What to Write to Someone on the Anniversary of a Death

What do you say to someone on the anniversary of a death? You want them to know you’re thinking of them. You want to offer them some comfort on this painful first death anniversary. You’re just not exactly sure what words to use. We’ve been there. So, we’re glad […]

DON’T compare your grief to that of the one you want to comfort.

This is similar to the previous warning against rushing the grieving process, but this approach attempts to persuade the grieving friend that their grief could not be more painful to them than yours is to you — and look at how well you’re handling it!

  • “No one grieves the loss of [so-and-so] more than I do.” (Doubtful.)

This isn’t a grief competition. Your friend doesn’t want to hear that your grief is equally strong (or possibly even stronger). They just want to know you’re there for them.

Tend to your mental health over the holidays; address isolation, loneliness, grief

Six Steps from St. Jude psychologists

The team of psychologists at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital have years of experience helping families deal with unthinkable grief and anxiety either around the death of a child or a recent diagnosis of a catastrophic illness. For the over 80% of children who survive childhood cancer, many face chronic illnesses for the rest of their lives. This creates challenges for families having to navigate tough conversations about health requirements, and other relevant experiences many Americans are facing this year.

“‘Pandemic fatigue’ has set in, and the holidays are already a time of year where many people experience increased mental and emotional challenges such as depression, anxiety and grief,” said…

Six Ways Music Can Help with Grief

Music NotesAuthor: Heather Fellows, HCI Music Therapist 

The holidays have always been my favorite time of year. I have warm memories of decorating the Christmas tree with the hodge-podge mix of ornaments my brother and I made in elementary school, family dinner at grandma’s house, wrapping gifts and fluffing the bow just the way my mom taught me to do. The first few bars of a Johnny Mathis Christmas song will always take me back to that time. Even now that these loved ones have gone, music still has a way of connecting me to the memories and traditions of my past.

After a loss, it can be difficult to balance “moving on” with grief. We create new traditions and care for the responsibilities of daily life during the holidays, but those strong memories and deep feelings do arise, welcome or not. Music can be used as a tool for coping with grief and loss. It can help us process those feelings and move toward a place of acceptance.

Here are six ways music can help.

  1. Music provides a safe space to feel the emotions of loss. Songs have a beginning, a middle, and an end, so they provide a natural contained space for feeling emotions. Sometimes knowing you have three minutes until the song ends is a comfort.    Pick a song and listen, cry, yell, or do whatever you need to do, and know that in about three minutes, the song will be over.

Grief in the Covid era will weigh on the American psyche for years to come

Drive-by burials and FaceTime farewells are no Substitute

The rituals of grief and mourning are as old as time: the swift Jewish burial and seven days of sitting shiva to honor the dead; the Muslim washing and three-sheeted shrouding of a body; the solemn Mass of Christian Burial with Holy Communion and the promise of an afterlife. All these — and other rites of faith and community across the globe — have been brutally curtailed by the Covid-19 pandemic, with effects on the mental and physical health of those left behind that have yet to be grasped.

It’s become commonplace to measure the virus’ death toll in terms of the casualties of war: In the United States alone, the fatalities already amount to five Vietnams, more than 40 Iraqs and Afghanistans and upward of 90 9/11s. Americans could mark all those past losses together, with hugs and handholding, collective tears and tender mercies, candlelight vigils and choruses of “God Bless America.” By contrast, in bedside farewells via FaceTime, drive-by burials as under-attended as Jay Gatsby’s, and digital funerals on Zoom, we’ve been forced to mourn the victims of the novel coronavirus in a numbing new way: more or less alone.

What is Compassion Fatigue and Six Steps to Cope

A Common side effect of caregiving is compassion fatigue.  Six Steps to Fighting it.

As the COVID-19 pandemic stretches on, the number of people who find themselves caring for loved ones is increasing. As they grapple with everything they have to oversee as a family caregiver — from medications to medical appointments to information management — there’s one essential thing they often forget about: themselves.

