Standing Not Alone: Notes on Grief by Rea L. Ginsberg, LCSW-C, ACSW, BCD

Standing Not Alone: Notes on Grief by Rea L. Ginsberg, LCSW-C, ACSW, BCD


“The Bereavement,” marble, 2010

Grief is a synonym for intense psychic pain. It is seldom invited and never welcomed. Death is not a gentle teacher. Everyone loses someone they love, and everyone dies someday. Everyone is afraid of it and everyone is angry at it. Some people say no no, I’m not mad and scared. Unfortunately, the truth doesn’t change because it is denied. Usually, everyone dies only once, and almost no one comes back to report the journey or the destination. For some, maybe that is one of the scarier aspects of death – the unknown. At least, it is intriguing. It is surely the essence of awe. We are left alive to wonder and imagine. We have lively imaginations.

For survivors, peace isn’t immediate, after the death. We have to talk ourselves into it. That is the way grief works. That is grief work. It takes awhile. Each of us has our own personal timelines for healing. There is no need to hurry up just because someone else says so. The time may be 2 years or 10 or 2 forevers. To each his own way.

Also, none of us are condemned to be a failure. We do not have to be defined by our negative thoughts. We can find and observe them, confront them, and refuse to be defeated by them. Negative thoughts cannot dictate our behavior without our permission. We have a choice of our response, of what we do. Between the thoughts and the response fall decisions. We can decide to turn “I can’t do this” into “I will do my best, one day at a time, and succeed.” Call it self-determination reinvented.

And the past can be reimagined, reframed as the post-death relationship forms between the survivors and the lost. To reframe is to alter our perspective, to see things differently. That changes the past! It is amended. We can then make significant predictions about the past; for instance, that unresolved relationship issues will receive further painstaking attention toward reconciliation. Predicting the past! It is a privilege of the human mind. Imagine. That is strength and growth.

Therein lies the route to composure and the new emotional balance we seek. It is peace on a different plane of existence, a plane that does not depend on the physical presence of the one who was lost. Even then, a part of us remains grieved when we lose loved ones, and that is natural. It is normal. It is to be expected. It is not a mental disorder.

How we grieve and find our way from keen distress to new inner balance requires remarkable time and tears and talk. Yes, it is certainly possible, making building blocks out of stumbling blocks. Honest self-awareness promotes the process. The sincere inward view is a lesson in courage and perseverance. The strong person is the one who can conquer himself. It is worth the hard work. All of us do our best to heal the outrageous wounds of loss. Those who find the way are a source of comfort and companionship to others still searching.

What I know is that love is stronger than death.

A grief story has no proper end. Whoever has the experience is required to tell the story. It is a moral imperative. It is healing and it keeps alive the memory of the one who died. It fulfills our promise to the dead: “I will always remember you.” (The double-negative form of this promise, “I will never forget you,” is insufficient.) We are the living continuation of their story. This life-after-life is our loved ones’ right. Indeed, love and respect make it so. Just so.

When someone also listens to those stories with kindness, caring, and hope, it matters. It makes all the difference. We need others to bring us back from the perceived isolation of mourning into the land of the living. It is a reminder of the meaningfulness of life. When we stand together, we are braver.

Listening is an art that transforms lives. It is an act of compassion and true concern. It can change our minds. It is still changing mine. Death teaches life. It is a vastly creative force.

Even in the exile of bereavement, friendship exists and can become an anchor.

Where there is dark shadow, there is also much light.


“If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together… there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing [to remember] is, even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you.” 

— A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh


Rea Ginsberg is a retired director of social work services, hospice coordinator, and adjunct professor of clinical social work. She can be reached on LinkedIn and on Twitter @rginsberg2.



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Grief: Loose Ends by Rea L. Ginsberg, LCSW-C, ACSW, BCD

Grief: Loose Ends by Rea L. Ginsberg, LCSW-C, ACSW, BCD


Change is part of the texture of life itself,

But it is often hard to bear

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks


Everyone grieves in a different way.

