Grief Support Resources
The Van Tassel Funeral Home is committed to providing holistic care to all the families we serve. We recognize that children and adolescents have special needs when it comes to understanding death and dying. To meet these needs we offer specially tailored programming for children and adolescents.
Grief is a Journey
Every loss is different and every griever is different – and this can be a very intensive period of emotions, needs, doubts and challenges. Van Tassel Funeral Home is committed to adding a deeper level of care to our clients. That’s why we have an expert on hand to guide and support you.
We work closely with Grief Relief Expert and Certified Professional Coach Claire M. Schwartz and she has excellent advice and resources for you.
Claire M. Schwartz
BA, Certified Professional Coach
Spiritual Counselor, Grief Relief Expert
Owner & Founder of Miriam’s Well Healing LLC
Claire’s website is at www.youcanhealyourgrief.com
And her blog with extensive posts regarding Grief & Loss is HERE.
An Excellent Resource
Claire is also the author of Putting Out the Fire; Nurturing Mind, Body, and Spirit in the First Week of Loss, the only book that addresses the first week of loss exclusively. It is practical, compassionate and personal, drawn from her years of experience with 30+ losses, as well as over 10 years in practice as a healer and coach.
This is one of the best books we have ever read about Grief & Loss, providing a thorough review of emotions, thoughts, actions and means of coping. It is also a quick read, going right to the heart of what to do and how to manage all that is coming at you – plus it not only supports you during the first week, but in the years to come.
Purchase 'Putting Out the Fire' here
Claire wants to share some has immediate insights and ideas to help you during your grieving process:
thing I want to say to you, is that I am so sorry for your loss and the pain
you are suffering. But please know that:
- anything that you are feeling is
- there are tools you can use to get
through what is ahead; and
- you are not alone.
You are not
going crazy – you are hurting, and you are human. So let us
work on understanding what is going on and how you can make the best choices
A Fresh Loss
hours and days of a loss are a different kind of challenge. In addition to
sadness, you may be experiencing any one or more of the following:
- You may be physically in shock,
feeling deeply emotional and yet completely numb at the same time.
- Your body may get confused about
hunger, water and sleep.
- Your short-term memory may be faulty
- A full range of emotions may come in
waves, including anger, guilt, and fear, and you may also laugh uncontrollably.
All of these are normal and nothing to be deeply concerned about.
note: if you are experiencing heart palpitations, trouble breathing or other
health issues, seek medical attention immediately.
of these may last longer than that first week, of course, but are most intense
when the loss is fresh, as you are still adjusting to what has happened, and
you have a million things that need to be done immediately.
That’s why it is important at the outset to keep the following things in mind:
- Please take the time to take care of your health. Eat – sleep – take breaks – stretch – drink water - don’t skip medications. All of these things will help your mind and body cope with what is going on and what is required in the next few days.
- You will have a lot of details to remember – pick a trusted friend (or two) to help you write things down and remember where you put them. They can also help you keep track of your keys, glasses, & phone.
- Family stress during the first week can be at an all-time high. There may be conflict that arises, but do not let it throw you. If an uncomfortable situation occurs, steer clear of it or ask a trusted friend to assist you with this. It can be addressed at a later time.
- Time may get very strange in these early hours and days, and everything may appear to be happening in slow motion. This is completely normal and to be expected.
Please remember – you only have to get through one minute at a time.
A Note on the Stages of Grief
Many people are familiar with the Stages of Grief, created in 1969.
And many of you may indeed experience Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. But the Stages do not happen in the same order for each person, nor even for the same person experiencing multiple losses. One may skip a stage or go back to the same emotion again and again.
The Stages also imply that when you have “accepted” a loss, you are done grieving and that is not the case for most people. Grieving and mourning for someone you love shifts over time to become less intense and painful, when we work on the loss and learn how to weave it into our personal history.
Loss is a deeply individual and personal journey – each loss is different and each griever is unique. They cannot be explained by a simple formula, and Dr. Kubler-Ross, who wrote the Stages, tried later in her career to discourage their use for grievers.
On the other hand, if the Stages do work for you and bring you comfort, use them. I would just encourage you to also add other approaches and tools to your journey back to happiness and wholeness.
Healing From Loss
Loss Changes You – I will say that again – Loss Changes You.
And that is the truth.
It will take time to figure out those changes and how to navigate this new period of your life. You cannot get Back to Normal – your Old Normal is no longer there. But you can create a New Normal around this new reality.
True healing takes time – working actively and consciously on it is what truly shifts you forward. And that is absolutely doable.
So here are some things to keep in mind as you go:
- Continue to take care of yourself – food, water, sleep and medications must be maintained so that the lack of proper health does not make your coping even harder.
- Time may stay strange for a while and again, this is totally normal. It will return to normal as the rest of your life straightens itself out.
- Honor your emotions – I would not recommend holding them back, they will resurface, and usually at an inconvenient time. Make time to cry or be angry – you can also write out your feelings as another way of getting them out.
As I said, time will not heal your wounds by itself – I wish it would. But actively taking the time to engage in your healing will work wonders:
- Share your memories
- Honor your loved one in a concrete way, with a memory book, a donation, a recipe, an event – there are endless possibilities and they will all be right. Listen to your heart to find the right one.
- Seek a grief coach or therapist if you are having deeper challenges – and keep looking until you find the right one for you.
One other note – not all those who have passed have been beloved….
Sometimes, the deceased leaves a complex tangle of hurt, trauma and confusion in their wake. These losses require deeper and more personal attention. It is okay to feel a huge variety of emotions at these losses – most people have a complicated history. But if there are deeper wounds that require attention, seek out a professional.
If I can be of personal support, please get in touch.
My website is at www.youcanhealyourgrief.com
My blog with extensive posts regarding Grief & Loss is HERE.
And my book, Putting Out the Fire, is available at Van Tassel Funeral Home, as well as on my website and on Amazon.
You can also find more About Me and why I do this work, about the dark journey I have taken and how I found the light again after mountains of loss.
The organizations below may also be of service to you:
Growth House – www.growthhouse.org
An international gateway to resources for life-threatening illness and end of life issues. Hypertext topic pages link to sites around the world. Links to hospic eand home care, bereavement, death with dignity, AIDS, and related topics in life-threatening illness.
GriefNet (www.griefnet.org) is an Internet community of persons dealing with grief, death, and major loss. They have many email support groups. Their integrated approach to online grief support provides help to people working through loss and grief issues.
Wishing you Heartfelt Healing as you weave your loss into the Landscape of Your Life and build your New Normal. Do contact me directly through my website if I can be of service to you or a loved one who is grieving.