<![CDATA[Personal Growth & <br />Grief Support Center - Resources]]>Sat, 24 Jun 2017 10:21:55 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[About Grief]]>Thu, 14 Jul 2016 18:35:39 GMThttp://personalgrowthandgriefsupportcenter.com/3/post/2016/07/about-grief.htmlGrief is a normal human response to loss.
We grieve when we anticipate the death of someone we love or when someone we love dies. We also grieve other losses including those resulting from divorce; the loss of a home or job; the loss of our own health and other losses in our lives or in the lives of those we love. Those who grieve talk about feeling deep sorrow, profound sadness, gut-wrenching pain and heartache. They often feel empty, lost, and alone along with many other feelings including anger and frustration. Grief affects us emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually. It has ramifications for our relationship with our selves, those around us, and often for our entire life. The depth of the pain depends on the loss a person has experienced and on the person who is grieving. Grief has many facets and is unique to each person in spite of their being some universal feelings, effects and behaviors.  There is often confusion about the terms 'grieving' and mourning'. According to expert Dr. Alan Wolfelt, "Grief is the constellation of internal thoughts and feelings we have when someone we love dies. Think of grief as the container. It holds your thoughts, feelings, and images of your experience when someone you love dies. In other words, grief is the internal meaning given to the experience of loss. Mourning is when you take the grief you have on the inside and express it outside of yourself. Another way of defining mourning is 'grief gone public' or 'the outward expression of grief'." Read Dr. Wolfelt's entire article and visit his website and education center here.

In addition to grieving our own losses, many people are deeply aware of the grief they carry for people they do not know. Think about those lost on 9/11 or the families of those on Malaysian Flight 370 and you will probably experience some sadness on their account. I do believe that being in touch with our own pain allows us to experience the grief of others more deeply.

We also grieve the loss of our earth as it is slowly being destroyed by many careless and greedy individuals and corporations. See author and therapist Francis Weller's site: Wisdom Bridge for more information about this. Hopefully we will carry both grief and gratitude as we walk our journeys through life. If we only acknowledge one of these, we cheat ourselves and others.

How Long does Grief Last? Those who grieve often wonder how long their pain will last. The truth is grief lasts forever though it changes over time. Most people will always feel some or even a great deal of sadness over the loss of someone they deeply love and that sadness can surface even years later. We do not "get over" grief or loss. We learn how to hold the pain, how to live with the loss, integrate it into our lives and even use it to become more empathic and compassionate. It all takes time and work and a commitment to walk through the heart of our pain . To postpone grief is to prolong grief.

In the early months or years of a significant loss the sorrow that sits in our hearts can be triggered by the smallest thing; something someone says; opening a drawer to find something that belonged to our beloved; an anniversary and more. Coming to terms with loss and grief takes as long as it takes. There is no time limit on grief and each person does it in their own way. Grief is unique to each of us. Which means we cannot judge another as they grieve. Instead we can reach out with compassion and a listening ear especially months and years later.

How Does Grief Affect Us?
Grief seems to come in waves. Though the grieving person, in the early months, is usually steeped in their sadness and sorrow most of the time, a wave of grief can cause their sadness to feel totally overwhelming. Some waves feel like a tsunami that carries the person out to a treacherous sea of darkness where breathing can feel difficult. Other waves are gentle reminders that trip off pain but flow past us. Most are somewhere in between and over time and with work those waves get further and further apart and for the most part become far more gentle.

Grief is exhausting. Many who grieve come into it following the long illness of their beloved person making the fatigue even deeper. It is lonely especially if we are surrounded by those who just do not understand and we find ourselves alone with our sorrow. Because we live in a society that does not support or feel comfortable with sadness and grief, many grieving people become used to wearing a mask that hides their pain. If you are reading this and feel quite alone with your grief, you are welcome to visit the Grief Healing Discussion Groups where you will find a circle of understanding, loving people who are grieving and sharing their journeys with each other. The groups are guided by founder Marty Tousley, an experienced and compassionate bereavement counselor.
Over time we see ourselves repeatedly survive those times of profound sadness and learn that grief will not destroy us. We become less frightened of the pain and begin to gather strength in dealing with our loss. This leads to the confidence we need to allow our pain and tears to be, as we walk our grief journeys. The only way through grief is through its pain and tears. As I previously mentioned we live in a society that denies death to a large degree and that wants everyone to be as happy as the folks we see in television ads and movies. Because of this attitude and fear, most of us do not learn when we are young that death is a part of life; that nothing on this earth last forever including each of us; and that grief is a normal process, a sign of our deep love, and one that needs to be shared. Nor do we learn how to live with and hold our grief. This denial of grief in a death phobic society means that many if not most people do not really understand grief and therefore do not know how to relate to their own or someone else's grief. Many want to take away the pain because they love the grieving person and want their pain to end and also because they are quite uncomfortable around death and grief. This leads people to say things that are just unacceptable or even to disappear from the grieving person's life or fail to reach out at a time when that person needs to share and feel comforted by those who love them.  See the Resources page for more information about grief.
<![CDATA[Leaning into Love by Elaine Mansfield  ]]>Sun, 31 Aug 2014 21:23:31 GMThttp://personalgrowthandgriefsupportcenter.com/3/post/2014/08/leaning-into-love-by-elaine-mansfield.htmlPicture
Available Now!
Leaning into Love by Elaine Mansfield
Larson Publications

