Resources for Healing Grief

by Peggy Sweeney
The Sweeney Alliance

Grief is overwhelming. We confront grief whenever we experience a loss or a traumatic event. Divorce, loss of a job, a missing child, catastrophic illness, disabling injury, addiction, abuse, the aftermath of a fire or flood, post traumatic stress, caring for a loved one at the end of their life, and, of course, the death of a family member or friend are some examples of grief. Healing our grief is a life-altering and very personal experience. No two people will work through their grief experiences in the same way.

Because grief affects each one of us differently, I have included some resources here that may be of interest to you, especially in the early days, weeks, and months that you are in mourning. Be sure to search for articles on this blog under the heading Healthy Grieving for specific articles on this topic.

Books
This is just a short list of recommended reading. For additional titles, you can view our current list of books in the Good Grief Books section. If you would like to recommend a book(s) you found helpful, please let me know. Include a brief synopsis and why it was beneficial for you. If possible, I will invite the author to share an article for one of our newsletters. peggy@sweeneyalliance.org.

For Adults
– Don’t Take My Grief Away by Doug Manning
– When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Harold Kushner
– When Parents Die by Edward Myers
– Recovering from the Death of a Sibling by Katherine Donnelly
– Survivors of Suicide by Rita Robinson
– The Bereaved Parent by Harriett Sarnoff-Schiff
– For Better or Worse by Maribeth Wilder (handbook for couples whose child has died)
– Never Too Late for a Lullaby by Juanita White (death of an adult child)
– Now Childless by Kay Bevington & Don Hackett (for parents whose only child or all children have died)
– Helping Children Cope with Grief by Alan Wolfelt
– When Your Friend Gets Cancer by Amy Harwell
– When Someone You Love Has Alzheimer’s by Earl Grollman
– Why Mine? by Johnson and Williams (for parents whose child is seriously ill)
– How It Feels When Parents Divorce (for all ages) by Jill Krementz
– I Don’t Know How to Help Them by Linda Maurer (how to help bereaved parents)
– Coffee and Clomid by Melanie Dillion (infertility)
– Remember Rafferty for all ages by Joy Johnson (death of a pet)

For Kids
– Lifetimes: A Beautiful Way to Explain Death to Children ages 3-8 by B. Mellonie R. Ingpen
– The Snowman ages 5-10 by Robin Vogel (death of a dad)
– A Quilt for Elizabeth ages 8-11 by Benette Tiffault (death of a dad)
– I Heard Your Mommy Died ages 3-7 by Mark Scrivani
– I Heard Your Daddy Died ages 3-7 by Mark Scrivani
– It’s OK: Survival Kit for Bereaved Brothers and Sisters by Thomas Crouthamel, Sr.
– Straight Talk About Death for Teenagers by Earl Grollmann

Support Groups and Workshops
No one should journey through grief alone. A support group is a good place to meet people who share a similar loss. There are support groups for grief in general as well as specific losses such as the death of a child, widowed persons, and health issues (cancer, diabetes, addiction, etc.). A good way to find a support group in your area is to do a Google search. Here are some resources found locally in the Texas Hill country: The Compassionate Friends, a support group for bereaved parents and their families,

Churches and businesses may be interested in offering my HUGS program—How to Understand Grief Seminars. An informative 1½- to 2-hour interactive program offering help for adults and adolescents who are coping with grief or traumatic events in their life. Learn more about hosting a HUGS program here.

A program of interest to first responders – firefighters, EMS, police and corrections officers, 911 dispatchers – as well as their families, department chaplains, CISM teams, and medical and mental health professionals: Grieving Behind the Badge. Visit The Sweeney Alliance website to learn more.

Journaling
Journaling is putting your feelings and emotions on paper. It can be as simple as jotting down a few thoughts or as elaborate as detailing the day’s happenings. You can highlight difficult days or special events and how you handled them. You should note your good days and the positive reinvestments in life that you have made. Journaling affords you the opportunity to review the earlier days of your grief and note the progress you have made.

Several authors have addressed this topic in past newsletters. Elizabeth Ann Rogers wrote Healing in My Own Words. Bereaved parent, Sheila Bender, has written several instructional books on writing. Here is one of her noteworthy articles, Journaling the Unsayable. Perhaps their words will be an inspiration for you.

Scrapbooking
This is a craft that has drawn much attention by those who are grieving; particularly bereaved parents. Pictures and memorabilia of your child or loved one are preserved on acid free paper within an embellished scrapbook. This is a wonderful way to use your energy to create a treasured keepsake. You can do a paper scrapbook or digital scrapbooking online. Some good resources for both are:
Designer Digitals
Shabby Princess
Picaboo
Scarpbook.com

Coursework in Grief: A Lesson on Healing
A free, online study program about loss and grief. There are currently six lessons with additional topics to come. Learn more here.

Copyright by Peggy Sweeney

About the Author: Peggy Sweeney is a mortician and bereavement educator. Peggy has over 20 years experience helping families and professionals cope with personal and professional tragedies. She is certified by the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress in both Bereavement Trauma and Emergency Crisis Response. Peggy is a  former member of the Comfort (TX) Volunteer Fire Department and a former EMT-B. She has published numerous award-winning articles on loss and grief. In addition to the Journeys Through Grief Newsletter blog, she hosts the Grieving Behind the Badge website and publishes three online newsletters.