It is in that moment when we are brave enough to share our thoughts with a fellow griever, and they nod, smile and understand that we know that we are not alone.
Grief is NOT a disorder, a disease or a sign of weakness.
It is an emotional, physical and spiritual necessity,
the price you pay for love...
The only cure for grief is to GRIEVE...
Grief changes us
The pain sculpts us
Into someone who
Understands more deeply
Hurts more often
Appreciates more quickly
Cries more easily
Hopes more desperately
Loves more openly
Healing through grief
is not about
to STOP missing you.
It is about learning
to live my life
WHILE missing you.
The reality is you will grieve forever. You will not get over the loss of a loved one...
You will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same again. Nor should you be the same... nor should you want to.
Marijo shared this book with us. This is how it starts...
"The world is full of faces. Some familiar, some unfamiliar. Many are constant companions. They belong to those closest to us - a friend, a parent, a grandparent, a spouse, or a child. But one day a face is missing.......It's presence is no longer there. There's an empty spot, but not for long. A new face emerges to take it's place. It's unfamiliar and unfriendly. It's the face of grief.
It's not a comfortable place. It's not where you want to reside, but for a time longer than you wish, you will. Often it will hurt, confuse, upset and frighten you.
The more we stand and fight, the more exhausted we become. The more you accept it, hold out your arms to it, embrace it, the more you will recover..."
Looking forward to share this amazing little book with you all when we get it..
(This is what the FSG is about)
"As you reach forward with one hand, Accept the advice of those who have gone before you,
And in the same manner reach back with the other hand to those who follow you;
For life is a fragile chain of experiences held together by love.
Take pride in being a strong link in that chain. Discipline yourself, but do not be harsh.
The pleasures of life are yours to be taken. Share them with others, but always remember that you, too, have earned the right to partake.
Know those who love you; love is the finest of all gifts and is received only to be given. Embrace those who truly love you; for they are few in a lifetime…
Then return that love tenfold, radiating it from your heart to fill their lives as sunlight warms the darkest corners of the earth. Love is a journey, not a destination; Travel its path daily. Do this and your troubles will be a fleeting as footprints in the sand. When loneliness is your companion and all about you seem to be gone, pause and listen, for the sound of loneliness is silence, and in silence we hear best. Listen well, and your moments of silence will always be broken by the gentle words of encouragement spoken by those of us who love you."
Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is bliss, taste it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it.
Mother Teresa - Catholic Nun, Missionary, Nobel Peace Prize Recipient
"There are only two ways to live your life.
One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as if everything is."
Look at a day when you are supremely satisfied at the end.
It's not a day when you lounge around doing nothing;
it's when you've had everything to do, and you've done it.
As we light these four candles in honor of you.
We light one for our grief,
One for our courage,
One for our memories,
And one for our love.
This candle represents our grief.
The pain of losing you is intense.
It reminds us of the death of our love for you.
This candle represents our courage-to confront our sorrow
- to comfort each other
- to change our lives.
This light is in your memory
- the times we laughed
- the times we cried
- the times we were angry at each other
- the silly things you did
- the caring and joy you gave us period.
This light is the light of love.
Day by day, we cherish the special place in our heart that will always be reserved for you.
We thank you for the gift that your living brought to each of us.
We love you now and forever.
Love is patient; Love is kind, Love does not insist on its own way.
Love bears all things, believes all things,
Hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.
I Corinthians 13:4-8
I thought because of the invitation by David Kessler, I would share some of his words:
The 10 Best and 10 Worst Things to Say to Someone in Grief
Sheryl Sandberg's post on Facebook gave us much insight into how those in grief feel about the responses of others to loss. Many of us have said “The Best” and “The Worst.” We meant no harm, in fact the opposite. We were trying to comfort. A grieving person may say one of the worst ones about themselves and it’s OK. It may make sense for a member of the clergy to say, “He is in a better place” when someone comes to them for guidance. Where as an acquaintance saying it may not feel good.
