I Did Not Know What To Say Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Grief Support’

It’s About How You LIVE – Taking The Fear Out Of Conversations About Advance Care Planning, Serious Illness and End of Life Care.

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on October 2, 2017

My interview will air on Tuesday, October 3.

I am honored to have been invited to be a part of a wonderful telesummit that began airing September 15 called,

It’s About How You LIVE – Taking The Fear Out Of Conversations About Advance Care Planning, Serious Illness and End of Life Care.

You will have free access to my interview which is called, “What to Say…When You Don’t Know What to Say”. Along with my interview, you will also have access to 20 other experts in their respective fields speaking about topics including-

  • Advance Care Planning
  • Care Giving
  • Serious Illness and Palliative Care
  • Hospice and End of Life Care
  • Grief

If you are a medical professional, a care giver, someone who has a serious illness, someone grieving a loss, or if you are simply interested in learning more about these topics, this telesummit is for YOU! If you don’t like to talk, or even think, about some of these topics, if you struggle getting your loved ones to talk about these topics, or if you are ready to take the fear out of discussing these important topics, this telesummit is for YOU!

Each of the 21 experts are passionate about their field, and after hearing their interviews, you will walk away amazed at the amount of valuable information you learned. This is a unique opportunity to learn from the best of the best, so please be sure to take advantage of this free event by registering today. Just click here to register now! www.itsabouthowyoulive.com

I am excited to share my interview with you, as well as the other 20 interviews from this distinguished group of experts. Register today, and share this with your family and friends as well. We want everyone to have the opportunity to listen and learn from this amazing group because… It’s About How You LIVE!

All the best to you! See you at the telesummit! Click here to register – www.itsabouthowyoulive.com

Lori Pederson – www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com

Founder, I Did Not Know What To Say

My interview will air on Tuesday, October 3.

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Posted in Caregiver, Funeral Planning, Grief Resources, Grief Support Discussion Topics, Hospice/Palliative Care, Planning For A Future Without You, What Not To Say, What Not to Say to a Grieving Loved One, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

What Will You Choose?

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on April 6, 2014

What Will You Choose?
by Lori Pederson, Founder of I Did Not Know What To Say.com

You just received a phone call letting you know that your friend has lost a loved one. You now have a decision to make…What kind of supporter do you want to be?

There are many ways to support a loved one after a loss. As a friend you have the right to choose the most appropriate path for you in the moment. There are times that you may choose to be the best supporter you can be, and other times you may shy away from the responsibility due to personal circumstances or your own emotional pain.

Here are a few common ways people respond when they are called upon to support a grieving loved one:

1. The Listener – The person that allows you to talk about your feelings without telling you how you should feel.

2. The Doer – The person that jumps right in and takes care of everyday tasks. They bring970993_682410778492836_1861968560_n groceries, pick up your kids from school, they make sure people are notified about funeral arrangements and generally take care of those daily tasks that you are not up to doing.

3. The Cheerleader – The person that lifts your spirits when you can barely get out of bed. They are there to get you out of the house and will take you on an adventure to brighten your day.

4. The Brief Encounter – The person that comes to the funeral, sends you a card or flowers, but generally believes that grief ends at the funeral and there is not much more that they can do for you. Their support is brief but sincere.

5. The No Show – The person that is not able to be supportive for their own personal reason. They may be uncomfortable with talking about death and loss or there may be life circumstances that make them unavailable.

As you travel through the grief recovery journey with a friend, you may find that you are all of these types of supporters and a whole lot more. Grief is not a linear process; it has many peaks and valleys. As your grieving friend’s needs change, so to will the type of support they need.

When choosing how you will support a grieving loved one, consider the following:

  • Lead with your strength. We all have our strengths that come out when a difficult situation arises. If you are a great listener, be a great listener. If you are a doer, help your friend with daily tasks.
  • Stretch yourself a little to learn more about yourself and how you feel about grief and death. You may find a blessing for yourself hidden inside the journey.
  • Know your limits. We all have our limitations and we can’t be all things to all people. Do the best you can in the moment.
  • Ask for help if you are over your head. A grieving friend may require more assistance than a lay person can handle. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your local grief support group or a grief counselor.

After losing many friends and family over the years, the one thing I have learned is that the right people show up at the right time. Often it is not the person we thought it would be. I have to admit that it took me awhile to forgive those friends that were not there for me after my mother passed away. But I have come to realize that it is more important to be grateful for those that were there and understand that those that were not had their reasons.

The choice is yours…what will you choose?

© 2011 Lori Pederson
WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Lori Pederson, Founder of I Did Not Know What to Say, a website created to inspire and to provide you with tools to assist a love one through the grieving process. If you would like our free newsletter on how to assist your friends and family members through the journey of restoring balance in their life after the death of a love one, please visit our website at http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com.

Posted in Grief Resources, Grief Resources - Newsletter, Grief Support Discussion Topics, What Not To Say, What Not to Say to a Grieving Loved One, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Sign-Up Today for the FREE Grief Healing Telesummit: March 10 -18, 2014

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on March 5, 2014

Grief Healing Telesummit:

Enjoy free access to 17 amazing speakers who share their best information to
help you transform grief into healing and living again!

