Grief Support

Dealing with loss and grief is always easier when you are not alone. Our grief support resources are here for you during your time of loss.
Recent Grief Support Articles

Hold On To Your Memories: Memorializing Your Loved One

August 14th, 2011

Grief can sometimes feel like waves that come and go, rushing you with emotions. The heartache can leave us numb – but memorializing our loved ones can help us get through it. Honoring the life and joy that your loved one brought to you is a great way to start moving forward in your own life.

Everyone copes with grief differently. Grief is something that doesn’t just go away, it takes time, effort and acceptance. Finding a new hobby, or creating a memorial for your loved one can help exponentially during this emotional time. Hold on to memories by memorializing their life.

Ways to create a memorial

Memorial scrap quilt

Create a scrap quilt by turning your loved ones old clothing into a quilt. You can use any fabric or pattern to create a nostalgic quilt that will keep you warm with memories.

Write a song

Music has a calming effect on people. It is a way to express your emotions without having to say a word.
If you play an instrument or enjoy singing – create a song honoring your loved one and it record it on tape, CD or to your computer. It will be something you can hold close for years.

Plant a memorial garden

Planting a garden in honor of your loved one is a great way to memorialize their lives. Include their favorite flower, or their birth-month flower. Once you have created a memorial garden, it will be a place for you to visit and think of your loved one.

Create a scrapbook

Putting together a scrapbook might be difficult at first, but once the initial emotions have set in, you can create a book that will honor your loved one. Including pictures, favorite readings and poems, stories and fond memories.

Memorial Jewelry

Memorial jewelry, also known as mourning jewelry has been around since Victorian times. Mourners would wear jewelry containing ashes, strands of hair or soil from the graveside, over their heart bringing them peace of mind and comfort. It is a way to memorialize and honor your loved one while keeping them close to you always. You can also have diamonds made from your loved one’s carbon signature.

Personalizing their headstone

A personalized headstone is something that will be there for centuries, giving great honor to your loved and a special place for family and friends to visit.

Donate to a favorite charity

If your loved one was passionate about a certain cause or charity, you can make a donation in their honor. You might also consider creating your own charity in honor of your loved one.

Create a scholarship

Creating  a scholarship in your loved ones name is a great way to keep their memory alive. Others will benefit from your generosity and your loved ones name will live on.

Create a memory book

  • Start a book with your loved one’s picture, name and any special information about them. Write your favorite memories about their life and the time you shared. After you finish, put your book into a shipping box.
  • Write out a list of close friends and family members with their addresses. Include your name and address at the end of the list.
  • Include a pre-paid credit card for postage.
  • Include a note to your friends and family. Ask them to write their favorite memories of your loved one and any pictures they would like to share. Ask them to then send it on to the next person on the list.
  • Send it to the first person on the list.
  • Once you get your memory book you will have pages full of uplifting stories and joyful memories to hold close and honor your loved one.

Whatever way you choose to memorialize your loved one’s life will be special and be cherished forever. You can’t go wrong when speaking from your heart.

Special thank you to boobook48 and Rickydaivd for the beautiful pictures via Flickr

Cremation Diamonds and Memorial Jewelry

August 8th, 2011

Memorial jewelry has become an increasingly popular way to memorialize and remember loved ones who have passed away. For those who are in mourning, it is a wonderful way to begin the healing process. It helps to know that a small piece of your loved one will always be close, both in spirit and physical form.

Memorial jewelry, also known as mourning jewelry has been around since Victorian times. Mourners would wear jewelry containing ashes, strands of hair or soil from the graveside, over their heart bringing them peace of mind and comfort. It is a way to memorialize and honor your loved one while keeping them close to you always.

Create everlasting memories with Cremation Diamonds

Cremation diamonds take this unique memorial to the next level — a diamond is actually created with your loved one’s carbon signature.