You would also not want to say to someone, you are in the stages of grief. In our work, On Grief and Grieving, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and I share that the stages were never meant to tuck messy emotions into neat packages. While some of these things to say have been helpful to some people, the way in which they are often said has the exact opposite effect than what was originally intended.
The Best Things to Say to Someone in Grief
1. I am so sorry for your loss.
2. I wish I had the right words, just know I care.
3. I don’t know how you feel, but I am here to help in anyway I can.
4. You and your loved one will be in my thoughts and prayers.
5. My favorite memory of your loved one is…
6. I am always just a phone call away
7. Give a hug instead of saying something
8. We all need help at times like this, I am here for you
9. I am usually up early or late, if you need anything
10. Saying nothing, just be with the person
The Worst Things to Say to Someone in Grief
1. At least she lived a long life, many people die young
2. He is in a better place
3. She brought this on herself
4. There is a reason for everything
5. Aren’t you over him yet, he has been dead for awhile now
6. You can have another child still
7. She was such a good person God wanted her to be with him
8. I know how you feel
9. She did what she came here to do and it was her time to go
10. Be strong
Best & Worst Traits of people just trying to help
When in the position of wanting to help a friend or loved one in grief, often times our first desire is to try to “fix” the situation, when in all actuality our good intentions can lead to nothing but more grief. Knowing the right thing to say is only half of the responsibility of being a supportive emotional caregiver. We have comprised two lists which examine both the GOOD and the NOT SO GOOD traits of people just trying to help.
The Best Traits
The Worst Traits
How Can You Cope with Grief?
Talk to family or friends
Read poetry or books
Engage in social activities
Eat good foods
Seek spiritual support
Take time to relax
Join a support group
Listen to music
Be patient with yourself
Let yourself feel grief
How Can You Support Others Who Are Grieving?
Be a good listener
Ask about their feelings
Just sit with them
Share your feelings
Ask about their loss
Remember their loss
Make telephone calls
Acknowledge the pain
Let them feel sad
Be available when you can
Do not minimize grief
Talk about your own losses.
People who are grieving often feel isolated or lonely in their grief. Soon after the loss, social activities and support from others may decrease. As the shock of the loss fades, there is a tendency on the part of the griever to feel more pain and sadness. Well-meaning friends may avoid discussing the subject due to their own discomfort with grief or their fear of "making the person feel bad. They may "not know what to say.
People who are grieving are likely to fluctuate between wanting some time to themselves and wanting closeness with others. They may want someone to talk to about their feelings. Showing concern and thoughtfulness about a friend shows that you care. It's better to feel nervous and awkward sitting with a grieving friend than to not sit there at all.
This has been bouncing around Facebook, I thought it was appropriate as a reminder how hard grief is, why we need each other, and a reminder that we survived, so will you...
“Alright. Here goes. I’m old. That means I’ve survived (so far) and a lot of people I’ve known and loved did not. I’ve lost friends, best friends, acquaintances, grandparents, co-workers, mom, relatives, teachers, mentors, students, neighbors and a host of other folks. I have no children and I cannot imagine the pain it must be to lose a child. But here’s my two cents.
“I wish I could get used to people dying. I never did. I don’t want to. It tears a hole through me whenever somebody I loves dies, no matter the circumstances. But I don’t want it to “not matter”. I don’t want it to be something that just passes. My scars are a testament to the love and the relationship I had for and with that person. And if the scar is deep, so was the love. So be it. Scars are a testament to life. Scars are a testament that I can love deeply and live deeply and be cut, or even gouged, and that I can heal and continue to live and continue to love. And the scar tissue is stronger than the original tissue ever was. Scars are a testament to life. Scars are only ugly to those who can’t see.
