting to know that she was surrounded by love when she went. My problem now is that I have this huge emptiness in my heart and I feel like I can't love my other dogs as much as I used to.

Sunday, January 14, 2024

Understanding and Managing Grief, January 7 - January 13, 2024

Best selections from Grief Healing's X feed this week:

When Naomi Judd died by suicide in 2022, after a long struggle with mental illness, her daughter Ashley found her. In this deeply moving, revealing, and insightful conversation Ashley Judd talks about the trauma she has worked hard to face, the grief she now feels, and how her mother’s spirit is still very much alive in her life. Anderson Cooper interviews Ashley Judd: Grief, Love and Naomi « All There Is With Anderson Cooper

Monday, January 8, 2024

In Grief: Surviving A Brother's Fatal Accident

To the outside world we all grow old. But not to brothers and sisters. We know each other as we always were. We know each other’s hearts. We share private family jokes. We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys. We live outside the touch of time.  ~ Clara Ortega

A reader writes: I'm going through a very difficult time. My oldest brother (39) died a month ago in a car wreck. We were super close as I lived with him for 5 years and he was always  protecting me and giving me his support and guidance ( I'm 31). Even before he died he told me how much he loved me and to take care of my belly, that we will see each other in a few days -- but this never happened and I'm devastated! He was so full of life. His wife recently had a baby, they both had great jobs and just bought a new house. He had so many dreams but was robbed of all of them by a negligent driver! I'm so full of anger and hate!

Sunday, January 7, 2024

Understanding and Managing Grief, December 31 - January 6, 2024

Best selections from Grief Healing's X feed this week:

Normal grief is a process that varies from person to person. Prolonged Grief Disorder occurs when this process is derailed. Normal grieving is supported by joining specialized groups of mourners and cultural and religious customs. Prolonged Grief Disorder Therapy focuses on healing themes and achieving milestones as recovery progresses. Grief: What Is Normal and What Is Prolonged Grief Disorder « Psychology Today

Monday, January 1, 2024

In Grief: When A Counseling Relationship Is Ending

The only person you should ever fear losing in a relationship is you yourself. ~ Miya Yamanouchi

A reader writes: My situation isn't really typical of the reasons most people join your forums, but I am experiencing terrible grief and it's not something I can talk to anyone about because most people don't recognize or understand it. I feel incredibly alone.

I've seen a counselor for coming up to three years and she has helped me through some of the most difficult times of my life. I have a tough life with a long-term illness and I have a disabled child so I feel really isolated. I've been fortunate enough to see my counselor free at an agency and I feel really close to her. I'm not close to my family at all as I had a tough upbringing and I don't see my friends very often. I'm a single parent since my marriage broke down 5 years ago.

My counselor told me 4 weeks ago that she is leaving the agency due to personal circumstances.