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Grief and Bereavement

Grief and the Elderly

Article from today’s NY Times Op-ED about Grief:

Grief Unedited
by Ruth Davis Konigsberg

EVER since Joan Didion’s book “The Year of Magical Thinking” began its lengthy run as a bestseller in 2005, a number of first-person accounts of losing a husband have been published. Among them were Kate Braestrup’s “Here If You Need Me,” Anne Roiphe’s “Epilogue” and Kay Redfield Jamison’s “Nothing Was the Same.” This week, they are being joined by Joyce Carol Oates’s “A Widow’s Story,” which recounts the death of her 77-year old husband, Raymond Smith, from complications following pneumonia in 2008. While these memoirs are often moving, they are also highly subjective snapshots that don’t teach us much about how we typically grieve, nor more importantly, for how long.

In the past decade, social scientists with unprecedented access to large groups of widows and widowers have learned that, as individual an experience as grief may be, there are specific patterns to its intensity and duration that are arguably more helpful in guiding the bereaved in what to expect. They have found that most older people who lose spouses from natural causes recover much more quickly than we have come to expect. In fact, for many, acute grief tends to lift well within six months after the loss. (more…)


When I first viewed this, I knew I would post it on our blog. What I also knew was I would share a brief synopsis of my own journey of grief. The one thing I discovered about grief is, it takes it own course and it is best to let it run the course it needs to go. When I lost mom, all that appeared to come forth was strength as I wanted to help dad through grieving his wife of 64 years. I was numb. And I could hardly believe it when dad died 3 months later and I found myself sitting back in that damn cemetery. Up to that point I had always viewed cemeteries with reverence for the deceased but seeing a headstone with both my parents names on it was horrifying. I learned we all grieve differently and we all grieve over different periods of time. (more…)

Hospice Chaplains Take Up Bedside Counseling

(Photo courtesy of Flickr and Tidewater Muse)

Being at the bedside of a dying person is a profound and often life-changing experience. It was for me. I got to know more about my dad and who he was as he was dying than in all of the previous years he was alive. Having had a traditional fear of dying, I was not prepared for the honesty and raw emotion that comes with helping a person die “well”. In the end, it was the hospice people that showed us incredible grace and compassion. I am forever grateful for their dedication to families like mine.

It was with great interest that I read the following article from today’s NY Times, about the new breed of non-denominational hospice chaplains. They are true heroes and deserves our deep admiration. I hope you enjoy the story: (more…)

Should Seniors Grieve Alone?


(photo courtesy of ohbnkr and flickr)

Throughout life we are taught so many different things but nobody ever teaches us how to grieve. As a person gets older their mortality becomes very real as more and more friends and family members begin to pass. At a time in one’s life when the losses (more…)