“As for grief, you’ll find it comes in waves. When your ship of life is first wrecked, you’re drowning, with wreckage all around you. Everything floating around you reminds you of the beauty and the magnificence of the voyage that was, and is no more. And all you can do is float. You find some piece of the wreckage and you hang on for a while. Maybe it’s some physical thing. Maybe it’s a happy memory or a photograph. Maybe it’s a person who is also floating. For a while, all you can do is float. Stay alive.
“In the beginning, the waves are 100 feet tall and crash over you without mercy. They come 10 seconds apart and don’t even give you time to catch your breath. All you can do is hang on and float. After a while, maybe weeks, maybe months, you’ll find the waves are still 100 feet tall, but they come further apart. When they come, they still crash all over you and wipe you out. But in between, you can breathe, you can function. You never know what’s going to trigger the grief. It might be a song, a picture, a street intersection, the smell of a cup of coffee. It can be just about anything … and the wave comes crashing. But in between waves, there is life.
“Somewhere down the line, and it’s different for everybody, you’ll find that the waves are only 80 feet tall. Or 50 feet tall. And while they still come, they come further apart. You can see them coming. An anniversary, a birthday, or Christmas, or landing at O’Hare. You can see it coming for the most part and prepare yourself. And when it washes over you, you know that somehow you will, again, come out the other side. Soaking wet, sputtering, still hanging on to some tiny piece of the wreckage, but you’ll come out.
“Take it from an old guy. The waves never stop coming, and somehow you don’t really want them to. But you learn that you’ll survive them. And other waves will come. And you’ll survive them too. If you’re lucky, you’ll have lots of scars from lots of loves. And lots of shipwrecks.
~~Anonymous, via reddit & E.Alper, edited Oct2015~~
-by COPS (Concerns of Police Survivors) National Board
"COPS knows how traumatic holidays can be for survivors. Here are a few suggestions on how to reduce your holiday stress and make the holidays more bearable for you."
To avoid the crowds, shop early or over the Internet. You may find It difficult to s hop in malls with all their holiday decorations, carols, and smiling faces. Survivors say hearing the Christmas carols can be depressing and can bring about grief spasms.
If you've always spent Christmas at home, plan a trip. There is no written rule that says you must be home for the holidays.
Attitude will play a major role In your holidays If you have pre·determined that the holidays will be terrible. they will be. If you allow yourSElf to enjoy the holidays, they may be more enjoyable than you would ever believe.
Pity parties are OK as long as they don't last the entire holiday season. If you need to visit the cemetery, visit early in the day. If you want to have a good cry. set aside some tIme in the morning. too. That will free up the rest of the day for better things.
Honor your deceased loved one. Make a donation to a worthy cues, work at a soup kitchen, buy flowers for the church, and do it in memory of your loved one.
If you fee! up to it, make meaningful Christmas gifts. Giving scrapbooks, or a compilation of stories about the deceased, valued belongings of the deceased which, when presented with "I know they would want you to have this," will make the holiday so much more memorable.
Don't be afraid to make your loved one part of the holidays. Christmas ornaments they loved, perhaps an ornament with their picture (COPS has a great ornament through www.COPSstore.com), a special memorial candle-anything that your family is comfortable with is acceptable. Talk about holidays past, happy shared moments that happened. etc. And remember, if other people don't, think your deceased loved one's inclusion is
appropriate, that's their problem -not yours.
Consider prayer. Many aren't able to handle what has occurred in their lives without prayer. Visit your place of worship more often during the holiday season
Laugh. Give yourself permission to laugh. Sometimes grieving people forget that laughter is a great stress reliever and healer.
Party if you want to. Don't party if you don't feel up to it.
Honesty is the best policy. If it isn't a good day, admit it. But you don't have to apologize for it.
Don't overdo. If you want to make a fancy meal, make it. If you aren't up to a big meal, cook a small meal, or eat out!
Alcohol is a depressant. Limit your consumption of alcohol during the holidays.
Strengthen your ties with other family members. If you've had family problems, make amends. What a wonderful gift an honest attempt to make amends can be.
