What to Do After The One You Cared for Dies

Diagnosis Rare Diseaseby Denise Crompton, author of “Diagnosis: Rare Disease

The care of a loved one with a debilitating condition often falls to their mother, but fathers, siblings or spouses also may take on that role. Even if there is additional help available, the responsibility of assuring good care will usually be taken on with love by one person. Often, especially in the case of those with rare diseases, the need for care will last for many years.

My oldest daughter’s rare disease was such that she needed extensive care at times over the course of many years, but she also had long stretches of being able to be independent. However, the disease was progressive, so for the final 5 years of her life, she required care on a 24/7 basis.

My major focus during that time was her care. Unlike some with rare conditions, she had normal intelligence, so she was keenly aware of all of the abilities she was losing. It was a very difficult process for her and for those of us who loved her, even though she had the very best medical care as well as spiritual care. When she died, we were all relieved that she no longer suffered intense pain, but we also knew that we would miss her terribly.

The days following her death were busy ones, receiving phone calls, making arrangements for her funeral, clearing out the many medical appliances she had been using, and answering all of the lovely messages that were sent to us. And then… the reality had a chance to really hit. I looked at my husband one day, almost in disbelief, and declared, “We lost our daughter and I lost my job of caring for her.”

read the rest on Patient Worthy

I was left a 30-year-old widower – here is how I survived

Dealing with Death of a Spouse at a Young Age

THERE WERE ONLY three weeks from cancer diagnosis to death.

When you’re 30, you never think something like this will happen to you. This isn’t how it’s meant to be. We had so many plans – things we wanted to do and places we wanted to see.

The thing is that you’re not just grieving the person you’ve lost, but also the future you thought you were going to have with them.

Honestly, it’s hard not to feel like I’ve been robbed. That Kathy was robbed. That our families were robbed.

There is no greater plan here. Giving a 29-year-old woman an aggressive form of cancer that she never had a chance to beat, never even had a chance to fight against, is just so cruel.

Initial bereavement

When I returned to our apartment for the first time, there was a weird sense of comfort, but it also felt utterly surreal. Everything as it was, but at the same time, never will be again.

I also wasn’t sure how I was ‘meant’ to feel. Although society seems to have this narrative around grieving and what to expect, I quickly learned there is no right or wrong way. Everyone handles grief differently…

Read the “Road to Recovery” by Rich Nilsen

How to Deal with Teenage Grief

So grief is like this:

There is a box with a ball in it and a pain button. In the beginning, the ball is huge. You can’t move the box without the ball hitting the pain button. It rattles around on its own in there and hits the button over and over. You can’t control it – it just keeps hurting.

Sometimes it seems unrelenting in the beginning because the ball is huge. You can’t move the box without the ball hitting the pain button. It rattles around on its own in there and hits the button over and over. You can’t control it – it just keeps hurting.

Over time, the ball gets smaller. It hits the button less and less but when it does, it hurts just as much. It’s better because you can function day to day easier. But, the downside is that the ball randomly hits that button when you least expect it.

For most people, the ball never really goes away. It might hit less and less and you have more time to recover between hits, unlike when the ball was giant. I thought this was the best description of grief I’ve heard in a long time.

I agree I think this is a good description. Often I have teens that I am working with in therapy who worry or are afraid because they think they are grieving wrong. I explain there is no right …

How to Deal With Divorce Grief

9 Tips For Dealing with Divorce

Without a doubt, getting divorced can trigger grief and does for most people. It’s 100% normal to feel a lot of pain about the end of your marriage and all the other losses to go along with getting divorced.

Yet feeling miserable isn’t where you want to stay. You want to move on with your life and you know that there are stages to grief. Yet you just can’t seem to stop crying or sighing or feeling lost in the overwhelming sadness.

Dealing with grief is complicated – especially when you’re grieving divorce because there aren’t social norms for you (or your family and friends) to follow to help you get through your divorce grief.

