Tag Archives: Grief

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Grief Reiki® Card Reading

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The Grief Reiki® Card Deck was my way of trying to pull together comforting thoughts and words for a griever in a non-traditional format. The approach is to Pick-A-Card that jumps out at you. Whatever number comes into your head first. Or just go with your gut. Now read the message corresponding to the card you picked.

I have found we usually get the message we need to hear most.

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Today's Messages (1)

If you picked Card #1: Today’s message reminds you not to go through grief alone but to draw strength from your friends. Society has conditioned us to “Grieve Alone” when in reality this is the worst thing we could do. We have also been taught not to ask for help or family and friends will think we are weak. Again, this is furthest from the truth. Family and friends want to help us but we have to reach out and ask for that help. They cannot read our minds so if we wait for them to offer it may never happen. Ask for what you need.  Don’t try and go through it alone.

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Today's Messages (2)

If you picked Card #2: Today’s message is a reminder to REST when you are grieving. I know that sounds easier said than done. If you are like me when I was grieving, you can’t even sleep or think about sleeping right now. But resting doesn’t mean you have to sleep for long periods of time. Sometimes just taking a 5-10 minute cat nap can leave you refreshed. It is so important that you try to do this since it is common to be more prone to accidents and injuries when we are grieving. This is because our minds, bodies and spirits are on an emotional roller coaster. Make the time to rest when you can. It’s especially important right now.

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Today's Messages (3)

If you picked Card #3: Today’s message is a reminder that it is perfectly normal to feel extreme sadness when you are grieving. Since Society seems to have put a time-constraint on how “long” we should grieve, we often feel pressure to not be sad. We force that sadness down until we feel like exploding. Most places of employment don’t help either by only giving us 3-5 days bereavement time. How could anyone “feel better” after such a short period of time? Expressing your sadness is normal part of being human. Don’t plaster that fake smile on your face or say you are “doing fine” when you aren’t. This card reminds you to share your sadness. It will help you move through your grief. It will also help those around know that expressing sadness is a normal and natural reaction to loss.

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Sending you love, comfort and peace!


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Empty Nest Grief

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It’s that time of year again when children are heading off to college. It may be the first time a son or daughter is leaving home. For parents facing an “empty nest”, life can become a huge grieving event. It can be devastating but in some ways, also liberating. The deep sense of missing your child can be overwhelming. Maybe this is even surprising. Never thought you’d miss not having to step over the pile of dirty clothes in the hallway did you? Never thought you’d long for the laughter of high school girls gathering in your living room to watch The Bachelor or The Bachelorette on Monday nights? Just driving by the track or soccer field where you spent most of your weekends now brings you to tears. It feels like your life has been swept out from under you. Of course it is not surprising you are hurting when you have been fully integrated into your child’s life for the last 18 years. Now what are you supposed to do?  Spend time with your spouse? Take up underwater basket weaving? Take that long awaited trip to Europe?

OPPORTUNITY

As parents, we should look at the empty nest syndrome as an opportunity to complete this chapter in our life, embrace it and move forward. Face your grief. Be sad. Don’t isolate yourself but participate in life. Re-discover what you like to do. Find your identity. Remember you are not broken just sad and that is perfectly normal and healthy.

Our gut reaction may be to try to “suck it up” and pretend like everything is ok. We smile when we are asked how we are doing. “Just fine” comes out of our mouth even when we don’t feel that way. When asked about our college student we try not to tear up.  Everything is “great” we say while gritting our teeth. We may avoid going out so we don’t run into anyone who may ask about them. That would certainly bring on the tears. In reality, these responses are only hurting us. They are masking what we are really feeling.  Sadness. Pain. Loneliness.

Even worse, we pretend everything is “fine” when we talk to our college student. Wouldn’t want to upset them. They probably don’t care anyway. Too much fun in college. We’re sure they don’t even miss us. So we call, but not too much. We text, but only occasionally. We make sure we don’t leave tearful voicemails on their cell phones. When we haven’t heard from them for a few days, we try not to panic. We plan a trip so we can go see them, then count the days until it happens. Deep down we are still sad and hurting.