While all these suggestions may be right for some people. they may not be right for you. Nobody knows what you want to do for the holidays better than YOU! Just remember that everyone is different and these
suggestions, though well meaning, may not work for you.
The most important thing is to be kind and compassionate to yourself.
Please feel free to share with us some of your suggestions for coping with the holidays...
Whether from a movie or a chopping an onion your tears help you in surprising ways.
By Beth Levine
GO AHEAD AND CRY – IT’S GOOD FOR YOU!
There are three kinds of tears: reflexive (clears out irritants); continuous (keeps eyes lubricated), and emotional (responding to joy and sadness) Did you know that humans are the only animals who can do the third one? This fact has led many scientists to ask why? If evolutionary changes are based on improving survival, what about emotional crying is beneficial? The answer is quite a bit.
CRYING ACTUALLY IMPROVE YOUR MOOD
A recent Netherlands study showed participants really sad movies and then noted who cried and who didn’t. Those who didn’t felt no different emotionally after the movie, while the criers felt worse. However, within 20 minutes, the criers returned to pre-movie levels, and after 90 minutes, the criers felt much better than their stoic counterparts. “This pattern is often found in retrospective studies where people are asked to rate their mood levels after having experienced a good cry,” said lead author Asmir Gracanin of the University of Tiburg in the Netherlands.
CRYING HELPS RELIEVE STRESS.
William H. Frey II, Ph.D., a biochemist and director of the Psychiatry Research Laboratories at the ST. Paul-Ramsey Medical Center. Professor and Director of Alzheimer’s Research Center Regional Hospital Foundation in Minnesota, also made his study participants cry by showing them sad movies. (Brian’s Song was a biggie) His theory was that we feel better after crying because it remove chemicals that build up during stress. “We don’t know what those chemicals are, but we do know that tears contain ACTH, which is known to be increased in stress. We don’t know if they are increased in tears,” reports Dr. Frey
Frey continues, “It’s important that we evolved this ability. If you can alleviate stress, you can prevent stress damage to the heart and brain, and improve long-term survival. We shouldn’t be conditioning young children not to cry; we should be happy that they have the ability.”
TEARS CLEANSE AND PROTECT THE EYE.
Non –emotional crying has health benefits, too. You know how you tear up when you’re chopping onions? A chemical from the onion is released hits the surface of the eye, and creates sulphuric acid. In order to get rid of it, your tear glands produce a lot of tears to wash the chemical out of the eye. Tears also contain lysozyme, which is both antibacterial and antiviral, and glucose, which nourishes the cells on the surface of the eye and inside the eyelids.
TEARS ALSO HELP OUR NOSE:
Tears travel internally through the tear duct to the nasal passages, where they encounter mucus. When enough tears mix with the mucus, it loosens and is shed, keeping the nose moist and bacteria free, says psychiatrist Judith Orloff, M.D. author of Emotional Freedom
BIG BOYS DO (AND SHOULD) CRY.
Dr. Frey discovered that women cry an average of 5.3 times a month, while men cry an average of 1.3 times per month. Part of that discrepancy is because testosterone (higher in men) may inhibit crying, while the hormone prolactin (higher in women) may encourage it. Dr. Frey reports also that tear glands between men and women are anatomically different. But a major part of the stoic male can be laid at the door of gender and cultural norms, which generally leaves men out of the loop in reaping crying benefits. “Try to let go of outmoded, untrue, conceptions about crying. It is good to cry. It is healthy to cry, and that’s true for all sexes.” Urges Dr. Orloff.
Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning to dance in the rain.
God, Speak to Me
The man whispered,
"God, speak to me,"
and a meadowlark sang,
but the man did not hear.
So the man yelled,
"God, speak to me!"
and the thunder rolled across the sky,
but the man did not listen.
The man looked around and said,
"God, let me see you,"
and a star shined brightly,
but the man did not notice.