  • Cremation diamonds are made with the cremains (ashes) of your loved one.
  • In the case of burial rather than cremation, diamonds can still be made from a lock of hair instead.
  • Cremation diamonds come in an array of different sizes, cuts, settings and brilliant colors.
  • They can be set just like regular gems: in rings, pendants, necklaces, earrings, and keepsakes.
  • If cremains are used: It takes 250g of cremated remains to create a brilliant cremation diamond.
  • Several dozen cremation diamonds can be made from the remains of a single person. Loving family members are able to share the special memorial, a treasure that will always be cherished.
  • Cremation diamonds are also popular for those who have lost a beloved pet, and want a way to remember and cherish the memories they shared.
  • The cost of a cremation diamond varies depending on the size, its average range is anywhere from $1,900 to $20,000.

Creating a Cremation Diamond

Cremation diamonds are laboratory-grown, synthetic diamonds. Although created by man, they are chemically identical to a natural diamond, and can take anywhere from 6-9 months to create.

The process of creating a Cremation diamond is long and tedious, but well worth it for the everlasting effect it holds.

  1. The first step is to separate the carbon molecules from the ashes.
  2. Then the carbon is turned into graphite. (This stage takes a few weeks of time)
  3. Next, a starter crystal is inserted into the center of the graphite.
  4. Then it is placed into a diamond press where heat is gradually increased to 2,500°.  800,00 pounds of pressure per square inch is slowly applied over a few weeks of time.
  5. A rough crystal (diamond) has been created.
  6. The last step is to create the shape and facets with special tools.

Each cremation diamond is unique and special. Holding deep sentiment and love inside of each sparkling facet. You will be reminded of your loved one and the inspiration they gave you every time you see the sparkle of your one-of-a-kind cremation diamond. A deeply cherished memorial that will live on in honor of your loved one.


The Thin Line Between Grief and Depression

July 18th, 2011

Grief and Depression go hand in hand when it comes to losing a loved one. Losing a loved one affects not only our mind, but our body as well. Our mind and body work together and react to the loss as a threat. Grief is just the minds way of coping with the threat.

Thin Line Between Grief & Depression People who are grieving often become withdrawn from the world and although grief is a natural and healthy reaction, it can be become very serious and even threatening to your physical health. It can be hard to tell the difference between the depression that comes along with grief and clinic depression, but the more you know about the signs and symptoms, the easier it will be for you to understand and take action when needed.

Speaking to someone who is grieving can be emotional, and often times things can feel awkward. It is very important to be honest and supportive to someone in grief; to offer a listening ear and a helping hand. Acting natural and calm while letting them know how much you care for them, will help ease the pain. Encouraging them to talk about and express their emotions and feelings will help heal the wounds of grief.

A few things to be avoided when talking with someone in grief

  • Don’t avoid them
  • Don’t pry. If they don’t want to talk, don’t force it.
  • Don’t ask for details about the person’s death.
  • Don’t offer advice with quick solutions.
  • Don’t try to cheer up or distract them.
  • Don’t minimize their loss. (Example: “You will move on”, “He is in a better place.”, “You can always re-marry”. Even though these things might be true, it is not something the grieving person wants to hear.)

Continue reading “The Thin Line Between Grief and Depression” »

Planting a Memorial Garden

June 26th, 2011

The purpose of a Memorial Garden is to keep memories of a loved on close by. It’s a tribute in honor and remembrance of someone you have lost.Creating a Memorial Garden

Setting aside a place in your backyard dedicated to your loved one’s memory, gives you a place that is relaxing, serene, and calming. A place to speak to your loved one in the privacy and comfort of your own home. A memorial garden is also a wonderful healing tool for children who are grieving the loss of a parent or sibling. Letting the child help create the memorial, including objects or flowers that are important to them can help ease the pain.

Starting Your Memorial Garden

Create a rock garden by outlining a quiet, secluded area of your yard with stones. Stones you can find in nature or buy from a nursery. Plant flowers or a small tree in the center. Adding decorative, solar lights to your memorial garden will keep the memory of your loved one shining bright.