No way is the right way.

No way is the wrong way.

No one has a proven rule for the right way.

No one has a prescription for all.

Our personal way is the only way.

Each human is unique and uniquely thought-full.

You are not alone.


Each of us has our own timelines for grieving.

No one has the right to impose his charts and patterns on those who grieve.

No Association or Committee has that right, either.

Take the necessary time, no matter the length.

That is the healing path.

When you need me, I will come.


Grief is not a mental illness.

Grief is not a mental disorder.

Tears and fears are not pathology.

The last Goodbye is so hard to say.

Grief is imperative wherever love existed.

There, grief is urgent and important.

Good Grief.

You will need me. I will come. Friendship can be an anchor.


Children are not small adults.

They grieve differently.

We must acknowledge and respect those differences.

Death understanding is self-referenced: “I caused the dying.”

Omnipotent thinking belongs to every early childhood.

It is not wrong. It is normal. Don’t try to change omnipotent thinking. We can’t!

We would only humiliate, causing loss of dignity and self-respect.

We CAN temper death guilt/anger by calmly talking and explaining and loving.

You are not alone. Whenever you need me, I will come – to comfort, protect, and redirect.


Guilt is not confined to childhood.

Every griever feels some guilt, whether spoken or held in silence.

It insists, “I did that wrong and it is my fault.”

It cannot be avoided because it is the way of the human mind.

It is a vestige of childhood omnipotence and an effort to be in control of our environment.

(“If I did it, then I also have the power to undo it.”)

Guilt causes pain and then anger.

What? How can we be angry at someone who is already dead?

Anger causes shame and embarrassment.

Pain and anger, shame and embarrassment – all are hard to manage.

They make grief worse, surely at first, surely later as well.

“Loss of a loved person is one of the most intensely painful experiences any human being can suffer. And not only is it painful to experience but it is also painful to witness…”   [John Bowlby]

You are not alone. When you need me, I will come.


Talk about it!

That could help a lot.

Smart people say so,

And it also works for me:

“Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak whispers the o’er-fraught heart and bids it break.” [Wm. Shakespeare]

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” [Maya Angelou]

Sigmund Freud’s “talking cure” became the foundation for innumerable subsequent forms of psychotherapy. — Talking therapy: the purchase of friendship.

“In our experience, we found that one of the best ways [to help survivors] is to…talk about the loss.”   [J. Wm. Warden]

“I write to understand as much as to be understood.” [Elie Wiesel]

“Talking is part of healing, not because it cures physical illness, but because it gives us the strength that comes from knowing that we are not alone. Pain shared is pain halved…” [Rabbi Sacks]   Sometimes talking does also help to cure physical illness.

Even a smile or a single kind word can return to someone the will to live.

It is a great achievement to be an agent of hope.

Give sorrow words.

You are not alone. You will need me. I will listen.


Positive Psychology has a legitimate place in our dialog and literature.

It must. It promotes personal growth. Post-traumatic growth – PTG.

It fosters health and wellness, mental wellness. “Flourishing.” [B. Fredrickson]

The term “mental wellness” is strange for us, something like a foreign language.

Sometimes we are too focused on mental illness and blind to mental wellness.

Usually, when we talk about “mental health,” we intend to emphasize mental illness.

We need a concept of mental wellness to balance our entrenched views of mental illness.

“Beautiful people don’t just happen.” [Kubler-Ross] We can grow from adversity.

Grieving and healing can bring greater kindness, caring, gentle confidence, and hope.

“It’s not about what it is, it’s about what it can become.” [Theodor S. Geisel]

You are not alone. When you need me, I will come.

We are responsible for one another.

We have more courage in the company of others.

Together we are stronger.

We can turn tragedy into mastery.

Together we win.



Death leaves a heartache no one can heal,

Love leaves a memory no one can steal.

— A Headstone in Ireland



A Headstone in Ireland

Maya Angelou, ­I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, 1969.

