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Exploring Grief – We Have All Lost Something

Exploring Grief – We Have All Lost Something

Internal work on our believe systems, thought patterns and behaviors is the hardest work any of us will ever do.  It takes a great deal of courage and desire to change to undergo the strenuous work of digging through the layers of hidden feelings, experiences and hurts. 

Those who are in healing professions know how important it is to examine closely and deal with the wound rather than just covering it with a bandage and allowing it to fester.  The power  comes when we release the pain and suffering and allow the healing to begin.

Looking at What We Have Lost

Some would say they have not suffered grief because they have not had the experience of losing a loved one to death. This is simply a method of self protection and denial. 

Loss does not always take human form. It can be an beloved animal that ran away. Or a promotion that we did not receive. Or a dream that is still deep in our heart. Or even a fantasy of a loving and respectful relationship. It could be the loss of faith.

Loss is Universal

Many think of grief as a huge sadness, but it is much more subtle than that.  It may take the form of a nameless yearning, a feeling of being “unfinished” or “undone”.  It is much more important to analyze what we feel rather than why we feel it.

We all have grief of some kind to explore. However, sometimes it is the grief of losing someone to death that brings all these emotions rushing forward where we can examine them. It is then we may recognize some of the emotions and feelings we have had for many years but have never verbalized.

A Broken Heart is Open to Teaching

When our heart is open and raw, it is easier to receive messages from teachers, guides, and those who want the best for us.  It may be the first time we have ever sat quietly and allowed our spirit to shift to a new level of awareness.  If we allow suppressed feelings of loss to surface and be dealt with as the doctor would when treating a wound on our physical body, we can begin the process of healing.

You may like to visit my blog for more answers and suggestions to help you discover ways to deal with your loss. I know that it is a difficult road, and you don’t have to go it alone. 

Grief, Sympathy, and Support: How to Offer Comfort When Someone is Hurting

Grief, Sympathy, and Support:
How to Offer Comfort When Someone is Hurting

What do you say to someone who has just lost a child to death? What do you say to someone whose parent has died from a lingering illness? What do you say when a family member lost their life in a war you don’t believe in? What do you say when the death came about from murder? Or suicide? Or drug overdose?

An odd by-product of my loss is that I’m aware of being an embarrassment to everyone I meet. At work, at the club, in the street, I see people, as they approach me, trying to make up their minds whether they’ll say something about it’ or not. I hate it if they do, and if they don’t
~ C.S. Lewis from A Grief Observed

It is often easier to say nothing than risk saying the wrong thing. However, the death of a loved one is the worst thing that can happen to someone and so to ignore the survivor, or fail to mention the loss, is to add to the hurt.

Friends and relatives need to talk about the loss and to know that they are safe in discussing it with you. They need to be reassured that you acknowledge their feelings, concerns and actions. Once you have accepted that a death has occurred and that the loved one needs your support and sympathy, there are ways to help the survivor.

* Do continue support after the funeral.
* Do listen when they need to talk about the death, person or the impact on them,
* Accept where they are and don’t try to hurry them through their grief process.
* Don’t compare their tragedy to someone else’s or your own.
* Don’t expect them to counsel and comfort you.
* Never say “I know how you feel” because you don’t. Each loss is unique.
* Do provide practical support-food, money, car rides, babysitting etc.
* Do provide social support and remind them you are available to listen and help as well as go out in public.

There are lots of ways to give verbal support and sympathy. Non verbal communication is the language of relationships. If the survivor is in shock, they may not remember what you said, but will always remember what you did.. Sometimes a pat on the arm, a hug, cleaning the house, raking the leaves, filling the car with gas, or writing a note lets the survivor know that you care.

These are just a few of the ways to let others know that you are aware of their sadness and acknowledge their feelings. When you offer a hand of sympathy and support, you help the survivor know they are not alone on this journey.

Will it always be accepted with gratitude? No. Should you offer the hand of love and acceptance anyway?

