Category Archives: Grief, Bereavement, and Growth

Grief is not optional, but within the pain, there is hope for transformation.

To Tell the Truth –

The Healer’s Wound: Grief Postponed 

Rea L. Ginsberg, LCSW-C, ACSW, BCD 

grief_by_firesign24_7

~~~~~~~~~~

There are truths we can only tell through story. 

                                          — Jonathan Sacks, The Great Partnership 

Everyone has a story.  It is important and precious and unique.  For the teller, it is the most important story in all the world.  It is the story of personal creation.  It tells the world who he is and how he got to be that way.  It is a self-descriptor with a back story.  No other person owns that identical story.  No other person has ever lived that story or will ever have it again.  It makes the teller completely unique for all time. Continue reading

robertandmother1

“Only with death is the story of our lives complete”

~Monica Williams-Murphy, MD

A Eulogy, the recitation of ones life story, is a powerful tool for transformation and growth among survivors. Perhaps, the writer of the eulogy experiences the greatest growth from penning the words. Below is a freshly-written eulogy by one of our readers. Beautiful, simple, even poetic. Afterwards, a short praise of the eulogy and legacy is discussed. Continue reading

(If you are not religious or are atheist, please do not be dissuaded from reading this article by the title:)

We just had a member of our congregation die relatively unexpectedly. He was in his early 50s and a father of 6. (That’s a big equation.)

My religious job is to teach our youth (teenager) Sunday School class, when I am not working in the ER or traveling to lecture. So, in this regard, today was like most other Sundays- I had gotten up early to prepare my lesson for the day. The problem was, the lesson wasn’t relevant for the day…meaning the death of this man was on everyone’s mind, and two of his children were in my class. Continue reading

We never know how high we are

Till we are called to rise.

                                                            Emily Dickinson

It could be suggested that the “good death” is falsely named in the field of thanatology and in the popular press.  It implies an ideal state, one which of course, we cannot have.  Never agonize over ideals when the problem is as urgent as death.  Perhaps it should be renamed “the good-enough death,” one that is sufficient and satisfactory to both the dying person and the caregiver.  It is the best that can be achieved at that time, in that place, by those people, with that problem, in their particular situation.  Maya Angelou was right to say, “You did then what you knew how to do, and when you know better, you will do better.”   Death and dying are extremely personal. Continue reading

BEING-VS_-DOING

“When people talk, great things happen.”

As a society in general, we Americans seem to prefer “doing” rather than “being.”  When someone dies, we feel that we have to “do” something for the bereaved, not “be” something.  Wait: think.  Just sit and listen.  That’s better.  That’s “being.”  The gift of self is greater than the effort to act.  Action too often minimizes the grief of the bereaved.  It surrenders to an impulse to turn away from death and grief pain.  It tends to deny death.  Doing tends to minimize grief and maximize denial. Continue reading