John Bowlby, MD, Attachment and Loss, Vol. 3, Loss: Sadness and Depression, 1986.

Film: “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” released 2014.

Barbara Lee Fredrickson, PhD, Positivity, and many professional articles

“Flourishing” is defined as living “within an optimal range of human functioning, one that connotes goodness, generativity, growth, and resilience.” It is the opposite of pathology. 2005

Sigmund Freud, esp. The Clark Lectures (Five Lectures on Psychoanalysis), Worcester, MA, Sept., 1909

Theodor S. Geisel, The Lorax, 1971.

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, MD, Death: The Final Stage of Growth, 1997.

Rabbi Lord Jonathan H. Sacks, PhD, Celebrating Life: Finding Happiness in Unexpected Places, 2004.

William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 1623.

Elie Wiesel, source/date unknown.

William Worden, PhD, Grief Counseling and Grief Therapy, 2001.


Rea Ginsberg is a retired director of social work services, hospice coordinator, and adjunct professor of clinical social work


#eol #hpm #loss #grief #childhood #talking #GiveSorrowWords #MentalWellness #hope

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What Is Grief?

What Is Grief?

Simply put, grief is the reaction that people have to some type of loss. Most often, we think of grief as mourning, the deep sadness that we experience when someone that we care about dies. There are a number of emotional, physical, and psychological dimensions to grief, and not everyone responds to loss in the same way. It’s important to note that there is no one right way to grieve a loss, and no set time period in which a person should “get over” their grief.

What Does Grief Mean?

Grief is a normal reaction to loss.Grief is a reaction to loss, and it’s a normal and natural part of the healing process. Nearly everyone experiences grief in some way, even if they don’t react the way that one might expect. Many people experience extreme sadness and cry a lot, while others might feel anger, regret, frustration, or anxiety. Still others simply feel numb and don’t know how to react. All of these responses are common, and people often feel several different ways at once, which can be confusing. All of these reactions are ways of processing and dealing with the loss, allowing us to move on from the past and invest our energy in the future.

It’s important to remember that grief is not a way of forgetting the past, nor does it mean that the person we lost is no longer important to us. It is a way of honoring our loved one, but moving forward with our lives. Grief is also not depression; while great sadness often accompanies grief, serious depression is a psychological condition that needs professional help.

How We Express Grief

Different people express their grief in different ways, but there are a number of common reactions:

  • Crying and deep sadness
  • Anger or frustration
  • Feelings of guilt and remorse
  • Withdrawal and the desire to be alone
  • The need to be near loved ones
  • Lack of energy and trouble concentrating
  • Numbness or apathy
  • Insomnia and difficulty sleeping
  • Increased sensitivity to noises
  • Relief

Many people feel overwhelmed with emotion after a loss, and may feel like they are going crazy. Often we feel contradictory feelings – for example, we might feel deeply sad after a loved one dies, but also relief that their suffering has ended, and guilt over this relief. We may feel numb at our loss, and angry at ourselves because we think we should be reacting differently.

No matter how you express your grief, try to recognize that these feelings are temporary and all are simply different ways of processing the loss. Don’t judge yourself or others too harshly for their reactions, and give yourself time to move through your emotions. It’s also best not to make abrupt decisions right after a loss; take some time to consider your actions before making choices that you might regret later.

Common Ways of Dealing with Grief

After you experience a loss, there are a number of ways that you can process your grief and start to move on with your life. There is no time limit on grief or schedule that you should follow to “get over it.” We all experience loss differently, and you should take the time that you need to deal with the experience.

Many people find that memorializing the deceased helps them deal with their grief. It’s often said that funerals are for the living, and these ceremonies can be an effective way of allowing friends and families to express their grief publicly, surrounded by others who are also experiencing loss. A funeral, wake, memorial service, or other gathering is a social expression of grief that people often find brings a sense of closure. Choosing to not attend a funeral or memorial may leave family members feeling like there is unfinished business.

