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Center for Loss and Trauma

Center for Loss and Trauma | Mourning & Griefwork Worldwide | Scoop.it

Today, I am a mother to five children, now mostly grown, “four who walk and one who soars”. On July 27 of 1994, the day my daughter died, my life changed irreparably. I will never be the same person I was before my baby daughter's death. Nor do I wish to be. Since then, I have committed my life to the service of others suffering traumatic deaths, as it was in the darkness when I truly found my self.


Via Angie Prince
Judith van Praag's insight:

How Joanne's words resonated for me in the mid to late nineties. In January of 1994, one year after my husband and I suffered the loss of our baby daughter, I immigrated to the U.S., returning to Texas, Gary's home state.

 

Unable to find a suitable couseler in our neck of the woods, I sought help from
Dr. Yael Danieli in New York. She counseled me during weekly 15 minute telephone sessions. By the time Gary and I had relocated to Seattle, Dr. Danieli suggested I'd write a book about our loss, and the subsequent mourning, grief and recovery, to help other parents who had to deal with a similar loss.

 

Creative Acts of Healing: after a baby dies was published in August of 1999, just before we moved back east for a year, where I became active on forums of support groups such as Dr. Michael Berman's Hygeia, and "Lieve Engeltjes" in the Netherlands.


After we returned to Seattle, Joanne Cacciatore invited me to give a presentation at the MISS Conference Passages2001, in her hometown, Scarsdale, AZ.

 

Meeting Joanne in person, seeing her perform before and during the conference, relaxed and personable during an informal welcome dinner for presenters, and psyched, a powerhouse on the big day itself, I believe she did truly find her calling.

 

That she was nurse/caregiver to psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler Ross, and that she found inspiration as well as a mentor in the pioneer of near-death studies and bereavement counseling, certainly has something to do with her chosen path and successful planning of her future. Still, her dedication is fuelled by the memory of her little girl.

 

No matter what we what we do in our life, no matter where we come from and who we are, our losses can make us empathing to the suffering of others, and our lost loved ones can be our guiding lights for ever.

 

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Angie Prince's curator insight, October 20, 2015 1:03 AM

Dr. Joanne Cacciatore is a grieving mother as well as a fellow psychotherapist who helps other parents grapple with the loss of their child. She fights hard for us grieving mothers in the psychological arena that seems to want to assign us a disorder instead of recognizing we are having NORMAL reactions to Trauma, from the INJURY (not disorder!) of having lost our child. Thank you Dr. Cacciatore for your hard work.

 

My husband Tommy and I are in the field of helping grieving parents as well, both of us as a Coach, and I also as a psychotherapist in the state of Tennessee. My heart goes out to all of us who struggle with this life-long loss and grief. ~Blessings to all of you.

Mourning & Griefwork Worldwide
Mourning: from end of life and last rites to kaddish and good griefwork
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Jimmy Stewart Reads a Touching Poem About His Dog Beau on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show

Jimmy Stewart reads his famous heartwarming poem about his dog Beau on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" in 1981. For more Johnny, subscribe t
Judith van Praag's insight:
The Great, the Unforgettable Jimmy Stewart about his late dog Beau. For every person who has had to lay a best four footed friend to rest.
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Thanksgiving in Mongolia - Awe and Awful Mixed

Thanksgiving in Mongolia - Awe and Awful Mixed | Mourning & Griefwork Worldwide | Scoop.it
turned back into a wounded witch, wailing in the forest, undone.
Judith van Praag's insight:
The soft moaning I heard while reading this essay by Ariel Levy grew louder as she described the delivery of her premature infant at nineteen weeks gestation. Her words mixed in perfectly with the soundtrack, playing inside of me, between my ears, reverberating in the sinus cavities above and alongside my nose. A burning sensation spread through my throat. 
Mothers without children. I as well "had turned back into a wounded witch, wailing in the forest, undone." Levy's words took me back to the breech delivery of our baby girl and subsequent four miscarriages; a bloody mess. Awe and awful mixed. This is how it was, and this is how it feels; moaning gives voice to the buried pain of loss.
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Unconventional Grief: Mourning What Was

Unconventional Grief: Mourning What Was | Mourning & Griefwork Worldwide | Scoop.it
Grieving someone alive is either called unconventional or ambiguous grief. This grief is focused on loved ones with mental illness, addiction, etc.
Judith van Praag's insight:
The article has a slow start. You can skip the first paragraph, the writer cuts to the chase with the second. 

