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My Parent Died – What Do I Do Now?

A few questions and answers

by Evelyn Pechter, Psy.D.

I didn’t have a good relationship with my mother. Now that she’s died, I’m confused — why do I feel the grief and guilt that I feel?

Relationships are often complicated, especially when there has been conflict. When a relationship is complicated, volatile, even abusive, there is a grief process that needs attention. Your grief is a way of expressing feelings that perhaps did not get that attention while your parent was alive. Perhaps the guilt you feel is a way of acknowledging that you would have liked a different relationship. In difficult relationships with parents, there is often a lot that was unsaid. In a grief group, you have the opportunity to process those unsaid words in a safe environment. You may find that you are not alone and more importantly you and your feelings find support.

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Grieving Alone

After the death of her daughter, Martha Whitmore Hickman wrote a wonderful book, Healing After Loss — daily meditations for working through grief. Many members of the HOPE community have talked about this powerful resource during group sessions. Hickman structures each meditation the same, with a quote, followed by her insight about it, ending with a simple summary. Today’s is especially timely. All…

One Thing You Need To Do Today

Author and former monk Jay Shetty has a message for those living alone during the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently leading a 20-day, live meditation series on Instagram, he says we should strive to do one thing each day that brings us joy — and that despite social distancing, we can still nurture essential human connections. In this short PBS video, Shetty offers his…

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.

On Grief

By Lynne Goldklang

Grief is an intense missing, longing, wanting, yearning for what can never be.

Grief is loss so profound that relief is impossible, undesirable — an insult to love lost.

Grief is forever and healing an illusion of optimistic folly.

Grief is the vulture that attacks without mercy.

Expectations, Gratitude and Grief

By Don Phillipson

If you are in or have been through a HOPE Connection spousal loss support group, were you surprised by the depth and strength of the bonds you formed with other group members? It probably shouldn’t come as a surprise. Sharing intimate memories, the profound experience of realizing you’re not alone, insights about grief gained by listening intently — how could bonds not form through this process?

“The Times They Are A Changin”

By Evelyn Pechter, Psy.D.

Bob Dylan was right — there are all kinds of changes that come. Layers upon layers of change.  Among those layers are welcome changes: for example, a new baby in the family, a new son or daughter-in-law. These changes can allow for a smile and fond memories. Then there are changes that are not so welcome. The ones that cause great pain and grief — the primary losses: the death of a spouse, or a parent or anyone, near or far. Then there are secondary losses: the lack of physically getting together with friends and family, the change of everyday routines, such as going to the market, and feeling fearful if someone gets closer than six feet, and a list that grows. 

Pandemic

By Lynn Ungar, Unitarian Minister What if you thought of itas the Jews consider the Sabbath—the most sacred of times?Cease from travel.Cease from buying and selling.Give up, just for now, on trying to make the worlddifferent than it is. Sing. Pray. Touch only thoseto whom you commit your life.Center down. And when your body has become still,reach out with your heart.Know that we are…