Study Request: How People Respond During a Period of Bereavement

To Whom It May Concern:

My name is Karin Wang; I am a master student in clinical psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University. We are conducting a research project to understand how people respond during a period of bereavement. I am writing to ask whether you might be willing to share the study information with members of your grief support groups/subscribed populations who have had a loss of a loved one (see information and hyperlink below). The study is completely anonymous and confidential and can be easily completed from home in around 20 minutes.

The project is supervised by Dr. George A. Bonanno at Columbia University, who has been conducting research on bereavement for over 20 years. The questionnaires have all been validated by prior research, and there is no known risk associated with taking the questionnaire. The study is not intended as a bereavement intervention nor would it interfere with any therapeutic processes. Rather, it will contribute to the knowledge of the field, in the hope that a better understanding of how people react to loss can further our ability to help those who suffer the most. Not everyone grieves in the same way and some people suffer from prolonged grief reactions that impact their overall functioning for years; however, at present little is known about the emotional deficits that accompany prolonged grief reactions.

The link to the study is:
https://tccolumbia.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_8JwiIke5OcxLtfn

Please let me know if you have any questions, and thank you for your cooperation!

Best,
Karin Tong Wang, M.Phil.
Master Student, Clinical Psychology
Teachers College, Columbia University
ktw2116@tc.columbia.edu
347-722-0736

Twenty Years

by Dorothy Gillon

Editor’s Note: I met Dorothy, Charlie and their children in 1984 when our family relocated to Martin, TN. From the very beginning, I knew that the Gillons were a special family; warm, loving and caring. Although many miles separate Dorothy and I today, I am honored to share her story with you. Many hugs, my dear friend.

In MemoryWhen Peggy asked me to consider writing an article for her newsletter, I thought what do I have to say about grief that would be helpful to others. But after thinking about it for a while, I thought I have a lot to say about grief and how our family got through it—actually still getting through it. So bear with me as I give you some background about our life.

Charlie and I were married on August 13, 1972. We had a pretty wonderful marriage, easy most of the time, even with our moves to Micronesia; Carbondale, Illinois; Philadelphia, Mississippi (where our son Jamie was born in 1976) and finally to Martin, Tennessee (where our daughter Kathleen was born on our anniversary). We experienced loss along the way with both of our fathers dying very early in our life together and my Nana Dora a little later. We held each other when we cried and remembered our loved ones very often by reminiscing with stories. Continue reading Twenty Years

Your Wife Has Cancer, Now What?

by Carson Boss

Carson and Cindy
Carson and Cindy

Upon my wife, Cindy’s, diagnosis of breast cancer in early 2011, I began to reach out to other husbands I knew whose wife had gone through cancer. I started writing down the counsel they gave me, and other bits of information I gleaned from my own research and pamphlets we received early on. It dawned on me after I had accumulated about 40 pages of notes and directions that it would have been nice to have been given a book dealing with all of that information at our very first appointment. Continue reading Your Wife Has Cancer, Now What?

A Remembrance To My Friend

by Sandy Fox

Sandy Fox
Sandy Fox

You always think your story of your child’s death is the worst…until you read about the next child or children who died for whatever reason, whatever age. You hear about them through the Internet, through the TV and through books. Whether it is an accident, an illness or some other cause of death, there is always a story, unparalleled in its riveting emotions.

One story recently on the news shocked me. Only when I read the family name in the newspaper did I realize it was my personal friend’s family. I was shocked and saddened to learn the details, none of which are important to this blog. What is important is that any loss in a family, no matter who, how many or under what circumstances is devastating. I dedicate my column today to my friend and her husband and hope that words of comfort from other friends and relatives will aid in the healing process. Continue reading A Remembrance To My Friend

Motherless Daughter – A Tribute to My Best Friend

by Martha King
Guiding Hearts with Hope

Martha King
Martha King

I was in South America in my senior year, preparing for finals and heading to college to be a surgeon. My mother was 37, and I was seventeen. My father was a pharmacist at the time, but working on a plan for all of us to visit North America after I graduated. My mother was very devastated with the idea. She questioned my father, “How can I be in two places at once (the North and the South)?” God had a plan from the beginning. She was pregnant at that time, and the baby was not due for another month. All the paperwork was completed a year in advance for our trip.

Saturday, May 28, 1977, 9:00AM. My mother gave birth to a healthy girl, her 6th child at home. There was a lot of excitement and happiness, but that was about to change. The private midwife said, “We have trouble!” My mother developed a headache right after the labor and started going into convulsions, her body became toxic, and she went into a coma. I remember very clearly, a few minutes before, the way she reached for my hand and said to my father, “I am scared, please don’t let me die”. We called for an ambulance and they took her, it was the last time I saw my mother alive. Each of her children, ranging in age from 17 to one day old, and my father, were left with little idea of how to manage the grief. Continue reading Motherless Daughter – A Tribute to My Best Friend

Alive on Canvas®–A New Way to Share the Memory of Your Loved One

by Gina Klawitter
Fine Artist Specialized in Serving Bereavement

Gina KlawitterWhat should families do with a deceased loved one’s personal belongings? This situation is hard to contemplate. Meaningful, memorable possessions usually end up stored in a basement or drawer, or displayed in a lifeless shadow box.