"Unconventional" in relation to the metaphorical loss of someone who is still alive seems to suggest this kind of grief is uncommon, something new all together. But that's not what the writer wants to say. Read on, you may recognize someone else's or your own response to a tragic change in behavior of someone you love.

If changes are caused by mental illness, addiction, dementia or brain injury, mourning becomes complicated. You don't want to get stuck in unresolved grief, you may need to seek professional help yourself!

After the death of a loved one, rituals may help mourners ease into the new situation; memorializing the lost loved one can bring solace. When someone is still around, but not the person you used to know, you mourn what is no longer part of your life. It's as though the other is withholding love on purpose. 

If the situation dictates that you let go, don't deprive yourself of the sweet memories of the past. You may not be able to look at them now without pangs or anger or pain, but keep them safe; in a cocoon, a time capsule. What was, remains true, even if the manifestation is no longer apparent. 

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When I was 5 - Dutch Radio Documentary About Loss of Sibling at Young Age 

When I was 5 - Dutch Radio Documentary About Loss of Sibling at Young Age  | Mourning & Griefwork Worldwide | Scoop.it
Sara (38) wil weten wie ze was als vijfjarige. Waar kon ze om lachen? Wat waren haar lievelingskleuren, stiekeme gedachtes of kleine angsten? Maar vooral: wat begreep ze van de dood?
Judith van Praag's insight:
The website for this radio documentary includes the touching illustrative visual imagery I scooped up separately today. 

I wish the conversation between parents and children, among parents and interviewer, would be transcribed and translated in English. 

Too often it's the mourners who have to educate the others about what it is they need. This documentary would be such a gift —to be able to share with others beside listeners who understand Dutch. 
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Just Be There - UCLA Magazine

Just Be There - UCLA Magazine | Mourning & Griefwork Worldwide | Scoop.it
How can you be truly helpful to a friend in need?
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Excellent pointers for meaningful attention. 
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Judge of beginnings, middles, and endings

Judge of beginnings, middles, and endings | Mourning & Griefwork Worldwide | Scoop.it
ּ"Blessed is the true Judge." In Jewish tradition, when we hear that someone has died, we say a blessing. Sometimes, when I tell mourners this, I can see in their eyes that they are baffled, or even upset, b
Judith van Praag's insight:
Baruch Dayan Ha'Emet - Acceptance. 
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Stop Comparing Death and Divorce - One Fit Widow

Stop Comparing Death and Divorce - One Fit Widow | Mourning & Griefwork Worldwide | Scoop.it
Please just stop. A few weeks after my late husband passed away was my first preview into the competitive world of, “what’s worse, death or divorce?” and it made me infuriated. Here I was, a newly grieving widow, dealing with the end of life stuff, shock, two tiny children and tons of grief and someone said to me: “Now you know how I felt when so-in-so left.” I was tongue tied. I will be very honest. That sentence pissed me off (read more...)
Judith van Praag's insight:
Hallelujah. Well said Michelle E. Steinke. 
 Unfortunately she's right, I wonder how many will read beyond the first sentence. Grief counselors, yes; therapists, perhaps; "lotgenoten" or fellow sufferers, yes, others, unlikely. I'm pleased to see this piece published in the Huffington Post, pleased to see mourning gets a chance. 
 For every person who reads past the first sentence, possibly to find out how to help that mourner in her or his circle, will learn something to pass on. The West has is wrong, and we're here to share what we know. 
 I'm so sorry for the author's loss, saddened that her children are missing their father seeing them grow up. I was thirteen when mine died, and didn't realize until I was in my thirties what exactly I missed, seeing other adult women with their dads. 
I'm saddened that the author is the only one who carries the memories of what she and her late husband shared; of the short time they were alotted together, may those memories be of solace. I thank her for shouting this out.
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art heals | the soulful social worker

art heals | the soulful social worker | Mourning & Griefwork Worldwide | Scoop.it
Today on the blog- my family's journey through #grief , loss and the healing power of #art https://t.co/hSY8FXg690 https://t.co/Ynn4y9VfFU
Judith van Praag's insight:
Katie accompanied her widowed mom to a paint & sip night out. They got hooked on the creative act of expressing their grief and love on the canvas, after ten visits Katie bought her own easel. 

Creative acts of healing are sometimes only a Groupon away. I wasn't really out to advertise for that discount platform, but that's how I know about group painting activities. 