"Magnificent, profoundly moving . . . gives encouragement and solace to all." —Naomi Shihab Nye

"I'll find a way to be all right," Elaine promised Vic, her dying husband and best friend of 42 years. Leaving the hospital after he passed, she had no idea how. Her uplifting story of love, hope, determination, and triumph is a gift to the half million women who lose spouses each year.

Leaning into Love captures the heart--from the extraordinary closeness of Elaine's marriage to how she and Vic transform their struggle with cancer and despair into a conscious relationship with mortality. After Vic's death, Elaine leans into her ongoing love as grief leads her through overwhelming emotional and spiritual depths on a journey beyond their time together into her new life.

<![CDATA[Blog: Transition After Loss by Marty Tousley]]>Mon, 09 Jun 2014 00:43:15 GMThttp://personalgrowthandgriefsupportcenter.com/3/post/2014/06/blog-transition-after-loss-by-marty-tousley.htmlMarty Tousley's blog on her website, Grief Healing, is filled with ideas and tips on handling the transitions that are inevitable with loss.

Transition After Loss: Tips for Navigating the Neutral Zone by Bereavement Counselor Marty Tousley
<![CDATA[Book: Goodbye, Friend]]>Sat, 24 May 2014 21:13:11 GMThttp://personalgrowthandgriefsupportcenter.com/3/post/2014/05/book-goodbye-friend.html
From the moment pets come into our lives, we know the day will arrive when we have to say farewell. Still, we are never emotionally prepared for the last adieu.  In Goodbye, Friend, Gary Kowalski takes you on a journey of healing, offering warmth and sound advice on how to cope with the death of your pet. Filled with heartwarming stories and practical guidance on such matters as taking care of yourself while mourning, creating rituals to honor your pet's memory, and talking to children about death, Goodbye, Friend is a beautiful and comforting book for anyone grieving the loss of a beloved animal.

This is a book I give to friends and clients when they lose a beloved pet. It helped me so much when our Buffy died.
<![CDATA[Book: Coping with Sorrow on the Loss of Your Pet]]>Sat, 24 May 2014 21:07:53 GMThttp://personalgrowthandgriefsupportcenter.com/3/post/2014/05/book-coping-with-sorrow-on-the-loss-of-your-pet.html
Coping with Sorrow on the Loss of Your Pet
by Moira Anderson Allen, M.Ed

A wonderful, helpful book filled with information and guidance. Treats this serious subject with sympathetic feelings. An excellent guide allowing us to understand that we are not alone with our grief. Anyone who has a pet should read it. -Dog Week

Written with compassion and understanding; truly required reading for any pet owner. -Dog World

Coping with Sorrow addresses every aspect of pet loss and grief. Written in a clear, friendly style. It takes a pet owner by the hand and walks him through the stages of bereavement, offering explanations and coping strategies at every step. -Canine Concepts

A small gem of a book. Anderson's book fills the need for a comprehensive, yet easily read, publication on pet loss and owner bereavement. The message is one of love, common sense, and practical information. -The Delta Society

This book has been needed for a long time-like forever! The wealth of information given by pet owners makes the book come alive. It's a lovely thing, beautifully and generously written from the bottom of a superb writer's heart. -Dog Writers Association of America