  Free Registration at http://griefhealingtelesummit.com/lpederson
March 10 -18, 2014
Please share with those with a grieving heart!

1601140_789620637718793_1186739137_n

Look at this amazing line up of experts!
I Did Not Know What To Say – Wed. March 12 at 1pm EST
The Grief Toolbox Toolbox
What’s Your Grief
Peace & Wellness Centere
Embrace Your Inner Self
Simply Kerryy
Dorothy Fitzer
Global Association of Holistic Psychotherapy
With Sympathy Gifts & Keepsakes,
Tina Games, Michael Mapes, Margaret Paul, Maggie Chula, Uma Girish, Tabitha Jayne and
Transcending Loss: Understanding the lifelong impact of grief

Free Registration at http://griefhealingtelesummit.com/lpederson
March 10 -18, 2014
Please share with those with a grieving heart!

Posted in Caregiver, Children Grief Support, Gratitude, Grief Resources, Grief Resources - Newsletter, Grief Support & Holidays, Grief Support Discussion Topics, Grief Support Workshops, Holiday Grief Support, Hospice/Palliative Care, Inspiration, Loss due to Suicide, Loss of a Aunt/Uncle, Loss of a Child, Loss of a Father, Loss of a Friend, Loss of a Grandparent, Loss of a Mother, Loss of a Parent, Loss of a Pet, Loss of a Sibling, Loss of a Spouse, Memorial Day, Men & Grief, Stillborn, Suicide Survivors, Thoughtful Sympathy Gifts, What Not To Say, What Not to Say to a Grieving Loved One, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Grief Healing Telesummit – March 10 -18, 2014

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on February 11, 2014

Grief Healing Telesummit:
Enjoy free access to 17 amazing speakers who share their best information to help you transform grief into healing and living again!

Free Registration at www.griefhealingtelesummit.com 
March 10 -18, 2014
Please share with those with a grieving heart!

1601140_789620637718793_1186739137_n

Look at this amazing line up of experts!
I Did Not Know What To Say
The Grief Toolbox Toolbox
What’s Your Grief
Peace & Wellness Centere
Embrace Your Inner Self
Simply Kerryy
Dorothy Fitzer
Global Association of Holistic Psychotherapy
With Sympathy Gifts & Keepsakes,
Tina Games, Michael Mapes, Margaret Paul, Maggie Chula, Uma Girish, Tabitha Jayne and
Transcending Loss: Understanding the lifelong impact of grief

Posted in Grief Resources, Grief Resources - Newsletter, Grief Support Discussion Topics, Grief Support Workshops, What Not to Say to a Grieving Loved One, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

I Did Not Know What To Say Newsletter Archive

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on July 18, 2013

I Did Not Know What To Say Newsletter Archive

Over the last several years we have provided articles and interviews on a variety of topics on how to assist a loved one through the journey of restoring balance in their life after a loss. I have put together a resource list below for you to explore and/or pass on to a loved one that might benefit from these tools. 

If there is a specific topic that you would like us to include in one of our upcoming newsletters, please email us.
 

Understanding Grief 

Are Grief & Depression the Same Thing? 
by Mark D. Miller M.D.
Dr. Miller explores the differences between Grief and Depression.
 

Helping Dispel 5 Common Myths About Grief
by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.,
Alan D. Wolfelt’s article describes five of the most common myths about grief. Through understanding and overcoming these myths we can find positive ways to help ourselves and others heal. 

Anticipating Grief
by Cheryline Lawson
Cheryline’s article gives an overview of how anticipating the loss of a loved one that is terminally ill can affect family, friends and the person who is dying.  
 

How to Support and Care for a Grieving Loved One

What To Say… When You Don’t Know What To Say 
by Lori Pederson, Founder, I Did Not Know What To Say
Finding the words to support a loved one through the grieving process.
 
What Not to Say to a Grieving Loved One  
by Lori Pederson, Founder, I Did Not Know What To Say
Knowing what not to say can be just as important as finding the right words to comfort a  loved one when they are grieving.
 
SHOULD I OR SHOULDN’T I? 
by Ann Leach, President, Life Preservers: a global grief support community
Ann’s article will give you concrete ways to provide support in the simplest of ways to a     
grieving loved one.
 
by Lori Pederson, Founder, I Did Not Know What To Say
Helpful way to assist your love one find fun & adventure again. 
 
by Joan Hitchens, Storybooks for Healing
Tips on how writing about a loved one can be an effective tool for those grieving to process their feelings and help them restore balance in their life.
 
by Lori Pederson, Founder, I Did Not Know What To Say
After the loss of a loved one, there is nothing more important you can do for a friend than being a good listener.  The Gift of Listening offers 10 Tips on how to improve your listening skills.
 
by Jill Rheaume, Creator, Our Stressful Lives
Jill’s article will explore healthy ways to handle the little and big stressors in your life. 
 
by Tamar Fox
Tips to take into consideration if you’re called on to bring food to a family member or friend who’s ill, recovering from surgery, or dealing with a recent loss. 
 
by Lori Pederson, Founder, I Did Not Know What To Say
You just received a phone call letting you know that your friend has lost a loved one. You now have a decision to make…What kind of supporter do you want to be? 
 
by Lori Pederson, Founder, I Did Not Know What To Say
Tips on how to choose a sympathy gift that expresses your deep concern.
 
by Lori Pederson, Founder, I Did Not Know What To Say
Sharing gratitude to those that have provided support during a loss.
 

