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For some, the pain of grief is unbearable. To quote a colleague --- we live in a death-denying, pain-avoiding society. To numb the pain of grief, some folks choose to have a have a drink in the evening. And then have two drinks and before long it is a fifth a day and then some. Some turn to other substances, prescription drugs or narcotics.


Alcohol and drugs thwart the ability to process events and they interfere with grief work. In the bereavement center we find that unresolved grief is common with folks struggling with drugs and alcohol – whether or not they started as a result of grief.

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Stress and grief can bring out the worst in people. Lately, I’ve been privy to a number of discussions where there is an enormous amount of family fighting after the death of a family member. This is usually around “stuff.”  Adult children, spouse, ex-spouses, and relatives who haven’t been seen in a while show up wanting “stuff.” Some just take what they want without asking.

 

Other times it’s a bit more involved. Maybe one adult child wants to clean out the closet, but the other sibling isn’t quite ready. Perhaps there was a divorce and the divorced spouse was still the one to provide care. However, the will is changed and other family members have deleted the ex from getting anything. Or, the out-of-town family member is angry at end-of-life decisions that were made in his or her absence. The in-town family members are angry at the person for being away. Sometimes the fights revolve around funer

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As a Boomer, my world is slowly shrinking. Several of my friends are experiencing the death of a parent. My mom is experiencing the death of her good friends. In addition to feeling sad for mom, I too mourn the losses as I have known these folks my entire life. And my friends are dying, one or two every year or so. By the end of the week, I will have gone to three funerals and made two Shiva calls.

 

My mother questions whether she should get a new address book. She is tired of crossing off names. I hope she is joking. It is poignant. I know that when I look in my address book, it brings me comfort to see those names and remember those individuals who have died. In fact, I have kept a few emails from former colleagues - now deceased.

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Many of us are aware that grief is a normal part of every loss we experience. Grief and loss can occur over time when caring for a loved one with dementia. With each loss, there can be a grief reaction. For many, these losses are not initially recognized at a cognitive level as grief, but are experienced at an emotional level through anxiety, sadness and depression. Increasing one’s awareness of anticipatory grief will not only help to identify this feeling, but also provide interventions, which may make one’s journey a little easier.

 

The term anticipatory grief can have several meanings.  It may have a specific focus (the impending death of an individual) and be more inclusive of secondary losses. It may be expanded to include illnesses like dementia wher

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No two people experience a disability the same way just as no two people experience loss the same way. The personality of the person, their support systems and life experiences determine their grief reaction and how best to help meet their needs. 


Adults with special needs experience a number of losses that often go unrecognized. Most do not get a driver’s license, get married or have children. Some live with their parents into adulthood, and when their aging parents die it necessitates a move into a new setting. The adult has not only lost a loved one, but a home as well. Staffing changes in group homes may also be the source of unrecognized loss. In addition, housemates, staff or co-workers may die or move on leaving the adult isolated and grieving. 


In addition to these multiple losses, many adults with special needs experience a history of disenfranchised grief. People think that becaus

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Many people think about making resolutions in the new year. This is usually a firm determination to do or not do something. Lose weight, exercise more and spend less are but a few examples of resolutions that are more often than not, put to rest by the end of January.


Online, you can find many definitions of resolution.

 

In chemistry, it is the process of separating or reducing something into parts. It is the fineness of detail in images and the picture on our flat screen TV. In medicine, it is when symptoms or abnormal conditions subside or disappear.  In law, it’s a court decision. In music, it’s the progression of a dissonant tone

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Recently I attended the presentation by Jacqueline Hatch on twinless twins at the National Hospice and Palliative Care Clinical Conference.  While I am aware of the significant bond between siblings, this presentation offered many new insights on the unique bond between twins.  What struck me was the concept that when a twin dies, it is the first time the remaining twin is ever alone. 

 

According to a report from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of twins increased 76 percent between 1980-2009.  One in 30 babies born in the United States is a twin. There are a number of reasons for this including age, fertility drugs and other factors.  Consequently, there will be many more twinless twins needing our support and understanding.

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Grieving children experience conflicting emotions during the holiday season.   Excitement about presents and parties is often coupled with the sadness of knowing they cannot share them with their deceased loved one.  


Family traditions may have changed since the death. It may seem like nothing is the same as it used to be or everything is the same, except that their special person is missing.  Children may feel jealous of others who haven’t had someone die. They may feel mad and not even know why.  Sometimes when grieving children are feeling happy and having fun, they suddenly remember their deceased loved one and then feel guilty or ashamed for having fun.

...... [ Read the rest of this story ]


Recently I attended the presentation by Jacqueline Hatch on twinless twins at the National Hospice and Palliative Care Clinical Conference.  While I am aware of the significant bond between siblings, this presentation offered many new insights on the unique bond between twins.  What struck me was the concept that when a twin dies, it is the first time the remaining twin is ever alone. 

 

According to a report from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of twins increased 76 percent between 1980-2009.  One in 30 babies born in the United States is a twin. There are a number of reasons for this including age, fertility drugs and other factors.  Consequently, there will be many more twinl

...... [ Read the rest of this story ]

Thanksgiving is right around the corner. UGH! It used to be my favorite holiday but that has changed over the past few years. My children have migrated to opposite coasts and their absence in the house is palpable.  


This year, the first thing that comes to mind is …..Thanksgiving is here, that means it’s been a year since my dad died.  So now, my kids and the grandkids will be absent and so will my father. UGH!  I would really just like to sleep through the whole weekend.

I take time to pause and reflect. Did I change this past year? Did I move through the tasks of grief okay? Was I transformed?  Did I do

...... [ Read the rest of this story ]

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