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

When a Pet Dies, Helping Children Through the ‘Worst Day of Their Lives’ – The New York Times — Loss, Grief, Bereavement and Life Transitions Resource Library

When I was growing up, my parents always had at least 3-4 dogs at a time and eventually a cat or two also.  Pets were part of my life from birth until age 22. When I moved out on my own I did not get a pet (fish do not count) as I went off to university for six years and I worked and went to school so little time for pets. Plus, as I was home so little, I felt it was unfair to have a pet.

When I married, my then husband and I, got a puppy a few years after we married. Zoe was a beautiful part black lab….

After I left my husband, I got a kitten for my kids; She was 5 1/2 months old and here we are 31 months later with a cat and the two newest additions are mini-bunnies (got them a few weeks ago and they are currently 7 weeks old). My kids got a dog with their dad this past winter and so they are fortunate to have pets at both parents homes.

Zoe died over two years ago and actually she was put down because she was so sick. My kids told me how difficult it was and they had known Zoe since they were born. They still talk about her and miss her.

Pets bring joy, responsibility, and unconditional love. They teach kids to be responsible as they rely on their humans to feed them, give them water, play with them, take them out, take them to the vets and to just be there.

Pets are often the first time a child experiences death. For my kids, they had many other experiences of death though, their paternal great-grandmother, a school friend (age 6), My great-uncle, their uncles’ parent’s, some of my clients whom they had met over the years…

My kids take it in stride, but I know death is not easy. For my youngest, she still talks about her friend that was in a tragic accident at age 6, 3.5 years ago.

Death is a part of life and it needs to be recognized and discussed. To not do so will cause problems later on and we as parents do our kids no favors by ‘protecting’ them from death. Everything dies and I tell my kids this all the time. The grass will die, the trees will die, flowers die, pets will die and we as humans will eventually die…


via When a Pet Dies, Helping Children Through the ‘Worst Day of Their Lives’ – The New York Times — Loss, Grief, Bereavement and Life Transitions Resource Library

Education, End-of-Life, Humanity, Social Work/Helping Profession/Mental Health

When the greatest of tragedies strikes, how do you keep going?

That is a very difficult question; Do you know the answer? I do not…because the answer will be different for each person.

What is a tragedy? Job loss, homelessness, fire, car accident, tropical storm, ice storm, a pet dying, a family member dying, abuse-whether physical, mental, emotional, sexual or financial…the list goes on and on.

For this particular article, it is about death, and unexpected death of a spouse.

Imagine all of a sudden you are a widower with 2 children. Are you prepared financially? Mentally? Emotionally? Is all the paperwork in order?

Do you have any family to help you? Do you have friends to help you?

Think of all of this as food for thought and the type of questions that need to occur BEFORE death happens; not after…


Source: How to recover from tragedy

via How to recover from tragedy — Loss, Grief, Bereavement and Life Transitions Resource Library

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

Self-Promotion of Journey’s End…

There is nothing like coming home and finding a box leaning against your front door and when you rip it open, there are your author copies of the book that you spent 2.5 years writing and editing!

Such joy, such elation, such happiness, such a sense of accomplishment… so, Julie and I are busy marketing and strategizing how we each will use the book as we come from different backgrounds.

As a social worker/case manager/group facilitator, I have big plans with this book that will compliment my consulting business NorthernMSW, that I just launched last month, very well.

My goal, my mission, my passion is to raise awareness about death, dying, and end of life; provide education and training to professionals, lay-people and facilitate workshops, support groups, and discussion groups on this topic. A topic most ignore, pretend does not exist, do not discuss, and do not plan for.

Why is that? Why the fear? To be born, we will die. With any luck, we live a long life, but we never know…

Julie and I collaborated on this book to begin what we term ‘inspirational’ discussions, to further cultural awareness, understanding, and acceptance.

I have stated in other posts that I am an organ donor. To me, there is no greater mitzvah than to have my organs help someone else live a longer life after I have died…. My fiancé knows this and it is on my driver’s license.

Next, comes the ‘BIG’ talk and decisions of advance care directives and mandates; especially since I am getting married next June. I have 2 kids to think about. While they have a father to look after them, in case, my life insurance, and any pensions will go to both my kids and my soon-to be-husband.

Not a very happy conversation, BUT a needed one.

So, Julie and I collaborated and created this wonderful book that has so many perspectives in it from birth to death-abortions, miscarriages, child death, spousal death, friend death, partner death, pet death, client and patient death, resource information, training information, grief and bereavement information, checklists to plan, funeral information, advance care and mandate information and a chapter on an all to taboo topic-euthanasia and assisted dying, but it is a presentation of the facts and what exists around the world, along with quotes and more…..there is no other book like it on the shelves of any book store or library because I always look. An all in one book!

No matter how many times I read this book I am in awe of the contributions, the stories shared and yes, sometimes I tear up and other times I laugh….that is what life is about!

It is available on Xlibris, Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Barnes & Noble.  We are very proud of this book and owe a HUGE thank you to all who contributed as we would not have the book we have if not for all of the contributor’s perspectives.

So, from the bottom of our hearts, you have our gratitude and sincere appreciation!