Walk Beside Me and Be My Friend
by Nan Zastrow 
Explores how relationships can change after the event of grief. Some relationships will strengthen, some relationships will end and new relationships will begin.
 
Please Cut the Grieving Some Slack
by Maribeth Coye Decker, Sacred Grove Bodywork
This article reminds us that we are all human and that we need to let kindness and forgiveness guide us when we encounter strange behaviors from those that are grieving.

Reaching out to the bereaved and getting no response
by Robbie Miller Kaplan, Author How to Say It, When You Don’t Know What to Say
Explores the reasons why someone may not respond when they are grieving and how to not take it personally.

How to Talk to Someone Who is Grieving
by Rachel Walton, MSN, CRNP
Rachel’s article offers many valuable suggestions on how to talk to and more importantly listen to someone who is grieving.

Effective Communication Skills During Grief and Mourning Following a Family or Relationship Death
by Rick Goodfriend
Rick Goodfriend’s article offers several useful suggestions on how to communicate effectively with a loved one that is grieving. 
 
Interview with Robbie Miller Kaplan – How to Say It, When You Don’t Know What to Say


How to Support a Grieving Loved One during the Holidays
 
 
The First Holidays After a Loss – How You Can Offer Your Support
by Lori Pederson, Founder, I Did Not Know What To Say
Tips on how to support a grieving friend or family member as they experience the holidays for the first time without their loved one.
 
 
Helping Children Grieve during the Holidays
by Miri Rossitto founder of Valley of Life memorial website & author of
 
A Guide to Children and Grief
Useful suggestions on how to assist a grieving child express their feelings of sadness as well as honor the memory of the loved one that passed away.
 
by Lori Pederson, Founder, I Did Not Know What To Say
Having the support of friends and family during the holidays can make all the difference. Sometimes support and love are the best gifts you can give a friend that is grieving.
 
by Lori Pederson, Founder, I Did Not Know What To SaySometimes the perfect gift is not perfect at all. It is your willingness to look awkward and not know what to say, and yet still show up and be there for a friend that is grieving that matters most.
 
by Lori Pederson, Founder, I Did Not Know What To Say
Holidays can be a difficult time for those that are grieving. We have compiled a list of 12 simple and meaningful ways to support your grieving friends this holiday season.
 

Thanksgiving Memories: Love, Loss and Good Eats
by Gloria Arenson, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist 
A wonderful reminder of the simple ways to remember a loved one during the holidays.

How to Support a Grieving Window/Widower

by Marcy Kelly, Author of From Sorrow to Dancing
Marcy has provided us with her insights and suggestions on how to assist a grieving widow.
 
by Carole Brody Fleet, Author of Widows Wear Stilettos
Carol offers several fun filled suggestions on how to get through – and even enjoy Valentine’s Day when you are a widow or on your own.
 
by Taryn Davis, Founder, The American Widow Project
Writings & Tips for those who know someone who has lost their hero in the military.
 

How To Date/Marry A Widow or Widower
by Ellen Gerst
Grief and Relationship Coach, Ellen Gerst, offers several practical suggestions on how to be sensitive to your partner’s loss and at the same time grow your relationship.

Interview with Pat Nowak – ABC’s of Widowhood 

Interview with Ellen Gerst – Love After Loss: Writing The Rest of Your Story 

Interview with Carole Brody Fleet – Widows Wear Stilettos 

Interview Marcy Kelly – From Sorrow to Dancing 

Interview with Lori A. Moore – Missing Andy 

Interview with Michael Corrigan – A Year and a Day

Interview with Jennifer Hawkins – The Gift Giver


Suicide Survivors

Helping a Suicide Survivor Heal
by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.
Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D. article provides many useful strategies on how to support your friends and family dealing with this type of loss.

The Myths Surrounding Suicide
by Catherine Greenleaf
Catherine Greenleaf offers insightful information on how to assist a loved one that is a suicide survivor.

Interview with Catherine Greenleaf – Healing The Hurt Spirit: Daily Affirmations for People Who Have Lost a Loved One to Suicide


How to Support a Grieving Mom

What Grieving Moms Want for Mother’s Day: The Comfort Company Offers 10 Simple Ways to help Moms Cope When Mother’s Day Hurts
Survey conducted by the Comfort Company – What Grieving Moms Want for Mother’s Day is a compilation of over 200 survey responses on how you can help the grieving moms in your life cope with Mother’s Day.

Broken Angel
by Janet Kohn, Co-Founder The Broken Angels Grief Support Group
Janet offers a simple, yet profound way to explain to friends how grief changes parents who have lost a child to substance abuse.

Am I a Mother – Tips for Handling Mother’s Day After Miscarriage
by Lisa Church of HopeXchange
Lisa Church’s article explores how to ease the pain of the loss of a pregnancy and how to find hope and healing.  For friends and family, Lisa’s article is a great resource on how to offer your support on Mother’s Day.

