- Explore what the loss means to you and how it impacts your life. How the loss affects your image of yourself, your relationships with others, your finances, roles, status, your dreams and goals, your image of the past, present or future, and your values and beliefs.
- Surround yourself with people who care about you and share with them your needs. Speak to your friends and family about the type of recognition and support that you need when you are grieving. Ask them about their needs.
- Acknowledging and naming our losses gives the pain an outlet.
- Become aware of any restrictive or negative self-talk; decide which beliefs are “keepers” and which need to be changed. Identify the self-talk you would like to change, and what you would like to use instead.
- How have your spiritual needs and practices changed during times of grief? What spiritual practices have been particularly comforting for you?
- Everyone grieves their own way. Who are the people in your life who can listen without giving “unsolicited” advice? What have people said that has helped or hindered you in your grief?
- Knowing that others have experienced and moved through many of the emotions, symptoms and issues we are currently overwhelmed with, can give us more trust and hope in our ability to heal. Consider joining a grief support group or connecting with others who have been bereaved.
- Have children offered you support in times of loss? Have you allowed them to help? Be open to the kind of support that comes from unexpected places.
- What was the first experience of loss in your life? How old were you? How did the adults involved grieve? Were you allowed to grieve? What support did you receive? Were you allowed to help? How did that first experience influence your beliefs and grieving process now?
- What physical, emotional, mental and spiritual symptoms of grief are you experiencing? How can you work with the symptoms, rather than fight them, to help your grieving process?
- A memory book, box or journal honours the person or experience we are grieving; it provides an external, structured remembering, so that we don’t need to worry about forgetting, and it may provide a catharsis as pain is released into the safe container we are creating for it.
- Consciously choose a symbol for comfort, hope, peace or whatever else you need in your grieving.
- List some of your comfort objects. How do they help you? Do you need to add objects, change, or be more creative with the ones you have in order to meet your current comfort needs?
- What ancestors or other person no longer living has been a source of inspiration to you? How could what you know about them help you today? You may want to see them in your mind’s eye and ask for their support and guidance in working through your loss.
BC Hospice Palliative Care Association – bchpca.org
Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association – www.chpca.net
Hospice Net (USA) – www.hospicenet.org
National Hospice Palliative Care Organization (USA) – www.nhpco.org
International Association for Hospice & Palliative Care – www.hospicecare.com
“Virtual Hospice.” Interactive network – www.virtualhospice.ca
Griefworks BC. Support for children, teens and adults – www.griefworksbc.com