Transforming Grief Blog

Saying Goodbye to Bucky – Part I

Waking out of a deep sleep, I heard my husband, John, shout, “Karen, you need to get up and see this. Bucky can’t walk.”

It can’t be that bad, I’ll just roll over and sleep a little more.

“Get up,” he said. “You have to see this.”

Grudgingly, I got out of bed and saw that our cat, Bucky kept falling over as he tried to drink from his water bowl.

Bucky was 20 years old. Since I never had children, he was my “baby,” sweet, gentle, timid and affectionate. I loved to cuddle with him and pet his soft gray and white fur. As the runt of his litter, Bucky had outlived his brother, Spanky, and his next feline companion, Kitty. He was the least adventurous of them all, although, having moved ten times in his long life, he experienced plenty of adventure.

Blind and arthritic, Bucky had recently become incontinent and developed a terrible smell that bathing didn’t help. Was his time near? He didn’t appear to be suffering. I hadn’t even considered putting him to sleep. He kept my lap warm while I wrote in the morning, slept in my meditation chair next to me as I worked during the […]

By |October 24th, 2012|Acceptance, Grief and Loss|

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7 Healthy Ways to Cope With the Loss of a Loved One

There’s truly nothing worse than experiencing the loss of a loved one. Nothing can prepare you for the immense sadness and pain of saying goodbye to a friend, family, co-worker, or neighbor, but there are ways to help you come to terms with your loss in a healthy, positive manner. If you or someone you know is experiencing bereavement, take a look at these seven healthy ways to cope with the loss of a loved one.

(This is a guest post provided by Jena Ellis at LifeInsuranceQuotes.org)

Click here to read more…

By |September 27th, 2012|Grief and Loss|

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Quantum Leap Healing through Community

Are you someone who has experienced loss? Do you find yourself grieving alone or suppressing your feelings altogether? If so, you may be afraid of burdening friends and family with your grief. Or, perhaps you feel like no one understands what you are going through, so you hide your deepest thoughts and feelings of loss.

Nearly two years ago, I found myself feeling stuck, depressed and very alone in my grief related to not being able to have a baby. I had been through an eight-year cycle of hope, despair and loss during which most of my grieving I did alone. Finally, I joined a pregnancy loss support group with five other women, which catapulted my grieving process in three short months to an entirely new level.

Not only did I feel witnessed, supported and acknowledged for my loss, but I got in touch with and expressed some deep anger I didn’t even realize was there. The group acted as a safe container for me to explore all of my feelings. During the final session, a member shared with me, “You look lighter.” The burden of my grief had been lifted and I felt more joy.

Today, I have more vitality […]

How to Help When Your Spouse Loses a Parent

The death of a parent is one of the hardest losses in life, and most of us will experience this pain during our lifetimes. When it’s a spouse who has to cope with the grief of losing one of the most important people in his or her life, it can be hard to know how to help. Though the grieving process may last months or even years, these tips will help you comfort your spouse and bring the two of you closer together.

This is a guest post offered by Hannah Peterson from LifeInsurance. org. To read the entire article, please click here!

By |September 7th, 2012|Grief and Loss|

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Anniversary Reactions; a Part of the Grieving Process

At a distance we noticed a hawk flying. In the next moment, it headed straight towards us and circled over head. Smiling, I knew that Kyle was with us as we celebrated the 13-year anniversary of his death. We made a ritual of hiking to his tree, a small oak ling; we planted in his honor, a year after he passed. I hadn’t been there in three years, so was happy to see how the tree had filled out and was big enough to provide shade for me and my family, protecting us from the scorching sun.

The next morning, the day of his actual anniversary, I placed a picture of him as a baby along with a fresh yellow rose from my garden on my altar and meditated. Immediately, I felt his loving, spiritual presence. Tears flowed as I was overcome with intense love, gratitude and joy. I recognized how integral his life and death, his journey, had been to my own. His death helped me to awaken spiritually and sent me on my own journey of healing and transformation which led me to doing work I love, helping others to heal and transform their lives. It seems that […]

6 Keys to Re-Awaken Hope after Loss

While in the grieving process, it may feel as though hope has abandoned you. Depressed, you question your purpose for living. You ask, “Why did this happen? What is the point of it all?” You may have lost hope for living your dreams or don’t even know what they are anymore. Perhaps your loved one was an integral part of living the life you had always imagined. Uninspired, you go through the motions of your daily life without feeling truly alive.

The following are helpful keys to re-awaken hope when you no longer feel jazzed about life.

Have the Courage to Heal. Our society encourages us to move on quickly and get over it. We are taught that crying is a sign of weakness when in fact it takes great courage and inner strength to face grief head on, acknowledge it, and process through it. As you summon the courage to face your grief, remember you don’t have to do it alone and reach out for support. Processing through it, you […]

Creating Room for Grief

The grieving process is natural. Similar to the cycles of the seasons or the ebb and flood of the tides…it is not linear and straightforward, but it comes and goes. At times, we may feel good about life…inspired, energized and in our passion. At others, we may feel sad, fatigued and depressed. Each of these seasons requires something different from us.

          For example, if we are grieving, we may need to draw our energy inward and spend more time resting and focusing on self care. We may have less energy to give and create. Like the winter season, this is a good time to restore our energy for when the spring arrives, allowing the seeds of new life to germinate in the dark soil.

          A couple of weeks before Christmas I found myself feeling blue, heavy-hearted and moody. I was surprised to tune into my body and find hidden grief, sitting under the surface, waiting to be acknowledged. The previous month, I had felt energized and inspired about my business and life, so when grief surfaced, I was resistant at first. There is too much to do to prepare for Christmas. I don’t have time to be sad. Plus, […]

How to Cope with Grief during the Holidays

The holidays can be challenging enough with all of the busyness of the season, but if you’ve experienced a major loss such as the death of a loved one, this time of year can be extremely difficult. Family gatherings where your loved one is not present can leave a huge void. Past memories of times spent together can stir up sadness. You may even experience anxiety, depression and trouble sleeping. Further, you may feel the pressure to get into the spirit of the season even though your heart is not into it.

During this time, it is quite normal for unresolved grief to surface. Therefore, it is important to have coping strategies to help you deal with it. The following are pointers to assist you:

Create new traditions and experiences. Recognize that the holidays won’t be the same if you try to keep everything as it was. For example, you might want to take a vacation somewhere new instead of following your normal holiday routine.
Engage in a holiday ritual. For example, set a place for your loved one at the dinner […]

By |December 12th, 2011|Grief and Loss, Transformation|

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Grief Counseling Services Now in Santa Cruz!

If you’ve experienced a major loss in your life such as the death of a loved one or pet, a divorce, illness, miscarriage or job lay-off, it is normal to go through a grieving process. Unfortunately, society today does not honor the mourning process and encourages us to “get over it”. Many of us feel we have to quickly move on with our lives. If we repress our grief, though, it can cause all sorts of problems such as anxiety, depression, physical illness and a general feeling of dissatisfaction. If we express our grief on the other hand, we will experience more joy, vitality and purpose in our lives. Here are some suggestions to help you express your grief:

1. Feel your feelings. Meditate and journal every day to get in touch with your painful feelings. Start writing using the prompt, “What I really lost is…” Write for ten minutes without stopping. Then, sit and meditate for ten minutes. Continue to write as new thoughts, feelings and insights surface.

2. Engage in activities that keep you in the present moment. Move your body through exercise. Engage in hobbies such as painting or gardening. Spend time in nature to help you feel […]

Dive into Life!

Sobbing, I exclaimed, “I finally have my life back!”

Sitting on a catamaran on a beach at Mission Bay in San Diego last week, my step-mom, sister, her boyfriend and I took time out to celebrate my brother, Kyle’s life on the anniversary of his death. He had been gone for twelve years now. We talked about what his life might be like if Cystic Fibrosis hadn’t ended it at the early age of fifteen. Would he be married? What type of work would he be doing? What type of person would he be?

As we reminisced, we also spoke out loud what we would want to say to him as if he were sitting right there with us. My response was, “Thank you! You have helped me get my life back.” Since Kyle’s passing, I had often felt his presence in helping me open doors, bringing about opportunities for my business and life. I especially felt he played a huge part in bringing me all of the amazing healing opportunities over the past several months.

A year ago, a medium channeled Kyle for me during a healing session. She shared, “I see him bouncing you on a high board. He wants […]