Loss from a Miscarriage and Stillborn 

Interview with Veronica Janus – Abundantly More  

Interview with Laura Smith – In All Things Giving Thanks When Hope Seems Lost 


How to Support a Grieving Dad
 

by Kelly Farley, Founder of the Grieving Dad’s Project
Many men feel alone in their grief after the loss of a child. Kelly Farley, Founder of the Grieving Dad’s Project, offers many ways to support grieving dads by sharing his personal story.

Interview with Kelly Farley – Grieving Dads: To The Brink and Back


Loss of a Parent
 

Mother’s Day Remembrance
by Lori Pederson, Founder, I Did Not Know What To Say
Tips on how to support a loved one who is grieving the loss of their mom on Mother’s Day.
 
by Janell Vasquez of Memories are Forever
Janell’s article offers many suggestions on how to create a lasting tribute by designing a personalized memory book to honor your father’s memory. 
 
What to Do on Father’s Day When Dad is Deceased
by Laurie Mueller, RTC, ID, AED, Med
Laurie Mueller offers practical tips to honor the important men in your life that have passed away.

Interview with Chelsea Hanson – Sympathy Matters Collection

Loss of a Pet  

Loss of a Pet – How to Bring Comfort to a Grieving Friend
 by Lori Pederson, Founder, I Did Not Know What To Say
Lori’s article offers several suggestions on how to support a friend that is grieving the loss of their beloved pet.

Support & Resources for Traumatic Loss and Natural Disasters

Natural Disaster Recovery Guide
by Dwight Bain
Dwight Bain’s article is an insightful look at the emotional side of disaster recovery.

Resources for Traumatic Loss 
Resources and helpful tips on ways to support those that are grieving in the wake of a tragedy. If you have a resource to share, please email us at info@ididnotknowwhattosay.com

How to Support a Grieving Child

Interview with Lynn S. Combes – A Garden Full of Butterflies

Posted in Children Grief Support, Father's Day, Gratitude, Grief Resources, Grief Resources - Newsletter, Grief Support & Holidays, Grief Support Discussion Topics, Holiday Grief Support, Loss due to Suicide, Loss of a Child, Loss of a Father, Loss of a Mother, Loss of a Parent, Loss of a Pet, Loss of a Sibling, Loss of a Spouse, Men & Grief, Military Loss, Miscarriage, Mother's Day, Share Your Story, Thanksgiving, Virtual Book Tour, What Not To Say, What Not to Say to a Grieving Loved One, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Loss of a Beloved Pet – How to Bring Comfort to a Grieving Friend

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on April 2, 2013

Image Loss of a Beloved Pet – How to Bring Comfort to a Grieving Friend  

My companion growing up was a beautiful Golden Retriever Collie mix named Red. Red was my first pet to pass away and I was devastated. I remember starting to cry when I was at school and my friends did not seem to understand why I was showing such deep emotions for the loss of my dog. Although they did not understand, I knew what a big part he had played in my life and I felt a bit lost without him. He was my friend, my protector and my companion. 

Animal people know that a pet can truly become a part of the family and their passing can be as devastating as losing a dear friend. A pet provides unconditional love and companionship. They are always excited to see you when you come home, they are by your side when you are sick, and they listen to you when no one else will. When a pet passes away they truly leave a void in the lives of those who loved them. 

If you would like to bring comfort to a grieving pet owner, here are a few ideas you may want to consider:

Ways to Offer Your Support 

  • Listen Without Judgment.  Today, pets play an important part in the lives of their owners and their loss can be very painful. If you are a non-pet person, you may think it is strange that your friend is expressing such deep feelings for the loss of their pet. But if you take the time to listen, you will most likely find that their pet was their companion and friend.
  • Acknowledge the Loss. Understand that the loss of a pet can be significant and should not be disregarded as inconsequential. Acknowledging their loss and extending your sympathy can bring comfort to your friend. Send a card or give them a call to let them know you understand that this is an important loss in their life. A note might include the following: “We were saddened to hear of  Panther’s passing. You gave him companionship, comfort and warmth throughout his life. We will remember his joyful spirit. We are so sorry for your loss.”
  • Don’t be Afraid to talk about the animal. Sharing stories about a beloved pet that has passed away is a normal and a therapeutic way to heal. Allow your friend to talk about their memories and don’t be afraid to mention the animal’s name or share your own fond memories of the pet.
  • Give a Hug. A simple hug can go a long way. When my cat Harley passed away a few years ago, I remember becoming very emotional one morning. My niece, who saw that I was upset, came up to me and gave me a generous hug. I was grateful that she  was willing to be there for me in a loving way. 

Thoughtful Pet Sympathy Gift Ideas 

  • Show you care by sending a donation to an animal shelter or charity in memory of the pet that passed away.
  • Personalize a frame with a poem and a favorite picture of the animal.
  • Help your friend create a pet sanctuary in their backyard with plants and a memorial garden stone to honor the memory of their beloved pet.
  • Create a pet remembrance box with the pet’s name, picture and keepsake items.
  • Send your friend a Pet Memorial Ornament to remember their pet during the holidays. 
  • Visit our website for more Thoughtful Pet Sympathy Gift Ideas – http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/gifts-petmemorials.html

What Is Not Helpful?