You may also find healing by helping others. Some people, when they suffer a loss, feel the need to reach out to those who are also grieving to share and lessen some of the pain. Related to this, if your loved one died after an illness or accident, you may find healing in raising money to help others suffering in similar situations. Many people find that this gives meaning to their loss and helps them feel like they are taking a positive action in response.

Others deal with grief through religion or spiritual pursuits. The idea that we have a place in the universe and that there is something waiting for us after this life can be very comforting. Devoting more time to spiritual or philosophical purposes can add meaning to our lives and help us to recognize the role that loss plays in our existence.

There are also unhealthy ways of dealing with grief, including overeating, abusing drugs or alcohol, lashing out at others, and completely cutting ourselves off from our lives for an extended period of time. These reactions are often dangerous to ourselves and others, and they don’t help us process our grief. If you’re struggling to deal with your emotions or feel like you don’t know how to move forward, talk to a counselor, join a support group, or seek out spiritual support. It’s OK to need help and to ask for it.

Five Stages of Grief

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross developed the five stages of grief – or, more accurately, the five stages experienced by those who are dying – in her 1969 book, “On Death and Dying.” While there is some question about how common these stages actually are, many people recognize their reactions to grief in each:

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

People who are experiencing grief may pass through some, all, or none of these stages, and there is no requirement that you should experience all of these stages. These are common experiences for people who are dying and those who are grieving a death, however, and you may find some peace in knowing that others have experienced similar reactions.

Types of Grief

While many people experience grief that is relatively straightforward, there are several defined types of grief that can one may experience. These types of grief often do not occur at the time of the loss, but may be experienced before or after the actual experience.

Complicated Grief

Complicated grief, also called prolonged grief disorder or persistent complex bereavement disorder, is a psychological condition in which an individual becomes incapacitated by their grief and unable to function in normal life. This type of grief is often characterized by intense feelings of loneliness or emptiness, continually thinking about the person who died, the inability to accept that the death has occurred, difficult trusting or caring about others, and being unable to participate in one’s life. It’s important to note that, while anyone who is grieving may experience some or all of these reactions, complicated grief is typically much more profound and lasts for an extended period of time – often several months.

Profound grief that lasts for an extended period of time needs professional treatment. Some people find that antidepressant medications may help treat complicated grief, but these drugs are not helpful for all sufferers. Specific types of psychological counseling can be used to treat this disorder, including techniques similar to those used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder.

Disenfranchised Grief

When grief is not acknowledged by society or the people around you, that is called disenfranchised grief. It can be overwhelming to experience a loss and have the people in your life either not recognize it or tell you that it’s not important. Dealing with grief alone can be challenging, and no one has the right to tell you that your grief isn’t real or that you should “get over it.”

It’s OK to allow yourself to feel your grief, no matter what your loss. Try not to let other people’s judgement determine what you should or should not feel. If you’re experiencing grief that others cannot or do not acknowledge, you may want to seek out a counselor or support group where you can share your experiences.

Anticipatory Grief

We may experience anticipatory grief when we know that a loss is coming.Anticipatory grief occurs when we know a loss is coming, and we start the grieving process even before it happens. If you know that a loved one is going to die, for example, you may start to grieve the loss while the person is still alive. Some people who experience anticipatory grief may find themselves dealing with overwhelming sadness and feel like they need to put their lives on hold until the death occurs. They may also feel anger and frustration with the situation, especially when they cannot do anything to prevent the anticipated death.

In some ways, anticipatory grief can open up healthy ways of dealing with loss. When we know that someone who we love is going to die, it can give us the chance to mend a broken relationship, express our love, and say goodbye. We may have the opportunity to share happy experiences in those last days. Many people seek out support groups for caregivers and family members of those who are dying where they can be honest about their feelings.

