ORA Loss & Living Program - Fall Program 2020
ORA Loss & Living Program is an outreach initiative dedicated to helping individuals and groups move through grief and loss in order to lead full, and fulfilling lives. This includes exploration into ways of creating space for conversations around grief, sharing basic information and reassurance about loss, grief and change in a non-threatening, participative way, with sensitivity to those in challenging situations.
Check out their amazing Fall Program for 2020 and share with anyone
you think might be interested in these events.
For more info on their events/workshops or to register visit Eventbrite at: https://tinyurl.com/ORAloss
Note: The policy of the ORA Loss & Living Program is that financial hardship should never be an obstacle to participation. If you would like to discuss options about fees for events (sliding scale, sponsorships, etc.), please contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What if our crisis could become a catalyst for flourishing without ignoring our deep human need for
lament and grief? What if we grant ourselves permission to name our grief and suffering, give it air to
breathe, find God’s presence in our pain, and entertain the possibility that hope can help us heal?
Join psychologists, therapists, theologians, authors, ministers, researchers, thought leaders, survivors, patient advocates, care givers, and practitioners to explore areas of grief, Christian spirituality, and what it means to be tethered to hope that remains. Together we will examine the universal nature of grief, how it impacts our lives in body, soul, spirit, relationships, and community, and the invitation to be formed by Christ in the midst of difficulty. Tethered will not explain away your grief or help you to “get over" it—quite the opposite. Tethered will help you open your heart to grief, listen to what it’s trying to teach you, and support you as you connect with the presence and promise of God while still in the midst of your journey to healing. God cares about you as a whole person.
This is about being undone and remade while staying tethered to hope.
Dates: October 21-25, 2020
Format: On-demand video sessions (Sessions are approx. 30-45 min each)
Cost: Free (Free access ends October 26)
Tech: Watch on any device
Community: Access to Tethered support community
International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day
Saturday, November 21, 2020
International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day is a special time when survivors of suicide loss can come
together to find compassion, connection, and hope through their shared experience. The day was created
in 1999 when Senator Harry Reid, who lost his father to suicide, introduced a resolution to the
United States Senate. Also known as Survivor Day, it was designated by the US Congress as a day on
which those affected by suicide loss intentionally join together for a time support and healing.
Survivor Day always lands on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, as the fall and winter holidays are
often a challenging and emotion time for suicide loss survivors. The American Foundation for
Suicide Prevention supports hundreds Survivor Day events all over the world.
Find out more information and locate and register for your local Survivor Day events at: https://afsp.org/international-survivors-of-suicide-loss-day
AFSP Support for Suicide Loss Survivors Flyer
'Confessions of a Griever' eBook on Sale for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day
Did you know that October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day?
Light a candle for 60 minutes to honor the parents you know who have lost sweet babies at 7pm local time.
Crystal Webster, founder and Chief Solace Officer at https://www.sharingsolace.com/ ,
wants to give back (and pay it forward) to the grief community that has provided her so much comfort
since her precious daughter Madelyn died 10 years ago.
So, the Amazon Kindle version of her wonderful book "Confessions of a Griever: Turning a Hot Mess into an Haute Message (Laughable Lessons for When Life Just Sucks)" is on sale for only $.99 on Amazon from Oct 15th-21st!
Visit the "Recommendations" tab at www.mygriefconnection.org and read the summary of the book there
and click through to purchase or visit the affiliate link at https://amzn.to/2H4Uj3e
Instagram LIVE Event: Lulu Faces Loss and Finds Encouragement
Join @my_grief_connection founder, Sara Cobb, and author Danica Thurber of @projectgriefart for a
special Instagram LIVE event on Friday, October 16th at 6:00 PM (MST). We'll be giving you a
preview of her beautiful new children's book, “Lulu Faces Loss and Finds Encouragement.”
We'll also be chatting about our favorite grief resources for children and share some suggestions
to help parents & caregivers who are tending to children who are grieving.
“Lulu Faces Loss and Finds Encouragement” gives children a way to creatively express their thoughts
and emotions about death & grief. It’s also a helpful resource for the adults in their lives because it
helps both sides engage in meaningful conversation. There’s even instructions to a cute craft activity
that goes with the book - one which kids and adults can do together.
Attend the IG LIVE for a chance to will a FREE eBook copy in a drawing!
The e-book is available now as a pre-release on Amazon and it’s only a few dollars.
It can be purchased via the affiliate link here: https://amzn.to/3lIhVcE
The printed paperback version will be released on October 20th, and if you’d like to get an email when that’s available, you can sign up on the author’s waitlist at https://projectgrief.org/p/kidsbook
Saturday Support with From Grief To Growth
Saturday Support is a virtual drop-in support group designed to connect individuals living with traumatic grief or who have experienced a sudden, unexpected loss. Moderated by Dr. Jennifer R. Levin of From Grief To Growth, these meetings will be held each Saturday from 9:30 - 10:30 AM(PST) through the end of 2020.
