by Peggy Sweeney
Grief is overwhelming. We confront grief whenever we experience a loss or trauma. Divorce, loss of a job, a missing child, illness, addiction, abuse, or the aftermath of a fire, flood, or an earthquake are just some examples of traumatic events. The death of a child far surpasses any of the above-mentioned traumas. Healing our grief is a life-altering and very personal experience. No two people will work through their grief experiences in the same way.
Over the years, I have accumulated a list of resources that provide insight and help. I hope that you will find something here that will aid you in your healing process and reinvestment in life.
Visit the Journeys Through Grief website to view an extensive list of books. If you have read a book that helped you cope, please contact me below and I will be happy to add it to this ever-growing list.
Support Groups and Workshops
I believe that no one should journey through grief alone. A support group is a good resource to meet people who share a similar loss. There are support groups for grief in general as well as specific losses such as the death of a child, widowed persons, and health problems (cancer, diabetes, addiction, and so on).
Search Facebook for private, online support groups. Check with your local funeral home, churches in your area, or Hospice, they may offer regular meetings.
For bereaved parents there are several organizations that host virtual meetings and additional resources, such as;
- The Compassionate Friends offers a Crisis Hotline, 24/7 private Facebook Groups, you can request a Bereavement Packet under Resources on their home page.
- Bereaved Parents of the USA helping grieving parents and their families rebuild their lives following the death of a child.
- Parents of Murdered Children supports both parents and siblings and has a newsletter
- Alive Alone, for parents with no surviving children
- Infants Remembered in Silence offers support, education and resources on the death of a child in early pregnancy or stillbirth, premature birth, neo-natal death and birth defects
- Mommies Enduring Neonatal Death (M.E.N.D.) for families who have suffered the loss of a baby through miscarriage, stillbirth, or early infant death
- Grieving Dads author Kelly Farley provides support as well as a pace for dads to share their story
Journaling is putting your feelings and emotions on paper. It can be as simple as jotting down a few thoughts or as elaborate as detailing the day’s happenings. You can highlight difficult days or special events and how you handled them. You should note your good days and the positive reinvestments in life that you have made. Journaling affords you the opportunity to look back on the earlier days of your grief and note the progress you have made.
A craft that has drawn much attention by those who are grieving particularly bereaved parents. Pictures and memorabilia of your child or loved one are preserved on acid free paper within an embellished scrapbook. This is a wonderful way to use your energy to create a treasured keepsake.
Good Grief Therapy
Working with your hands, participating in physical activity, or just relaxing can help reduce the stress in your life. Be good to yourself during your grief journey. Grief exhausts even the strongest of bodies. Eat healthy. Get rest. Realize that your life, as you once knew it, will never be the norm again. You must design a new normal life. Take your grief and use it to make a positive impact on yourself and the world around you.
Eliminate negative thoughts. They will only add more grief and stress. Do not rush to heal your grief. The lessons you will learn along the way are invaluable. Many people have learned to reinvest in life and living following a traumatic event. Seek them out. They have walked the path of grief and will be your guide. They will offer understanding, a gentle hug, and strength.
Copyright Peggy Sweeney. All rights reserved.
About the Author: Peggy Sweeney is a retired funeral director but continues her work as a bereavement educator. Since 1990, Peggy has developed and conducted numerous workshops that offer help to families and professionals coping with life-altering events. A special program—Grieving Behind the Badge—deals with the emotional wellness of emergency response and public safety professionals. Peggy hosted monthly support groups for numerous years for bereaved spouses as well as parents who have had a child or children die. You may contact her through her email peggy@sweeneyalliance.