And the man shouted,
"God, show me a miracle!"
and a life was born,
but the man did not know.
So the man cried out in despair,
"Touch me, God, and let me know you are here!"
whereupon God reached down and touched the man
but the man brushed the butterfly away
and walked on.
-- Author unknown
Only he who suffers
can be the guide and healer
of the suffering.
-- Thomas Mann
A shadow of joy flickered; it is me.
I told you I wouldn't leave.
My memories, my thoughts are imbedded deep in your heart.
I still love you.
Do not for one moment think that you have been abandoned.
I am in the Light.
In the corner, in the hall, the car, the yard ~
these are the places I stay with you.
My spirit rises every time you pray for me,
but my energy comes closer to you.
Love does not diminish; it grows stronger.
I am the feather that finds you in the yard,
the dimmed light that grows brighter in your mind,
I place our memories for you to see.
We lived in our special way,
a way that now has its focus changed.
I still crave your understanding
and long for the many words of prayer
and good fortune for my soul.
I am in the Light.
As you struggle to adjust without me,
I watch silently.
Sometimes I summon up all the strength of my new world
to make you notice me.
Impressed by your grief,
I try to impress my love deeper into your consciousness.
As you should, I call out to the Heavens for help.
You should know that the fountain of youth does exist.
My soul is now healthy.
Your love sends me new found energy.
I am adjusting to this new world.
I am with you and I am in the Light.
Please don't feel bad that you can't see me.
I am with you wherever you go.
I protect you,
just as you protected me so many times.
Talk to me and somehow I will find a way to answer you.
Mother, Father, son or daughter, it makes no difference.
Brother, sister, lover, husband or wife, it makes no difference.
Whatever our connection ~ friend or even foe ~ I see you with my new eyes.
I am learning to help wherever you are, wherever I am needed.
This can be done because I am in the Light.
When you feel despair, reach out to me. I will come.
My love for you truly does transcend from Heaven to Earth.
Finish your life with the enthusiasm and zest that you had
when we were together in the physical sense.
You owe this to me, but more importantly,
you owe it to yourself.
Life continues for both of us.
I am with you because I love you
and I am in the Light.
-- Author Unknown
Grief is a tidal wave that over takes you,
smashes down upon you with unimaginable force,
sweeps you up into its darkness,
where you tumble and crash against unidentifiable surfaces,
only to be thrown out on an unknown beach, bruised, reshaped...
Grief will make a new person out of you,
if it doesn't kill you in the making.
It isn't for the moment you are struck
that you need courage,
but for the long up hill battle to faith,
sanity and security.
~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh
When it seems that our sorrow is too great to be borne,
let us think of the great family
of the heavy-hearted into which our grief has given us entrance,
we will feel about us,
their arms and their understanding.
~ Helen Keller
All I know from my own experience is that the more loss we feel
the more grateful we should be for whatever it was we had to lose.
It means that we had something worth grieving for.
The ones I'm sorry for
are the ones that go through life not knowing what grief is.
~ Frank O' Connor
There is a light in this world, a healing spirit
more powerful than any darkness we may encounter.
We sometime lose sight of this force
when there is suffering, and too much pain.
Then suddenly, the spirit will emerge
through the lives of ordinary people who hear a call
and answer in extraordinary ways.
~ Mother Teresa
May God grant you always...
A sunbeam to warm you,
a moonbeam to charm you,
a sheltering Angel so nothing can harm you.
Laughter to cheer you.
Faithful friends near you.
And whenever you pray,
Heaven to hear you.
- Irish Blessings"
Today would be a wonderful day not to take life so seriously.
Today may end up the way you prefer - and it may not.
Happiness is not about being a winner -
it's about being gentle with life -
being gentle with yourself.
Let life be a dance,
and choose the kind of dance you want for today -
perhaps a gentle loving dance.
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie
Live with intention.