Continue reading “Planting a Memorial Garden” »

Coping with Grief

June 20th, 2011

Losing a loved one can be one of the most difficult experiences in our lives. The loss of a loved one can throw you into a place of uncertainty. Allowing the time to grieve, reminisce, reflect and accept will help heal your emotional state. We heal by taking time to focus on the loss, and how it will affect us.

Grief differs from one person to another, and is a normal response to loss. The journey from initial shock and disbelief, to acceptance and emotional stability takes time. The amount of time it actually takes depends on the person. The grieving period can last from several weeks, to months and possibly years.

What is Grief?

Grief, in its simplest terms, is a reaction to loss. It affects us spiritually, behaviorally, physically and cognitively. Our response is affected by our culture, religion, gender and circumstances surrounding the loss. Bereavement is the way we process grief.

When coping with grief you might feel:

  • Strong emotions, such as sadness, anger, helplessness and loneliness.
  • Funeral Director and Grieving CoupleNumbness, or a sense that the situation isn’t real.
  • Physical reactions, such as insomnia or waves of nausea.
  • Spiritual reactions to a death. Some people find themselves questioning their beliefs and feeling disappointed in religion, while others find that they feel more strongly than ever about their faith.
  • Separation from family members and friends.
  • A loss of interest in hobbies and melancholy.
  • Memory loss, shortened attention span or difficulty communicating with others.
  • Guilt.

Other physical symptoms related to grief are:

  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches, chest pain or high heart rate
  • Digestive problems
  • Hair loss
  • Night sweats

Continue reading “Coping with Grief” »

Visitation: Healing For Everyone

December 28th, 2010

Memories Of A Dear Friend!

My friend, Patty Chaffin, died a few years ago after a long battle with cancer. Let me tell you a little bit about Patty. Patty and I met at a Rotary Youth Leadership Awards Camp (RYLA). Patty was this beautiful redhead with a loud voice and even louder laugh. She was vibrant and full of energy. Everyone who met Patty instantly liked her and most of the time she instantly liked them.

We were both counselors and eventually after a couple of years, Patty became the head counselor. She was fabulous and the teenagers loved her. Patty discovered during this time she had cancer. She came back the next year as head counselor with wigs of every color in the rainbow.

At the end of camp, we have what is called RYLA’s Own. This is where the kids in teams or individually do cheers, songs, skits or whatever to describe their experience at camp. It is amazing to see what these kids come up with and most are outright hilarious. Justin, one of our youth who happened to work part-time at a pharmacy, came up to the microphone. I thought, here we go, this will be funny. It wasn’t. Justin spoke from the heart. He told the group that if they didn’t realize it Patty didn’t feel great. As a matter of fact, her health outlook was pretty grim. This sixteen year old boy with tears running down his cheeks thanked Patty for her positive outlook and energetic passion. There was not a dry eye at RYLA.

Visitation: Honoring The True Spirit.

Okay, that was a great story. What is the point and what does this have to do with visitation? Well, Patty eventually died. However, Patty had one of the most magnificent visitations I have ever seen. Patty wanted a party and that is what she had!

Continue reading “Visitation: Healing For Everyone” »

Children & Grief: Coping With A Death

December 27th, 2010

Honesty is the Best Policy When Addressing Death with Children

The death of a loved one can be a painful experience for anyone, but for a child, it can be especially difficult. It’s important that adults provide an environment that promotes healing. The National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) offers suggestions on how to help children cope with loss.

Father and Grieving ChildrenIt may be difficult to inform a child about the death of a loved one, but honesty is the best policy. Avoid using euphemisms, such as “Grandma is sleeping” or “Uncle John went on a long trip.” For young children, be straightforward and use simple phrases, such as “…the person’s body has stopped working and won’t work anymore.” For older children, more details may be appropriate.

Many often wonder whether children should attend funerals. Experts agree that it is healthy for children to attend the funerals of their loved ones. Prior to the funeral, parents should discuss with their child what will happen at the visitation, funeral or memorial service. Be honest and clear – children take things literally, so avoid being vague in your descriptions.

