Writing About Grief
"To Grieve" by Will Daddario
What does it mean to grieve rightly? Might there be such a thing as an ethics of grief, a practice of turning my full attention to the specificity of each loss so as to carry such loss in me and to become, in the words of Gilles Deleuze, worthy of what has happened to me? To Grieve answers these questions through Will's personal and philosophical ruminations following the sudden deaths of his son, father, step-father, friend, grandmother, and cat.
"10 Steps for Healing from Public Tragedy" by Sheridan Hill
Drawing on the writing of spiritual psychologist Robert Sardello, Black Mountain-based author Sheridan Hill writes a poignant piece reflecting on natural and human-made tragedies. She invokes and teases out the mythology surrounding Pandora's Box and offers some simple and profound ways to heal ourselves individually and, by extension, those around us in the wider world.
MINDFULNESS & GRIEF WEBSITE
Created by Heather Stang, author of Mindfulness and Grief (2018), this website features “The Grief Help Blog” that includes Stang’s writing as well as the varied perspectives of guest bloggers. The posts are interspersed with podcast episodes that engage with a broad range of topics related to loss, grief, bereavement, and healing.
Modern Loss website
The creative minds behind Modern Loss have curated a wide-ranging spectrum of short articles about death, grief, and healing. Organized by "type of loss" and "hot topics," the site provides diverse perspectives and encourages conversation and community-building for those of us who are grieving.
Still Standing Magazine website
The writing for this online magazine focuses on infertility and loss (primarily related to miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant death). You will find here a collection of writers sharing their perspectives & experiences on topics including pyschology & grief, pregnancy after loss, helping children cope with loss, and losing an adult child. There are also articles for medical professionals and additional resources for grievers.
**We have read MANY books, essays, plays, poems, and articles related to grief, bereavement, loss, trauma, and healing. Please connect with us if you are looking for recommendations.
"Understanding How Grief Weakens the Body" by Cari Romm
This short 2014 article from The Atlantic profiles studies that examine the physical/mental/emotional toll of grief. We'd love to read a Part 2 of the article that features the resiliency of the body as it actively grieves & heals!
"Grief and Sleep" by Amelia Willson
This recent article from tuck.com looks at the impact of grief on sleep. In addition to relaying medical studies that chronicle this impact, the article also provides useful tips for getting better sleep. And you'll find a list of grief resources located at the bottom of the essay.
Articles on Grief's Impact on the Body
Resources on Green Burial and Home Funerals
Natural Transitions Magazine Website
This "resource for green and holistic approaches to end of life" was founded in 2011 and works to promote an understanding of dying and death as the natural processes that they are. On the website you can access the current and back issues of the magazine (as e-versions or in print), which cover a variety of topics and perpsectives. You will also find resources related to legal rights at death, home funerals, and environmentally and socially-conscious approaches to post-death preparation.
Green Burial Project WEBSITE
Green Burial Project is a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to educating the public about the benefits of green (or natural) burial over our current options of conventional burial, fire cremation, and wet cremation (alkaline hydrolysis). Green Burial Project has no product or service to sell. Their sole aim is to spread the news about the environmental, financial, and spiritual benefits of returning our bodies to the earth in a manner consistent with our values and our heritage.
Carolina Casket Makers Website
The Carolina Casket Makers Collective represents local artisans whose passion for nurturing the earth is evident in the elegant simplicity of their vessels. Each handcrafted casket and urn brings about a more natural end-of-life experience for various spiritual and faith communities.
Aldergrove Farms Website
These products are designed to move the funeral and burial process to a greener and more human-centered place. John Jull, coffineer, believes we can only achieve this through continuous attention to the environmental impact of our products and practices and by attentively listening to our client's ideas for meaningful ceremony.
Here you will find resources (including practical and logistical details) for those wishing to hold a home funeral for a loved one as well as materials that you can use to teach others in your community about the option of home funerals. TThe webiste also includes a director of end-of-life doulas, funeral celebrants, and more; and the organization also holds an annual conference.
Faith's Lodge --Danbury, WI
Named for Faith Ann Lacek, a baby who died in utero, Faith's Lodge is a sanctuary for grieving parents and families. Since opening in 2007, Faith's Lodge has served more than 8,000 people. We attended a weekend retreat in June 2015, just after the first anniversary of Finlay's death/birth, and we met 5 other grieving couples who had all lost a baby in the past year. We each found solace in this healing place. Visit their website if you or someone you know has experienced the death of a child or has a living child with a medically-complex condition.
Selah (MISS Foundation) -- Sedona, AZ
The MISS Foundation offers an annual retreat for grieving families. Their 2019 contemplative gathering took place on March 28-31and included meditation as well as individual and group activities. Check back at the MISS foundation website for updates on future retreats and other events.
Grief Support & Education
MISS Foundation -- Phoenix, AZ
Dr. Joanne Cacciatore started the Foundation in 1996, following the death of her daughter. MISS is a "volunteer-based organization providing CARE [counseling, advocacy, research, and education] services to families experiencing the death of a child." Among their many resources and offerings are: research articles related to death and grief, an annual retreat held in Sedona, AZ, support of the Kindness Project, and facilitating training & continuing education classes for professionals. Cacciatore and the MISS team of volunteers have generated compassionate energy and have inspired much hope in the past two decades.
