End-of-Life, Grief/Grieving/Bereavement, Social Work/Helping Profession/Mental Health

How to Make a Difference in Grief and in Times of Joy

Grief Healing Discussion groups: I came across this term on a website I visited and I thought…What a great idea and so needed.

Besides the need for Death Cafe style groups, grief and bereavement groups are also needed. Support groups are very much the same thing, except, the phrase alone indicates to some that they must have support. Many do not like that word. Healing indicates getting better, recovery, peace…

Sharing with others on the same journey, and having feelings validated and understood by others, is key I believe to acceptance. When one faces health concerns, illness or disease or the grief that accompanies loss, we respond well to not being alone. Knowing someone is there to listen, to commiserate with us at times, to keep an open heart and mind is comforting.

I have had many losses in my life from having pets die, to family members dying, to colleagues dying, to clients dying, to children (not my own) dying…..it can be overwhelming sometimes, but the way I have gotten through all these losses is to focus on the joy and happiness in my life and to be grateful to my family and friends while at the same time allowing myself time to grieve and heal.

But loss goes beyond death; it could be loss of employment, loss of special memories, moving, a child leaves home for university, etc. Any loss can be traumatic and lead to sadness, grief and for some, depression.

I count my blessing every day and have made a switch in my own mind and thought-process to focus on what is important to me. What makes me happy to – ‘How can I make a difference?’

Professionally, I am a case manager with older adults and I love it! I have been with my clients, many of them for 5, 10, 17 years… but while I am still in this role I am branching out to focus on an issue most do not want to bring up, to discuss, to even think about, but in reality the question is why? To be born we must die.

Death, dying, and end of life will happen and we all hope it happens many years from now, but do we really know? Plan for it, discuss it, make your wishes known. I am an organ donor and I have told my fiance this along with my kids. To me, there is no greater mitzvah than to do this, as when I am no longer of this world, my organs can help someone else live…

My next step will be to write up my wishes should I need life support or life-saving measures…in my head, I am still young and have lots of time.  The point is not to wait until I am ill, in crisis or dying as the focus at those times should be on improving my health if ill, spending time with family and friends and get my ‘affairs (paperwork) in order should it be crisis or looming death.

So, I am looking to make an uncomfortable topic comfortable. Whether through death cafe style groups, grief healing groups, through education, training, assisting one with their life memoir or life legacy book-however I can.

Life is about choices and I choose to participate fully while at the same time assisting others.

*And yes, I quilted the square that is the feature image for this post. I also knit, read, cycle, hike, and love nature!

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