Meetings will provide participants an opportunity to share their experiences, learn more about traumatic grief, and gain new coping mechanisms and resources to help manage trauma and grief. These Meetings will take place over Zoom and will be interactive in nature (all participants will be encouraged to share their audio and video).
Saturday Support is not a therapy group and is available to participants throughout the United States. Privacy, respect, and confidentiality is expected from all group participants. The fee for Saturday Support is $20 per meeting and pre-registration is required. You can pre-register for whichever date(s) you like.
Register at: https://fromgrieftogrowth.mykajabi.com/saturday-support
I Hate Holidays: Learn Ways To Cope During the Holidays
October 17, 2020 at 1:30 -2:30 PM (EST) on Zoom
As we approach the holiday season we tend to get extra emotional. This meeting hosted by the
Children of Angels Foundation and will discuss how we can prepare for such a triggering season and learn
healthy ways to cope with grief during the holidays.
World Mental Health Day 2020
This year the World Health Organization will, for the first time, host a mental health global online advocacy event. At the "Big Event for Mental Health" world leaders, mental health experts and celebrity guests will join WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, to teach us all what we can
all do to boost our mental health and how we can all help make sure that quality mental health care
is available to everyone in need of it.
2020's World Mental Health Day, comes at a very challenging time for us all when our day-to-day lives have been drastically altered due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There have been so many changes and so much instability. People, including those with mental health conditions, are experiencing even greater levels of social isolation than before the pandemic. And so many people are managing the grief of losing a loved one, often without being able to say goodbye or even hold proper funerals or memorial rituals.
No doubt the need for mental health and psychosocial care and support will greatly increase in the months and years to come. Funding and investment in mental health programs on all levels is more critical than ever before. For this reason, the goal of the World Mental Health Day 2020 campaign
is increased investment in mental health.
For more information, please visit: https://www.who.int/
Navigating Holiday Grief Online Retreat
Rev. Meghan Smith Brooks and Teri Wilder will lead you on a 3.5-hour virtual retreat experience via Zoom to explore, share, feel, heal and experience different modalities that support the process of navigating grief - especially when triggered by holidays or special anniversary dates throughout the year.
When: Nov 21, 2020 from 12:00 PM – 3:30 PM (EST)
Where: Unraveling Grief Retreat on Zoom
The Do’s and Don’t’s of Talking With a Child About the Death of a Loved One - By Guest Blogger Danica ThurberRead Now
The Do’s and Don’t’s of Talking With a Child About the Death of a Loved One
1 in 5 children will experience the death of someone close to them by age 18.
(Kenneth Doka, Editor of OMEGA, Journal of Death and Dying)
Talking to a child about death may be one of the hardest things you have to do in your life. I conducted a survey in early 2020 about parents’ experiences with helping their children talk about and grieve the loss of a loved one. One respondent’s answer was very telling:
[M]y husband, their father, died. Telling my kids was even more painful than his death.
That’s what makes this topic so complicated: along with starting difficult conversations with your children, you yourself may be deep in the throes of grief for the loss of the same loved one.
While I wish that there was a way to lessen your pain, I have found that there are several things you can bring into conversations with your kids to make it easier.
As another survey respondent wrote:
Knowing the right language and having guidance on how to talk about death can help make the conversation less scary and have the confidence the conversation is healthy.
The following tips will do just that - provide guidance that can help you have some structure, as well as some confidence, as you enter the unknowns of these difficult conversations with your children.
DON’T SOFTEN YOUR LANGUAGE - BE DIRECT
“We speak of heaven and of illness. We do not use words such as ‘she went to sleep’... It can be hard at first to be direct, but two years later we see great fruit from the hard conversations.” - 2020 survey respondent
It can be tempting to soften the blow by softening your language (“he passed away,” “she went to heaven in her sleep”). However, kids don’t necessarily grasp the nuances of adult language. For young children especially, it’s important to use the words “dead” and “death” and then to describe what that actually means. For example:
“… explain that when someone dies their body stops working, they can’t eat, talk, feel, etc. That their heart and lungs stop working…” - 2020 survey respondent
My children’s book, “Lulu Faces Loss and Finds Encouragement,” portrays this type of direct conversation in a simple and emotional way. The main character, Lulu is eight years old, and because this is her first major loss, she needs to know precisely what death means as it applies to her relationship with her Grandma:
Once a child understands the physical reality of death, you can then explain it in terms of your family’s spiritual beliefs regarding what happens after death.
If you’re facing an impending death, you’ve got a good opportunity to be honest with children now about a loved one’s prognosis. I know it’s hard to be honest about this, because you may be having a hard time accepting their prognosis as well. However, talking about what will happen when the loved one dies, as well as who will take care of them, and then answering their questions, will greatly help them prepare for a loved one's impending death.
