By Leanne Billiau
Change does not come all at once, as we sometimes wish it would. Instead, it happens in small bits and pieces, over time. This is why it can be difficult to recognize the progress you are making along your grief journey.
Mrs. S had been married to her husband for 47 years and had always referred to him as her anchor. When he died she said she felt lost at sea, drifting aimlessly. She wanted to know where the landmarks were and how she would recognize the milestones on what she was afraid would be a long and perilous journey through grief. Read more
by Leanne Billiau
“Have patience with all the world, but first of all with yourself.”
Shame is not a topic we often speak about in any context, but it is there none the less. We have all felt shame, but it remains somewhat taboo in our North American culture. Like death and grief, it is a common human experience that rarely hits the light of day. It is tucked away in the dark recesses and all too often we try to keep it there by any means necessary.
The words shame and guilt are sometimes used interchangeably, and while they can certainly co-exist, shame goes deeper than guilt. Guilt is a feeling focused on behavior and shame is a feeling focused on the self. Read more
By Ron King
Mindfulness is the practice of giving full attention to the present moment, becoming aware of all circumstances and resources in any given time and place. To be mindful does not mean analyzing, interpreting, evaluating or planning. It is simply pausing to breathe, being at rest, stopping to look and listen to what is around you. Read more
By Terre Mirsch
We promised ourselves that we would avoid the last minute rush this year. We had a plan that would somehow make this year’s holiday preparations different than the previous ones where the hustle and bustle of the season left little time for actual enjoyment. Internet shopping would enable us to avoid the shopping mall crowds during the weeks preceding Christmas. Decorating the weekend following Thanksgiving, as many do, would provide us opportunity to enjoy the décor and relax as the holidays approached.
But the best made plans often go awry and such was the case with our Thanksgiving weekend decorating plans. It was two more weeks before we hurriedly went up to the attic to bring down the decorations that would transform our home for the holidays. My daughter began handing me one box after the other. We only had an hour and we were determined to get everything down–quickly. Read more
By Leanne Billiau
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers — so many caring people in this world.”
I saw this quote several times in the days immediately following the recent tragedy in Connecticut. I also heard many people struggling with how and what to tell their children. Anxiety, fear, anger, and feelings of helplessness come to the forefront as we are reminded that life is full of uncertainties. Although the desire to protect children from all hurt, pain, sadness, and grief is strong, it is not possible to create a life for them that is without struggle and heartache. Those of us who work in hospice are aware of this on a daily basis as we help people who are dying to be as comfortable and peaceful as possible, and then help those who are left as they grieve the loss of their loved ones.
By Leanne Billiau
The holidays can be a busy, overwhelming time for many, but when you are grieving the loss of a loved one, it can be an especially difficult time. Holidays as well as special days, such as anniversaries and birthdays, can highlight the fatigue and loneliness many grieving people feel. It is not unusual for feelings of grief to intensify as early as a few weeks prior to a holiday or special day and they can last for up to a few weeks afterward as well. While this can be disturbing to the griever, it is not a set-back. It is, in fact, one of the bumps on the journey of grief. Read more