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Posts by Jo Christner, Psy.D.

Who Am I Now?

By Jo Christner, Psy.D.

Having a loved one die has so very many layers of grief and loss.

It’s so individual to you, who you are, how you think, what you believe, how and where you live, your network of support and so on. Grieving is a natural occurrence in our bodies and emotions. It’s also a complicated one that really requires that we give it our attention and allow it to heal. If you ignore it, it can sneak up on you when least expect it and feel like it knocks you down. “Why do I suddenly feel awful? What’s wrong with me.” The answer: nothing is wrong. It’s grief and all of its layers unfolding, whether you pay attention or not.

Being… Alone

Being alone without another person’s physical presence is an interesting circumstance.

Isn’t it already painful enough that your spouse died and you’ve been thrust into a solitary life that you didn’t ask for and don’t want? Circumstances like a pandemic make the reality even more challenging. You’re being told to stay at home (often totally alone) and to social distance. Social distancing when we’re social beings is such a contradiction to what we’ve always been taught and encouraged. Even if it’s for the good of all, it still causes a conflict —  cognitive dissonance, inside. It’s not what we believe to be true. We want and yearn human contact and connection.

When Will “Closure” Come?

One person may say — “Closure? Will there ever be an end to this horrible pain of grief? When will I get the closure that I hear about? I’m done. I’m not going to grieve anymore!” And another person may say — “I don’t want closure. I never want to let go. How can I possibly say goodbye forever to my loved one? I’m so confused. Am…

A Celebration Of Life

In Hebrew, the number 18 is “chai,” which means “Life.” So it is only appropriate that today – January 18, 2018 – is the official launch of HOPE Connection’s “A Celebration of Life” Bowl-a-thon. This event is being sponsored by our longtime supporter, Hillside Memorial Park and Mortuary, and will take place at Pinz Bowl, 12655 Ventura Blvd., Studio City 91604, on…

Meditation: A Doorway To Healing The Chemistry Of Grief

Martin Hamer, a native of The Netherlands, has been a yogi and has practiced Transcendental Meditation since 1977, and the advanced techniques called TM-Sidhis since 1980. Now retired, he worked for American Express and a local chiropractor for many years, while also working for (mostly American) translation agencies as a trained English-Dutch translator and vice versa. In 1984 he co-authored the first book on chiropractic in…

Living With Grief: What’s The DIF?

Evelyn Pechter is a HOPE therapist and Licensed Psychologist. Dr. Pechter has private practice offices in West Los Angeles and Woodland Hills, where she specializes in adult life changes including grief/loss.

“Wherever you are right now on your journey — whether your loved one died two weeks ago, two years ago, or even 20 years ago, it helps to understand the process from beginning to the not-so-clear end. As Glenda the Good Witch of the North told Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz before she set out for Emerald City, “It’s always best to start at the beginning.” So it is with most things; so it is with grief.”

— Ashley Davis Bush: Transcending Loss

It is best to start at the beginning, but what often happens is that people want to avoid the painful aspects of grief; it’s too terrifying. So, they rush right ahead, telling others — and themselves — that “Everything’s just fine. I’m okay. I’m adjusting just fine.” They attempt to skip to the end before they’ve gone through the process.

The Transformative Power of Collateral Beauty

Lynne Goldklang is a psychotherapist, writer and a grateful member of a HOPE bereavement group.

“I don’t think of all the misery but of all the beauty that remains.”  — Anne Frank

It was one of those restless nights a few months after my husband’s death as I flipped on the TV and stared at the movie that was playing. A mother is sitting in a hospital waiting area crying as her young daughter’s life is ebbing. A strange older woman engages her in conversation and asks who is dying. The old woman listens carefully and then advises the grieving mother to be aware of “collateral beauty” — words that are the title and essence of the movie.

The meaning of collateral beauty as portrayed in the film is that love and kindness are all around if the grieving person is open to notice and receive. It is a term that is mystical yet down to earth, easily accessible.

Here Comes 2018! Happy New Year… Or Is It?

The holidays can be painful reminders of a life that “was,” but New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day with parades, football games and gatherings are triggers that make you realize how different your life really is now.

Our hopes center around the idea that this is a “new year.” In the “celebrating” of the New Year, our intentions are courageous. We hope that we will heal and feel that our lives are settling into a “new norm.” Our reality is often so different.