Bereavement Posts

Be the Sling: 3 Aims to Help You Support a Grieving Friend

Posted on May 20, 2021

helping sad friend

Whenever a loved one is experiencing immense grief following the death of someone close to them, our instinct is to fix the hurt. If it were up to us, we’d love to be able to present a magic pill that makes them feel all better—after all, all pain is the same, right? Wrong. 

Unfortunately, grief, unlike bodily pain, is best processed rather than masked or avoided. Assisting people in processing their grief is a task few that of us have adequate training or experience. There are, however, many aims one can bring to a relationship to assist our loved ones in their grief processing. 

1. Aim to support, not fix. 

If a loved one suddenly broke a limb, our first instinct would not be to attempt to set the bone. We know that we’re not qualified to that, and if we tried, we would likely cause more harm and pain than good. What we do instead is aim to stabilize the wound to assist them in their healing process. Instead of trying to maneuver a bone back into place, we’re better off acting as the pillow beneath the wound. 

Such is the same attitude to have toward supporting someone experiencing immense grief. While you’re likely not the doctor who delivers the curative treatment, you can definitely be the sling beneath the cast that keeps the broken arm stable so the healing can take place. 

2. Aim to relieve the pressures you can. 

Telling a grieving person that everything will be ok or that you can fix the problem is not helpful or truthful. Giving this kind of false assurance may even prolong their grief in the way a phony remedy may prolong an ailment. So, what can you do? You can offer your services in relieving what is within your grasp. 

Many people experiencing immense grief may be slow to rebound simply due to the responsibilities of daily life. Even though it may feel like the world stops when a loved one dies, it does not — and simply keeping the plates of daily life spinning can make processing grief a drawn-out process. 

Instead of assuring them of relief or withdrawing completely, there is a beneficial middle road — providing practical assistance. 

  • Offer to run errands for them. 
  • Bring over freezer-ready meals for days they don’t feel like cooking. 
  • Coordinate rides for their children to their various activities with people they know.
  • Present the support you know they need but may feel awkward about asking for. 

This leads us to the best you can be of service to a grieving loved one...

3. Aim to be an active listener — not a source of answers. 

One of the most supportive activities you can perform for a grieving friend may not seem like an activity at all — listening. The loss of a loved one can leave one feeling incredibly isolated. Simply having a friend to listen or even just share the same space can be an immensely comforting presence — a respite from yelling into the void of one’s own emotions. Shouldering their emotional burden can help them feel that some of the weight of the world is relieved, giving them the space to feel vulnerable and, ultimately, to heal. 

  • When you encounter your grieving friend, don’t feel the need to distract them from their woes. 
  • Let them sit behind the wheel of the conversation — you’re simply a passenger. 
  • Don’t feel the need to fill any silence with words of consolation. 
  • Silence or simply you sharing the space may be precisely what they need. 

Sharing the silence with them may be one of the greatest gifts you can offer. 

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Memento Mori: The Positive Power of Thinking About Dying

Posted on Feb 08, 2021

Most people try not to think about death and dying as much as possible. And this logic is understood—the uncertainty and finality of death can range from unsettling to paralyzing. While this is true, there’s actually a wing of ancient philosophy that teaches the opposite—that there are immense benefits to remembering that, one day, you will die. And it’s enjoying a resurgence in popularity. 

Memento Mori: Remember, You Are Mortal

One of the primary meditations of the ancient philosophy of Stoicism is a concept called “memento mori” — which roughly translates in Latin as, “remember that you are mortal.” 

If you heard this uttered by someone at a party, you’d likely think, “who invited this guy?” However, when the case for constantly reminding yourself that you’re going to die is given a bit more depth and context, billions of people for thousands of years have used this meditation in profoundly positive ways—often compelling them to do accomplish feats they otherwise would not have. 

Ancient Death vs. Modern Death

Even just a few hundred years ago, the average person’s relationship with death was starkly different than it is today. In the past, most people had some kind of personal and possibly even frequent encounter with the evidence of death—whether through war, workplace hazards, or disease that is now prevented simply by washing one’s hands. Today, unless one works in the medical field or the mortuary services, most likely rarely encounter death. Gone are the days of helping prepare a loved one’s body for an in-home wake. Those duties have been largely sterilized and delegated to the professionals. 

And with the outsourcing of these lifecycle duties, most people rarely look death directly in the face. Due to this lack of familiarity with death, the very idea that they will die makes them shiver with fear. Others, however, are using the concept of “memento mori” to fuel their lives. 

Why Meditate On Death?

It sounds so counterintuitive to want to focus on your own mortality. However, for many, meditating on their own mortality is often a helpful reminder to live. 

“Reminder to live? How could I forget?” 

Though many don’t feel like they need a reminder to live, the concept has been used to remind countless individuals throughout history and into today that their lives are often shorter than they think—using this motivation for meaningful action. Some use the symbolism “memento mori” not only as a reminder of death, but also to stop wasting time dreading the future, agonizing over the past, procrastinating in the pursuit of their goals, or holding grudges against others. 

Memento Mori Tops the Country Music Charts

If “memento mori” still sounds fairly bleak, perhaps it can be best understood in the lyrics of a chart-topping country music song by Tim McGraw that exposed more to the positive side of “memento mori” than any work of art in modern history: 

“I asked him

‘When it sank in

That this might really be the real end

How's it hit you

When you get that kind of news?

Man, what'd you do?’

He said

‘I went skydiving

I went Rocky Mountain climbing

I went 2.7 seconds on a bull named Fumanchu

And I loved deeper

And I spoke sweeter

And I gave forgiveness I'd been denying’

And he said

‘Someday I hope you get the chance

To live like you were dying.’”

The purpose of “memento mori” is not to carry a dark cloud above one’s head, but to compel one to lead a rich life of purpose, perspective, and deeper relationships. 

You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think.” 

- Marcus Aurelius

Roman Emperor and Stoic Philosopher

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How Do I Keep It Together When Things Falls Apart?

Posted on Jan 07, 2021

processing grief

How do I keep it together in the face of loss?

Whether you’re witnessing the gradual cognitive decline of a loved one or you’re helping care for a family member with a terminal illness, you likely feel helpless. If you’ve already lost someone, the pain of mourning their passing can feel debilitating. You may be searching for answers on how to keep it together during these times of immense pain—which may be one of the reasons you found this article. So, what’s the key to keeping it together during these times? 

Simply put, don’t. 

We’ve become very good at keeping up appearances. A little too good, actually. 

Despite the apparent perfect life of your friends, acquaintances, and celebrity fascinations on social media, nobody has it completely together. Most people are very good at curating what they want others to see and think about them. However, keeping up these appearances has put undue pressure on us all to appear to “be strong” in the face of adversity. 

You don’t have to keep it together. In fact, it’s better if you don’t try. 

So, should we give up trying to cope with the gradual or past loss of a loved one? While it may be important to preserve your mental, physical, and spiritual health, it’s OK to let yourself experience the sadness, the frustration, the confusion, and the void left by the loss of a loved one. True, it will be unpleasant, but when we avoid allowing ourselves to feel these sensations, we end up feeling sad and stressed and anxious—not only about how we will end up feeling, but what other people will think about us. 

“Be strong for_____” is lousy advice. 

As we undergo loss, we feel the need to be strong for others. For our kids. For our families. For our friends. In reality, the most healthy thing we can do is be strong for ourselves. How do you do that? By allowing yourself to be vulnerable. To stop fighting grief. To let others help you. To permit yourself to process the emotions you’ve been holding back so you can begin to heal. But remember—there’s no rush.