Anniversary Grief

Even years after a loss, you may experience a resurgence of grief around the anniversary of the death, a wedding anniversary, a holiday, or another important date. Anniversary reactions are not uncommon, and they can last for days (or longer). You may encounter a sudden reminder of your loss, even when there is no anniversary to remember. During such times, you may experience grief reactions like sadness, anger, guilt, and fatigue.

Emotional reactions to a loss, even years after the death, are completely normal. If you know that certain times of year remind you of your loss, try to be prepared ahead of time. Start a new tradition to remember the deceased, or plan for a way to distract yourself on that day. If the feelings of grief are sudden and unexpected, you should allow yourself to feel those emotions. Reach out to friends and family to talk about the loss, or join a support group where you can find the help you need.

Get Help with Grief

If you’re grieving and think that you need help, start by reaching out to friends who can listen without judgement. You can also speak to a priest, minister, or other religious leader in your community; many religious organizations also have lay counselors available who you can talk to. If you’re looking for a professional counselor or psychiatrist, ask your physician if they can recommend anyone. You can also call the psychology department at a local college or university to ask for a referral.

Psychology Today offers a list of grief psychologists and support groups throughout the U.S. and Canada that you can search for a local therapist. You can also search via the website of the American Psychological Association. The Association for Death Education and Counseling provides a searchable list of members who can help, including members of the clergy, counselors, and social workers. If you’re dealing with the death of a loved one by suicide, you can find a support group through the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

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Understanding the Grieving Process

Understanding the Grieving Process

Grief is a natural reaction to loss.When we suffer a loss, it’s natural to grieve. The loss of a person who we care about, in particular, can leave us feeling deeply sad and with a feeling of emptiness. It’s important to understand the grieving process so that we can feel and experience our sorrow fully as a way to move toward healing. There is no set timetable or specific steps for how to deal with grief that are right for every person, but knowing the common feelings and behaviors that many people experience can help us see that our reactions are normal – or to recognize when there is a problem that needs professional help.

Common Ways that We Feel Grief

Everyone feels grief in some way, although we don’t all react to a loss in the same fashion. Some common feelings that people experience as part of the grieving process include the following:

  • Sorrow and sadness
  • A feeling of emptiness
  • Regret
  • Anger and frustration, at ourselves, the deceased, God, and others
  • Apathy and numbness
  • A feeling of unreality or disbelief
  • Helplessness and fear
  • Anxiety and nervousness
  • The desire to be alone
  • Relief

Along with these emotional reactions, many people have a physical response to grief. You may be exhausted and unable to motivate yourself to do much of anything. Some people sleep more than usual, while others face insomnia. Food is often a coping mechanism, whether that means eating a lot of high fat, high sugar “comfort” foods or the inability to eat anything at all – deciding what to eat or not eat is a way that many people exert control over their lives, especially when they feel like they cannot control anything else.

People can experience a range of emotions when experiencing griefAll of these reactions, emotional and physical, are common ways of coping with grief and nothing to be concerned about. When the grieving process starts to take over your life, however, you do need to seek professional help. It’s normal to cry and feel very sad after a loved one dies, for example, but if you can’t get out of bed for days on end and feel like there’s no point in going on with your life, you need help. Other signs that you aren’t coping with grief in a healthy way include drinking or taking drugs to block out your emotions, serious overeating, lashing out at others, and thinking about hurting yourself or other people.

If you have anxiety or depression or are having suicidal thoughts, it’s important to seek out help immediately. Professional counselors, psychiatrists, and others can help you. Of course, there is nothing wrong with asking for help, even if you aren’t hurting yourself or others. Often, reaching out and just talking to someone can help with the grieving process.

The Five Stages of Grief

Many people are familiar with the Five Stages of Grief (or, more accurately, dying) as suggested by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her 1969 book, “On Death and Dying.”

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

These stages are a common part of the grieving process for many people, and it can be helpful to see them as a path to follow. If we find ourselves feeling angry about a person’s death, for example, seeing that it’s a “normal” part of how to grieve can mean that we allow ourselves to feel this emotion and, in so doing, move past it. Part of coping with grief effectively is allowing ourselves to feel what we feel and not suppressing our emotions because we think that they aren’t appropriate.

