Vicarious Trauma and Grief

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Relatives and friends of the recent victims of violence have been emotionally devastated by the recent traumatic deaths that have occurred nationally and internationally. The communities where these events occurred will be changed forever. Even if you do not have a direct connection to those who … [Read more...]

Acknowledgement

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In 2011, writer Meghan O’Rourke and psychologist Leeat Granek wrote a series of articles about grief for Slate magazine based on a survey they conducted (see http://www.slate.com/articles/life/grieving.html). Eight thousand readers responded to questions focused on the emotional and social … [Read more...]

Clichés

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Did you ever have a paper returned in English class with a red mark through a phrase and the notation “avoid clichés?” Imagine this red line when you are talking with someone who is grieving. A cliché is a phrase that once had meaning but has been overused and now has lost its meaning. We use … [Read more...]

Catastrophic Thinking

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People who grieve sometimes respond to “normal events” with catastrophic thinking, a psychological term used to describe when a small event provokes thoughts of a dire conclusion. Your daughter is late, so you fear she has been in an accident. You feel a pain and suddenly you know it is cancer. … [Read more...]

Community

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All who suffer a loss through death do so in a community. Your community may be small or large. Your community may meet your needs for support, or it may withdraw sooner than you wish. How your community responds to you becomes part of your story of loss. You may need additional support outside … [Read more...]

Grief Exhaustion

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Columnist Maureen Dowd recently commented on Vice President Joe Biden’s possible decision to run for president. She wrote that Joe Biden has a dilemma: “How does he honor the wish of his late son, Beau, to run when the death of Beau has left him so depleted he may not be able to run?” “I have … [Read more...]

The Right Way to Grieve

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Understanding how you are “wired” may be helpful to you as you grieve. If you are highly social and need interaction you may desire a good deal of contact with others as you grieve. More introverted grievers may need to withdraw and retreat to process their grief. If you process information … [Read more...]

Compare And Contrast

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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...]