Hospice & Palliative Care Serving the Greater Tulsa, OK Area

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The Unique Experience of Mourning the Loss of a Loved One With Dementia

Posted on Nov 05, 2020

grandfather grandson

At times, dementia can feel as difficult for the loved ones of a patient as it is for the patient themselves. It’s hard to know how difficult it may be for the patient as they may lose their ability to express their thoughts and emotions. What is known on the other side of disease is the unique and gradual nature of mourning the loss of someone who has passed away due to dementia. To help explain this, we bring a personal story from an associated party.  

The day of my grandfather’s viewing was a difficult one. Though he had been experiencing dementia in varying stages for many years, I lived a busy life hundreds of miles away and was subsequently unable to regularly visit him. Because of these less frequent visits to witness his deteriorating condition, the silver lining was that I still thought of him as the Superman I remembered him as throughout my childhood. Now, he was just a fellow in a casket...with his mouth wide open.  

I came to learn that he had died in his sleep, but that he also slept with his mouth wide open most of the time. This odd combination meant that his mouth way now stuck open with no way of closing it short of gluing his lips together. There he lay in his casket, Prairie Home Companion tie (his favorite radio show), face looking stretched and odd. With just a few hours before guests were slated to arrive, my grandmother called the funeral director over.  

“Excuse me, sir. My husband’s mouth looks especially odd. Is there anything we can do?”  

The funeral director explained that his jaw was locked open, but that it was possible that enough time had passed that they may be able to close it.  

I remember looking over the lapels and of my suit and the old fashioned couches in the viewing room to see a funeral director forcefully, yet discreetly trying to force my deceased grandfather’s mouth closed as my grandmother looked over his shoulder. In that moment, I’m not sure what came over me. I lept to my feet, with tears welling in my eyes, and began to sprint in the direction of the director. My older brother saw my approach and held me back.  

“Leave him alone!” I exclaimed from the inside of my brother’s elbow. Tears ran down my face as it felt like my voice had shaken the flowers that lined the casket. I collapsed into my brother’s arms, soaking his suit jacket in tears. He led me over to the couch so I could sit down and catch my breath.  

My grandmother approached me with a glass of water and calm concern. She handed me the water with a delicate smile, her eyes completely dry while my own gushed.  

“How can you be so ok with that man touching him? Why aren’t you more outraged?” I asked, almost immediately regretting my negative tone.  

“Sweetie, I’ve been mourning the love of my life, your grandfather, for years. My grieving occurred over many months before this day, as he drifted further from this world while still physically with us. My eyes are dry now because he’s free. He’s not in that casket. That man can’t hurt him. Nothing can hurt him anymore.”  

I then fell her into her arms, wishing I had been as so blessed as to be as collected as she was. Still, she had mourned in a very unique way—a way all too common for the close loved ones of those with dementia.  

In fact, many end up grieving the loss of their loved ones with dementia long before their passing. This form of pre-grieving can make the actual death of their loved ones somewhat confusing. Unlike the above speaker’s grandmother who realized why she wasn’t in a state of mourning at her own husband’s passing, many others may need this explained to them to reconcile their feelings.  

If you presently have a loved one with dementia, it's important to understand the stages of dementia as well as the stages of your own grieving to plan for the best care for them and support for yourself. Professionals are standing by to provide support for your family during your unique time of need.  

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A Missing Void: Grieving the Loss of a Sibling

Posted on Oct 20, 2020

The death of a sibling can leave one feeling incomplete.

Some have said that when a parent or grandparent dies, it can feel like the death of one’s past and that when a child dies, it can feel like the death of a hopeful future. When one’s sibling dies, however, it can feel like the death of both the past and the future. In this piece, we’ll discuss some common emotions felt by those who have lost a sibling and how to navigate the grieving process to begin healing. 

How Siblings Shape Identity

Though one may say they have their father’s ears or their mother’s nose, siblings shape each other’s personalities in significant ways. When a sibling dies, this can have a profound impact not only on someone’s emotions but also their identity. The death of a sibling can leave someone feeling like they have a hole left in them in the shape of the departed sibling and feel like part of their own identity is gone as well. 

Existential Confusion

Anytime someone of someone else’s similar age passes, this can cause one to take an inquisitive look at their own life. When a sibling dies, in addition to potentially altering someone’s identity, it can lead them into an introspective phase that, when combined with the grieving process, can feel quite confusing.

Feeling Forgotten

The death of a sibling earlier in life also typically means that there are parents who have lost a child as well. In some instances, a sibling can feel like their parents are the primary recipients of pity and support due to their unique grief status. This can cause sibling grievers to feel forgotten or excluded—as though their grief is not significant and, thus, not in need of as much attention. 

The New Identity

Following the death of a sibling and one’s identity feels forever altered, it is important to understand that such a bleak forecast is not necessarily the case. The departed sibling has shaped their brother or sister’s life in ways that will forever remain. This attitude of carefully protecting that aspect of one’s personality can provide relief from both grief and existential angst on particularly rough days, weeks, months, or even years. 

That Part is Still Missing, But Time Reduces Pain

When a sibling passes, many report that there is a brother/sister-shaped void within them that remains unfilled by new experiences or support from that sibling. What is also reported, however, is that the pain of that void grows less and less severe with time. Where it was once filled with their input and support, over the years, it is filled with memories, which with time also become a treasure rather than a source of pain. 

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What Are Some Physical Effects Associated With Grief?

Posted on Sep 21, 2020

tired grieving man

The passing of a loved one is not only emotionally exhausting—but it can also wreak havoc on one’s physical health. 

Cardiac Health

Due to higher quantities of the stress hormone cortisol as well as changes in adrenaline levels following the trauma of losing a loved one, grief can put a harmful strain on one’s cardiovascular system. A sudden emotional shock can result in what feels like a genuine “heartache” and chest tightness. Intense sensations of chest pain, shortness of breath, or dizziness may require medical intervention.

Gastrointestinal Issues

Experiencing “butterflies” in one’s stomach concerning grief may be an understatement. An inner emotional emptiness can give way to a physical sensation of emptiness in the gut that can cause or stem from a lack of appetite. Other digestive issues linked to grief may range from nausea, constipation, bloating, diarrhea, or even acid reflux and heartburn. 

Neurological Issues

Despite being emotionally exhausted, a common physical symptom of grief is a disruption of one’s sleep schedule or even insomnia. An inability to achieve sufficient sleep can result in difficulty focusing one’s attention, brain fog, lowered energy levels, or headaches. Insufficient sleep can also impact one’s immune system from reacting appropriately to sicknesses. 

Assorted Sensations

Grief can bring about various physical sensations not otherwise felt included but not limited to a lump in one’s throat, dry mouth, sensitivity to light and sound, shakiness, etc. 

Helping Relieve Unpleasant Sensations

While it is important to remain consciously vigilant against serious physical maladies, a mourner should note which symptoms arose as a result of emotional trauma to prevent bouts of health anxiety. In addition to understanding which sensations are likely to dissipate with time, there are several techniques and remedies to help manage or relieve many of the grief-induced feelings.

Physical Exercise

Though it likely feels like the last thing a grieving person wants to do, remaining physically active has been shown to increase one’s mood. A report published in the Journal of Happiness Studies claimed that even as little as 10 minutes of physical activity a week could increase happiness.

Mindfulness Meditation

Many people suffer from the misconception that they are their thoughts. That means that any agonizing emotional thought that comes to mind assumes control of their very identity as long as it remains. Practitioners of Mindfulness Meditation say otherwise. Mindfulness Meditation is a practice that allows grief-stricken individuals to train their minds to realize when they’re being swept away by any thoughts—notions of sadness or otherwise. Mindfulness Meditation has been shown to help countless individuals reclaim control of their thoughts and emotions.