So if you’re ready to begin dealing with your grief so you can move on with your life, you’re going to have to take matters into your own hands. Now it’s not quite as difficult as it sounds if you just follow these 9 tips:

2. Lean on your friends and family for support.

Your friends and family love you and want to support you through this major life transition you’re facing, but they don’t really know how. You’re going to have to get specific with them about what you need – to talk, to receive a hug, to cook a meal for you and your kids. Ask for what you need and you’ll be surprised at how much love you’ll receive. However, your friends and family can’t be your only support system.

3. Join a divorce support group.

The people who are in these groups know EXACTLY what dealing with grief about divorce is like because they’re on the same journey. Interacting with others who get what you’re going through can be incredibly comforting because you’ll quickly realize you’re not quite as alone as you …

Here’s How To Help a Child Grieve

Parenting coach and columnist Meghan Leahy answered questions recently in a Washington Post online chat. Here is an edited excerpt. Q: My husband, son and I moved in with my parents when my mom was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer to help with everyday tasks. My son was 2½ […]

Q: My husband, son and I moved in with my parents when my mom was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer to help with everyday tasks. My son was 2½ years old. My mom just died and my son is 3½. I talked with my son after she died and explained that she was sick and her body stopped working. Every time I explain, he gets upset and says she is at the doctor and will come home soon. Sometimes I explain multiple times a week because something will remind him of my mom. Sometimes I get upset, and then he gets upset. Sometimes I just respond by saying Grandma is at the doctor because it’s too upsetting to keep saying she’s gone. Do you have any advice?

 

A: Grief is a process. It’s a lifelong, never-ending process. And although that sounds depressing, here’s the good news: If you keep feeling your feelings, grief changes from sharp and stabbing to dull and achy to twingey. Sometimes it bounces back to dull and achy and even sharp, but the trajectory is a sort of mental and emotional detente. All humans are built to deal with death because this is the gig: We all die. Biology or God or whatever would not have built us without helping us adapt to this reality. So, be good to yourself.

As for your son, a 3½-year-old lives completely in the moment. The future is not important; the past is gone. And because of this, he simply cannot grasp that his grandmother is gone. His mind can hold on to the fact that she often went to doctors, and he can conceptualize that because he also sometimes visits doctors. Other than that? He lived with

Meghan McCain Talks ‘Horrible’ Grief and Coping With Her Father’s Death: ‘I’m in Therapy’

Meghan and the late politician were extremely close, she says, sharing that they spoke up to seven times a day and still has the impulse to reach for her phone and call him.

“I wake up groggy sometimes and have this impulse to call him, which I have done… but he’s not answering,” Meghan sadly retells. “I feel like I’ve lost a part of my body, like I’ve had something amputated. I know that sounds dramatic.”

While he may no longer be by her side, Meghan did share that before his death he gave her some sound advice. “You need to be tough. You need to speak out. You need to speak for the things you believe in,” she shares.

She did just that at her father’s funeral, where she made headlines for her passionate eulogy, which also took jabs at President Donald Trump, whose daughter, Ivanka, and her husband, Jared Kushner, were at the service.

“I know he would have loved it,” she said of the eulogy. “I know it sounds strange. But when I got up and walked to the lectern, I saw his casket and said to myself: ‘Stay with me, stay with me, stay with me…’ And I felt him with me.”

She also admits that she didn’t know whether Ivanka and her husband were invited or they just showed up. “I didn’t know they were coming, I didn’t know until I saw them there.” Meghan recalls. “I looked over and saw them and well… they got to listen to what I had to say.”

While she’s continued to speak out on her grief via social media or on The View, Meghan notes that to help her feel closer to her father, she “sleeps with his sweatshirt.”

Here’s How You Can Help a Loved One Cope with Suicide

Four years ago, Ankita Shah* lost her father to suicide. For a long time after his death, she was in shock and felt lonely despite the support of her immediate family. It was only after she began seeing a mental health professional that her emotional state improved.