“My husband was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer in 2016. He died in May 2019. [A]long the way we worked to be honest with our kids about how serious it was while also not wanting to burden them more than was necessary.” - 2020 survey respondent
Kids though, take all their cues from their parents. While I was in deep traumatic grief, I tried to remain/appear steady for them. - 2020 survey respondent
The concept of death is something that is acquired as a child matures and goes through life experiences. Explaining death using concepts that are either too old, or too young for the child, may cause more frustration and hurt. It may be helpful to research developmental understanding of death before approaching your conversation with your child. Cancer.net has a very helpful summary.
According to cancer.net, school-aged children (6-12 years old) are able to understand that death is final (AKA, irreversible regardless of what they think, say or do). However, they may still think of the deceased person existing in a changed form, such a spirit, like a ghost, angel, or a skeleton. “By age 10, [children can] understand that death happens to everyone and cannot be avoided,” that is, they understand the universality of death. They may be interested in the specific details surrounding the circumstances of that person’s death, or what is being done to the body (autopsy, cremation, burial). School-aged children “[m]ay experience a range of emotions including guilt, anger, shame, anxiety, sadness, and worry about their own death,” and they may also incorrectly assign blame to themselves, thinking they somehow caused the death. Every child will experience grief differently, but some may “[s]truggle to talk about their feelings. Their feelings may come out through behaviors such as school avoidance, poor performance in school, aggression, physical symptoms, withdrawal from friends, and regression.” In addition, school-aged children “[m]ay worry about who will take care of them, and will likely experience feelings of insecurity, clinginess, and abandonment.”
In light of this age-centered understanding of death, when talking to a school-aged child about death, you may:
“Helping them know their dad is still with them, loves them and is proud of them.” - 2020 survey respondent
A child’s sense of security is rocked when a loved one dies. Speaking from my own experience of childhood loss,
I know that children will need an abundance of reassurance in the coming weeks and months in order to recover that loss of security.
DON’T say things like these:
Hopefully you can detect the cringe-worthy burdens lurking behind these words. While these phrases may have the appearance of reassurance, they only serve to stifle a child’s grief because of an expectation of how they “should” or “shouldn’t” be feeling.
Instead, here are some things you can do repeatedly (keyword!) in conversations with your school-aged child:
LET THEM LEAD
“I try to just meet them wherever they are emotionally. If they want to talk, we talk. If they want to cry, we cry.
If they want funny stories, we tell funny stories. I have found in my own grief, that grief is much more bearable
if you’re allowed to talk about it & live in it. So i try to do that for them too.” - 2020 survey respondent
It’s commonly said that a child’s inability to cope with trauma or big emotions is the their mind’s way of protecting them. Children will tend to express their grief in small spurts, rather than in long, drawn out seasons, as an adult would. In between these spurts, the child may seem completely fine. According to cancer.net, “A child’s grief may seem to come and go. And a child may rarely verbally express his or her grief. This is normal. Your child may also re-experience the intensity of the loss as he or she grows up.” It’s almost as if the loss needs to be re-processed with each developmental stage they pass. I’ve certainly found this to be true in my own experience.
DON’T force a child to engage in a grief activity. Have activities such as a trip to the cemetery, a book about loss, or a therapeutic art activity ready to go for when they seem to be feeling sad or when they bring up a question. Let the child’s emotions lead you, but don’t be afraid to ask questions, either. You might also learn more from an overheard conversation during play time, or their recent drawing of the family.
“When the boys were 3 and 5, their brother died as a result of a birth defect […] We learned to be more in the moment when it came to grief for them-they would be sad and ask why he had to leave one minute and then be totally ok the next.” - 2020 survey respondent
WHEN TO SEEK HELP
If you yourself are emotionally incapacitated by the loss of a loved one, it can be near impossible to provide the support your child needs. It takes so much courage to recognize that you need help. Attending counseling and seeking social support from other trusted adults will help not only you, but your child as well.
Pay special attention to signs that your child may be having an especially difficult time coping with a loved ones death:
See source link here.
YOU CAN DO THIS
While you’re the adult in the situation, that doesn’t mean you have to have it all together, or provide all the answers. A listening ear, a comforting hug, and a willingness to answer questions will go a long way towards helping a child cope with the loss of a loved one.
Remember, you’re allowed to grief, too. Showing at least some of your grief in front of your children shows them that it’s perfectly ok to feel their grief too. A family that learns to grieve together, no matter how messily, will be able to help each other find strength and hope as they navigate a loss, together.
Books can be helpful tools for both you and your child. They can be conversation starters, as well as give you a tangible reference point for discussing things you don’t have words for (“remember how in the book, Grandma lost all of her hair? That’s what will happen to your mom soon.”). If you’re looking for a book that can help you and your child talk about things like death, cancer, hospice, or the loss of a grandparent, check out “Lulu Faces Loss and Finds Encouragement,” available on Amazon on October 20, 2020.
Danica Thurber is a professional artist, therapeutic art Life Coach, and art teacher. She's also the art ministry director at Vineyard Boise. Visit her website at https://projectgrief.org/
Sara J. Cobb
Founder, My Grief Connection
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My Grief Connection - Created 04 July 2019
Updated 20 October 2020
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