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.
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. firstname.lastname@example.org. Read more
by Jenny Rainone
Hello! My name is Jenny Rainone. I am 36 years old. About three years ago, I found myself at an all-time low. I had a failing 2-year marriage to someone I’d dated for 7 years, compounded by fertility challenges. I had lost a job that I’d seemingly invested much effort, time, and heart into. I had a brother, whom I’d been very close to growing up, that I hadn’t spoken to, heard from, or seen in over a year. About 6 months later, during a routine doctor’s visit, I was told that I could be put on medication for high blood pressure, plus I was borderline diabetic. I was also 50 lbs heavier than average. I’d never thought of myself as being depressed. I’d always been athletic in high school, and was a casual exerciser throughout college, so during the drive home, I reflected on how I’d gotten to this point.
Grief is interesting, because there’s no definite beginning or end. It can appear, go away, and re-visit without warning or reason. I was grieving for a failing marriage, for children I’d always wanted and hadn’t had, for a job I’d lost, and for a brother that was, for all practical purposes, gone. When we don’t address large looming life stresses, they have a way of reminding you that they’re still present. Read more
by Mary Cuchna
T’ai Chi (or Taiji) is a mind-body practice that originated in China with a philosophical basis……The words “T’ai Chi” are literally translated as “Supreme Ultimate”, or in other words, to become the best that we can be – reaching our full potential as human beings by balancing the positive and negative aspects in our lives. Tai Chi is characterized by slow, fluid movements in a choreographed pattern called a “form.” It is considered a martial art, but daily practice of this beautiful exercise art reaps many benefits.
One of the major benefits T’ai Chi is noted for is stress reduction. Most of us live fast-pace, overworked, stress-filled lives. But when something radically changes in our lives, such as the loss of a child, spouse, parent, or a close friend, normal stress is magnified as we are left to deal with such immense changes in our world; we can easily become overwhelmed.
by Chaplain Bruce Lacillade, M.Div.
We have recently experienced a seemingly large number of tragic events in the U.S. These include, but are not limited to, wild fires, the Oklahoma tornadoes, rail transportation accidents, the Boston Marathon bombings, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, Super-storm Sandy, and hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and just recently the Colorado floods, and the shooting at the Navy Yard in Washington.
These events are devastating, not only to individuals and entire communities, but also the society as a whole. Such events are difficult to process and challenge our resiliency, both as individuals and as a people. However, let us remember that we have overcome past tragedies, and with faith, optimism and action, we will overcome our present tragedies.
As humans we tend to view disasters as uncommon events, while experience shows that catastrophes are actually the norm and stable systems the outliers. Dr. Michael Larranaga of Oklahoma University stated in a recent article that, “Many modern energy, industrial, transportation, health care, telecommunications, and political systems are highly vulnerable to small changes that propagate and develop into major disasters. The systemic tendency to unravel, decay uncontrollably, or move from order to disorder (e.g. disaster) is a characteristic of all natural and human-made systems and is defined by Newton’s Second Law of thermodynamics as ‘entropy’.” Read more
by Mary Jane Hurley Brant
originally published 11/4/2011
No one wants to see a friend suffering from grief but when our friend has lost someone they care deeply about they will have to grieve. Grieving is the natural emotional response to loss. But, it’s a painful emotion to observe in anyone but even more so when it’s our friend.
No one wants to see a friend sad. It’s instinctual that we wish to ease their pain. Sometimes, because we cannot change the fact that someone has died, we feel we cannot be helpful. While it is true we cannot bring the deceased person back to our grieving friend; we can ease our friend’s distress. Here are a few suggestions on how to go about it.
by Liz Murray
Bereavement is a word that comes from the old English bereven, and dates before 900, according to the dictionary. It means to deprive and make desolate, especially by death. Bereavement is often described as “a choiceless event,” something that happens to us when a loved one dies, over which we have no control.
But grieving, what we do when we are bereaved, is something rich in choices. Here we don’t have to be passive. It is one of those times in life, when we have an opportunity to think about what is important in life, what we really value and even, who we want to be going forward. So grieving IS about both honoring the one who has died but reconnecting with oneself and one’s place in the world.
by Peggy Sweeney
Support Group Hostess
For several years, I have hosted a monthly support group in Kerrville, Texas for bereaved spouses and partners. During that time, I have had numerous requests to start a support group for other bereaved family members as well as friends of the deceased, co-workers, etc. With all my other evening commitments this was not feasible. Or so I thought.
by Danny Mack
Making times of trial and disappointment make sense is a tough task. It appears as if bad things happen to us for no purpose. Difficult questions are full of complex issues, and complex problems do not have simplistic answers. As one who has suffered through many puzzling circumstances, I feel like an expert on the complexities of life’s trials and tribulations. I want to share with you an insight that gives me comfort and hope.
by Maurice Turmel, PhD
Grief and Loss Overview by Maurice Turmel PhD
An overview of grief and loss shows us that this is a broad category of life experience. We usually associate it with death and dying, but it can include losing your employment and broken relationships as additional categories that generate the grief experience. Grief and loss comes in a multiplicity of dimensions that affect our daily lives.
Losing a loved one is what we typically associate with grief and loss. But losses of many types can also generate powerful grief reactions. We include here broken relationships, loss of a pet and loss of employment. When the loss experience strikes we immediately want relief and begin seeking some kind of recovery help.
by Cassie Alex
Doing hospice work, I have learned to enjoy the simple, the spontaneous, the people, the now, and to share my love. As we all continue to grow in our awareness of life’s meaning, we learn quickly that nothing stays the same or last a life time. Oh sure they love to sell us life time warranties, life insurance, and things that will out last us….but does it really? What does last?
Having the honor of caring for dying people daily, I have learned that they know all too well what it means to have their warranty run out or how that life insurance did not insure a life well lived. One thing these precious people do know for sure is that the days left have been given to them to fully enjoy as a gift. Their love intensifies and they become people powered by love.