Often friends and family try to lessen the deep emotions of grief by offering what they may feel are valid and rational responses to the loss of a pet. However, these responses can be hurtful and can disregard the pet owner’s feelings. Here are a few sayings to try to avoid:  

  • Don’t be sad, you can always get another pet.
  • It is just a pet, why are you so upset?
  • I can’t believe you spent so much money on treatment for your pet.
  • It has been a couple of weeks, why are you still upset?
  • Why would you spend money to have your pet cremated and put in an Urn, the Vet can just take care of it for you for free.  

And a special note to the non-pet lovers… we ask you to remember that your friends that love the furry creatures of the world may be experiencing a loss without their pet. Kind words and your thoughtfulness during the grieving process are always appreciated.    

I have always been deeply grateful for the unconditional love my pets have given me and those that have passed away will always hold a special place in my heart. If you have a Pet story you would like to share, we would love to hear from you.    

For more resources, please visit our website at http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/inspiration-loss-of-pet.html.  Have a suggestion or resource you would like us to include on our website?  Email us at info@ididnotknowwhattosay.com or include a comment below.

©2013 Lori Pederson
WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Lori Pederson, Founder of I Did Not Know What To Say, a website created to inspire and to provide you with tools to assist a loved one through the grieving process. If you would like our free newsletter on how to assist your friends and family through the journey of restoring balance in their life after the death of a loved one, please visit our website at www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com.

Posted in Grief Resources, Grief Resources - Newsletter, Grief Support Discussion Topics, Loss of a Pet | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

In Wake of Newtown Shootings Five Ways to Help Grieving Families After a Child Dies – The Compassionate Friends

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on December 15, 2012

 Guest Post: The Compassionate Friends

Source: http://www.compassionatefriends.org/Libraries/PDF/Newtown_Press_Release_2012.sflb.ashx

For Immediate Release

December 15, 2012

FROM: Wayne Loder, Public Awareness Coordinator

The Compassionate Friends

(Toll-free) 877-969-0010 / (Weekend) 248-684-4674

In Wake of Newtown Shootings Five Ways to Help Grieving Families After a Child Dies

Oak Brook, IL—When any child dies, it is a tragedy. But when a community, state, and nation is rocked by the deaths of 20 young children and eight adults, this becomes a time for everyone to pull together to help the grieving families.

“Only a parent who has lost a child can truly understand the devastating and life-changing effect this has on the families involved,” says Patricia Loder, Executive Director of The Compassionate Friends (TCF), the nation’s largest non-profit self-help support organization for bereaved families after the death of a child. There are more than 650 chapters in the United States that service all 50 states, plus Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, and Guam.

“It is said that for a parent, when a child dies, the future dies, too,” adds Mrs. Loder, herself a twice bereaved parent, as well as a bereaved sibling. “When this is multiplied by the grief of 20 families that lost young children, as in the Newtown tragedy, it is especially important that the community join together in any way possible to help the families that have been shattered. It’s important to remember that some of the adults who were killed also have parents and siblings who are grieving.”

According to Mrs. Loder, there are some universal pointers bereaved parents and siblings agree friends may want to keep in mind when trying to help the grieving families.

• Don’t try to find magic words that will take away the pain. There aren’t any. A hug, a touch, and the simple words “I’m sorry” can offer the most comfort.

• Don’t be afraid to cry. Those tears are a healthy release both for both you and the family, and a tribute to the child who died.

• Listen to what the parents and siblings have to say. Let them express their anger, their questions, the pain, and the disbelief they may be experiencing. Don’t discourage them from talking about their feelings. Remember that siblings are often considered the “forgotten mourners” and need to have their grief validated, too.

• Be there. Don’t say “call me if there is anything I can do.” That call will probably never come. Think of what the family needs to have done and offer to do specific tasks.

• As time passes, remember the child by sending a card to the family or calling on special days. A bereaved parent’s worst fear is that their child will be forgotten.

One of the most important points friends should remember, adds Mrs. Loder, is that there is no set timetable for grieving. “Some people believe healing starts the moment the family arrives home from the funeral. Bereaved parents and siblings are transformed into different people who will never be the same as they were. Grief doesn’t end in a week or a year, and it may never end. But the pain does get softer in time with the help of friends who care.”

There are 10 Connecticut chapters with the nearest in Danbury, Waterbury, and Bridgeport. The Compassionate Friends National Office is using an emergency fund, created for situations like this, to provide local chapters all grief materials necessary to help the grieving families in Newtown.

To learn more about The Compassionate Friends and its many programs for bereaved families, visit www.compassionatefriends.org and http://www.facebook.com/TCFUSA on Facebook or call toll-free 877-969-0010 during regular week-day office hours.