It gets right to the heart of the issue of pet loss, right to where people are hurting. [Its] warm, down-to-earth language reaches out to a pet owner on the level of friend to friend. -Bloodlines
<![CDATA[Book: A Grief Observed]]>Fri, 16 May 2014 13:00:53 GMThttp://personalgrowthandgriefsupportcenter.com/3/post/2014/05/book-a-grief-observed.htmlA Grief Observed by C. S. Lewis
"“For in grief nothing "stays put." One keeps on emerging from a phase, but it always recurs. Round and round. Everything repeats. Am I going in circles, or dare I hope I am on a spiral? But if a spiral, am I going up or down it? How often -- will it be for always? -- how often will the vast emptiness astonish me like a complete novelty and make me say, "I never realized my loss till this moment"? The same leg is cut off time after time.”
― C.S. Lewis
A Grief Observed by C. S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis joined the human race when his wife, Joy Gresham, died of cancer. Lewis, the Oxford don whose Christian apologetics make it seem like he's got an answer for everything, experienced crushing doubt for the first time after his wife's tragic death. A Grief Observed contains his epigrammatic reflections on that period: "Your bid for God or no God, for a good God or the Cosmic Sadist, for eternal life or nonentity will not be serious if nothing much is staked on it. And you will never discover how serious it was until the stakes are raised horribly high," Lewis writes. "Nothing will shake a manor at any rate a man like me out of his merely verbal thinking and his merely notional beliefs. He has to be knocked silly before he comes to his senses. Only torture will bring out the truth. Only under torture does he discover it himself." This is the book that inspired the film Shadowlands, but it is more wrenching, more revelatory, and more real than the movie. It is a beautiful and unflinchingly honest record of how even a stalwart believer can lose all sense of meaning in the universe, and how he can gradually regain his bearings. 

Download A Grief Observed

<![CDATA[Book: the way of transition]]>Thu, 08 May 2014 18:21:31 GMThttp://personalgrowthandgriefsupportcenter.com/3/post/2014/05/book-the-way-of-transition.htmlthe way of transition by William Bridges
the way of transition by William Bridges

William Bridges is a consultant and lecturer based in Mill Valley, California. Formerly a professor of English, he made a shift to the field of transitional management in the mid-1970s; out of his workshops grew a long career helping others through transitions. Past president of the Association for Humanistic Psychology, Bridges was rated by the Wall Street Journal in 1993 as one of the ten most popular executive development consultants in the U.S.
Twenty years ago Bill Bridges brought us Transitions, the perennial best seller that has helped hundreds of thousands of readers cope with personal and professional upheaval, providing a practical road map of the natural transition cycle. Now, with a new understanding of the process born of a deep personal crisis, Bridges brings us The Way of Transition, a richly textured, deep map of the personal, professional, and emotional transformations that grow out of tragedy and crisis. Eloquently explaining the mechanics of transition through his own moving story, Bridges demonstrates how disillusionment, sorrow, or confusion can blossom into a time of incredible creativity and contentment, highlighting the profound significance and true value of endings in our lives. Instructive and inspiring, The Way of Transition, reveals the transformative power of life's disappointments, demonstrating how to harness them for personal rejuvenation.
<![CDATA[Book: The Wilderness of Grief: Finding Your Way]]>Sat, 26 Apr 2014 21:48:16 GMThttp://personalgrowthandgriefsupportcenter.com/3/post/2014/04/book-the-wilderness-of-grief-finding-your-way.html
The Wilderness of Grief: Finding Your Way (Understanding Your Grief)  by Alan D. Wolfelt PhD CT (Author)

A beautiful, hardcover gift book version of Understanding Your Grief

The Wilderness of Grief is an excerpted version of Understanding Your Grief, making it approachable and appropriate for all mourners. This concise book makes an excellent gift for anyone in mourning. On the book’s inside front cover is room for writing an inscription to your grieving friend.

The Wilderness of Grief is an ideal book for the bedside or coffee table. Pick it up before bed and read just a few pages. You’ll be carried off to sleep by its gentle, affirming messages of hope and healing.

<![CDATA[Book: The Best Care Possible]]>Fri, 18 Apr 2014 19:55:21 GMThttp://personalgrowthandgriefsupportcenter.com/3/post/2014/04/book-the-best-care-possible.html
Ira Byock, MD, one of the foremost palliative-care physicians in the country, argues that how we die is among the biggest national crises facing us today. Byock is a doctor on the front lines of hospital care illuminates one of the most important and controversial ethical issues of our time.

The Best Care Possible by Ira Byock MD

Related to: end of life, palliative care
<![CDATA[Book: Transcending Loss]]>Thu, 10 Apr 2014 14:02:12 GMThttp://personalgrowthandgriefsupportcenter.com/3/post/2014/04/book-transcending-loss.html
“Death doesn’t end the relationship, it simply forges a new type of relationship – one based on memory, spirit, and love…

This is a book about love and hope. My wish is that this book will help to guide you on your journey through times of grief, times of healing and times of transcendence.
Ashley Davis Bush, LICSW

Transcending Loss

Related to: Loss, General Grief, Transitions