How will I know when I'm better?
We don't cure grief, it is a lifelong experience. With time, a type of healing occurs, and the intensity of the feelings will change. Hopefully, it will become integrated into who you are. Some have compared it to a roller coaster - moments or days when you feel like you are coasting or just getting by, followed by a movement upward when you're feeling better then, suddenly, experiencing a dip that feels like a setback - but it is all just part of the normal grieving process. When the dips, twists, and abrupt changes in direction decrease in frequency and intensity, it is a form of healing.
What happens at a support Group?
While grief is a natural response to death, it may be very isolating. In a peer support group, an individual who feels isolated by his/her significant loss may share and explore the challenges of grief within a group setting, benefiting from one another's mutual experience. Group participants have expressed that it is helpful to have one's feelings affirmed and to gain insights from others who are also coping with grief related issues.
BCW support groups are led by professional staff and/or professionally trained volunteers who create a safe and supportive atmosphere where each person can share his/her grief journey. Group leaders also provide information on the grieving process and suggestions for coping with grief.
How long after the death should we wait before attending a support group?
Each person, and each person within a family, grieves on a different timetable. We recommend waiting at least 6 to 8 weeks after the death before joining the group. At this point, we believe you may be better able to share your story as well as to hear the grief stories of other group members.
What should I tell the children?
It is important to be honest with children. We have learned this lesson from the children who have been in our programs. Answering their questions with honest, short, age appropriate responses will help to establish a sense of trust between you and your child. Do not give them more information than they have asked for, and it is always okay to admit that you don't have all the answers. Without the facts, children may make up their own conclusions and, frequently, their fantasy may be worse than reality.
How much should we include the children in the rituals of death?
The practices and rituals surrounding a death may aid in the grieving process, allowing individuals to honor the deceased in a personal way. Based on the age of the child and the comfort level of the parent/guardian, each family may determine the most appropriate way to involve their children. Although participation in these rituals should be optional for a child, children frequently benefit by feeling that they had something to offer. The following rituals are a few suggested ways a child might choose to participate: selecting the music to be played at the funeral creating and placing a memento in the coffin, helping to select the burial clothes for the deceased, reading or creating a reading for the ceremony.