Setting Up a Support Network for a Grieving Family

Setting Up a Support Network for a Grieving Family – 6 Suggestions

Providing assistance to a grieving family can be an invaluable gift of support. But how and when to help a family can be a difficult and tricky question because even the grief stricken family won’t always know what they need or want. One thing for certain though, a grief support network should be setup. Below are guidelines to assist you:

1. Put one trusted person in charge as the main support person. Perhaps that person can be in charge of assisting with household operations or staying with the family. The support person should be someone other than an immediate family member.

2. The main support person can delegate to other volunteers. Others can be in charge of various tasks ranging from babysitting to planning meals. Volunteers should report back to the main person in charge to avoid confusion or more upset to the family.

3. Consider having the support person stay with the family. The person should at least be there during the day to help with phone messages as well as the deliveries of remembrance gifts, condolences, food and sympathy flowers. Even if the family needs to be alone, the support person could stay in a separate part of the home.

4. Try to have someone relieve the support person periodically. Sometimes well-wishers, deliveries and the phone calls can be exhausting for the main support person. If there are issues that arrive when this main contact person is away, all helpers should still contact him or her so the family is not disturbed.

5. The support network should respect the choices of the grieving family. Although it may be hard to understand some of the family’s choices, it is important to accept the family’s decisions. Just know that setting up an effective communication network during the initial stages of grief can with preventing any extra stress on the family.

6. As a friend who wants to help, be sensitive to the complete picture of grief. Instead of assuming what the family needs to hear or do, take guidance from the bereaved and the situation. In the beginning, don’t place too much on the family’s plate either, such as giving suggestions for coping or asking when thank you notes will be written. Most things can wait until the family requests guidance or may not need to be addressed at all.

Grief and Loss: Helpful and Unhelpful Strategies to Coping With the Loss of a Loved One

Although it’s said there is no right or wrong way to grieve, I prefer to say that there are in fact helpful and unhelpful ways to grieve. To transform grief we need to take action. If we do nothing and expect the pain to go with time we will still experience it years later. If we take action that is unhelpful, then we will still experience pain later on.

Unhelpful ways to grieve consist of using drugs and alcohol as a way of moderating the pain. Whilst in the short term these might help us forget, it is only temporarily. Once the effects of the drugs or alcohol wear off, we are still left with the feelings we’ve been trying to hide from.

Telling everyone that we are fine and trying to continue on as if nothing is wrong is another unhelpful way to grieve. You don’t need to spill your heart out to anyone but simply acknowledging that you are not OK but doing your best allows you to start transforming your grief. Our worlds become shattered after the loss of a loved one. It is our right to acknowledge that something is wrong and that we don’t know how we are going to cope.

Pushing emotions away is another unhelpful way to grieve. Again, acknowledging emotions is not about spilling your heart out to anyone, it’s about admitting to yourself that you hurt and you do feel that emotion. It is about giving yourself permission to feel the pain so that you can let it go. When we don’t acknowledge our feelings we tend to indulge in things like eating too much, watching too much telly, using drugs and alcohol and even overcompensating with too much exercise.

The most helpful way to make sure that you can cope with the loss of a loved one is to make sure that you have a great support network in place. This can be family or friends. You might not want to talk and share your feelings with them but just knowing that they are there to tell you they care and/or give you a hug can make the world of a difference.

If you need more support you can get yourself a grief counsellor or coach. Sometimes having someone impartial to listen to you in a non-judgmental way can make all the difference.

Another helpful way is to take action. After loss we might feel like taking to our beds and not eat nor drink as we sit with our pain. This won’t help us. Getting up and eating something, going for a walk, picking up the phone to speak to someone are all actions that can help move us forward after the loss of a loved one.

As you read this reflect upon the things you have been doing since you lost your loved one and ask yourself are they helpful to you or unhelpful? Then ask yourself what do you need to do more the same of and what do you need to do differently?

Loss and Bereavement: The Support Services for Families With Children With Brain Tumors

There are many thoughts that run through a person’s mind when they learn that their child or sibling has been diagnosed with a brain tumor. What will my child’s life and my life be like now? How will this affect me? How will our family survive such a trauma? These and a million other questions come to mind when your child is diagnosed with a brain tumor. Many parents and children feel grief towards a life that was lost and these feelings can occur whether or not there was a death. The life you were planning for yourself or your child may no longer be possible and you have to cope with all of these new feelings while still managing day to day life, a daunting task.

Perhaps more devastating is the actual loss of a child. This experience is heart breaking and life altering for parents, siblings, other family members and friends, as it does not follow the proper course of life. The process of grief differs from person to person. Grief is a very subjective emotion and depending on the age and the relationship a person had with the child, their reaction to the loss will take on a variety of forms. For many, however, it is a long and painful journey, and it causes some to feel alone and forgotten by others who go on with their lives.

There are many new emotions and unexpected feelings that accompany the loss of a child such as, anger, guilt, abandonment, depression, etc. Though there is no way to completely quell all the feelings that occur with losing a child, there are support services and networks of other parents to help you cope with such a tragic loss. The support you can receive from others also dealing with a loss helps you understand that you are not alone and many, if not all, of the feelings you may be having are normal, in a way and this type of support is immeasurable.

Many are not aware of the different avenues you can take when seeking support. The social workers at many organizations are available to help you determine what services will be the most appropriate in helping you and your family manage all of the psychological and emotional difficulties that are associated with losing a child.

“The feeling of connecting to other parents is that sense of knowing that you are not alone.” -quote from a bereaved parent

These organizations typically offer many programs including a Loss, Grief and Bereavement Program for families who have lost a child. Their goal is to support families through this difficult experience by connecting them to other bereaved families, providing supportive services, and offering therapeutic and educational information. We know everyone has his or her own unique way of grieving. It is for this reason that we offer different forms of support to address varying needs and ages.