The contributors are:

Elaine Mansfield

Evelyne Banks

Cheryl Jones

Jean Bota

Jordon Grumet, MD

Linda Darrah Reynolds

Jan Larsen-Fendt, RN, BSN

Carol Brannan Marimpietri

Sue Rumack (Canada)

Anonymous x 2 (1 Canada & 1 USA)

Maria Kubitz

John Brooks

Elizabeth Gillman, RN, BSN

Victoria Hargis

Pamela Christie

Sherokee Ilse

Keith Branson, MA

Patty Burgess

Mark Darrah

Virginia L. Seno, PhD

David Laliberte, AEMCA, PCP (Canada)

Karen Wyatt, MD

Karen Smith, PhD

Major Lynn Jones, Retired

Yosef Ben Avraham Yaacov

Rea L. Ginsberg, LCSW-C, ACSW, BCD

Anne Lastman, BA, MA, MTS

Rabbi Michael Wolff (Canada)

Salima Pirani

Robert S. Ball, MSN, RN

James C. Salwitz, MD

Claire Willis, LICSW

Andrew Thurston, MD

Barbara Bates Sedoric

Blair Botsford (Canada)

Donald M. Burrows

Eleanor Silverberg (Canada)

Robin Gordon Taft

Steve Byrne

Jeff Haberson

Cassandra Yonder (Canada)

Heather Taylor, RN (Canada)

Vicki M. Taylor

Sheryl Beller-Kenner, EdD (Canada)

Lee Witting

John Shuster, MD

Karen Wyatt, MD

Cynthia Cooper, RN

Sheryl J. Nicholson

Marcy Rosen Bernstein, LMSW

Gabriel Heras La Calle, MD (Spain)

Guillermo Godoy, MD

Sheryl Beller-Kenner, EdD

James Salwitz, MD

Along with various perspectives from both Julie Saeger Nierenberg (Canada)

and myself; Victoria Brewster (Canada)

Grief/Grieving/Bereavement, Social Work/Helping Profession/Mental Health

Grief and Everything That Happens is BIG Now | The Grief Toolbox — Loss, Grief, Bereavement and Life Transitions Resource Library

It hits you like a shockwave….grief that is. Anger, sadness, reality that death is permanent and eventually some form of acceptance…


There are times in life when everything seems gigantic. Conflict, stress, tragedy, loss, death, and grief and just a few of things that can grip and squeeze us with seemingly merciless power.“Everything that happens is big now. Every little issue is magnified, because I Source: Everything That Happens is BIG Now | The Grief Toolbox

via Grief and Everything That Happens is BIG Now | The Grief Toolbox — Loss, Grief, Bereavement and Life Transitions Resource Library

Aging/Gerontology, Education, End-of-Life, Grief/Grieving/Bereavement, Health Conditions/Diseases, Healthcare, Humanity, ICU, Social Work/Helping Profession/Mental Health

Raising Awareness for the Topics of Death, Dying, and End of Life…

So to compliment my role as a case manager and group facilitator with older adults, I have a mission and purpose in the areas of death and dying.

Not a topic most want to think about or even contemplate, but in order to be born, we will die one day.

For many, death and dying seems years away and for some, they do not fear death and it could come tomorrow.

An idea I came up with is to raise awareness for the topics of death, dying, and end of life and a way to combines all my interests: create a race that combines walkers, runners/joggers, and cyclers. I am a cycler and once April is here, cycle right through October…walkers could even bring their dogs!

Thoughts? Participants would pay a fee or raise money to be used specifically for the goal of raising awareness about death and dying.

What does that mean? Resource information, training materials, books, checklists and the sharing of ideas along with education on the topic for professionals, students, older adults, families, caregivers, etc.

Julie and I just published a book on this very topic and we know there are many out there like us who support this topic.

Journey’s End” Death, Dying and the End of Life“, a book that has many perspectives in it from both lay people and professionals.

We attempt to describe real life issues and circumstances, and we discuss ways to proactively deal with them. Useful training, resource, and reference material are also included. Death, dying, and end of life are topics many prefer to avoid. This book suggests that we benefit from having frank discussions, living life to the fullest, and planning for our own journey’s end, whenever that may be. Everyone who is born eventually will die, whether or not we want to embrace that fact.

Though few of us know when we will die, we and our family or friends can be well prepared. We can have discussions and create written directives for what we want if we are unable to verbally state them ourselves. Do we want life support? Do we want interventions that may or may not have any benefit to our quality of life if we are in the hospital or in an accident? Do we want to be involved in planning our funeral, memorial, or celebration of life?

The submissions within are from professionals in the field of death and bereavement support and from laypeople, all of whom share stories of dying family members, friends, clients, and patients. Julie and I, the coauthors of this book, also share stories from our personal and professional experiences.

‘Journey’s End’ is a broadly comprehensive book about death, dying, and the end of life.

If interested in participating or you have ideas about how to organize such an event, please contact me: northernmsw@gmail.com

I am thinking next summer to give time for participants to train, but the goal is not a race, but awareness raising oriented.

Buy This Book

Perfect Bound Softcover(B/W)
Price: $23.99
Dust Jacket Hardcover(B/W)
Price: $34.99


Aging/Gerontology, End-of-Life, Grief/Grieving/Bereavement, Health Conditions/Diseases, Healthcare, Humanity, ICU, News, Social Work/Helping Profession/Mental Health

‘Journey’s End’ is Available!

Julie and I are very excited to announce that our book is available on the Xlibris website at: www.xlibris.com.

Journey’s End: Death, Dying, and the End of Life; 2.5 years in the making is finally available. Thank you to all who contributed to our book. We never could have done it without you…

The book is also on goodreadsamazon.com, amazon.ca, Barnes & Noble.

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!