###

Visit our website for resources on traumatic loss

Posted in Children Grief Support, Grief Support & Holidays, Grief Support Discussion Topics, Loss of a Child, What Not To Say, What Not to Say to a Grieving Loved One | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting® – Sunday, December 9, 2012

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on December 8, 2012

Guest Post from Compassionate Friends

Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting®
http://www.compassionatefriends.org/News_Events/Special-Events/Worldwide_Candle_Lighting.aspx

Letter from TCF Executive Director on Worldwide Candle Lighting in Annie’s Mailbox December 2, 2012

The Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting unites family and friends around the globe in lighting candles for one hour to honor and remember children who have died at any age from any cause. As candles are lit at 7 p.m. local time, hundreds of thousands of persons commemorate and honor the memory of all children gone too soon.

This year’s event will be the 16th Worldwide Candle Lighting. The event grows larger every year thanks to the many people who see the need for services where none have existed. And as the word continues to spread to more of the bereaved who wish to celebrate lives gone too soon by lighting candles in their home, quietly, perhaps just with friends and family.

Now believed to be the largest mass candle lighting on the globe, the Worldwide Candle Lighting, a gift to the bereavement community from 146249_WCL12-322x322pixelCompassionate Friends, creates a virtual 24-hour wave of light as it moves from time zone to time zone. Hundreds of formal candle lighting events are held and thousands of informal candle lightings are conducted in homes as families gather in quiet remembrance of children who have died, but will never be forgotten.

The Worldwide Candle Lighting started in the United States in 1997 as a small Internet observance but has since swelled in numbers as word has spread throughout the world of the remembrance.

In 2011, information was submitted to TCF’s national website on services in 18 countries outside the United States including 550 services, as this special day continues to grow. TCF has been joined in recent years by chapters of several organizations including MISS, MADD, Parents of Murdered Children, SIDS Network, Gilda’s Club, Boys and Girls Clubs, and BPUSA and for several years services have been held in all 50 states plus Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. There is no way to know how many hundreds of additional services open to the public are held in the U.S. and around the world each year without the information being sent to us.

The Compassionate Friends and allied organizations were joined in 2011 by local bereavement groups, churches, funeral homes, hospitals, hospices, children’s gardens, schools, cemeteries, and community centers. Services have ranged in size from just a few people to nearly a thousand.

Every year you are invited to post a message in the Remembrance Book which will be available, during the event, at TCF’s national website. In 2011 in that short one day span, more than five thousand messages of love were received and posted from every U.S. state and Washington D.C., every territory, as well as dozens of other countries, with some posts in foreign languages.

Here in the United States, publicity about the event is widespread, being featured over the years in Dear Abby, Annie’s Mailbox, Ann Landers column, Parade Magazine, Guidepostsmagazine, and literally hundreds of U.S. newspapers, dozens of television stations, and numerous websites and hundreds of personal blogs. Information on the Worldwide Candle Lighting and planned memorial candle lighting services (of which we are advised) is posted on TCF’s national website every year as the event nears.

View Dear Abby’s column from December 4, 2011 and read a letter from TCF’s Executive Director Pat Loder about what this event means to those who have suffered the tragic loss of a child.

If no Worldwide Candle Lighting service was held near you this year, please feel free to plan one open to the public this year or next year. You are welcome to use TCF’s “Suggestions to Help Plan a Memorial Service in Conjunction with The Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting©”to help in planning the service. All allied bereavement organizations, churches, funeral homes, hospices, and formal and informal bereavement groups are invited to join in the remembrance. When you firm up plans for your candle lighting, open to the public, please return to this site and submit the event information form so TCF can list your service with the many hundreds held in the United States and around the world. The Worldwide Candle Lighting gives bereaved families everywhere the opportunity to remember their child(ren) . . . that their light may always shine!

WCL Press Release 10-17-2012

National Media Stories and Videos from before and after the 2012 Worldwide Candle Lighting

For More Holiday Grief Support Resouces, please visit our website at
http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/Holiday_Grief_Support.html

Posted in Grief Resources - Newsletter, Grief Support & Holidays, Grief Support Discussion Topics, Loss of a Child, Share Your Story, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Virtual Book Tour – Interview with Kelly Farley – Author of Grieving Dads: To The Brink and Back

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on June 6, 2012

Thank you for joining us on our Virtual Book Tour.

Today we welcome Kelly Farley, author of Grieving Dads: To The Brink and Back.  Kelly’s interview is inspiring and offers many insights and practical suggestions on how to positively support a grieving dad.  We thank him for sharing his very personal story and we are grateful for all the work he has done over the past several years to bring support and resources to grieving dads all over the world.

Please feel free to comment or share your own experiences on how your friends and family have assisted you in restoring balance in your life after the loss of a loved one in the comment section below.

Grieving Dads: To The Brink and Back is featured on our Helpful Books page under our Virtual Book Tour.

And now on to our interview with Kelly Farley…

1.  What inspired you to write the book Grieving Dads: To The Brink and Back?

Like most of the men who will read this book, I too am a grieving dad. I lost two beautiful babies over an eighteen-month period, and those losses have had major and irreversible impacts on my life. To be quite honest, my psychological response to these losses scared me. I felt out of control — because I was out of control. I couldn’t change the fact that my children died. I couldn’t stop hurting. I didn’t just cry — I physically wept inside. There were times when there were no tears, and it felt like I was convulsing internally.

