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 "Dealing with Grief" (conf call notes, 12/6/10) 
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Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 1:46 pm
Posts: 4811
Location: SF Bay Area (Northern CA)
Post "Dealing with Grief" (conf call notes, 12/6/10)
This short post contains a social worker's tips on dealing with grief. CurePSP hosted a conference call this afternoon for support group leaders and volunteers on this topic. I called in for most of the meeting. Here are a few notes I took.


Topic: Dealing with Grief
Speaker: Diane Breslow, MSW, LCSW, Social Worker, Northwestern University Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders Center

Grief is highly personal and highly individual.

Even though there are stages, everyone doesn't go through every stage, or spend the same amount of time in a stage, or go through the stage in the same way.

There's no normal timetable for grieving. And it can't be pushed along.

Common myth about grief: Ignore grief - put it behind you, and it'll go away. Fact: ignoring grief will make things worse in the long run.

Common myth about grief: Be strong - have a stiff upper lip, and grief will go away.

Common myth about grief: If you don't cry, you aren't sad or grieving. Fact: not everyone uses tears to show grief.

Common myth about grief: The grieving process should last a year. Fact: this might be a good benchmark for some but not all. If you haven't turned a corner after a year, it doesn't mean you've done something wrong.

Five stages: Denial - Anger - Bargaining - Depression - Acceptance
These stages don't follow in a given sequence. They can overlap. There is always a back and forth movement.

Grief is more like a spiral or rollercoaster with ups and downs. Doesn't go from point A to point B in a straight line.

Suggestion by Diane of a poem that talks about helping others deal with grief: "Friends," a poem by Bruce H. Conley. [Robin's note: this poem might be in the book "Plain-paper poems for people who hurt when someone dies"]

Diane gave the example of a PSP caregiver was feeling guilty for experiencing "anticipatory grief." The caregiver was anticipating the loss of a loved one, and wondering what that would be like.

Suggestion for caregivers by Janet Edmunson: reading grief books before your loved one dies. Some examples: "Getting to the Other Side of Grief," "How to Survive the Loss of a Love" (especially page 20 - "You will survive" - copied below), and "The Healing Journey Through Grief."

Other good grief books: "The Grief Recovery Handbook," "Tuesdays with Morrie," and "A Grief Observed."

Not everyone who is grieving may be ready to hear your sympathetic messages (or the message on page 20 of "How to Survive the Loss of a Love").

Be careful saying "I've been where you are" to someone who is grieving.




Note: "How to Survive the Loss of a Love" is a part of our local support group's lending library. Here's page 20:

You Will Survive
* You will get better
* No doubt about it.
* The healing process has a beginning, a middle and an end.
* Keep in mind, at the beginning, that there is an end. It's not that far off. You will heal.
* Nature is on your side, and nature is a powerful ally.
* Tell yourself, often, "I am alive. I will survive."
* You are alive.
* You will survive.


Mon Dec 06, 2010 8:11 pm
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Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2010 1:26 pm
Posts: 56
Location: NC
Post Re: "Dealing with Grief" (conf call notes, 12/6/10)
Thank you for posting this Robin....
I still haven't decided if the anticipatory grief makes it better or worse for us caregivers once the actual event occurs. It's just tough all around and the Holidays don't make it any easier.
I appreciated your post....very timely for me
Thank you :-)


Tue Dec 07, 2010 12:29 am
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Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 1:46 pm
Posts: 4811
Location: SF Bay Area (Northern CA)
Post Re: "Dealing with Grief" (conf call notes, 12/6/10)
Funny, I was having a conversation with a caregiver about that very topic over the weekend -- does experiencing grief while your LO is alive make your the grief process shorter once your LO is gone? We both concluded "probably not" in the long run but immediate following the death things do seem easier as the grieving is quite familiar.


Tue Dec 07, 2010 1:40 am
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Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 1:46 pm
Posts: 4811
Location: SF Bay Area (Northern CA)
Post Re: "Dealing with Grief" (conf call notes, 12/6/10)
In the post above, there is a reference by the social worker to a poem that talks about helping others deal with grief: "Friends," a poem by Bruce H. Conley. Elaine, on the LBDcaregivers Yahoo!Group, found the poem. Here it is:


Friends
You don't need to say you're sorry
It's written in your face
I know you share my sadness
By the warmth of your embrace.
Don't try to justify the "why",
Or "how" this came to be
Or explain away the mystery
Of death's reality.
Just know that more than any words
The thing I hold most dear
Is the friendship in your handshake
And the fact that you are here

by Bruce H. Conley


Wed Dec 08, 2010 3:03 pm
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