Journaling It Out

Writing down one’s emotions may feel like one of the last activities a grieving person would want to do. However, many grieving individuals claim that writing out their feelings has helped substantially in processing them. The process of journaling thoughts, emotions, and memories allows the brain to speak to itself in ways it usually would not. Even if no one ever reads the words of one’s journal, simply getting them out can significantly help mitigate emotions of grief and thereby their associated physical sensations. 

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How Does the Grieving Process Progress?

Posted on Sep 21, 2020

statue representing grief

As the passing of a loved one approaches or whether it has recently occurred, feelings of grief can surprise us. While it would be nice if we could be instructed on how to grieve so we can know what to expect, this would assume that everyone grieves the same way. Even though no two people grieve precisely the same way, there are a few similarities that grief experts have noted. Being familiar with grief stages may help you and your loved ones anticipate these stages’ arrival as they occur. 

1. Feeling Numb

Despite preparing for the moment of passing of a loved one, many report an initial sensation of numbness, shock, or even denial. Some experts believe it is an emotional self-defense mechanism to what could be overwhelming news or events. This period of numbness, shock, or even disbelief can last hours or even weeks. It may be a while until the reality of the situation settles in, which leads to the next phase of grieving. 

2. Disorientation

As the initial numbness begins to fade, more of the weight of grief begins to rise to the surface. This sensation can creep in little by little or can emotionally overwhelm a person. Individual reminders of the loved one, or a profound realization of their passing can trigger this sudden influx of emotions. In other times, this time of disorganization and chaos can arrive seemingly out of nowhere. Though this time can seem alarming to those who experience it or those around them, it can be the beginning of a breakthrough that ultimately results in relief. Still, this difficult period can last for a few days or may even linger a year or longer, depending on the individual.

3. Restructuring

Following the steadying of one’s emotional foundation, the last phase of grief can begin—discovering the new normal of life. While life will be forever changed, a feeling of acceptance and recovery isn’t too far behind. Physical sensations of grief may begin to subside, including one’s appetite, sleep patterns, and energy levels. The weight of grief becomes lighter, and some either return to familiar routines or begin to form new ones. 

Different For Everyone

Though psychologists and grief experts have mainly mapped grief stages, every experience of grief is unique. Expecting to feel a certain way, either better or worse, should never be confined to defined periods. Every grieving individual should give themselves as much time as needed to properly grieve and recognize when a return to a new normal is likely. Like prematurely removing a bandage or stopping a course of medication before an infection has ceased, rushing through the grief process may result in delayed or improper healing. 

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Understanding & Caring For Children in Grief

Posted on Jun 02, 2020

grieving child

"Children Don't Grieve." 

Even among specialists, there was a past misconception that children do not grieve the death of a grandparent, parent, sibling, relative, or friend. This long-held fallacy was based on the idea that children are not intellectually and emotionally developed enough to fathom a concept like death. This idea has been handed down and created a significant dissonance with the truth—children grieve.

The "D" Word

When a family or friend group experiences a death, there is a tendency to soften the blow for children. This softening may exist in the form of altered language. Parents and caregivers may feel tempted only to use words such as "lost," "passed on," or "gone to heaven" in regards to death with children. Though these are sweet sentiments, using them exclusively can confuse children. They may not understand what "Grandpa passed away" means or "Daddy is in heaven now." Telling a child that "Grandpa died" or "Mommy is sad because Aunt Carol died last night" can help them begin to understand the finality of death and that their loved one is not coming back.

Include Them

Some families will attempt to shield children from death by excluding them from memorial rituals. Some may feel that keeping children away from a funeral or cemetery rituals for a close loved one who has died is protecting them for emotional trauma. While everyone should use their best discretion, including children in these rituals can help them process the finality of this loss. Beginning to understand that this beloved family member or friend is gone and not coming back can help children properly grieve and gain a sense of closure. 

How Kids Show Grief

The death of a loved one is an immensely confusing time for anyone, but even more so for a child. Children may not understand the thoughts and emotions they are beginning to experience—sometimes for the first time. To help children process and understand these emotions, parents and caregivers need to be able to identify the physical signs of grief in children. 

Fear Grins & Laughter

As bizarre as it sounds, upon hearing the news that a loved one has died, some children may smile or even laugh. While seemingly disrespectful, this is often a result of emotional overload. This behavior may also be the child's subconscious wanting to offset negative feelings and want gloomier times to return to normal.

Loss of Sleep or Appetite

One of the main symptoms of grief or mourning in children is a lack of sleep or appetite. Children may begin to ruminate over a variety of ideas and emotions once the activity of the day has settled and the lights are turned off. For this reason, it is a good idea for parents or caregivers to check on children an hour or so after they have been put to bed. During these hours of the night, a grieving child may feel anxious or alone with their thoughts. If a child seems overly tired at the breakfast table or lethargic during the day, this may be the sign of inadequate sleep the night before.

Withdrawing From Activities They Enjoy

Another symptom of grief in children is withdrawing from activities they typically enjoy. In many instances, grieving children may prefer to be alone—even away from friends and loved ones. While their space should be respected during these times, they should also be assured that they are not alone—that a loved one is nearby to talk about anything they have on their minds. 

How to Help a Grieving Child

It's easy to feel powerless to help or understand a grieving child. Children may not be able to express themselves adequately. Despite this difficulty, there are numerous ways you can assist a grieving kid. 

Grieving Isn't an Illness.

Many are tempted to treat grief like a sickness—a problem in need of fixing. In reality, grief is a process to be navigated. While relief from grief sounds nice, it's an integral part of the healing process. When the grieving process is inhibited, this can result in negative mental or emotional consequences down the road. Instead of just trying to get kids to "snap out of it", "pull yourself together," or "be a big girl/boy," it is crucial to allow children to grieve adequately.

Be There

One of the most beneficial things you can do for a grieving child is to listen to them. While you can offer your advice and answer their questions to the best of your ability, they likely feel vulnerable and alone. Listening to them will help them feel heard, taken seriously, and less lonely. Being present can also mean helping them get back to a semblance of normalcy with activities they enjoy. It is important not to push these activities on them, but to offer them as a gentle distraction. 

Involve Them in the Dying Process

If the child's loved one has not yet passed, letting them spend time with the dying individual in hospice care can help them understand what is happening. Not only is this a great way to help children understand the finality of the situation, it can also enhance the life of the hospice patient. Most hospice providers are happy to help facilitate such an arrangement. 

Palliative Care & Hospice Serving the Greater Tulsa, OK Area

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The Impact of Managing Grief With Regular Exercise

Posted on Feb 20, 2020

woman happy from exercising

While daily life must continue following the death of a loved one, the emotions associated with grief can feel like an immense weight that is impossible to shake. Fortunately, for many experiencing grief and depression, they are discovering an incredibly powerful tool for relief from an unlikely activity—exercise.

“Does the gym attract happy people or are people happy because they go to the gym?”

It sounds counterintuitive—exercising while in grief? Indeed, you'll likely never see someone in a depressed state on the treadmill or swimming laps. If these two activities seem to be at odds, that's because scientifically, they are.

How Exercise Effects Grief

Even though exercise is not a magic bullet to help the grieving completely rebound, the effect it has on one's brain chemistry is undeniable. When one partakes in a particular duration and intensity of exercise, the brain is triggered to release several chemicals, including endorphins. Endorphins are incredible mood-boosting chemicals designed to relieve discomfort. While these endorphins were largely designed to help our ancient ancestors outrun predators, today, they can make us feel physically and emotionally amazing after a great workout.

"Exercise is a very good and positive tool that people can use while grieving, mainly because it triggers that release of neurotransmitters and the release of endorphins," reported Sharon Stallard , a trained bereavement counselor.

"That was it."