I have thought of attending one for pet painting just to mix and mingle with others, to have night away from my own studio, from family caregiving. Perhaps I will jump on the opportunity next time I see the ad. Sometimes you just need an excuse to get out of your familiar surroundings.
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Facing Fear after Loss

Facing Fear after Loss | Mourning & Griefwork Worldwide | Scoop.it
How to Help Clients Face Fear So That It Doesn’t Rule Their Lives
Judith van Praag's insight:
The linked video is about facing fear in general, about anxiety and how to take control (perhaps by letting go of controlling) a situation. Yet, prolonged or denied grief may result in fear. A good reason to take it in, use or delete.
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The right words matter when talking about pain

The right words matter when talking about pain | Mourning & Griefwork Worldwide | Scoop.it
A critical task in pain psychology is to help people learn to rephrase their inner monologue so it becomes more realistic and supportive.
Judith van Praag's insight:

Why scoop up this article for the department of mourning & grief? Losing someone we love can cause heart ache, a pain that may travel through our body to find a place where it settles. When people use the wrong language, say the wrong things, the pain associated with mourning and grief can get worse. 

Most of us don't learn the language of loss until we are bereaved.

Often it's the bereft who teach those around them what mourning is all about, which words support us in our darkest hours and which don't. That's why you find this article on words and pain in this collection. Minding your words can make a huge difference!

 

 

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Scott Weiland's Family: 'Don't Glorify This Tragedy' | Rolling Stone

Scott Weiland's Family: 'Don't Glorify This Tragedy' | Rolling Stone | Mourning & Griefwork Worldwide | Scoop.it
Judith van Praag's insight:

Mary, Noah and Lucy tell it as it is. 

Do you know a child who's missing out on parental presence and active parenting? Whether the parent is dead or alive?
Become a Big Brother or Sister, auntie, uncle or whatever you want to call yourself, or have them call you.
If you have the means, take them out for lunch, treat them to a game, a play, a concert, a visit to the zoo. 
If all you have is time, give some to a child in need of company, take them to a park, explore the world, be the king or queen of cheap and celebrate IRL (in real life) interaction. 

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Living my new normal: The Parallel Universe

Judith van Praag's insight:

A beautiful piece of remembrance, loss, grief and carrying on.

Mind you, I didn't write "recovery", who am I to say that? Recovery of what? Life before ... what? Before the loss, before the wedding, before knowing her man? 

Elizabeth Riley lived through the first year of seasons without her husband. walked the walk of widowhood for one year and is still standing. 

Writing about our days, creating our own book of mourning allows us to look back and gauge where we were a year before, possibly this shows a development of coping, of survival, of learning how to live life without the beloved. 

 

As a paper maker I appreciate the background of the blog, the dried flower petals and springs of grass a metaphor for life and death and the lasting beauty of memories. 

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Doris Salcedo Memorializes Murder Victims - Exquisite Mourning

Doris Salcedo Memorializes Murder Victims - Exquisite Mourning | Mourning & Griefwork Worldwide | Scoop.it
The artist, who grew up in Colombia during an era when civic murder was a way of life, has made brutal memories the essence of a witnessing art.
Judith van Praag's insight:

Art does not give answers, only poses questions. ~ Doris Salcedo

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Laurie Anderson on Lou Reed

A touching letter from Laurie Anderson;wife of Lou Reed(2013/10/31) To our neighbors:What a beautiful fall! Everything shimmering and golden and all tha
Judith van Praag's insight:
Totally in the vein of her poetic work, widow Laurie Anderson addressed her neighbors after the death of her man Lou Reed.  Given 6 degrees of separation, we're all part of the spiraling community; celebrate lives well lived and recorded. 

A longtime fan of Lou Reed as well as Laurie Anderson, I admire their output, input, and collaboration. Their storytelling ours to take in. The YouTube compilation is a great soundtrack for remembering, remembrance. Paying respect, being inspired.
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How an Ancient Singing Tradition Helps People Cope With Trauma in the Modern World

How an Ancient Singing Tradition Helps People Cope With Trauma in the Modern World | Mourning & Griefwork Worldwide | Scoop.it
In Finland, lament singing is experiencing a revival, one sad song at a time.
Judith van Praag's insight:
I relate to this. Lamentations. HipHop Lamentations aka Depression, the Musical.