Now, there’s a poignant way for families to share and enjoy such cherished items. Artist Gina Klawitter creates life-like, celebratory keepsake portraits featuring her subjects’ personal clothing and belongings. From christening gowns to sports uniforms and play outfits, Gina artfully forms clothing and other items into custom collage paintings. She calls her unique collage art, Alive on Canvas®. Gina also offers a how-to book, Commemorate, Celebrate! for those who want to create their piece as a means of hands-on healing. (No art or craft skills required.) Continue reading Alive on Canvas®–A New Way to Share the Memory of Your Loved One

Sudden Versus Anticipated Death

by Peggy Sweeney

Peggy Sweeney
Peggy Sweeney

No matter how our loved one died, we grieve. However, the manner in which the death happens will influence our grieving process. For instance, a heart attack, stroke, or a motor vehicle accident are examples of sudden death. Shock and disbelieve are often our first reactions. When I received a phone call from a family friend that my dad had a heart attack and was dead, I immediately hung up the phone and dialed my parents’ home because I knew the person who had called must have been mistaken. Sadly, they were not.

When death occurs as the result of a long-term illness or injury, the levels of shock and disbelief may be less intense than they are with a sudden death, because we have known for some time of the imminent death. Nevertheless, when someone we love is slowly dying because of cancer, heart disease, a brain injury, or Alzheimer’s disease, we may find ourselves surprised when his or her death occurs. This is not an abnormal response, but rather a belief that as long as there is life there is hope. Continue reading Sudden Versus Anticipated Death

Fighting the Devil Within

by Don Prince

Don Prince
Don Prince

None of us ever wants to admit defeat. It is not in our nature.  What makes it even more difficult for people like us is what we do.  We are the ones going in, giving aid, support, sacrifices and sometimes even our lives in order to save others.  We are supposed to be the invincible ones and for the most part we are. But ultimately we are all human; we act and react differently to situations both in and out of the “job”.

Pressure, stress and pain are pretty much unavoidable in all forms: both physical and mental or a combination of any of them.   How each one of us deals with these stresses; such as self-medicating and isolating, is what separates us from our families, loved ones and careers. Continue reading Fighting the Devil Within

wife has cancerYour Wife Has Cancer, Now What?: What to Expect When the Unexpected Happens
by Carson Boss

When your wife is diagnosed with cancer, there is a lot of information to read and review. You get overwhelmed with pamphlets, books, and binders that discuss her type of cancer. There are support groups, hotlines and other organizations to assist her. But what about you? Written from the experienced perspective of someone who went through his wife’s cancer Your Wife Has Cancer, Now What? provides a practical overview of what you, as husband and best friend, need to know. Your Wife Has Cancer, Now What? includes information on how to overcome the shock and fear of diagnosis, how to talk to your family, choosing the right doctors, where and how to give support, the transition of normal household duties and how to manage those, the real costs of cancer both financial and emotional, how to continue and nurture your romance, how to manage your full-time job and other long-term issues that are critical to know and navigate.

chemo therapistChemo-Therapist: How Cancer Cured a Marriage
by Mary Potter Kenyon

When Mary Potter Kenyon’s husband David was diagnosed with cancer in the summer of 2006 she searched libraries and bookstores for books on cancer and the caregiving experience. What she discovered was a plethora of technical and medically-oriented books or those written by a caregiver whose loved one had died, a scenario she refused to contemplate. While serving as David’s companion during Wednesday chemotherapy treatments, Mary began journaling about their experience as a couple and parents of young children as they navigated the labyrinth of cancer. It soon dawned on her that she was writing the very book she had searched for upon David’s diagnosis: one that goes beyond the cancer experience to give hope and inspiration to the reader. Chemo-Therapist: How Cancer Cured a Marriage is a moving testimonial of a relationship renewed by the shared experience of a life threatening illness.” Initially, after David’s diagnosis, I would cringe when I read books or articles by cancer survivors who stated that cancer had been a gift in their lives. How could all that David endured be viewed as a gift? The invasive surgery, the weeks of chemotherapy and radiation: a gift? Yet, after the cancer, David would often reach for my hand and say, “If it is cancer that is responsible for our new relationship, then it was all worth it.” And I’d reluctantly agree that cancer had been a gift in our lives. We’d both seen the other alternative: patients and survivors who had become bitter and angry, and neither one of us wanted to become that.

refined by fireRefined By Fire: A Journey of Grief and Grace
by Mary Potter Kenyon

“Where is the handbook for widows?” Mary Kenyon lamented as she planned a funeral for the beloved husband whose triumph over cancer she chronicled in Chemo-Therapist: How Cancer Cured a Marriage. During the ensuing weeks, as she attempted to make sense of his untimely death, she filled two journals, blogged, and read the inspirational writings of others who had gone down the road of grief before her–authors like C.S. Lewis and Madeleine L’Engle. She eventually found herself studying grief and bereavement in her quest to unearth answers to alleviating the pain associated with profound loss. In the process, she discovered a strength and emotional reserve she didn’t know she had, along with an evolving faith that helped her face the impending loss of an eight-year-old grandson.

“In the midst of the darkness of loss, I found light. Admittedly, in those first weeks, it might have been but a single small spark I sensed deep inside of me, but that spark guided me in the twisted, dark journey of grief. As I stumbled over the roots of hopelessness and despair, that light grew to illuminate my path, a path I sometimes felt very alone on. At some point in the journey I’d turned around, and there was God. That is grace.”

life happensLife Happens: How to Maintain Family Strength and Unity in the Face of Adversity
by Teresa Clark and Taralyn Clark

It happens to every family. Things are humming along smoothly when suddenly they realize that life is not just a bowl of cherries. An unlooked for event, crisis, or trial threatens to upset the balance of all they consider normal. How will they ever survive and how will they ever get things to return to normal? Is it even possible? What if constant change and adaptation is what “normal” really looks like? In Life Happens Taralyn and Teresa Clark explore life realities and provide much-needed information gained from decades of experience to survive and ultimately thrive in spite of life challenges.