What Was Big Is Now Small

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A bereaved father recently shared this story with me: “I had to walk out of a work meeting the other day. It was my first week back to work after my daughter’s death, and I found myself completely impatient with my team. The topics were so trivial, and they were so worked up as they talked. At first … [Read more...]

A Season With Myrrh

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It is a story often repeated this time of year. The three magi come from the east, following a star to find the Christ child. When they find Him they worship Him and present three gifts – gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Theologians and Bible scholars have offered ideas about the symbolic meaning … [Read more...]

Grief, Bereavement and Mourning

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Grief, bereavement and mourning are words often used to describe the experience of loss. Each of these words describes a different aspect of this experience. Grief is the noun used to describe all of the feelings inside us after a loss. Bereavement means to be deprived of someone by death. … [Read more...]

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...]

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...]

What Was, What Will Be, What Might Have Been

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This year I have experienced the death of my uncle and the birth of another grandson. The day I am writing this post is the 35th birthday of my son Ryan who died in 1981. My Uncle Frank was my last relative in the generation before me. He was deeply loved by his family and all who knew him. He … [Read more...]

Family Support

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I have observed a pattern in many grieving families. They fear that if all the family members express the depth of their pain at the same time, the family may cease to function. “What will happen to us if we all have our hardest day on the same day?” The community may assume that family members … [Read more...]