Bereavement & the Holidays

For many the months at the end of the year are very difficult. The anticipation of the holidays is dreaded. It is as though all of mankind is preparing to be with family and friends over the various holidays celebrated near the end of the year. The loss of persons special to one is difficult at the best of times but, for many, it becomes a time of loneliness and sorrow. Anniversaries of losses during this time are even more difficult to endure.

The new video on the site is a video about Bereavement & the Holidays. It offers suggestions to those who’s memories contain thoughts of losses and persons absent at this time of year. It becomes even more difficult if the anniversary of the loss of the special person occurs at this time.

I hope that the video is of assistance to you and yours or your friends and colleagues as we approach the holidays. The very best of the Holiday Season to All…..

Grief’s Five Paths II

The last video I posted was on the topic of “Grief’s Five Paths, Changing Lives of Older Citizens’ study. The book reference that I alluded to in my video also contained a number of very interesting findings. This video presents those findings and some conversation about their impact on older citizens and on those who serve them as counsellors. I found them most interesting. I hope that you do as well.

One of the discussions that I found particularly interesting was the presentation of information about how our grief responses are based in evolution. Our grief responses have been designed over time to protect us. I found this fascinating. It begs the question, “As we are changing our response to grief and loss and funerals, largely through avoidance, what is that doing to our adaptive capacity given our response to grief and loss has been largely determined by evolution?”

These findings also confirm other beliefs that we have held about grief and loss recovery including the benefit of having a spiritual belief and the pace of healing enjoyed by those who choose to help others with their grief.

Watch
Grief’s Five Paths I

 

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Grief’s Five Paths

Some time ago I hosted Dr. Ken Doka when he presented a seminar in Edmonton, Alberta. It was put on by the Alberta Funeral Service Association. I had the privilege of being the president of the Dealing with Grief Group for Northern Alberta.

Ken Doka’s presentation was excellent but one moment sticks out for me. He mentioned a study as a part of the presentation that was called the CLOC study. This stood for “The Changing Lives of Older Citizens”. It was the first and only study of its kind that addressed what happened to the surviving couple after the death of their spouse. It was a prospective study of marital satisfaction, values, health, psychological health, social support, psychiatric symptomatology, coping strategies and other concerns of older citizens when they lose a partner.

So why did this attract my attention? I think that it is now, more than ever a, very timely study with a larger percentage of our population entering over 50 years. It is the first of its kind and reveals some astounding facts about how grief and loss affect the older citizen. It was surprising in that it noted that a significant portion of the population that experiences a loss may not have been studied before. Learnings from the study extend beyond the 5 Paths to other areas such as our lack of preparation for this aging population boom, the effect that religion or spiritual beliefs and the fact that if we help others in their addressing grief, these activities help us to address our coping with our grief faster.

The Changing Lives of Older Citizens

Principal Investigator(s):
Randolph M. Nesse, University of Michigan;
Camille Wortman, State University of New York-Stony Brook;
James S. House, University of Michigan;
Ron Kessler, Harvard University;
James Lepkowski, University of Michigan

Death Notifications

It is important what we remember that death notification if done properly, helps the individual who receives the bad news deal with the loss of a loved one and move into the future. If it’s done poorly, it becomes a component of the memory picture that surrounds the death of the loved one and remains with that family forever. And so, crafting a good memory picture should be the responsibility of anyone who does a death notification.

Grief & Loss

The Len & Virginia Show takes a looks at the unique experiences of Grief & Loss from a 1st Responders perspective.