It’s important to remember that not everyone experiences these stages, and not everyone who does experience them does so in the same order. You might skip a stage altogether, or revisit a stage after you think you’ve handled it already. While there are common ways of coping with grief, each person goes through their own process and you shouldn’t judge yourself – or others – based on some “right” method for how to grieve. As long as you’re not hurting yourself or others, and you’re getting the help and support that you need, your grieving process should take whatever shape it needs to.

How to Deal with Grief

There is no set of guidelines for how to grieve, but coping with grief in a healthy way typically includes many of the following:

  • Let yourself feel your emotions, even if you think they aren’t appropriate. Take some time for yourself, and acknowledge if you feel guilt, regret, anger, relief, or any of the other feelings that you might think are not appropriate. While you might not want to express these reactions in front of others, let yourself feel them so that you can move past them.Taking a walk and practicing other healthy habits can be helpful when we grieve.
  • Practice healthy habits. Try to eat mostly healthy foods, limit your alcohol intake, and get plenty of sleep. Take a walk outside to relax your mind and body.
  • Take some time out for yourself. You may want to pray, write down your feelings in a journal, read a favorite book that brings you comfort, or simply sit quietly with your thoughts. You need some time to put yourself first.
  • Return to a normal routine, once you feel like you are able to do so. Isolating yourself can make it harder to deal with your feelings and make it more difficult to accept that life goes on. Having the distraction of work, family, and “normal” life can help put your loss into perspective.
  • Seek out a counselor, support group, minister, or even a good friend and talk about your loss. Many people find that simply talking about how they are feeling helps with the grieving process and healing from their loss.

Remember that there is no set timetable for when you’re supposed to be “over it.” Grief takes as long as it takes. As long as you’re dealing with your loss in a healthy way and it’s not preventing you from dealing with everyday life, then don’t be too hard on yourself. You may experience sudden moments of grief months or even years later, especially when an anniversary or other event reminds you of your loss. Recognize your feelings, be kind to yourself, and give yourself some time to get back to your routine.

What Types of Loss Is It OK to Grieve?

We often think of grief as a specific reaction to death, usually the death of a loved one. In reality, we can grieve all types of loss, including the death of a pet, the loss of a job, or the ending of a relationship. The depth of feeling may not always be as deep as it would be for the death of someone we love, but it’s still a significant loss that we should allow ourselves to mourn.

Because these losses aren’t always recognized as being worthy of such sorrow, we may struggle to figure out how to deal with grief that accompanies them. This type of reaction is called “disenfranchised grief,” and it can be especially hard to cope with. It’s completely natural to feel grief for all types of loss, and to express that sorrow in ways that will help you heal. If you have people in your life who don’t acknowledge your mourning or think that you should, “just get over it,” seek out a counselor or support group where you can find a more sympathetic ear.

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The ? of “Suffering” by Monica Williams-Murphy, MD

The ? of “Suffering” by Monica Williams-Murphy, MD


“Oh God!” she groaned, looking upward with tears flooding her cheeks, which were stretched into the shape of agony. Her chest heaved uncontrollably with grief.

“I am so very sorry,” I whispered again while leaning in and stroking her hand.

This is what death notification often looks like and feels like. We doctors should be masters of delivering some of the worst news that could ever be uttered, the worst news that could ever be heard.

Suddenly, she sat bolt upright! Clearing her throat, and staring me squarely and directly in the eyes, she asked me the most common and most important question that could ever be answered during death notification: “Doctor, did he suffer?”

I heard the question echo in the air: “Doctor, did he suffer?” “Doctor, did he suffer?” “Doctor, did he suffer?”

The air was thick, silent, and still as I deliberated the answer. I never removed my eyes from hers, because I knew that no matter what, I needed to deliver the answer with complete honesty and integrity.

