The Significance of Ritual in Integrating Feelings of Loss

tree-festival-leaf-001Community builder, hypnotherapist, writer Carolyn Shaffer tells about her unique loss experience and the significance of ritual in integrating the feelings of loss and receiving support.

Courageous Grief Talk 04/02/2014

Courageous Grief Talk – KSKQ 89.5 community radio Wednesdays at 2:30 p.m.

Losses related to Motherhood and Other Disenfranchised Grief

kani-comstock-book-coverThis week Kani Comstock author of “Honoring Missed Motherhood: Loss, Choice, and Creativity” joins Julie and Susanne to discuss losses related to motherhood and disenfranchised grief in our culture.

Courageous Grief Talk 03/26/2014

Courageous Grief Talk  – KSKQ 89.5 community radio Wednesdays at 2:30 p.m.

Listen to Julie’s radio show on the value of grief support

Julie  Susanne KSKQ Feb2014Listen to Julie’s radio show and the value of grief support as she and Susanne Severeid speak with Toni Lovaglia about the value of the group experience in processing loss.

Courageous Grief Talk 03/12/2014

Courageous Grief Talk – KSKQ 89.5 community radio Wednesdays at 2:30 p.m.

Grieving a difficult relationship

IrisGrieving difficult relationshipsby Julie Lockhart, Executive Director, © WinterSpring

The writings about grief and loss so often speak to missing the person who is gone, and perhaps longing for their physical presence again—especially during birthdays, holidays and anniversaries.  Yet, more often than we might guess, a relationship may have been difficult.  For example, a parent might have been overly critical, and perhaps behaved badly at Thanksgiving dinners.  Difficult relationships bring complex and conflicting emotions to the surface, including shame for not feeling “what you are supposed to feel” about the person who died.  And especially as we go through special occasions, these difficult emotions may get in the way of simple pleasures.  Sometimes our grief isn’t as much about the death as it is about a relationship that will never be how we would have wanted it—a connection that never was loving and now that person is no longer here for us to find some reconciliation.

Writer Andrea Heeres shares that expressing the truth about difficult feelings in a safe setting can help the healing process.  “A journal is a safe place…you might write a letter to the person who has hurt you…” (Grieving the Difficult Relationship, Bereavement Magazine, January/February 2004).  She also suggests exercise, healthy eating and getting rest, because moving through the long-standing pain takes strength.

Participation in a WinterSpring support group can help individuals process such difficult emotions in a safe environment.  “I experienced such relief when my father died, because he was always so mean to my mother and me,” said a recent group participant, almost in a whisper because of her shame for feeling that way about her dad.  Her brave comment opened the way for others in the group to share similar difficult emotions.  The facilitators reported afterward that because of this honest sharing, the energy of each of these participants seemed brighter at the end of that group session.  Many of the participants expressed relief that they could share such heavy emotions.

If you have experienced difficult emotions around the death of a loved one, seek a safe place to share your truth.  And if you are supporting a bereaved person, be aware that the emotions they express may be unexpected, even shocking, as they grapple with the complexity of their grief.  Most important is kindness and compassion for yourself and others who have endured these difficult relationships with those we love.

Neuroscience and grief — why companion animal loss triggers so much grief

Clara kittyLoss of a companion animal is a disenfranchised loss in our society. This essay makes some important points on why WinterSpring has a new support group for Companion Animal Loss.   Read about the science and emotion around grief triggered by the loss of a beloved animal.  Click here to get the article.

hellogrief photoThanks Alisha Krukowski for sharing this wonderful article about letting go into grief.

“When we try to “keep it together” for other people, or for ourselves, when all we really need to do is let go, and feel, and hurt, and crumble. We live in a strange society that honors the “strength” of grieving people who don’t cry, who are “brave,” who “move on.”  I’ve always felt in my heart of hearts that all of that was so wrong. So why did I fall for it myself when Mom died?” …more

(Photo courtesy of Hello Grief.)

How to cope with grief — KOBI 5 news story

Five things to help with the grief many are feeling in the aftermath of the shootings:  Turn off the media if it’s too much; do nice things for other people; take inventory of the good things in life; take care of yourself — exercise and good diet; pay attention to the kids in your life and listen when they want to talk — help them process the grief they might feel.