All of this scary stuff started to pile up on me, and when I finally decided to check my “manly” inclinations at the door and seek a bit of help, I discovered that I was in for a surprise. Almost all of the resources I could find on the subject of grieving for a child was directed either toward women or “parents.” I put “parents” in quotation marks, because in my experience, most of what I read for grieving parents was written for mothers or by mothers. If I did come across something aimed at grieving dads, it was usually advice about how to comfort their wives.

I’m sure there’s something worthwhile out there. But in the absence of anything that jumped out at me, I decided to pursue the issue myself

2.  How did losing your children change your life?

The easier question would be “How it has not changed your life?” Everything in my life has changed, the way I live if, the way I see life and how I now take time to experience it.  I use to rush through life thinking that I was this important person and that if I stopped for a moment the world would fall down around me because it needed me that much.  I now live my life to help others where I can and try to be a resource to other men that are dealing with difficult things in their life.  I try to remember that Katie and Noah are watching and that they want me to live a hopeful and happy life.

3.  Is there any one thing that your family or friends did that assisted you through the grieving process?

Some called, most did not.  I have found ways to remove some people from my life.  I learned to sort out who the real friends are and who were the “good time friends.”  I hold no grudge or anger for the people that couldn’t be there for me because I am not sure if I would have been able to be there for others before I lost my children.  Most people really do not know what to say or do so they say or do nothing, hoping that their friend or family member will “get through” the rough patch and get back to the way they were before.  The problem is until you yourself have experienced the death of a child, you really cannot comprehend that there is no going back to the person you were before.  It’s not possible and the sooner you realize that the sooner you can remove all of the personal expectations you place on yourself.

4.  Our website focuses on providing tips to friends and family members on how to support a loved one through the grieving process.  What suggestions do you have for our readers on how they can support the men in their lives that are grieving the loss of a child?

As a result of the Grieving Dads Project, I have spoken to hundreds of grieving dads and the one thing I have learned is people need to tell their story.  Not only do they need to tell their story, they need to be allowed to share their emotions while telling their story.  The following are a few ways to provide support to the Grieving Dads you may know:

  • Encourage them to talk about what they are feeling and thinking (even the really dark stuff).
  • Remind them that they are not alone.
  • Let them speak openly about their pain.
  • Do not try to solve their problems and be a good listener.
  • Encourage them to find support groups for men.  These groups could be grief related or a group of men that are all dealing with various life struggles.
  • Do not push them through their grief and allow them to tell their stories.
  • Allow them the time to process what has happen to them.
  • Allow them to turn to or away from their faith as needed.
  • If they start to cry, let them, it helps cleanse the soul.
  • Let them know you are there for them at anytime of the day, and mean it.

Keep in mind that people that are grieving are ultra sensitive so it is important to think before you speak.  Understand how your words may be interrupted by the receiver.  If you really don’t know what to say, say nothing.  There is healing in silence so it is better to sit quietly and listen than to fill the air with words that are not helpful.

5.  What do you wish your family or friends had done differently after you lost your children?

Acknowledge my children’s death.  Acknowledge the impacts that child loss has on a person.  I know it’s hard to understand if you have not been there yourself, but try.  Remember anniversaries and birthdays just like other people in the family.  I could go on and on.  This is a subject I touch on in my book.

6.  What suggestions do you have for men that are told to “toughen up” and not show their grief?

During my deep struggles with grief and what I had been taught about it, I learned something. Something really, really important. I learned that grief is really not my enemy at all. Instead, grief and any way it might be expressed — whether through tears, anger, fear, physical exhaustion, illness, or a lack of confidence — is a natural reaction to catastrophic loss. If there’s any “right” way to grieve, if there’s any “should” at all, it’s that we should feel extreme sadness, frustration, and anger.

And believe it or not, we should feel pain. This may be obvious to some, but for me it was a necessary lesson. I’m reasonably sure there are many other guys out there who are as confounded by their reaction to loss as I was, and thus had plenty of lessons to learn as well. Hard lessons, for sure. But very necessary ones.

Perhaps the most profound lesson is that it takes far more courage to live through the pain of grief than it does to deny your natural reactions and emotions. And it takes far more courage to challenge the conventional wisdom of “toughen up.”

7.  What is one thing you would like your readers to take away from your book? 

Grieving Dads is not a “soft” how-to grief book or a pain-drenched memoir written by a brokenhearted father as a form of personal therapy.  Rather, it’s a gripping collection of survival stories by men who have faced the aftermath of losing a child.  They are real stories that pull no punches and are told with raw and brutal honesty.  Even in the midst of devastating tragedy, we all know that men are typically expected to be strong, silent types who tough it out and don’t talk about their emotions, especially not grief.  But this so-called conventional “wisdom” is a lie.  Not only do men need to talk about their grief, they are desperate to do so.  The core message of Grieving Dads is “you’re not alone”.  It is a message that desperately needs to be delivered to grieving dads who often grieve in silence due to society’s expectations.

8.   What would you like our readers to know about you, your book and your website?

Grieving Dads: To the Brink and Back is available on my website at www.GrievingDads.com and is also available after June 11, 2012 on Amazon.com.

