A Pity Party

sky

Grief clients often tell me they fear they are having a “pity party” or are “feeling sorry for themselves.” Perhaps they are being self-centered or seeking attention, they wonder, or maybe they are lingering in their grief and should be feeling better by now. Many feel pressure, real or imagined, … [Read more...]

Compare And Contrast

Bench

We all remember the assignment we were given in English class to compare and contrast. I often hear folks do this exercise with their grief. It is almost always done in a minimizing form, such as “My loss pales in comparison to the story I read in the paper today.” Perhaps there is some value in … [Read more...]

How Is She Doing?

Path

Words used to describe grieving people often measure them in terms of how well they are doing rather than how they are feeling. “How is our mutual friend doing after the death of her mother?” “She is doing really well. She is back to work and looks really good.” Or, “She is a mess. Really not doing … [Read more...]

How to Talk to Someone Grieving

Dr. Patrick O'Malley-Healing Grief

Many years ago I was in a men’s group. One of our group had recently experienced the death of his dad. The leader asked this man if he was “back on track” after the month had passed since his dad’s death. The fellow, who was a soft-spoken sort, looked confused as to how to answer the question. He … [Read more...]

Sitting With

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A grief counselor in my town tells about a conversation he had with a taxi driver. Making conversation, the cab driver asked why he was in town. The counselor said, “I am here to teach the staff at a hospital how to be helpful someone who has experienced the death of a loved one.” The cabbie looked … [Read more...]

When a Classmate Dies

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Many years ago, I was a consultant at a school where a kindergarten student had died. The parents of the other classmates wanted help as they helped their own children process the tragedy. I met with the parents to help them understand what to expect from their children, and I also consulted with … [Read more...]

High Achiever Grievers

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Many grieving people come to see me already self-diagnosed. They believe they are behind in their grieving. They either have read about the model of Stages of Grief or have heard enough to know they are behind or “stuck.” I call these folks “High Achiever Grievers.” They are typically very … [Read more...]

Losing Them, Losing Me

Dr. Patrick O'Malley-Healing Grief

One of the questions I ask grieving folks who come to see me is, “What part of you did you lose with the person who died?” The answers to this question are important in understanding our loss. I hear responses such as, “He really got my sense of humor, ” or “She always thought I had great ideas,” … [Read more...]

Does Time Heal?

Getting Grief Right

I often hear these words from grieving clients, “I am in year two of this grief. I thought time was supposed to heal, but I feel worse. What is wrong with me?” “Time heals” implies there is a relationship between the passage of time and sadness; more time past the loss equals less pain. Most … [Read more...]