How to Avoid Saying Something Stupid

Clichés, empty platitudes, and things that don’t really help people who are grieving are the subjects of this article. I suspect that since you have read this far that you, like me, have said something to someone in the past that has not helped at all. Maybe it even hurt. You realize that we just can’t “un-say” something that we have said, no matter how much it hurts...

Jesus Wept

I want to help my friend who is grieving a significant loss, but I’m at a loss. When I try to help, my own loss gets in my way.” Some of us have found that when we try to help others in their grief, some of our own grief rises to the surface. It is true that in order to help others through their grief, we need to adequately deal with our own grief issues and with our own grief history..

Parallel Tracks

The Holidays bring happiness, cheer, joy, and a lot of other words to describe them. There are also some words we don’t like to associate with all the festivities; sadness, hurt, longing, anxiety, anger, dread. Sometimes the good words run on parallel tracks with the grief words during the holidays. If you have faced an empty chair at the table for the Holidays you know that many times the things that have traditionally brought feelings of joy and happiness can also bring feelings just as intense on the other side of the spectrum...

Why are the Holidays so Hard?

We are supposed to have warm fuzzy feelings during the holidays, but sometimes we are instead filled with dread. There are few universal “right” or “wrong” answers for the holidays as we grieve. However, there is one answer that I think is very nearly universal… “No, you are not going crazy, you are grieving.” My hope in writing this is that you may find that though your holidays are different, they are survivable and to some degree, meaningful...

Peeling the Onion: A Simple Primer on Grief

Doug Manning describes grief as being a lot like peeling an onion… “It comes off one layer at a time and you cry a lot.” The more people I see who are grieving the more I see how much we resemble that remark. Grief really is as individual as a fingerprint, and it is not something you “get over.” It is a journey you must make, a process that has to be done. You can try to go around it, but eventually we have to go through it...

The First 24 Hours of Grief

When we face the loss of a loved one, we feel lost and alone. No matter how many loved ones we have around us, how supportive they are, nor how many times we have been down this road, we feel a loss that seems surreal.We might wonder if this is just a bad dream. It is for such a nightmare that I write this. Thus, we have the subtitle, Information You Really Don’t Want. I hope this may help guide you during a time when you don’t know what to do next...

Hope for the Healing

The loss really begins to be felt when there is an empty chair in at the table, or you’re waiting for them to come home to only remember that they aren't going to walk through that door at 5:15 like they always have before. There are plans and dreams of the future that are now unknown and uncertain. This experience often times leads one to ask, “Is there any hope?”...

Grief and the Holidays

For many people this time of year bring a great deal of joy and excitement. The leaves have changed and fallen, temps begin to drop, and evidence of the holiday season is witnessed as homes are adorned with lights, trees are placed in homes and decorated, and every store you walk into has some sort of Christmas music playing in the background. But for some, this time of year can’t end sooner...

Use Your Higher Power

I have heard some say that while they were grieving they felt much closer to God. Some have even wondered out loud how anyone could “go through this” without a strong faith system and belief in God. I have also heard about as many say that they have questioned their faith in God during a time of grief more than they ever had or thought that they ever would. I do not get offended when grieving people get angry at God. God can take our anger without getting angry at us. One writer said, “It’s hard to have a relationship with someone that you can’t get mad at...

Heartache: Healing After Miscarriage

It would be nice if the chaplain was exempt from personal life challenges…but that’s far from the truth. I have mentioned once before back in October about the suicide in my family. Since then my wife and I have also experienced two miscarriages as well. I know we share this experience with many of you who read this blog as it is more common that I had previously known...