Sunday, March 11, 2018

How to Really Help a Family Caregiver

"Listen more, advise less. The 1992 classic pop-psych book Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus posited that men are problem-solvers and quick to dispense advice, while women are connectors and apt to listen more. But when it comes to helping distressed and weary caregivers, all of us are prone to pushing tips, inspiring stories and resources that we’re sure will lighten their load. For caregivers who seek such advice, this can be helpful. For caregivers who don’t, it is often experienced as an intrusion or, worse, outright criticism of their own caregiving methods. To offer emotional support that’s comforting, just be present and listen. Caregivers will pick your brain if they need direction. Mostly, they will want you to be with them as a trusted witness and confidante.

Time is the greatest gift. Many caregivers have told me that caregiving locks them into whirlwind daily routines of attending to others’ needs. Above all else, they miss time for themselves — to go to the salon or bank, read a book, clean the house or catch up on sleep. The greatest comfort you may offer is the gift of time. Offer to sit with care receivers while caregivers take a break. Pick up supplies for caregivers so they can stay home and relax. Try to make yourself available to listen as often as they need to vent."

How to Really Help a Family Caregiver

When a Grieving Mother Talks, Listen - The New York Times

 "We shouldn’t have to swallow our sorrow for the comfort of society, so if someone is brave enough to speak the truth of their Aidan, please listen. Just sit still and let us spill our shards because maybe if they do not have to be collected so quickly, they will lose just a little bit of their sharpness. We have not evolved enough to care for women like me, not yet anyway. But I have hope that if you can listen and let us speak our truths, perhaps one day we will get there."

When a Grieving Mother Talks, Listen - The New York Times:

Let’s Talk About Suicide – Spencer J. Cox – Medium

Utah's Lt. Governor is speaking out about suicide to make it safe for the kinds of conversations that can prevent it.

"As the students were leaving, a 13-year old girl asked if she could give me a hug. “Of course!” I replied. As she hugged me, she whispered in my ear, “Thank you for talking about suicide. I’ve been thinking about it for a long time, and I needed to hear you say that today.” We moved to the corner and talked for a minute. I told her we desperately need her on this earth. She promised me she would stay. She cried. I cried. We hugged again. I grabbed her teachers and administrators, and they promised they would follow up with her and get her the help she needs. I went back to my office with a lump in my throat and cried some more. Life is so precious. Kids can be impulsive. So, let’s do this together. Let’s lock up our guns. Let’s all download the SafeUT app. Let’s put away our phones and start connecting more. And — seriously — let’s start talking about suicide."
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: Let’s Talk About Suicide – Spencer J. Cox – Medium

Let’s Talk About Suicide – Spencer J. Cox – Medium

The Pain of Grief

Giovanni Segantini

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Poem: When You Meet Someone Deep in Grief

When You Meet Someone Deep in Grief

Slip off your needs
and set them by the door.

Enter barefoot
this darkened chapel

hollowed by loss
hollowed by sorrow

its gray stone walls
and floor.

You, congregation
of one

are here to listen
not to sing.

Kneel in the back pew
make no sound

let the candles

Patricia McKernon Runkle

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

John Pavlovitz: The Grieving Need You Most After the Funeral

John Pavlovitz writes about the importance of support and companionship when the shock of grief begins to wear off. "One of the truths I discovered, that when you lose someone you love—people show up. Almost immediately they surround you with social media condolences and texts and visits and meals and flowers. They come with good hearts, with genuine compassion, and they truly want to support you in those moments. The problem, is that you’re neither prepared nor particularly helped by the volume then. The early days of grief are a hazy, dizzying, moment by moment response to a trauma that your mind simply can’t wrap itself around. You are, what I like to call a Grief Zombie; outwardly moving but barely there. You aren’t really functioning normally by any reasonable measurement, and so that huge crush of people is like diverting thousands of cars into a one lane back road—it all overwhelms the system. You can’t absorb it all. Often it actually hurts...Just as the shock begins to wear off and the haze is lifted and you start to feel the full;gravity of the loss; just as you get a clear look at the massive crater in your heart—you find yourself alone.

The Grieving Need You Most After the Funeral

Sunday, March 4, 2018

I Have Cancer and I’m Dying and I’m Ready to Tell My Son

It's one thing to break your own heart. But it's much, much worse to have to break the heart of the child you wish so much you could see grow up. Annette McLeod writes:

"I’m sad for all the things I won’t get to do, read, eat, watch, play with — but mostly I am sorry that I am going to break my own child’s heart. When you would do literally anything to protect him, to know that you’re completely powerless to do so is profoundly … what’s the word for as awful as awful gets?...I told him the least I think he needed to know. I have cancer, and it’s a more serious illness than a cold or a flu. I told him what chemotherapy was in the most child-friendly way I could, and that I would lose my hair. He handled that too, and although he started getting up at least once after he was in bed, looking for nothing more than an extra hug, he didn’t ask any questions.When my hair fell out, he was mostly concerned that I would embarrass him by showing up bald at school. I assured him I would, of course....If I won’t be around to show him how to live well, the least I can do is show him how to die well."

I Have Cancer and I’m Dying and I’m Ready to Tell My Son | Learning