To Read: It's Okay to Grieve for the Small Losses of a Lost Year

It’s OK to Grieve for the Small Losses of a Lost Year By Tara Parker-Pope | The New York Times (3/15/21)

"In the hierarchy of human suffering during the pandemic, a canceled prom, a lost vacation or missing out on seeing a child’s first steps may not sound like much, but mental health experts say that all loss needs to be acknowledged and grieved.

'People don’t feel like they have the right to grieve,' said Lisa S. Zoll, a licensed clinical social worker in Lemoyne, Pa., who specializes in grief counseling. 'A year into this, the losses are piling up. I just had this conversation in my office when this person said, "I can’t complain about my grief, because people have it worse." But we have to correct that thinking. Your grief is your grief. You can’t compare it to other people’s.'"

To Watch: Speaking Grief: A Documentary

Speaking Grief: A Documentary produced by WPSU Penn State | Vimeo (8/30/20)


"Speaking Grief explores the transformative experience of losing a family member in a death- and grief-avoidant society. This national public media initiative includes a one-hour television documentary, media-rich website, social media campaign, and numerous community engagement events, all aimed at starting a national conversation about grief.

Moving away from the idea that grief is a problem that needs to be “fixed,” Speaking Grief validates the experience of grievers and guides those wishing to support them. There is no “right” way to grieve. By sharing diverse representations of bereavement, Speaking Grief illustrates that grief is a universal, yet individual experience.

The documentary is part of a multi-platform project aimed at elevating a national conversation around grief by creating the space for the journey to recovery. The Speaking Grief Project has been made possible with philanthropic support from the New York Life Foundation."


To Read: A Pet's Death Can Hurt More Than Losing a Fellow Human

A Pet’s Death Can Hurt More Than Losing a Fellow Human by Dyani Sabin | Popular Science (5/1/18)

Social norms are wrecking your grief experience.

"I already imagine losing my puppy will be harder than burying my gerbils, but I also didn’t stare into my gerbils’ eyes quite as much. No matter the species, our bonds with our pets are unlike our other relationships. For one, Bussolari says, they’re entirely dependent on us. For another, Irvine says, “we idealize animals, especially dogs. We create them as these almost angelic characters, so we have this idea of unconditional love for us.” When they die, she explains, it almost seems like a violation of this mythos we’ve built around them."

To Read: How to Practice

How to Practice by Ann Patchett | The New Yorker (3/1/21)

I wanted to get rid of my possessions, because possessions stood between me and death.

"Holding hands in the parking lot, Tavia and I swore a quiet oath: we would not do this to anyone. We would not leave the contents of our lives for someone else to sort through, because who would that mythical sorter be, anyway? My stepchildren? Her niece? Neither of us had children of our own. Could we assume that our husbands would make order out of what we left behind? According to the actuarial tables, we would outlive them.

Tavia’s father died when she and I were fifty-six years old. At any other time, we might have been able to enjoy a few more years of ignoring the fact that we, too, were going to die, but thanks to the pandemic such blithe disregard was out of the question."

And:

"This was the practice: I was starting to get rid of my possessions, at least the useless ones, because possessions stood between me and death. They didn’t protect me from death, but they created a barrier in my understanding, like layers of bubble wrap, so that instead of thinking about what was coming and the beauty that was here now I was thinking about the piles of shiny trinkets I’d accumulated. I had begun the journey of digging out."

To Reflect: Grief Bombs

 
Image of a pink bomb with the text: 
"When everything seems to be okay.
Then out of nowhere the grief hits,
like a bomb exploding in your heart."

To Read: Surprise, You're Going to Be a Caregiver

Surprise, You're Going to Be a Caregiver - Part One by Aisha Adkins | The Order of the Good Death (12/12/18)

"When you first find out you’re going to become a caregiver (or slide into that caregiving role without even realizing it), you’re probably going to experience a range of emotions. Fear, anxiety, anger, frustration, honor, pride, or complete and utter cluelessness. If your loved one’s diagnosis is terminal, you may experience symptoms of grief as well.

Whatever you feel in this moment is not wrong. It’s not about the emotions themselves, but your reactions to them. In a situation where you’re inclined to focus solely on the person you’re caring for, you have to be sure to check in with yourself first. It’s like that famous airplane analogy: in an emergency situation, you have to put oxygen on yourself first before you can help anyone else. Figuring out how you feel and what you need to be okay is fine. Caring about yourself isn’t selfish."

See also: Considerations for Caregivers in Marginalized Communities by Aisha Adkins.

To Read: Nurturing Hope in Difficult Times

Nurturing Hope in Difficult Times by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D. | The Director: Center for Loss and Life Transition (5/21/20)

"Our culture usually isn’t so good at honoring loss and supporting others who are grieving, even though they are essential parts of our lives. 

Instead, to our detriment, we tend to focus almost exclusively on the happy and the distracting and the fun. It’s a question of balance. We need both, you see. We need to honor the light and the dark, the happy and the sad –and everything in between – because all of it belongs. All of it is authentic. And whatever is authentic is normal and necessary. "

To Watch: Death Doula Jane Whitlock on Bucket Lists

 Wondering About Bucket Lists? The Eden Alternative — with Death Doula Jane.

"Jane Whitlock, End of Life Doula and Death Educator comes to you today to invite you to be curious with her about the role of a bucket list in preparing for end of life."

Find out more about Jane Whitlock's work on her website at http://www.deathdoulajane.com/.