At a hulking 6'6", comedian Gary Gulman has been making audiences laugh all over the world for nearly 30 years. Despite inspiring the happiness of millions, Gary had a dark secret he hid for years—he was suffering from deep depression.

For decades, Gary checked into a variety of mental health programs with mixed results. Exercise, however, has been one of his saving graces.

During a podcast episode with fellow comedian Pete Holmes , Gary said that, when he was feeling down, there was one question he would ask himself:

"Have I exercised today? Usually the answer is, 'no, I haven't exercised today.' 'Alright, see how you feel after you exercise.' And at this point, thank God, after I exercise, oh, that was it. ... every time for a couple of years now...and it can be as little as 18 minutes. I've never gone under 18 minutes— it's probably 10. But you don't want to tell me that—the guy who just exercises 10 minutes a day...and he's happy?"

Exercising For Grief Resilience

If you've ever heard the NPR news quiz show, "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me," you've likely heard the unmistakably gruff comedic elbow-jabs of the legendary Paula Poundstone. Suffering from happiness issues of her own, Poundstone researched and wrote a book The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness. Her research consisted of her experimenting with the various age-old happiness avenues and seeing which fostered the greatest results. Experiments varied from test driving sports cars to volunteering with charitable organizations.

During an interview with Parade , Poundstone expounded one of her findings—the impact exercise had on the resilence of her happiness in the face of grief.

Interviewer: "...You write that exercise made you feel more resilient. Again, that's not something we necessarily think of when it comes to being happy..."

Poundstone: "Yeah, it definitely was. I do think it provided a better shield than most things. If some of the things that happened during that stretch (of regular exercise) had happened during the stretch of another (happiness experiment)—like my friend Martha dying...If Martha had died while I was driving a Lamborghini (one of Poundstones' happiness experiments), it would have been a totally different experience...because it's worthless. It comes with too much reflection... It's a can of worms. And push-ups aren't."

How Much Exercise is Necessary?

You may feel that you don't possess the time to exercise enough to experience the intended results. According to a 2017 study by Black Dog Institute , as little as one hour a week of exercise was shown to reduce the intensity of the symptoms of depression. Divided over the course of the week, that's less than 10 minutes a day.

Finding Exercise You Enjoy

For those experiencing grief who would like to give the mood-enhancing effects of exercise a shot, they should know that most forms of physical activity can be considered exercise. Many of us imagine sweating on a treadmill or lifting weights, but exercise can be achieved in other more enjoyable ways. Going for a walk. Dancing. Skipping rope. Swimming at a leisurely pace. To increase the chances of adopting a habit of regular exercise, it is vital to find a form of exercise you actually enjoy and will look forward to performing.


● Exercise can trigger mood-enhancing endorphins

● As few as 10 minutes a day may be necessary

● Exercise may make you more resilient against grief

● Exercise can take on many enjoyable forms

In addition to enjoying the myriad of benefits of regular exercise, we hope that you will consider regular exercise for helping ease feelings of grief and depression.

How to Write an Obituary (with Examples)

Posted on Feb 20, 2020

writing an obituary

Whether you’ve recently lost a loved one or you’re making those necessary arrangements beforehand, writing an obituary can feel emotionally challenging. Feelings can seem like a barrier between you and this task that needs to be accomplished. With that being said, the act of writing an obituary doesn’t have to be difficult—it can actually be immensely cathartic. The goal of this piece is to guide you step-by-step through the obituary writing process as well as help you see the therapeutic impact of such a seemingly daunting task.

The Types of Obituaries

Before you begin, we must note that there are a few different obituary styles.

Self-Written Obituaries

As the name implies, self-written obituaries are written by the individual themselves. These are usually written by people who are immensely forward-thinking and want to save their loved ones the discomfort of writing such a document. Some of these may have been written at varying stages of health or realization of the progression of a condition. The person’s desire to have a self-written obituary should be completely respected. Still, review all details to make sure they are current—such as a change in family structure or if they had moved since writing their obituary. When in doubt, lean into respecting their own wishes.

Funeral-Use Obituary

The “funeral use” obituary will be the primary obituary used for funeral program inserts, possible read aloud at the funeral, and otherwise distributed. These are largely free of word-count limitations, but should ideally fit neatly on one page.

Newspaper Obituary

The newspaper obituary is the obituary submitted to newspapers for publication. This may be a slightly shorter version of the funeral-use obituary—opting for more details over personal stories. The publication typically dictates the word-count for these.

How to Begin Writing Their Story

An obituary is a summary of a person’s life and what they held most dear. For this reason, writing one can be fairly therapeutic for those in mourning. Let’s break down the usual parts of a person’s obituary story.

The Essential Details

Most obituaries begin with the essential information about the person’s death. They may contain their name, age, and details about when and where they died.

Buchanan “Bucky” Goldstein, 92, died early Monday morning, February 17, 2020, at this home in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

For newspaper obituaries, some may prefer to provide funeral details following these details. Some prefer to save these for the end.

Funeral services will be held Tuesday, February 18, 2020, at 11 am at Congregation B’nai Emunah in Tulsa, OK. Services will be immediately followed by a graveside service in The Preserve section of Woodland Memorial Park Cemetery in Sand Springs, OK.

Those Who Have Preceded Them

Immediately following the details of one’s death and funeral arrangements for the newspaper obituary, some may choose to mention close family members who have preceded them in death. This is optional.

Bucky is preceded in death by his father Emil, and his mother Shoshana, as well as brothers Morty, Rick, and sister Ruth.

The Story of Their Life

In telling the story of someone’s life, it is helpful, if not enjoyable, to start chronologically and walk through their early years. Begin with their birth as well as where and how they spent their childhood. As you move through the childhood and teenage years, mention some of the schools they attended, the organizations with which they were affiliated, and the activities they enjoyed. Feel free to pepper in memorable stories.

Bucky was born June 7, 1928, in Austin, Texas. He picked up the fiddle from the age of 4 with the help of his grandfather, Mendel Goldstein. His family moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1935 and became active members of Congregation B’nai Emunah, where Bucky celebrated his bar mitzvah in 1941. He attended Central Tulsa Highschool, where he showed a profound interest in poetry as well as western swing music. Bucky graduated from Oklahoma State University and married Ruby Glaser in 1952. He worked as a writer and editor for the Tulsa World until his retirement in 1993. He loved playing music for his children and grandchildren as with groups in the Tulsa area. Bucky will be remembered for his quiet wisdom, his warm sense of humor, and affinity for Tulsa.

Those They Leave Behind

At this point, some may mention the living family members of the individual. To guard the feelings of those who may be left out of this section due to word-count or writer error, it is recommended to finish this section fairly open-ended, i.e. “—as well as many other beloved family members and friends.”

Bucky is survived by his wife Ruby, children David, Betty, and Max, as well grandchildren Abigail, Jerry, Gabriel, Asher, Rachel, Ted, and great-grandchildren Levi, Rivkah, Ezra, and “Little” Bucky—as well as many other beloved family members and friends.

Next Steps

At this point in the obituary, it is customary to provide an address or organization where flowers or donations may be sent in honor of the person’s memory.

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in Bucky’s honor to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.


Nobody truly wants to write an obituary, but many find the process tremendously fulfilling. Treat this as an opportunity to recall the wonderful life that this person lived and the lives that they’ve touched. Know that the obituary you write will help fellow grieving friends and family members celebrate the life they led.

Processing Grief Through Journaling (+ A Bonus Tip)

Posted on Jan 07, 2020

Several different emotions emerge in the wake of a loved one's passing. Numbness. Sadness. Emptiness. Pain. Regret. Nostalgia. Fear. Anxiety. There are too many to list, let alone process. These feelings can seem insurmountable. There are, however, some straightforward ways to begin to process feelings of grief. One such technique is the practice of journaling.

