Grief Support Resources

Every person must cope with loss of a loved on his or her own terms.

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

Claire M. Schwartz

BA, Certified Professional CoachSpiritual Counselor, Grief Relief ExpertInterfaith Minister

Owner & Founder of Miriam’s Well Healing LLC

Claire’s website is at www.youcanhealyourgrief.comAnd her blog with extensive posts regarding Grief & Loss is HERE.

An Excellent Resource

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.


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.

Keep breathing….

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

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.

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.