If a child feels comfortable, they may wish to play a role in the funeral service. Let them read a poem or letter, or sing or play a song during the service. Funeral directors can find ways for the child to participate in the service.

Just like adults, death is something a child will not just “get over.” In addition to having a confidant who provides continuous love and assurance, there are other ways adults can help children cope with grief.

Be a role model: Children often imitate what they see. They will look to their parents or other significant adults for cues about grieving. It’s important for children to know it’s okay to express their emotions following the death of a loved one.

More Tips For Helping Children Deal With Grief:

Find peer support: For many people, identifying with peers who are going through a similar experience can be uplifting. The camaraderie of a grief support group can be a powerful healing tool.

Incorporate ritual: Whether it’s lighting a candle, helping scatter cremated remains or taking part in an activity that was special to the deceased, rituals can help a child focus on the memory of their loved one.

Use the arts: It may be difficult for children to verbalize their feelings; the arts can be an outlet for expressing grief. Writing, painting, poetry, music and crafts can help children express what they are experiencing.

Continue reading “Children & Grief: Coping With A Death” »

Merry Griefmas! Working Through Grief During The Holidays

December 1st, 2010

The holidays are fast approaching. While Thanksgiving and Christmas for most are anticipated with joy and cheer, for some, it is dreaded. Their loved one has died and they just aren’t sure how everything is going to work this year, or if they even want it to work.

My father died suddenly the morning after Thanksgiving. The thought of Christmas was just mind numbing to say the least. I had young nieces and nephews so we knew we had to do something somewhat normal, even though there was nothing normal about it. Let me give you some advice about how we coped that Christmas.

CRY IF YOU NEED TOO! It is okay to let others know you are going through something so difficult and, by being free with your emotions, encourages your family that it is okay to openly grieve. The day will be tough, be upfront about that. You just might find out that they are experiencing some of the same feelings. Let them know that you don’t expect the perfect holiday. Just because you and your loved ones have always done the same thing for Christmas, Hanukkah, or Thanksgiving doesn’t mean you have to keep doing it that way. Just do what you feel comfortable doing.

For example, we used to celebrate with both sets of my grandparents separately. We chose just to have one Christmas celebration at one house. It actually made it much easier on my mother and on everyone else. With that being said, keep the traditions that are most dear to your heart. You may experience some comfort and have fond memories. My family always goes to Mass on Christmas Eve. It is always a magical experience for me. And even though I was raw with emotion, I could feel my father’s spirit surrounding me at that service. However, if you don’t feel like you can attend services this year, then don’t.

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Memorializing A Loved One With Cremation Jewelry

August 12th, 2010

Keeping a Loved One Near With a Keepsake

keepsake cremation jewelryPeople have always had the desire to memorialize loved ones and find ways to keep their memory alive. The tradition of keepsakes originated centuries ago, when a lock of a deceased loved one’s hair was encased in gold or silver. Memorial jewelry is again becoming a very popular way to honor the memory of a loved one and truly have them by your side for eternity.

Personal Style

From rings to lockets, or even sentimental pieces in the shape of a cross or butterfly, keepsake cremation jewelry comes in many designs and styles to create a very personal memorial. It can make a statement as unique as the person it memorializes.

Lokcet KeepsakeCremation jewelry comes in a variety of forms and styles including key chains, bracelets and other small items in which a portion of the cremated ashes can be kept. Very custom designs are also available today including a baseball, fish or cowboy boot that will serve as a very fond and personal memory of someone with a great passion for a particular hobby.

Lockets and pendants make beautiful memorials that can be worn daily like a stylish personal accessory. These small keepsake cremation urns can hold a small amount of ashes, dried flowers from a funeral arrangement or even soil from a sacred ground. Cremation jewelry can create a family heirloom for generations to come. They also allow for a small memento to be cherished and saved in a jewelry box or displayed.

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