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Grieving a Miscarriage: An Illustrated Discussion

Grieving a Miscarriage: An Illustrated Discussion | Mourning & Griefwork Worldwide | Scoop.it
It can help to offer support instead of silence.
Judith van Praag's insight:
Good points, compassionate post, the images help. As stated, 20 percent of "known pregnancies" end in miscarriage. Of all women who are mothers, 30-40% have knowingly or not experienced a miscarriage. 
My last pregnancy ended after 14 weeks in what the co-assistant  in a Dutch hospital called a missed abortion. 
The pregnancy test by the OB-gyn in Avignon, France at 12 weeks showed active pregnancy hormones. Congratulations, she said. After a few days the euphoria I felt made place for fear, my body told me something was wrong, I translated the feelings in thoughts, perhaps I didn't really want to be pregnant, after all, I was 46. 
After losing our first born at full gestation due to a freak accident, and then this fourth miscarriage, I'd had it. 
For ten years I'd either been pregnant, recovering from pregnancy and loss, or trying to get pregnant. And yes, I've heard most all of the remarks mentioned in the article. 
The time had come to focus on what we did have, our relationship, our love for one another, our talents. The time had come to figure out how to pass on what we know without having children of our own. 

This illustrated article is a great, something to save and pass on. 

The only thing I'd add to the list of possible things to say to a woman (or man) who suffered a shattered dream is asking the question: Would you like to tell me what happened? It's never really too late for that. And if they don't feel like talking about their loss that particular moment, or not anymore, no worries. Saying you're there in case they want to, is a gift. 
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When I was 5 - Children About Loss & Death

When I was 5 - Children About Loss & Death | Mourning & Griefwork Worldwide | Scoop.it
Regisseur Sara Kolster (38) was vijf toen haar zusje Anna overleed. De eerste herinnering na deze ingrijpende gebeurtenis is de geboorte van haar nieuwe zusje. De periode ertussen is een grijze vlek. Om erachter te komen hoe ze omging met dit verlies maakte ze een radiodocumentaire met betrokkenen van toen en interviewde ze zes kinderen van rond de 10 jaar oud, die óók hun broertje of zusje hebben verloren. De verhalen van drie van deze kinderen zie je in deze special.
Judith van Praag's insight:
Touching in its simplicity, the images and soundtrack of this short film illuminate the thoughts of children about death of someone close to them. 
The documentary's director, Sara Kolster was five when her sister Anna died. 
Unable to remember the time between the loss of the one, and the birth of another sister, she created a radio documentary. She interviewed those with ties to her family, as well as six ten-years-olds who had also lost a sibling.

The language may be Dutch, the message is universal, and if you don't understand the words, you can meditate on the tone of the voices and the imagery. 
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56 carefully stitched words of love and loss

56 carefully stitched words of love and loss | Mourning & Griefwork Worldwide | Scoop.it
For about $300, a 9-year-old girl named Ashley was sold as a slave. Her mother, Rose, remained a house slave at a mansion in South Carolina.
Judith van Praag's insight:
Grief & Remembrance. The painstakingly embroidered words speak for themselves. Not about death necessarily, but about loss, for sure.
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Taryn Simon’s Varieties of Mourning - The New Yorker

Taryn Simon’s Varieties of Mourning - The New Yorker | Mourning & Griefwork Worldwide | Scoop.it
Emily Witt on “An Occupation of Loss,” a performance piece by the artist Taryn Simon that presents professional mourners from around the world.
Judith van Praag's insight:
Amazing grace. 
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Memorial and Emergency Fundraising | Razoo.com

Memorial and Emergency Fundraising | Razoo.com | Mourning & Griefwork Worldwide | Scoop.it
Click here to edit the content
Judith van Praag's insight:
A heads up for the emergency fundraising platform as Razoo calls itself. Seeing and ad on my Facebook timeline seems appropriate in the light of the massacre at the Orlando LGBT nightclub; this kind of tuning in to people's needs is exactly what we've come to expect from our Social Media providers.  

Yet "Emergency Fundraising" doesn't quite cover what Razoo makes possible, those words bring to mind earthquakes, fire, flooding, death of a bread winner, but the text on Razoo's homepage says, "You can launch a memorial fundraiser to honor the memory of a loved one." 

How welcome such a message can be when one is hit by disaster. On a personal scale I recall the funeral director who came to my room at the hospital in Amsterdam and told us an announcement of our baby's birth and death in the newspaper was an unnecessary expense, for "Nobody had known her, and our printed cards would be send to friends and family." Years later another funeral director would tell us an announcement of my 85-year-old mother's passing was unnecessary since "There would be hardly anybody left who knew her." How wrong both men were.

 If anything the announcements in the newspapers of our loss(es) would've reached a larger circle of acquaintances. 

The reason why we may not have pushed on, telling the funeral directors cost was not the issue, was that we didn't have that much money, and their advice seemed plausible. But, oh, how I've regretted our decision to go with their suggestion! We weren't the kind of people who would ask for help, in any way, financial or otherwise. Fundraising for projects or individuals is one thing, when it comes down to asking help in regards to my own needs, that's something I'm slowly learning to do.
 