Very slowly, I answered: “No, I do not believe he suffered.”

Thankfully, it was the honest truth.

Some of the greatest human fears surrounding dying are not death itself. Instead, one of the most prominent concerns is whether suffering will or will not occur, whether someone did or did not suffer. In fact, themes of the presence or absence of suffering should be a human fear that we in healthcare seek to actively manage and address. We cannot divorce emotions from medical events and medical decision making, so it becomes our role to manage them instead.

Specifically, we must learn to manage fears of suffering in two distinct end of life scenarios:

1- As the end of life approaches.

2- During death notification.

Let’s discuss each briefly:

1- As the end of life approaches, we must be able to describe whether a choice may increase or produce unnecessary suffering. This sounds awfully heavy doesn’t it? Because, in healthcare we like to talk about beneficial outcomes of medical choices (even when giving our spiel about Risks, Benefits and Alternatives to treatment options). But, for the patient and the family, the potential for suffering may be at least as important, if not more important than the benefit potential.

In fact, on more than one occasion, the minute that I explained to a patient or surrogate that the broken ribs often produced by effective CPR could cause the 90 year old grandmother to suffer should she be resuscitated… the minute I used the word “suffering”… the whole plan changed.

At other times, I spend a great deal of time using words that explain how a plan of care will reduce or mitigate suffering: “We will not allow her to suffer. I will do my best to keep her comfortable.”

2- During death notification, some of the most important words which could ever be spoken are; “He did not suffer” or “I do not believe he suffered.” The catcher here is that these words must ONLY be spoken when they are the honest truth. These words are very powerful purveyors of peace for surviving loved ones and will become part of the oral history of the deceased. These honest words are a priceless gift.

So, if you are a healthcare provider, please start actively addressing “suffering” in your care of the dying or the dead.

If you are a patient or family member, ask your healthcare provider about how a medical intervention could increase or reduce “suffering.”

We will ALL benefit from more open conversations about the topic.



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Meaningful Grief Quotes

Meaningful Grief Quotes

When we or someone we know loses a loved one, it can be difficult to find the right words to express how we feel. Fortunately, there are many famous quotes about grief, death, and loss from others that can not only put our feelings into words, but also give us a new perspective on our loss. We offer a selection of meaningful grief quotes that you may find helpful for dealing with your sorrow, and quotes on grief that you may want to use in a eulogy or condolence message.Washington Irving

“Say not in grief ‘he is no more’ but live in thankfulness that he was.” – Hebrew proverb

“He that conceals his grief finds no remedy for it.” – Turkish proverb

“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.” – Washington Irving.

“As a well spent day brings happy sleep, so life well used brings happy death.” – Leonardo DaVinci

“Though lovers be lost, love shall not; And death shall have no dominion.” – Dylan Thomas

“Tears water our growth.” – William Shakespeare

“A death is not the extinguishing of a light, but the putting out of the lamp because the dawn has come.” – Rabindranath Tagore

“Don’t be dismayed at goodbyes, a farewell is necessary before you can meet again and meeting again, after moments or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends.” – Richard Bach

“Memory nourishes the heart, and grief abates.” – Marcel Proust

“I still miss those I loved who are no longer with me but I find that I am grateful for having loved them. The gratitude has finally conquered the loss.” – Rita Mae Brown

“To hold, you must first open your hand. Let go.” – Lao TzuTo hold, you must first open your hand. Let go.' - Lao Tzu

“Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be made strong, in fact. But the process is like all other human births, painful and long and dangerous.” – Margery Allingham

“On the death of a friend, we should consider that the fates through confidence have devolved on us the task of a double living, that we have henceforth to fulfill the promise of our friend’s life also, in our own, to the world.” – Henry David Thoreau

“The risk of love is loss, and the price of loss is grief – but the pain of grief is only a shadow when compared with the pain of never risking love.” – Hilary Stanton Zunin

“And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.” – Khalil Gibran

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