About Book and Grieving Dads Website 

I developed the idea for Grieving Dads in October of 2009, and by January of 2010 I had launched the www.GrievingDads.com blog.  Literally within a few days, I started to receive emails from grieving dads from all over the world.  I started to collect detailed online surveys in the spring of 2010, and by summer of 2010, I started traveling to conduct interviews for this book.  The face-to-face interviews continued until the fall of 2011, and I spent the last eight months formulating the lessons I learned from these men into this book.

During this time, I discovered that these “silent grievers” actually hungered to share their stories, to speak their children’s names aloud and describe what had happened.  Now, having completed my interviews with men from “this terrible, terrible club,” I have collected the most vivid and illuminating stories for Grieving Dads: To the Brink and Back.  Stories appearing in the book have been carefully selected to represent a cross-section of fathers, as well as a diverse portrayal of loss.  This approach helps reflect the full spectrum of grief, from the early days of shock and trauma to the long view after living with loss for many years.  In short, any father who has lost a child was welcome to participate in the project and encouraged to do so, and thus any bereaved father will find brotherhood in these pages, and will feel that someone understands them. 

About Kelly Farley

Like many men, I was caught up in the rat race of life before I experienced the loss of two babies over an 18-month period. I lost my daughter, Katie, in 2004, followed by my son, Noah, in 2006. During the losses and the years that followed, I felt like I was the only dad who had ever experienced such a loss. I realized that society, for the most part, doesn’t feel comfortable with an openly grieving male. This realization inspired me to write this book.

In addition to being an author, I also speak on the subject and work as a Recovery Coach for people who want to put their lives back together after surviving such a profoundly life-changing event.

I maintain a support blog at www.GrievingDads.com and I am currently pursuing a M.S. Ed. degree in counseling to continue my mission of helping others.

I also try to be an advocate for bereaved parents whenever I get the opportunity.  I am currently working on the Farley-Kluger Initiative, which will help bereaved parents qualify for an optional 12-week unpaid leave of absence from work in order start the healing process.

Grieving Dads Fundraiser Campaign

On May 17, Kelly launched a 30-day Kickstarter fundraising campaign to help raise the funds to make this much needed book more available to people around the world. His goal is to raise $20k before Fathers DayClick here to find out more on how you can support this important project.

Be sure to also read Positive Ways to Support a Grieving Dad by Kelly Farley, our featured newsletter article from June 2011.

Posted in Father's Day, Grief Resources, Grief Resources - Newsletter, Holiday Grief Support, Loss of a Child, Men & Grief, What Not to Say to a Grieving Loved One, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

What Will You Choose?

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on March 15, 2012

You just received a phone call letting you know that your friend has lost a loved one. You now have a decision to make…What kind of supporter do you want to be?

There are many ways to support a loved one after a loss. As a friend you have the right to choose the most appropriate path for you in the moment. There are times that you may choose to be the best supporter you can be, and other times you may shy away from the responsibility due to personal circumstances or your own emotional pain.

Here are a few common ways people respond when they are called upon to support a grieving loved one:

1. The Listener – The person that allows you to talk about your feelings without telling you how you should feel.

2. The Doer – The person that jumps right in and takes care of everyday tasks. They bring you groceries, pick up your kids from school, they make sure people are notified about funeral arrangements and generally take care of those daily tasks that you are not up to doing.

3. The Cheerleader – The person that lifts your spirits when you can barely get out of bed. They are there to get you out of the house and will take you on an adventure to brighten your day.

4. The Brief Encounter – The person that comes to the funeral, sends you a card or flowers, but generally believes that grief ends at the funeral and there is not much more that they can do for you. Their support is brief but sincere.

5. The No Show – The person that is not able to be supportive for their own personal reason. They may be uncomfortable with talking about death and loss or there may be life circumstances that make them unavailable.

As you travel through the grief recovery journey with a friend, you may find that you are all of these types of supporters and a whole lot more. Grief is not a linear process; it has many peaks and valleys. As your grieving friend’s needs change, so too will the type of support they need.

When choosing how you will support a grieving loved one, consider the following:

  • Lead with your strength. We all have our strengths that come out when a difficult situation arises. If you are a great listener, be a great listener. If you are a doer, help your friend with daily tasks.
  • Stretch yourself a little to learn more about yourself and how you feel about grief and death. You may find a blessing for yourself hidden inside the journey.
  • Know your limits. We all have our limitations and we can’t be all things to all people. Do the best you can in the moment.
  • Ask for help if you are over your head. A grieving friend may require more assistance than a lay person can handle. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your local grief support group or a grief counselor.

After losing many friends and family over the years, the one thing I have learned is that the right people show up at the right time. Often it is not the person we thought it would be. I have to admit that it took me some time to forgive those friends that were not there for me after my mother passed away. But I have come to realize that it is more important to be grateful for those that were there and understand that those that were not had their reasons.

The choice is yours…what will you choose?

© 2011 Lori Pederson
WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Lori Pederson, Founder of I Did Not Know What to Say, a website created to inspire and to provide you with tools to assist a love one through the grieving process. If you would like our free newsletter on how to assist your friends and family members through the journey of restoring balance in their life after the death of a love one, please visit our website at http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com.

Posted in Grief Resources, Grief Resources - Newsletter, Grief Support Discussion Topics, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »