Archive for Counseling

Don’t Let the What-ifs Hijack Your Grief

What-if questions haunt us. After a loved one’s death, the what-ifs can feel like a vice squeezing our hearts. But they finally ease their grip as the clock keeps spinning and the calendar pages turn.

What if the what-ifs keep troubling us?

They can randomly and relentless disturb us, like odd noises jarring us awake in the depths of night. What if . . .

  • he’d quit smoking years before?
  • she had gone to the oncologist earlier?
  • they hadn’t given that last dose of morphine?
  • you hadn’t flirted with the passenger on the plane?
  • you’d said, “I love you” . . . instead of “Leave me alone?”
  • the family had attended church (or temple, synagogue, or…) more often?

Are what-ifs like an airborne virus? Mirriam-Webster’s online dictionary defines disease as:

“a condition of the living animal or plant body or of one of its parts that impairs normal functioning and is typically manifested by distinguishing signs and symptoms.” [Underlining is mine.] Read More →

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Grief’s 5 Stages of Laughter

laughter medicineLaughter. Giggles. Guffaws. Chuckling.

That’s what I heard.

And that’s all I heard, since the thick walls at the hospice where I work muffled the sounds. But I knew my colleague next door was counseling a grieving client. Busy with exciting paperwork or answering emails, I was blissfully unaware of them until . . .

That laughter! Read More →

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Sudden Death

Don’t hesitate to spend time with that friend or family member whose words and silence and comfort you trust.

Don’t hesitate to spend time with that friend or family member whose words and silence and comfort you trust.

The wife didn’t kiss her husband goodbye . . . since she was in a hurry to leave for the new job. Her commute was now into the city, twice as long as before. But the bigger salary meant their family would have more financial security. Her husband agreed to leave later for his job, first taking one child to daycare and the other to first grade. It would all work out.

Though she called her father every week . . . and knew his daily schedule better than he did—a morning walk to the nearby Starbucks for coffee and pastry; chatting for an hour or three with several of his army buddies; browsing for books at the library; tending to his garden; settling on the couch to play with his cats and (of course) to take a nap; then eating his Meals on Wheels for an early dinner—she hadn’t visited him since Christmas. Read More →

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