Did you know about....The W Connection?
Established in 2009, the W Connection is a nonprofit organization with the goal of making life easier for women who have lost a spouse. The organization was created by widows to equip other widows with the knowledge and skills they will need to rebuild their lives, no matter the stage of life they are in when they experience the death of their spouse. Based on four components, Connection, Encouragement, Education and Empowerment, newsletters, chapter meetings, social activities and other programs and services help guide women through their grief and establishment of a new way of life.
Currently five physical chapters, mostly on the East Coast, work to connect with members and a virtual chapter is on the way which will encourage dialogue and support via online connections.
According to their website, the W Connection "supports women of all ages and at all stages of loss... and works because all members are widows who can bring their own unique experience in support of other widows."
The W Connection's website is www.widowsconnection.org. It may be a place where you, a friend or family member can find the support to help get through such a difficult time.
Are People Avoiding Me?
Grief can be a very lonely time. Yet it is a time when the comfort of another can provide such solace. However, our society has miseducated us about loss and many of us may feel that someone who is grieving wants to be alone. Or, in many cases, we have a fear of saying the wrong thing that can lead to more emotional pain. So we just avoid talking to friends or family members who are grieving.
It is true that cliche remarks can often be misconstrued by someone who is grieving and they also may seek time alone to reflect and deal with their loss. But many people do notice that friends who know about the loss shy away, either not approaching them or not directly discussing the loss.
The fear is on both sides. For those who grieve, they are facing so many fears - being alone, thinking how will they go on without their loved one or will they ever be okay? For friends, the fear is saying or doing something to cause more pain. But worse than fear is isolation, which is the behavioral reaction to fear.
Studies show that grievers most want and need to talk about their loss and their relationship with the one who was lost. Rather than avoiding the subject, it is best to at least acknowledge it - "I am so sorry to hear about your loss." This direct and kind approach can open the door to the griever and allow him/her to walk through on their own terms.
Common Expressions of A Child's Grief - Part Two
What a child feels is often hard to read, especially when they are exposed to the death of a family member or friend. In their world, this emotion is hard to comprehend. They may express their hurt, fear and sadness in a variety of ways, some that don't make sense on the surface. Looking out for these common expressions of grief can be the best way to provide the support they need to get them through.
Guilt: As children often do with any kind of change, they look to see something they may have done to cause the situation. He or she may feel that they are responsible for not being "better" in some way. If they had expressed anger to the person recently, that guilt can be compounded.
Anxiety and Fear: This is probably one of the most common reactions. The child may wonder if someone else they love may die and, if the loved one was a parent, there is an overriding concern as to who will take care of them. Many times a child will cling to loved ones and look for constant validation of their love.
Regression: The child may revert to behaviors he or she had previously outgrown, especially small children. This may include bedwetting, thumb-sucking or other habits they had worked to stop.
Sadness: Quiet is a sure sign of sadness. Inactivity, solitude, all of these are signals that the child is suffering and unable to process his or her grief.
Being on the lookout for these signs can speed up the process of helping a child through the grieving process. As in cases with anyone experiencing the loss of a loved one, the key is being there, listening and trying your best to understand.
Information for this blog was taken from My Careletter and an article reprinted with permission from the SIDS Foundation of Washington .