"Why would I want to journal my pain?"

If you've ever heard of the notion of journaling or perhaps dabbled in the process, writing about your pain may seem like the last thing you want to do. However, there are many incredible benefits to journaling about your feelings when in grief.

Active Processing of Emotions Into Words

The emotions associated with grief often feel incredibly raw. In many instances, this is because they are — completely unrefined, unprocessed, like wheat not ready for consumption. However, as you sit and consider how to begin to put your thoughts and emotions into words, this act helps to process your feelings. Like wheat in the mill is crushed to make flour, passing your feelings through the prefrontal cortex of the brain to label them and transform them into words can help defang these feelings for heightened processing. One brain imaging study even found that when specific labels are attached to negative emotions, this decreased the activity for these painful concepts in the amygdala — the section of the brain responsible for the perception of emotions.

"Sometimes, the only way around suffering is to go straight through it." - Anik Sarkar

Feeling Heard Without "Inconveniencing" Anyone

If you're like many people in grief, you may feel like expressing your pain makes you a "Debbie Downer" — inconveniencing others by bumming them out. Even though you likely have people close to you who are willing to lend an ear or shoulder as well as grief counselors, you may still feel odd about expressing your heartfelt pain to another. During these times, pouring out your emotions to a journal can be immensely therapeutic.

Think of a journal as the least judgemental friend. Your journal will never tell you to "snap out of it" or give you cues that they're tired of hearing all about your internal turmoil. They will stick by you for as long as you need to pour out your heart, to process your emotions, and to capture your tears. Even if you were to discard a journal entry immediately upon writing it, for the moments spent crafting every word, you were heard — by the pen, by the pages, by every line, by your fingers, and perhaps most importantly, by you. For this reason, journaling can begin to feel like a gift of relief you give yourself — permission to be vulnerable and to process your innermost thoughts and emotions.

Journaling Can Help Capture Memories

When prepping friends and family to interact with a grieving loved one, one of the most commonly asked questions is whether or not to mention the departed. The fear is that bringing up cherished memories will only reopen emotional wounds. As someone grieving, you likely understand that there's nothing you'd rather relive than the beautiful moments you spent with that one who has died. Journaling gives you a chance to not only relive these moments but also to capture them on pages for safekeeping.

When journaling, feel free to recall the details of a great day you shared with this loved one. Recollect every detail you can, the sights, sounds, sensations, smells, actions, and feelings — putting them into words on the page. Give these moments a chance at a second life in a way you can go back through later — just like you would with a photo album or older home movies. Not only is the act of reliving these moments immensely enjoyable, but putting them into words can help you process associated grief in the ways we discussed earlier in this piece.

What Journaling Can Look Like

There's no wrong way to journal.

Perhaps the only wrong way to journal is to not journal at all. Whether you only write a phrase or fill pages with emotions and memories, you're in charge of how to start journaling any time.

Typing vs. Handwriting

If they are faster typists, some individuals choose to type their journal entries for the speed of getting ideas out. They may also like being able to carefully organize journal files and use search functions for recalling certain days, topics, or concepts. For the majority of people, they prefer the cathartic act of putting pen to paper. Something about thinking carefully about each word that will be written without the escape of a backspace key can be very appealing. Either method is up to your preference.

Journaling Using Prompts

There will be times when you want to write in your journal, but feel stuck. For these occasions, there are many grief-related journaling prompts that can help. Some may journal by writing to their departed loved one in letter form. Some jumping-off sentences can include, "I remember the time...", "That time you made me laugh...", and "The greatest thing you taught me was..." One particularly useful prompt some recommend is writing the narrative of your loss, but in the third-person — from the perspective of a fly on the wall, so to speak. As you write this story, leaning into an outsider's perspective, list recommendations and consolations you would give yourself if you were someone else looking in.

Free Journaling

Sometimes, you won't want to be given a "homework assignment" in your journaling practice. These instances are great opportunities to just let feelings spill onto the page. If you're totally stuck and don't know what to write about, write about that and how that makes you feel. Follow that emotion wherever it goes. Don't feel the need to use correct spelling, grammar, or punctuation. Just use the page as a release valve and follow the internal narrative wherever it takes you.

Bonus: Beginning to Heal With a Gratitude Journal

At times, having an assignment can significantly affect our frame of mind. One such task is by writing a handful of things you are grateful for that day. Try to keep it fresh — thinking of a new item or concept to list every day. As you run out of the main items, such as health, family, employment, food, and housing, you will have to search deeper for things you appreciate. These can be as immense as closing a massive deal at work or seemingly small as someone opening the door for you. As you continue your gratitude journaling assignment, you will subconsciously start keeping an eye out for new instances or concepts to add to your gratitude journal. Over time, this practice will make you more conscious of the pleasantries of your daily life.

For additional help navigating the grieving process, the friendly professionals from CURA HPC Hospice & Palliative Care in Tulsa, Oklahoma, can help.

Mindfulness Meditation & Grief: Managing Compulsive Rumination

Posted on Dec 20, 2019

mindfulness meditation for grief

Losing a loved one can leave you with an open void in your being — a hole that you try to fill with memories as well as thoughts of what could have been. Clinging to memories, agonizing over their passing, and pondering a world where they’re still with you — all of these mental activities can make it enormously challenging to return to any semblance of a normal life. Some, however, are working to manage their grief by training their minds to focus on the present rather than remain tangled in the past or future. Such a practice is popularly known as Mindfulness Meditation.

Isn’t meditation for people who eat tofu and smell like patchouli? 

If you’re like most people, initial thoughts of meditation include hippies in tie-dye sitting cross-legged with their fingers pinched towards the sky. Unfortunately, this has been the reputation meditation has suffered from for over a generation. As ABC’s News correspondent and meditation advocate Dan Harris once put it, “Meditation has been the victim of the worst marketing campaign ever.” However, a growing body of scientific research is busting the misconception that meditation is solely for vegetarians who burn sage to ward off negative energy. The benefits of the secular practice of Mindfulness Meditation include everything from stress reduction, managing anxiety, depression, and one’s attention span. No hocus pocus required.

How does Mindfulness Meditation work?

The “mindfulness” aspect of Mindfulness Meditation is built on the idea that we can train our minds to better identify moments of rumination, perceive them without judgment, and let them go like clouds in the sky. 

Neuroplasticity: the ability to reshape your mind.

For generations, scientists were under the impression that, once our brains were fully developed, the ability to grow new neural pathways ceases. Studies by researchers in the 20th century, however, provided evidence of neuroplasticity — the ability for our brains to establish new pathways and even change shape. These new studies only confirmed old truths understood by long-time practitioners of Mindfulness Meditation — many who had been retraining their minds towards positive focus for generations.

What does Mindfulness Meditation look like from the meditator’s perspective?

A regular daily Mindfulness Meditation session usually proceeds like so: A person sits comfortably either on a cushion on the floor or in a straight-back chair. They keep their spine straight, head level, and eyes closed. They then bring their full attention to the raw sensation of their breath — either on their nostrils, chest, or belly. While attempting to bring their full attention to their breath, random thoughts inevitably start — what the Buddhists call "the Monkey Mind." These thoughts may vary from what to eat for lunch to regret over a joke that bombed in yesterday's meeting. The goal of Mindfulness Meditation is simply to notice that one is, in fact, thinking. Once a thought is detected, the practitioner returns their focus back to their breath. Many practitioners will even make a mental note once they realize they are thinking, allow themselves to observe the thought without analyzing its contents, and then return their attention back to the present moment by focusing on their breath. These seated Mindfulness Meditation sessions can last anywhere from 10-30 minutes a day. Some practitioners prefer guided meditations in the form of audio recordings or through classes at a meditation center. Others prefer to meditate alone and unguided.