In India, more than 2.3 lakh people die due to suicide each year which means more than two lakh families have stories like Ankita’s. Their stories follow similar patterns: loneliness, shame, social stigma and isolation, guilt and several unanswered questions.

The stigma runs deep, and insensitive remarks are common after such a death.

Milind and Manisha Mhaiskar highlighted this in 2017, through an open letter they wrote to their deceased son in a newspaper.

Some said you were very strict with him, some said you gave too much liberty, could he not carry on with the burden of expectations?… Some said both [parents] are so busy, they may not be giving him time… you, me and mammu [mother], that was our world, how do we tell that to people?

Such comments can explain why not everyone is as candid as the Mhaiskar family. Ankita, for instance, didn’t want to speak about her father initially, and friends and family also kept a distance. This is why, she believes, it is time to talk about suicide. “If we are more open, we help people cope with their loss, and we help erase the shame,” says Ankita.

Reading therapist launches book to help children cope with grief

Author Wendy Picken has given free copies of her book, It’s Not Fair! to local hospices and will donate 10 per cent of the profits to support the work of local bereavement charity Daisy’s Dream.

Wendy has enjoyed a long career providing therapeutic support to children and their families, and in recent years has specialized in helping children who have been bereaved.

While the idea for It’s Not Fair! was born out of her frustration at the lack of children’s literature addressing the issue of death, it also reflects her understanding of how stories can help adults engage children at a time of loss.

Wendy also received help with the book from her co-author Jane Foulkes, an experienced psychotherapist, and her mother-in-law Jenny Picken provided beautiful illustrations to help children who respond to visual forms of communication.

The first section of the book helps identify the common emotions that children can experience following the loss of a person close to them, while the remaining sections of the book introduce Frankie, a little girl who is very sad about missing her mum, and Albie, who is very angry following his dad’s death.

Raising Pro-Life Children in a Culture of Death

The latest sound bytes coming out of New York and Virginia have caused most of us terrible grief, as we look up from our day-to-day lives and recognize that our country really has turned into a culture of death. So many facets of our society proclaim that human life …

1. Teach them that human beings are different from the rest of creation. Our kids need to learn from an early age that human beings are special. Not only were we created in the image of the creator God, we were also created for relationship with Him. We have souls that will never die, and we were appointed to look after and take care of the rest of His creation. Every human life is precious because we are a reflection of our Creator. Our children need to understand that all the animals in the world, as sweet as they can be, are not as precious as a single human life. (Genesis 1:26-27, Mark 12:30)

2. Teach them about abortion. Our children need to know that abortion exists. They need to know that there are people in our country who make it their life mission to see abortion widely accepted and regularly utilized. Even younger children can understand the concept, and they will unequivocally recognize that it is wrong. We can use abortion as an opportunity to show our children how wicked the human heart really is, how bent toward sin it is, and how easily and quickly we try to justify our sins. With older children, we can show them examples of the kind of rhetoric that would try to convince them that abortion is none of their business. Then we can teach them otherwise. (Jeremiah 17:9, Romans 3:23)

Ways to Live with grief in this season of love

It seems that in February, everyone is talking about love – it’s a sentimental season with thoughts of romance and togetherness, with Valentine’s Day at the heart of it all.

But if you’re grieving after the loss of a partner, this retail and media messaging around the season of love can amplify your sense of loss and loneliness. Add to that the dark and dreary winter days and even greater sadness can follow.

The good news is that February’s arrival also brings a little more daylight, and the promise of spring just around the corner, says Julie Evans, from Sands Funeral Chapel in Colwood.

“Spring brings us new beginnings with a sense of renewal and hope,” Evans says.

Having helped many families through holidays and special occasions following a loss, Evans shares a few ideas to make the season a little easier:“I think it’s important to plan how you’re going to get through the day,” she says.

  • Make arrangements with friends to get out of the house – Plan a lunch out or a potluck dinner, take in a movie, or meet for a walk at a favourite park.
  • Get active and …