These days raising funds for a cause, for a project or even for something you've always dreamed to do, such as a trip to your family's homeland to find your roots, or make rubbings of an ancestor's gravestone is not frowned upon, people often are more than happy to pitch in. 

Just two days after the tragedy in Orlando, many will welcome Facebook's heads up, being able to raise funds to memorialize a loved one is a mitzvah, (Razoo) a good deed indeed. 



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Stephanie's best weapon against grief - A Wide Mercy

Stephanie's best weapon against grief - A Wide Mercy | Mourning & Griefwork Worldwide | Scoop.it
I have so much I want to say – about how I think raising a big family is easier than a small one, and the powerful ways our theology ripples through our lives, how I don’t know what it means to trust God anymore and how, in a few weeks, I will get...
Judith van Praag's insight:
Wearing her heart on her sleeve, Stephanie grieves the death of her son and shares her thoughts on sadness, her coping skills with readers of her blog. 
For anyone who has suffered the loss of a child, for anyone mourns a young life's ending, you may find some solace in recognizing the writer's musings. 
Do respond to her writing if she touches your hear. 
This, I know from experience means a lot.
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A New Vision for Dreams of the Dying

A New Vision for Dreams of the Dying | Mourning & Griefwork Worldwide | Scoop.it
A team of clinicians and researchers is trying to understand the importance of deathbed dreams to help the ill and the bereaved.
Judith van Praag's insight:

Before death and dying, there are dreams and visions. These "may offer comfort not only for the dying, but for their mourners."

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Grief Beyond Belief - Faith-free Support for Bereaved and Bereft Mourners

Grief Beyond Belief - Faith-free Support for  Bereaved and Bereft Mourners | Mourning & Griefwork Worldwide | Scoop.it
Judith van Praag's insight:

Thanks to Twitter I discovered an article on Salon.com about this Atheist network founded for people who seek a supportive community without religieus overtones. Googling Grief Beyond Belief, I discover surprisingly nothing new has been posted on the blog since July 27, 2015. Opportunity strikes in unexpected place. Here we go.

Not embracing a religion doesn't necessarily mean the end of year/ holiday season comes and goes without stirring painful memories that result in strong emotions. If anything, the end of the year makes us reflect on what was, and what we imagine may be ahead of us. 

 

We all meet for comfort and for that sense of community that makes us feel stronger, less alone in the world. Many miss someone in their midst, at the table, in a movie theater, or on a walk in the park. 

 

For me the end of December is fraught with sad memories, in chronological order my first wedding (even though that non-event now makes for a funny story); looking forward to a baby that still had to be born in the old year, and died in the new at birth, albeit not as stillborn; the death of my mother. 

 

For years we found solace in remembrance and creating our own faith-free rituals, sharing stories, baking traditional wavers that symbolized the old and new. 

 

This end of the year we celebrate an awakening, the renewed active pursuit of creativity, of finishing projects, of sharing with a growing community.

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Joan Didion, Writing a Story After an Ending

Joan Didion, Writing a Story After an  Ending | Mourning & Griefwork Worldwide | Scoop.it
Joan Didion's memoir The Year of Magical Thinking is about grieving for her husband, fellow writer John Gregory Dunne. He died suddenly at the end of 2003, while their daughter was hospitalized with pneumonia.
Judith van Praag's insight:

Terry Gross asks Joan Didion at the end of this 2005 interview if she is worried about her own death. 

Didion answers tearfully: No, I'm not. ...We are afraid of leaving people behind... I am not not leaving anybody behind...

Gross catches herself, acknowledging she was fearful to talk with the author, her losses still so fresh, and the conversation continues.

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80,0000 graves online at 1500 cemeteries

80,0000 graves online at 1500 cemeteries | Mourning & Griefwork Worldwide | Scoop.it
Online Begraafplaatsen. Grafmonumenten in Nederland. Vrijwel iedere begraafplaats in kaart. Foto's van de graven.
Judith van Praag's insight:

Forgetting what you've done sometimes results in pleasant surprises. Ancestry.com invited me to follow a link to information about my father. Of course I had submitted the photograph of his gravestone myself, but forgotten all about it. Now the page is bookmarked and this here scoop.it! will be a reminder. 

 

The mistake on the gravestone can't be fixed, but my year of birth can, and a volunteer will add my mom's name and the year that we added her ashes to my father's grave to the info already on the site. 

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