How does Mindfulness Meditation help with grief, anxiety, and depression?

Mindfulness Meditation heightens a mental skill known as “meta-awareness” — the ability to recognize when you are lost in thought. Meta-awareness also allows a person to realize that they are separate from the voice in their head that we all experience. Continued sessions of Mindfulness Meditation helps one resist being dragged around by their thoughts, ruminations, and emotions. Each instance of noticing that you are lost in thought is a “bicep curl for the brain,” according to Dan Harris. Continued practice develops the skill to more quickly notice "monkey mind" ruminations and to return focus on the present moment. Several scientific studies have shown that mindfuless helps develop emotional regulation of the brain.

Though depression and anxiety are also the possible product of chemical imbalance, they can also be the product of uncontrollable rumination. Mindfulness Meditation has been shown in various studies to reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety. In one study, Mindfulness Meditation was shown to be equally effective as medication in reducing the likelihood of depressive relapse for participants.

“But I’m not trying to forget my loved one.”

One possible objection to Mindfulness Meditation for the treatment of the symptoms of grief is the idea that meditators are attempting to trick their brains into being happy. While greater emotional control is a benefit of Mindfulness Meditation, the primary benefit of the practice is the reduction of compulsive rumination and a renewed focus on the present. Even when the present moment is challenging, regular meditation sessions can help alleviate the emotional suppression that can hold someone back from processing grief. Suppressing emotions can greatly extend symptoms of depression and anxiety associated with grief. Mindfulness Meditation can help sufferers start to gain a footing on their own emotional journey towards healing.

How to Begin a Mindfulness Meditation Practice

To see if Mindfulness Meditation is beneficial to you, various guided meditation apps, books, and classes exist to help. Some of the most popular guided meditation services are Calm, the Ten Percent Happier App, Headspace, and Waking Up. Courses in Mindfulness Meditation also likely exist in your area either through independent centers or wellness institutions.

The friendly specialists at CURA-HPC believe that hospice and palliative care goes beyond the patient — also extending to caregivers and loved ones. You’re invited to learn more about CURA-HPC Hospice and Palliative Services today.

Managing Grief During the Holiday Season

Posted on Dec 19, 2019

lonely grieving woman during the holidays

For many, the holiday season is a time of immense joy — when families come together, braving the cold to enjoy each other’s warmth. Beautiful memories are made and past memories are remembered during this time of year. However, for those grieving the loss of a spouse, a parent, a family member, a friend, or even a child, the holidays can be a great source of distress and reopen emotional wounds. While this is a perfectly normal aspect of the grieving process, there are ways to minimize the anxiety of “the most wonderful time of the year.” 

Withdrawing or faking joy are not your only options. 

A side effect of our fear of being viewed as a burden is a perceived polarization of our social options. You may feel that, unless you can maintain a joyful disposition, that you should withdraw from social gatherings. You might fear that your own emotional state may diminish the holiday experience for others. This mindset frequently leads to two false scenarios. 

  1. You feel the need “to put on a brave face” — a fake smile or a phony cheery disposition. While this feels like a decent band-aid for getting through the holidays, this emotional dichotomy can deepen sadness, perpetuate anxiety, and make any gathering exhausting. 
  2. You may feel that, unless you can appear joyful, that you should just stay home. This may stem from fear of emotionally contaminating the gathering. Withdrawing from events as though your grief is contagious can seem like a logical approach. Though it seems plausible, this too can increase future anxieties about the holiday season. The physical and emotional quarantine can also exacerbate rumination and intensify grief. 

There is an overlooked third option. 

What is the third option? Giving yourself permission to be fully and genuinely yourself. Your family and friends love you. As much as they want to see you happy, even more so, they want to see you — a “you” comfortable in your own skin. They want you to feel safe opening up and being yourself. They certainly don’t want you to feel obligated to keep up appearances or feel the need to remain distant. 

Don’t feel obligated to maintain lofty expectations. 

For being a joyful season, the holidays are frequently loaded with anxiety-inducing expectations even for those not experiencing grief. If you’ve experienced the loss of a loved one this year, you may feel that you need to keep certain family traditions alive even when you’re emotionally or physically exhausted. The good news? You don’t. While you may choose to do certain activities to honor a person’s memory, realize that you’re allowed to set the pace and tone for any holiday activity. 

Give yourself permission to be fully present. 

When you feel depressed, grief-stricken, or even just missing a loved one during the holiday season, these emotions can take you out of the present moment. It can be difficult to fully experience any holiday gathering while this loved one is on your mind. When you start to feel these painful emotions of loss bubble up inside, close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and give yourself permission to be fully present. You don’t have to force it or condemn your negative emotions, but by simply allowing yourself to be present and form new positive memories, you can begin to enjoy the holidays. Remember that the loved one you are grieving would want nothing more than for you to be fully present and enjoy your holiday season. 

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. 

If you’re experiencing grief during the holidays, it can be easy to feel like a burden to others. You’re not. You may actually be surprised just how much family and friends want to help you, but you have to let them. Whether you need help cooking food, cleaning, preparing for an event, or lending their ear, don’t feel like you are imposing on your loved ones by asking for assistance. During this season of gifts wrapped in elaborate paper and topped with fancy bows, your loved ones would prefer to give the gift of their time and energy. 

Whether you’re experiencing extreme grief or just feel like talking with someone would help you manage negative emotions, there’s no shame in seeking the help of a supportive professional. An experienced therapist can supply the professional support necessary to help you endure the holiday season and lead you into a brighter new year. 

The hospice professionals from CURA HPC are proud to offer grief counseling services. You’re invited to learn more about CURA HPC Hospice & Palliative Care today. 

Pizza, Friends, and...Death? Talking “Death Over Dinner”

Posted on Aug 02, 2019

Wine glass toast

Lack of Communication About Death

For being one of the most crucial things someone can discuss with loved ones, death is also a topic that few want to discuss. Because of this hesitancy, most people’s last wishes remain a mystery even to close family members. Some simply never take the time to even consider how they want to pass away or how they want to be remembered. In order to bring up the 800-pound gorilla in the room, a new initiative called “Death Over Dinner” has people talking — literally, that’s their goal.

Death Over Dinner

The Death Over Dinner initiative’s aim is to get people to discuss death in an open, relaxed environment — over a meal with friends, family, and whomever else. The program begins with a questionnaire on their website which decides what information is best for them to send the host of the dinner. The program contains conversation prompts, stories, videos, and other activities to keep the conversation flowing. It’s designed to be a balance of deep, yet lighthearted and educational.

The Point of Death Over Dinner

While the aim of the dinner is simply to help people feel more comfortable discussing death, a slight ulterior aim is to eventually help people make decisions about their own death and articulate them to loved ones. Aside from having to face their own mortality, these questions are much easier for a person to answer about their own wishes rather than having to make these wishes for others.

For those interested in hosting a Death Over Dinner at their house, simple visit the Death Over Dinner website and begin your questionnaire.

Making end-of-life care decisions can be difficult. In order to make end-of-life decisions easier to manage, Cura HPC is dedicated to providing professional and nurturing hospice and palliative care services. Contact us today for additional information.

The Conversation Project: A Conversation We Need To Have

Posted on Aug 02, 2019

While this reluctance is understandable, it creates an unintended and unnecessary outcome. Too many Americans die in ways they would have chosen because they are not making their preferences known to their loved ones while they are able. All too often, bewildered and confused family members and friends are forced to make these stressful decisions for them under duress. For this reason, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ellen Goodman and her colleagues have started an initiative known as “The Conversation Project”.