CHILDREN GRIEVE TOO

As hard as it is for us, we forget it is also hard for our child. They too go through a sense of loss once they leave home. Home – the place they couldn’t wait leave – now becomes a place they begin to miss terribly. No more home cooked meals. No more Mom or Dad bugging them to make their beds. No hugs just because. They try to be strong. They grieve alone. Wouldn’t want to other kids to see they are homesick. Not cool. They don’t let us know because they know how sad we are already.

From a grief recovery perspective it is best for everyone to face their grief. It is ok to be sad whether you are the “empty nest” parent or the child away at college. Sharing your grief as a family brings healing. Talk about it. Know that it is ok. In fact that it is even better if you grieve together. My daughter gave me the biggest HUG when I finally saw her six weeks after she became a college freshman. Schools plan those Parent Weekends at six weeks for a reason. It’s about the time that college freshman really begin to miss their families. That HUG from my daughter told me everything I needed to know.

BE SUPPORTIVE

If you aren’t an empty nester but are a friend of one, listen and be supportive. Hand them a kleenex when you are at lunch and let those few tears roll down their cheek. Don’t try to intellectualize with them, just listen with your heart. They just need to talk about how they are feeling – not be fixed.

The same goes for the college student who may be also be facing a grieving event by moving away from home. As a parent, let them express how they feel. Listen and don’t try to fix them. Allow them to share their sadness. Then when you see them on Parent’s Weekend, just give them the BIGGEST HUG you can muster. That will say it all.

You will all survive this TOGETHER.

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Sending you love, comfort and peace!


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Helping Children With Grief

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How can we better help children with grief? As a society we haven’t done a very good job. We encourage children to express joy when they are happy; but we discourage them from expressing their sadness when they are unhappy. These mixed messages have contributed to most of us growing into adults who try to cover up our heartbreak. We walk around pretending we are okay; or worse yet, we turn to short term energy-relieving behaviors (like alcohol, drugs, shopping, anger, etc.) to “numb the pain.” These behaviors do little to help address our grief in the long run.

MOST COMMON CHILDHOOD LOSSES 

The Grief Recovery Method® lists the following as the most common losses experienced by a child:

Death of a pet

Death of a grandparent

Major move

Divorce of parents

Death of a parent

How can we better help our children grow into adults who can deal with these losses? It may be hard for many of us to change, but our children need us to take the lead when it comes to loss. We have to learn to replace our old behaviors with new ones when it comes to grief. This means we need to look long and hard about how we deal with and react to loss in our own lives. If we can do that, our children have more of chance of being successful in their own lives. The book When Children Grieve states, “Establishing a foundation for effectively dealing with loss can be one of the greatest gifts you give you child.”

WAYS TO HELP A GRIEVING CHILD

Here are six ways you can help a child who is grieving:

Allow all emotions to be expressed, without judgment, criticism, or analysis.

Avoid the trap of asking a child what is wrong since he or she will automatically say, “Nothing.”

Adults – Go first. Telling the truth about your own grief will make your child feel safe in opening up about his or her own feelings.

Remember the reaction a child has is unique to them. If you have more than one child, respect that each of their reactions will probably be different.

Acknowledge your child’s emotions before addressing the facts.  Listen with your heart and not your head. If your child brings up the same issue over and over again, it means they are not being heard.

Make sure your verbal and non-verbal communications match. Children may respond incorrectly to their loss if they feel you are teaching them to “do as I say, not as I do.”

Our children look up to us. They tend to do as we do. It’s important that as adults, we communicate accurately about our emotions so that our children can see, copy and learn. Helping them will ensure they can more effectively deal with grief and loss events throughout their lives.

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Sending you love, comfort and peace!


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