Grief and Gratitude
In this month's post, I want to begin with a personal story.
November is National Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, and the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network with the help of supporters, hopes to bring greater public awareness and is focused on doubling pancreatic cancer survival by 2020. On November 13, we can join in the fight against pancreatic cancer by wearing Purple for a Purpose on World Pancreatic Cancer Day.
A brave fighter until the end, "Rose-Ann" was only 45 years-old, and left behind many who loved her.
Among these her devoted sister, mother "Mama Mia" and adoring husband and their two beautiful young children.
I dedicate this article to my friend, who inspired and helped so many of her friends, family and even strangers with meaningful work and was herself a valued Hospice volunteer.
Grief is a normal response to loss and will affect all of us at some point in our lives, as we lose friends, loved ones, or cope with serious illness.
It is important to know that there are many resources available to those struggling with the difficulties of grief, and that we do not have to grieve alone. Support options are available, in the way of support groups where people take turns listening and sharing, as they feel comfortable. They can offer individuals validation of the physical, emotional and spiritual pain of suffering.
Everyone reacts to grief in a unique way because every loss is unique.
The journey of recovery cannot be shortened by ignoring our pain, and though each pain experience is different, it can be helpful to be around others that are empathetic and open to sharing. Grief can be isolating if we do not talk about it with others. Loneliness can occur when we lose a loved one and made worse if we feel no one understands our pain.
A support group can relieve a part of the loneliness and offer various perspectives as we hear how others are coping with their grief. No one will share the same story, but we can identify with the pain of another and find consolation in one another's strengths and healing.
Recovery is a process, and there are resources and people available to help. Hospices, funeral homes, hospitals and places of worship usually offer grief support resources and can help find local support groups. There are also online resources that offer creative approaches to healing.
National grief support organizations have local chapters and connected support groups. Grief does not disappear on its own by trying to be strong or keeping busy. The saying "Time heals all wounds" is well meaning, but it takes more than days passing to work through grief and begin recovery.
National Grief Organizations:
www.compassionatefriends.org/ Support after the death of a child
www.aarp.org/home-family/caregiving/grief-and-loss/ Support after death of a senior
www.nationalwidowers.org/ Support for men grieving a loss
www.afsp.org/ Support for suicide survivors
Griefnet.org/ Support for adults grieving a loss
Hellogrief.org/ Support for adults and kids grieving a loss
Volunteer for Hospice
Hospice teams need volunteers to contact patients, provide clerical support and help with fundraising. Volunteers offer support to patients, family members, child care assistance, bereavement program support, and offer a variety of special services based on the volunteer's skills and interests.
Hospice Foundation of America