One of the most important conversations we need to have is about death. Unsurprisingly, people would rather talk about something, almost anything, else than the reality of dying. People would even rather tell gossip-laden stories of heartbreak and dysfunction than the final destination for anyone who has ever lived. Still, too many people who are dying in ways they would not have chosen are not making their preferences for their own deaths known while they can. All too often, these loved ones become patients who cannot make their views known after it’s too late. It’s for this reason that Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ellen Goodman and others around her started an initiative known as the Conversation Project. 

The basic idea of The Conversation Project is simple: Conversations regard one’s death should happen at the kitchen table and not in the ICU. Having these important discussions at the right place and at the right time, provides people the opportunity to thoughtfully decide the kinds of care they do want, as well as do not want, to receive at life’s end. This gives both individuals and their loved ones help and peace of mind regarding the inevitable ending of life. 

The Conversation Project Materials

The main component of the Conversation Project is a questionnaire that can be downloaded from their website. The 12-page kit is available in many different languages to make navigating the questions as simple as possible. The kit is written to the loved one who initiates the end-of-life conversation. The materials not only cover what actions are to be taken but also about emotions going forward. The truest intention is to get all parties on the same page. 

Learn more about The Conservation Project here. 

For additional help navigating the sometimes confusing questions associated with end-of-life care, the nurturing professionals at Cura HPC Hospice & Palliative Care are more than happy to assist.

Learn more about Cura HPC, an Oklahoma-based Hospice & Palliative Care provider today. 

Could a Home Funeral Be The Right Choice?

Posted on Feb 07, 2019

Few things in life are certain, but your last wishes should be included amongst those that are. Though your funeral wouldn’t be considered your final sendoff as its an event you won’t consciously attend, deciding how you will be memorialized can bring peace of mind when thinking about death. One funeral option that few consider simply due to its lack of marketing is a home funeral. In this piece, we’ll look at what constitutes a home funeral and if planning to have one will help give you and your loved ones the most meaningful opportunity to say goodbye.

What is a home funeral?

While it may sound like a new-fangled trend, what is called a “home funeral” used to simply be called a “funeral” for most families. Funerals used to almost exclusively take place within the home of the deceased. Instead of professional mortuary specialists caring for the needs of the departed and those left behind, families would take on the responsibility themselves. The resurgence in the desire to take back outsourced duties has resulted also in what is now known as a “home funeral” — a funeral that takes place within a residential space and is sometimes conducted by the family themselves.

Why would one want a home funeral?

Home funerals certainly sound like a lot of work — work that is typically left to trained professionals to relieve the grieving families of such a burden. However, for many individuals and their families, they don’t see the need for personalized care to cease at the moment of death. For the person leaving this world, knowing they will receive a home funeral means that their bodies will be cared for by those who knew them and mourned for in a place familiar to them. This consistent familiarity gives many a great sense of peace and helps ease anxiety about such matters. For the loved ones of the deceased, caring for the body of a loved one could be seen as a continuation of the care they received in life. Home funerals also remove some of the restrictions on time with the deceased for loved ones to say goodbye to the earthly versions of someone. What may not be possible in a commercial funeral home environment (spending extended time with the deceased, certain respectful rituals, etc.) are usually much more possible with a home funeral.

Are there any health hazards associated with having a funeral in one’s home?

One common misconception about home funerals is that having such a display in a residential location may be a health hazard to attendants and mourners. Realistically, home funerals are just as safe and legal as funerals in designated funeral homes, chapels, or other places of significance. To further dispell insecurities about home funerals, there’s also no hard-and-fast rule that the attendants are on their own.  Many licensed funeral professionals are happy to help as little or as much of the process as needed. While some loved ones may feel that taking part in the washing and dressing of a deceased family member or friend may bring additional closure, many are not emotionally prepared for such activities and can leave this to trained professionals. Even though some funeral professionals may not offer help with home funeral arrangements, there typically will always be many more that will than won’t. Even if you elect to not use the body preparation services of a mortuary professional, you may want to seek their assistance for help with legal documentation and transportation of the body to its final resting place.

How can non-professionals care for a deceased loved one?

Even if someone is emotionally prepared to tend to the body of a deceased loved one, some may feel hesitant about having a home funeral because they simply feel materially unprepared. Because caring for the deceased has largely been outsourced to funeral professionals for the last few generations, the art of preparing a body for the next steps has largely been lost to the common person. There was a time when how to care for a deceased loved one was as common knowledge as a favorite family recipe or home remedy for an ailment. Because of renewed interest in home funerals in recent years, a large amount of training material and courses have been developed aimed solely at those wanting to know how to care for deceased loved ones at home. There was even a documentary made that followed a few families during their home funeral processes for loved ones.

Why talk about home funerals now?

For many, there are certain anxieties that surround the treatment of their own earthly remains or the remains of departed loved ones. Investigating the various options and coming to final decisions about such arrangements can help to relieve such anxieties at any stage in life.

As the end of life becomes more evident for a loved one, proper care throughout the process can relieve a great deal of anxiety. It’s for this reason that Cura HPC is dedicated to providing professional and nurturing hospice care for your loved ones.

How to Beat the Holiday Blues

Posted on Apr 27, 2017

How to Beat the Holiday Blues

Despite the fanfare and caroling, the holidays can be the most emotionally trying time of the year for many people. The National Institute of Health reports the holiday season is the time of year that people experience a high incidence of depression. One North American survey reported that 45 percent of respondents dreaded the festive season.

There are many reasons for this holiday distaste: strained relations with friends and family, pressure to have the “perfect holiday season”, and, for many, dealing with the loss of a loved one. For those experiencing the holidays without a loved one for the first time, this time of the year is especially stressful.

Psychologists tell us that one of the best ways to beat the holiday blues is to redirect our attention from the disappointments and discouragements of life, and to engage in prayerful and thoughtful reflection on the blessings we enjoy.

If we have food in our refrigerators, clothes on our backs, roofs overhead, and places to sleep, we are wealthier than 75 percent of the world’s population. No wonder we find the following declaration in the Bible: “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord” (Psalm 92:1).

Know that we continue to pray for and think about you, and all of your loved ones. We hope you will find this to be encouraging and helpful to you. If you would like to speak to someone personally, please do not hesitate to contact our Bereavement Coordinator, Thomas Schwartz. He can be reached at 918-994-4807. God bless and keep you!

Dealing With Practical Grief

Posted on Apr 27, 2017

After a loved one dies there will be a lot of emotions to work through, but there are also several practical matters to attend to. Things like, figuring out what to do with their clothes, selling their car, and possibly adjusting to living by yourself if you lost a spouse. Getting to the point where you’re ready to deal with these tasks will take time, but when you’re ready consider the following.

  • First, you may find it comforting and helpful to have a family member, close friend, or other trusted acquaintance sort through your loved one’s possessions with you.
  • Second, take frequent breaks. Going for walks or other time away from these tasks can help give you perspective.
  • Third, don’t hesitate to reminisce while you’re working. Allow yourself to express your emotions as you move through this process. Laugh about the enjoyable, funny, and happy memories.
  • Finally, as you consider the task ahead, decide which favorite mementoes you want to keep, which to give to family members and close friends, and to whom you wish to give the rest. There are many charities that will be grateful for the gift of your loved one’s possessions and property.

Know that we continue to pray for and think about you, and all of your loved ones. We hope you will find this to be encouraging and helpful to you. If you would like to speak to someone personally, please do not hesitate to contact our Bereavement Coordinator, Thomas Schwartz. He can be reached at 918-994-4807. God bless and keep you!

