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  • Writer's pictureBy April Sage

Precious Memories Help with Grief and Coping

January is a wonderful time to reset and plan for the coming year. Young and young at heart alike, we are all striving to be better, start a new routine, cut something out, maybe even attempt to eliminate a vice or two. This is a time for reflection, connection, and creation; to seek peace, or take control of the journey that lies ahead in the next twelve months. Some of us are navigating this journey alongside our children, hoping our leadership and vision allow for fewer bruises along the way to being healthy and successful. Sometimes, we have children and parents needing our support and searching for solutions. To add even more of a challenge, events can occur that set the stage for the next hurdle or the next conversation. These events are unpredictable, take time to navigate, and often require planning and resources.

The holiday season tends to have a larger occurrence of loss than other times of the year. Statistically, 30% more people die near the end of the year. I believe this to be even more true this year. November to January seems to have been a transitional time for many. Even if we intellectually know our person is sick and unwell, nothing prepares us for losing their presence in our life. When the inevitable happens, no one understands the true depths of grieving until we are waist-deep in it. The sentiment can come at any time and unpredictably shift with whom or what we are grieving.

When I lost my dog, Mickey, I cried for months. It was sudden, almost 24 hours, and it was over. When he was put down, there was an empty space, it was quiet and there was less demand for attention at home. I know many will agree with me that losing a furry friend can be devastating. He brought me such happiness and companionship. There are no words for that loss of unconditional love. But this was just the loss of my dog, not always relatable to the loss of a loved one.

Losing my Grandma Lisa was earth-shattering. Even though I knew it was coming, it was an unfathomable event that shook my world. The event was profoundly perplexing, reality-questioning, and terribly depressing. The deep grief that accompanied the significant loss took me an immense amount of time before I could say her name without welling up with tears.

I am often asked how I deal with the significant loss around me. My response is typically that our lives intersected because my purpose was to make things easier, more manageable, and comfortable for your loved ones. Without a doubt, nothing is perfect. But it brings me peace to know I have done all I could with the resources available, considering geography, affordability, and the approach to individualizing each care plan. The result is that your loved ones are often more comfortable than they have been in some time. Families are assisted and have the support to be loving family members, rather than stressed caregivers. They can visit and share good memories, instead of being in charge and telling their loved one what to do. The time they spend prior to taking a turn to life-end proves to be precious. This allows you to enjoy being by their side instead of working, allowing you space to have moments of closure and love. The way I am learning to deal with grief and loss is to focus on the precious moments that we had together. I have found in my relatively limited experience, compared to some, there needs to be more discussion to prepare those we love and work with for grief. I found these resources to be especially helpful:

  • Feeling Grief and Loss While You're a Caregiver

  • Bereavement After Caregiving

  • How to Handle 'Hard Feelings' After Caregiving Ends

It is my profound honor to usher in another year of serving families in a time of need and, at times, crisis. It is an honor to share tools that provide relief for what keeps many awake at night. My approach is holistic, and my goal is to consider the needs of all with a lens focused on the future. Please share my newsletter and link to my website, should you find a friend or neighbor in search of support and guidance. Cheers to a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2023.

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