Among her many offerings, Kara -- an artist and active griever -- works with Helping Professionals (therapists, social workers, chaplains, nurses, etc.) to increase their skill level and confidence when working with individuals, families, and communities on issues and situations involving grief. She also co-teaches a Certification in Creative Grief Support program. And she offers short-term online courses (such as the one that Joanne took in 2017, "Get Creative with Grief"). Kara has a compassionate spirit, abundant positive energy, and a compelling artistic sensibility.
Begun in 1982, the Center provides peer support to children and families experiencing the death of a loved one. With a wealth of online resources, professional training, peer support groups for various ages & circumstances, books and DVDs for purchase, a podcast, and much more, The Dougy Center provides education, compassion, and care for hundreds of individuals a month.
Former hospital chaplain, teacher, doula, and author Amy Wright Glenn founded this institution in 2015 in order to offer resources and training to those interested in supporting others through birth, death, and grief. Amy's institute connects people who share similar interests, ideas, and questions around life, death, and grief. In 2019, Joanne completed teacher training with Amy to facilitate a workshop entitled Holding Space for Pregnancy Loss.
This organization provides certification in thanatology (the study of death and death practices). They offer online learning (webinars and a handbook) and organize an annual conference. Members receive access to three published journals and a biweekly digest of news related to death, dying, and loss. Their website also includes a Resources page with links to various organizations and Educational Statements on topics such as “Holidays and Grieving Children” and “Marriage and Child Death”.
The Center for Loss & Life Transition -- Fort Collins, CO
This center, founded in 1984 by Dr. Alan Wolfelt, holds trainings for those who wish to deepen their understanding of grief and bereavement. Topics include: Couseling Skills Fundamentals, Helping Children and Adolescents Cope with Grief, and Support Group Facilitator Training. Wolfelt has also published widely on various topics related to loss and grief, and you can find his books on the website. His “companioning” model challenges medicalized understandings of grief as something to be cured and recovered from.
Non-Profits set up by Grieving Parents to Support other Grieving Parents
Our friends Garrett & Christine McAlister formed this non-profit to honor their baby girl Maeve, who passed through this world in March 2015. Garrett writes, "Miles with Maeve humbly borrows the formula of endurance-coached fundraising and applies it to benefit families struggling to find possibility after the loss of a child or pregnancy. You can make an important difference in a hurting family’s life by raising money for causes which provide grief counseling, keepsakes, remembrance photography, and burial gowns, all while reaching your own personal endurance milestone."
Wanting to provide grieving women and couples with resources after a pregnancy loss, Kara Mangum launched Our Hearts Align. Providing care packages, a pregnancy loss devotional, and tips and ideas for physical, emotional, and mental well-being after a loss, Kara and her team provide comfort and support to many. Please visit their website to learn about their work and about how you can support their efforts.
“The Finley Project is committed to providing care for mothers who have experienced the unimaginable - the loss of an infant. Our devoted team provides a lifeline for mothers in the minutes, hours and days after infant loss through a 7-Part Holistic Program that supports each mother physically, emotionally and spiritually at no financial cost to them.” For information about how you can support this important work and/or access their services, please visit their website.
Asheville, NC Area Resources
Death Cafe Asheville - organizes group discussions, speakers, films, etc. related to living, dying, and grieving. Usually meets monthly. www.facebook.com/deathcafeasheville/
Grief Circle: Community-Supported Grieving - organized by Sheridan Hill, Black Mountain. Meets Quarterly. www.griefcircle.net
Perinatal Loss Group - facilitated by Sarah Bender-Hope, Homegrown Babies. Meets 4th Monday of each month, 6-8pm. www.homegrownbabies.com/classes-training/support-groups/perinatal-loss-support-group/
Pet Loss & Grief Support Group - held at Animal Hospital of North Asheville. Meets 1st & 3rd Monday of each month, 7-8:30pm. 828-253-3393. www.ahna.net/blog/pet-loss-and-grief-support-group-now-coming-animal-hospital-north-asheville
Ceremonial Grief Concert - occurs quarterly at the Raga Room, Black Mountain. For more details on the next concert, please email: email@example.com [*Listen to Episode 8 of our To Grieve podcast to hear some of the music & musicians from the October 2018 Grief Concert]
Four Seasons Hospice: (you don’t need an affiliation with the hospice to receive support); Music Therapy, Grief Support for Kids (including an August Grief Camp), Support Groups, Workshops, Grief Library Resources. 828-692-6178. www.fourseasonscfl.org/what-we-offer/bereavement-support/
CarePartners Hospice: (you don’t need an affiliation with the hospice to receive support); Individual counseling, weekly Support Groups (including a Child Loss Group), Kids Bereavement support, Grief Education Classes. 828-251-0126. www.carepartners.org/services_hospice_bereavement.html