It was our virgin voyage of our Coping Strategies for Grief & Loss Workshop at Ellwood Thompson’s The Beet. You think I would have removed the geeky voice amplifier. The room was packed with 50 or more attendees. The sharing was awesome and we got great feedback from the group so we can adjust as we go forward.
We had people who came suffering all kinds of losses and just being in the room together, sometimes laughing, sometimes crying together was part of what I loved.
Just making the effort to come out was huge. And Karla and I especially … Read more...
The twelfth coping strategy is “Something Nice for Someone Else”
For many people in grief, doing acts of kindness, volunteering, doing something to bring comfort, a smile, or some love to another person is a way that we can find a bit of peace within our own pain.
Research shows that volunteerism and altruistic acts to benefit others have long term physical, emotional, and mental health benefits. Doing things for others can result in increased feelings of well-being. It brings a sense of purpose and helps us create meaning when life makes no sense. Studies also show … Read more...
Rituals large and small can help us manage the chaos of grief. Rituals of remembrance help to bring order, aid in transition and help us to understand complex feelings.
Through observing our own senses, acknowledging how we are feeling, and purposefully using the tools of ritual to safely come into the present moment with our grief, with our love, and with whatever else the moment holds, we can find ways of moving through each moment and into the next. In grief, this can be an essential practice.
It doesn’t matter whether you think you are creative or not. You are.
When you’re living with heart-crushing grief, just figuring out how to get out of bed is a creative endeavor. I talk to people a lot about being creative in grief and how helpful it can be. When I teach workshops or do retreats, we do all sorts of creative things in our grief. And people always say, “I’m just not creative,” or “I’m not an artist,” or “I can only draw stick figures.” Stick figures can do … Read more...
This one is easy but difficult for some to do. Talking about your loved one helps heal.
The eighth coping strategy is “talk.”
Many of you have realized that other people will completely ignore you and wish you’d just stop talking about your dead or suffering child. But this is my argument to those people, “I will stop talking about my dead child when you stop talking about your living ones.”
The sixth coping strategy is “make your alter ego your ally.”
Ever since I was fifteen years old, I’ve used a strategy to help me get out of the cycle of beating myself up. I didn’t realize I had been using this method for decades until after Charles died when I started writing “alter ego” posts here. It’s what I do to get myself out of the habit of self criticism.
When I was a young teen, I would join in those teen conversations about hating this body part or that. “My thighs were too fat.” “I am too tall.” I … Read more...
The fourth coping strategy is “Find a support system”
Human beings aren’t meant to do everything in isolation. Grief, watching a child self destruct from mental illness/addiction makes us feel helpless. Why go it alone where there are so many others suffering? There is no badge of honor by toughing it out by yourself. Support is a step you take to help you heal. And your presence helps others, too.
What does that mean?
Support systems come in a lot of packages, an apropos description given the time of year. Your friends and family have empathy for you but you … Read more...
For those of us in grief, the holidays are most definitely not the most wonderful time of the year. No matter how long it has been since your beloved died.
It has been nearly 13 years since my son, Theo, died of a brain tumor when he was just a baby and the holidays continue to be a struggle for me in many ways. If you are in early grief—and by early, I mean the first year, second year, third year, sometimes further in—the holidays can be excruciating.