Grieving in the Closet

Posted on Apr 27, 2017

Grieving in the Closet

The grief and loss following the death of a loved one can overwhelm us. One of the unthinkable, yet unavoidable, tasks that confronts us is what we should do with our loved one’s belongings. Some choose to do nothing, to avoid dealing with the inevitable pain that is evoked. Others choose to discard anything and everything that was owned or even touched by the loved one who died.

There is no “right” or “wrong” time or way to pass on the property of your loved one. Rest assured that you will know when the time is right for you, and what you will want to keep, and what you will want to give away. This task can be an important time for reflection, expressing your grief, loss, and sadness, and strengthening your connections with family members and friends. Like viewing your family picture albums, take your time, examine each object, and feel and embrace the memories in your heart.

No matter what you choose to do with your loved one’s possessions, usually some items or objects are meant to be kept. A kitchen tool, personal photographs, pillow, shop tool, toy, wedding ring or other piece of jewelry, are cherished symbols of your special relationship. At first, these items may evoke sad, tender feelings of your recent loss. However, in time, these objects will become keepsakes that recall cherished and fond memories.

Know that we continue to pray for and think about you, and all of your loved ones. We hope you will find this to be encouraging and helpful to you. If you would like to speak to someone personally, please do not hesitate to contact our Bereavement Coordinator, Thomas Schwartz. He can be reached at 918-994-4807. God bless and keep you!

The Two Ways We Grief

Posted on Apr 27, 2017

The Two Ways We Grief

Grieving styles exist along a spectrum – at one end are intuitive grievers, and at the other are instrumental grievers. Unsurprisingly, most persons who are traveling through a time of grief are mixtures of both. Intuitive grievers are heart grievers, and instrumental grievers are head grievers.

Instrumental grievers grieve primarily cognitively and physically. Expressing grief through activity, projects, and tasks associated with their loss is common. For head grievers, practical, “real-world” education regarding adjustment to loss is helpful, as are developing ways to memorialize the loss. Instrumental grievers readjust rapidly, and make efforts to return quickly to normal routines

Intuitive grievers mainly grieve emotionally. Heart grievers more often express and verbalize their feelings of grief. Intuitive grievers take more time to grieve, to explore and share feelings. For them, connecting and sharing with others is an important part of their journey toward healing and wholeness.

It’s important to note that no one is 100% instrumental or 100% intuitive. Everyone will be a mix of both, and neither grief style is more right or wrong than the other.

Know that we continue to pray for and think about you, and all of your loved ones. We hope you will find this to be encouraging and helpful to you. If you would like to speak to someone personally, please do not hesitate to contact our Bereavement Coordinator, Thomas Schwartz. He can be reached at 918-994-4807. God bless and keep you!

Finding Your Grief Map

Posted on Apr 27, 2017

Finding Your Grief Map

Summer is the season of travel. To get where we need and want to go, we often depend on maps. As all of us know from experience, a map is a picture, or representation, of areas and places that others have explored, navigated, or observed before us. Maps are great for road trips, but have you ever considered that we also use “maps” to guide our interpersonal relationships, as well as to better understand ourselves and our emotions?

When dealing with the loss of a loved one, people typically search, in one way or another, for a grieving map. However, it is vital to remember that the map is not the same as the reality. Maps that assist us in our grief journey can be helpful and useful, but they may not entirely reflect our individual, personal, and unique travels through grief.

You need to remember that dealing with a loss is something that affects everyone differently. We all bring in past experiences and unique perspectives. So trying to find a standardize process or roadmap for dealing with the grief of a loved one shouldn’t be the goal. Instead, focus on working through the emotions you’re feeling today.

Know that we continue to pray for and think about you, and all of your loved ones. We hope you will find this to be encouraging and helpful to you. If you would like to speak to someone personally, please do not hesitate to contact our Bereavement Coordinator, Thomas Schwartz. He can be reached at 918-994-4807. God bless and keep you!

Remembering Lost Loved Ones

Posted on Apr 27, 2017

Remembering Lost Loved Ones

When a loved one passes, one of the most difficult parts in the grieving process is the memories. Sometimes it seems like the smallest and most insignificant thing can trigger a memory that sets off a downward spiral of grief.

Memories evoked by pictures, special objects, songs, and other reminders of your lost loved one can be painful to recall at first. However, feeling your pain, and telling your stories, is a necessary and normal part of grief. In time, these fond memories are what will sustain your love for the special person you have lost long past the pain of your initial grief.

While it’s not a good idea to dwell on a memory for days or weeks at a time, it is important to take time and process the emotions you’re feeling. Like other aspects of grief, finding the right balance of time spent remembering will be a process.

One of the best things you can do in these times is just talk to someone. It could be a friend, family member, neighbor, or professional counselor, the key is not internalizing what you’re experiencing. Talking to someone will help you gain an outside perspective and you’ll be surprised how good it will feel to vocalize your emotions.

Know that we continue to pray for and think about you, and all of your loved ones. We hope you will find this to be encouraging and helpful to you. If you would like to speak to someone personally, please do not hesitate to contact our Bereavement Coordinator, Thomas Schwartz. He can be reached at 918-994-4807. God bless and keep you!

What To Do After Shock?

Posted on Apr 27, 2017

When the initial shock begins to lift, grief, sadness, and sorrow may come flooding in. When feelings of grief initially appear, your first response may be to try to avoid, or deny, these deeply unpleasant feelings. There is a common saying, but it’s true: The best way to get over your grief is to get through it. It is an understatement to write that grieving requires both a great deal of energy and time, but be sure to give yourself time to grief. Don’t rush it.

Expect “pin pricks,” painful reminders of your loss. These will occur for an extended period, but eventually will become less frequent. Difficult as they are, you can tolerate them, and they will accompany your healing process.

While each person grieves in their own way, much-needed support is experienced by mourning the loss with others. Annual events, such as birthdays, holidays, and family reunions, can be special times to renew relationships and share stories with others who also miss your loved one.

Finally, keep your “I love you’s” up to date. People are more important than anything else. Modern technology gives you limitless opportunities to give, as well as receive, expressions of love on a regular basis. Keeping in touch with those you love can lighten your heart when the heaviness of grief weighs on you.

Know that we continue to pray for and think about you, and all of your loved ones. We hope you will find this to be encouraging and helpful to you. If you would like to speak to someone personally, please do not hesitate to contact our Bereavement Coordinator, Thomas Schwartz. He can be reached at 918-994-4807. God bless and keep you!

Grief and Resilience

Posted on Apr 27, 2017

Grief and Resilience

Spring is the season of new beginnings. While it sometimes seems that it is impossible for us to recover from certain losses in our life, especially the loss of a loved one, the cycle of rebirth that accompanies each Spring is an encouraging reminder that, even as we will always cherish and treasure the memories of those we love, we are usually more resilient than we often think.

In nature, when destruction appears to result from an avalanche, hurricane, tornado, volcanic eruption, or something similar, life eventually returns. Beginning with microscopic organisms, then tiny plants, then small bugs, then additional vegetation, infant trees, and wildlife – something new, and beautiful, grows during the loss.

Things will never be exactly as they were before. They indeed will be different. But, like nature, we human beings have a remarkable resilience that allows us to return to the “new normal” after our own personal tragedies.

Accept and understand that, after the initial shock, the “dazed” period will last longer than you might think. The human body, while amazing in its capacity, can only take so much at once. Many grieving people describe their shock as “just going through the motions,” or “sleepwalking.” Do not be dismayed. Rest assured that this is normal.

Know that we continue to pray for and think about you, and all of your loved ones. We hope you will find this to be encouraging and helpful to you. If you would like to speak to someone personally, please do not hesitate to contact our Bereavement Coordinator, Thomas Schwartz. He can be reached at 918-994-4807. God bless and keep you!