Walk to the edge.
Play with abandon.
Choose with no regret.
Appreciate your friends.
Continue to learn.
Do what you love.
Live as if this is all there is.
- Mary Anne Radmacher
"If you're feeling frightened about what comes next, don't be. Embrace the uncertainty. Allow it to lead you places. Be brave as it challenges you to exercise both your heart and your mind as you create your own path towards happiness, don't waste time with regret. Spin wildly into your next action. Enjoy the present, each moment, as it comes; because you'll never get another one quite like it. And if you should ever look up and find yourself lost, simply take a breath and start over. Retrace your steps and go back to the purest place in your heart… where your hope lives. You'll find your way again."
- Gilmore Girls
“Your problem is how you are going to spend this one and precious life you have been issued. Whether you're going to spend it trying to look good and creating the illusion that you have power over circumstances, or whether you are going to taste it, enjoy it and find out the truth about who you are.”
- Anne Lamott
Common symptoms of grief
While loss affects people in different ways, many people experience the following symptoms when they’re grieving. Just remember that almost anything that you experience in the early stages of grief is normal – including feeling like you’re going crazy, feeling like you’re in a bad dream, or questioning your religious beliefs.
Shock and disbelief – Right after a loss, it can be hard to accept what happened. You may feel numb, have trouble believing that the loss really happened, or even deny the truth. If someone you love has died, you may keep expecting them to show up, even though you know they’re gone.
Sadness – Profound sadness is probably the most universally experienced symptom of grief. You may have feelings of emptiness, despair, yearning, or deep loneliness. You may also cry a lot or feel emotionally unstable.
Guilt – You may regret or feel guilty about things you did or didn’t say or do. You may also feel guilty about certain feelings (e.g. feeling relieved when the person died after a long, difficult illness). After a death, you may even feel guilty for not doing something to prevent the death, even if there was nothing more you could have done.
Anger – Even if the loss was nobody’s fault, you may feel angry and resentful. If you lost a loved one, you may be angry at yourself, God, the doctors, or even the person who died for abandoning you. You may feel the need to blame someone for the injustice that was done to you.
Fear – A significant loss can trigger a host of worries and fears. You may feel anxious, helpless, or insecure. You may even have panic attacks. The death of a loved one can trigger fears about your own mortality, of facing life without that person, or the responsibilities you now face alone.
Physical symptoms – We often think of grief as a strictly emotional process, but grief often involves physical problems, including fatigue, nausea, lowered immunity, weight loss or weight gain, aches and pains, and insomnia.
Coping with grief and loss - Get support
The single most important factor in healing from loss is having the support of other people. Even if you aren’t comfortable talking about your feelings under normal circumstances, it’s important to express them when you’re grieving. Sharing your loss makes the burden of grief easier to carry. Wherever the support comes from, accept it and do not grieve alone. Connecting to others will help you heal.
Finding support after a loss - Turn to friends and family members – Now is the time to lean on the people who care about you, even if you take pride in being strong and self-sufficient. Draw loved ones close, rather than avoiding them, and accept the assistance that’s offered. Oftentimes, people want to help but don’t know how, so tell them what you need – whether it’s a shoulder to cry on or help with funeral arrangements.
Draw comfort from your faith – If you follow a religious tradition, embrace the comfort its mourning rituals can provide. Spiritual activities that are meaningful to you – such as praying, meditating, or going to church – can offer solace. If you’re questioning your faith in the wake of the loss, talk to a clergy member or others in your religious community.
Join a support group – Grief can feel very lonely, even when you have loved ones around. Sharing your sorrow with others who have experienced similar losses can help. To find a bereavement support group in your area, contact local hospitals, hospices, funeral homes, and counseling centers.
Talk to a therapist or grief counselor – If your grief feels like too much to bear, call a mental health professional with experience in grief counseling. An experienced therapist can help you work through intense emotions and overcome obstacles to your grieving.