One recent study published in the journal Aging & Mental Health shows that 71% of family caregivers experience high levels of caregiver burden, or stress, and as many as 59.5% experience signs of burnout or compassion fatigue. Another study in the Journal of Adult Development reveals that family caregivers may be even more susceptible to compassion fatigue than formal caregivers because of the lack of systemic support they receive.

But what is compassion fatigue exactly, and is it avoidable?

Grief of Battling Chronic Cancer

A chronic battle with cancer presents unyielding challenges to its victims, and foremost in these trials is the distinctive grief that accompanies protracted cancer diagnoses. Cancer victims who are fighting for their lives every minute of every day, for years at a time, fall prey to devastating loss that […]

The experience of a chronic illness, particularly cancer, is unique to its victims. The incomparable grief that strikes at their lives must not be trivialized and needs to be aired out, in open conversation, to promote healing and recovery. Supporters should not be afraid to ask the meaningful questions or frightened of the potential answers. Empathy lies in the understanding that chronic cancer changes every instant of a person’s life and forces them to embark on a journey they did not choose, they did not want, and they may not complete…

The Call in UK for two weeks’ paid bereavement leave

THE Sue Ryder charity called on the government yesterday to introduce two weeks’ statutory paid bereavement leave for all employees.

The national bereavement charity is asking for new legislation to provide paid leave after the death of a close relative or partner.

Under current legislation, statutory bereavement pay is only available to eligible parents if their children die before they turn 18 or if a baby is stillborn after 24 weeks of pregnancy.

People classed as employees currently have the right to “reasonable” time off if a dependant dies, including a partner or parent, but there is no legal right for this leave to be paid.

The charity said introducing two weeks’ paid leave would help alleviate some of the stress people may feel after a bereavement and help those in low-paid jobs.

Heidi Travis, head of Sue Ryder, said: “For many people, grief can be debilitating, and additional stressors such as work can feel overwhelming.

How to cope with pandemic loneliness this holiday season

The holiday season can be a joyous, but many suffer from depression during this time of year. A number of factors can contribute to the “blues” during the holidays, including social isolation, grief and financial strain.

This year, you may also experience feelings of depression and loneliness due to the pandemic.

“People are grieving for similar reasons: loss of family members, jobs, relationships, friendships and physical touch. Everyone is suffering,” said Dr. Asim Shah, psychiatrist at Baylor College of Medicine. “Holiday blues will affect a lot of people this year, including those who haven’t suffered from it before.”

Author Hopes To Help People Through Hurt With ‘The Grieving Project’

An 18 minute read

The Grieving Project is a unique, inventive spoken word audiobook that sets the stages of grief to music to help us move from surviving to thriving. The entire audiobook, all 22 tracks, is spoken over original musical compositions. Four characters with four different chronic illnesses plunge through 14 stages of grieving and thriving, through a melding of words and an emotional orchestra, and take us on a moving journey from surviving… to thriving.

I’ve lived with a rare chronic illness, a progressive muscle weakness autoimmune disease called dermatomyositis, for more than 12 years while obsessively creating to express and heal. I realized only recently, that in all this time-through creating albums, musicals, films, even writing my memoir and adapting it to an audiobook, through hospital stays and monthly infusions, and recently running a two-week online summit I planned over a year to help others with chronic illness thrive, I forgot to grieve. Or perhaps, I didn’t ever realize I needed to grieve an illness…

3 Ways to Talk with Kids about Pandemic and Grief

As India’s Covid-19 cases rise, it’s increasingly likely to receive news about related deaths within our community. While it’s natural to want to shelter kids from such realities, should we be preparing them for possible loss in the pandemic? Research shows that effective communication with children about illness and …

Although death is an inevitable part of life, we don’t talk about it openly, says Hastak-Menon. “When faced with reality, children may feel shocked and cheated,” she explains. Be sensitive to the individual ways in which children grieve, depending on their age and the situation. Modelling ways to work through loss can be a healthy way encourage kids to open up. It also let s them know that they’re not alone in the way they emote, says Hastak-Menon.

Ways to Talk with Kids –