Yes. This is not about you. It is a way to honor those who have died and those who are left behind.

For more tips and suggestionson how to offer your support, you may like to visit my blog. Your kind words and unconditional support are the most important thing you can offer.

When the Search for the Cure Ceases: Palliative Care

When the Search for the Cure Ceases:  Palliative Care

Families often struggle with the need to be sure everything has been done that can be done their terminally ill loved one.  It can be very difficult for the patient and family members as they transition from making decisions  toward cure to making decisions that will help to allow for a comfortable and peaceful death.

When a terminally ill person and/or their loved ones make the decision to discontinue curative treatments and move instead into comfort care in preparation for approaching death, there are several matters which must be considered.

What is Palliative Care?

Palliative is any form of medical care or treatment that concentrates on reducing the severity of symptoms rather than curing the disease. The goal of palliative care is to relieve suffering and improve quality of life for those who are experiencing serious, complex and terminal illness.

This can include alternative or energy  work such as massage or aromatherapy which may alleviate the side effects of the curative treatments. One example is methods of relieving the nausea associated  with chemotherapy.

Over the past twenty years, the focus on a patient’s quality of life has gained substantial ground. Today in the United States, 55% of U.S. hospitals with over 100 beds offer a palliative care program and nearly one-fifth of community hospitals have palliative care programs. A relatively recent development is the concept of a dedicated health care team that is entirely geared toward palliative treatment, called a palliative care team.

There is often confusion between the terms hospice and palliative care. In the United States, hospice services and palliative care programs share similar goals of providing symptom relief and pain management.

However, the most important distinction between hospice and palliative care programs in the United States is that hospice is a Medicare Part A benefit, thus requiring many aspects of hospice care such as enrollment to be regulated by the United States federal government.

Non-hospice palliative care, however, is appropriate for anyone with a serious, complex illness, whether they are expected to recover fully, to live with chronic illness for an extended time, or to experience disease progression.

As death becomes more imminent, attempts to cure the disease taper off, while palliative care measures increase.

If you would like to read more about caring for terminally ill or aging loved ones I encourage you to visit my blog. You will find a wealth of information and supportive words to help you through this difficult and important time.

Stories Help Us Remember Our Loved Ones

Stories Help Us Remember Our Loved Ones

People who have lost a loved one, either a human or animal, search for ways to remember and at least keep a memory alive. Sharing stories helps us remember those good days and the joy that loved one brought to us. We may no longer to enjoy their fun and love in this existence, but the memory can remind us of the emotions and experiences we had together.

We want to remember the deceased and maintain some part of their live lessons in our daily journey. This need to remember becomes especially strong on birthdays, anniversaries or holidays. It may be the season that triggers our memory. Or a smell. Or a treasured old toy in the attic.

Whatever the touchstone of remembering, it is therapeutic to tell a story to another person and have them acknowledge your sharing.

Make a Mind Movie for the Listener

One of the goals of a good story is that the listener can build a picture in their mind of what you are telling them. They can actually envision this series of pictures unfolding as the tale progresses. They will, of course, put their own experiences in place as they build this inner mind movie. So, your story of your Uncle Bob taking you fishing as a child, will star their Uncle or someone from their own life context.

That is okay that unless they knew your Uncle Bob, they may picture another middle aged man. They may see you or perhaps themselves as the small boy. However, the story is making a connection between the two of you. Your mind pictures may not be the same, but the emotions will be similar and important to both the story teller and listener.

Stories Heal the Hurt

Donald Davis, a North Carolina storyteller and teacher said, “Stories have the power to heal individuals following a significant loss because they enable us to keep alive, honor, and bless people who are no longer with us. The story enables others to meet someone whom they will never actually meet in their lives. The story helps us process and understand our relationship with the person whom we have lost.”

You may like to visit my blog for more tips and suggestions to help you cope with the loss of a loved one.