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Grief Support Groups Serving West Los Angeles, Encino and Agoura Hills

Grief

United In Grief

This month we witnessed a poignant reminder that grief forms a common bond among all people, no matter their background or circumstance. Anyone who has lost a spouse could instantly identify with the image of Queen Elizabeth sitting alone at the funeral of her husband of 73 years.

Strengthening Your Resilience, Elevating Your Life

Have you ever had an oven with a pilot light? You would not always see the light but you knew it was there, a small flicker that could ignite a bigger flame. Sometimes our resilience seems tiny and weak. It is not in sight and we wonder if it is there at all even though we have weathered many crises over the years. In these Pandemic times, the word “resilience” is often used to describe big flames, acts of heroism, courage under great odds. Even the dictionary states that resilience is about bouncing back, moving on. It can be daunting to be in constant contact with such a limited view of our inner strength with the bar set very high.

My Parent Has Died! What Now?

Loss!  We have all experienced losing a loved one but losing a parent is a unique loss and one that is often discounted.  Anyone who has had a parent die knows that feeling of profound sadness, the feeling of being overwhelmed, the thoughts of,  “Oh No! What now?”

There is a prevailing attitude in our cultural messages that the death of a parent is a natural course of events and we need to “just get over it!”

A Different Grief – A Man’s Grief

Everyone goes through a natural grieving process when a death occurs. We each behave and express feelings according to the way we’ve been taught and as modeled by our society, our culture, our family, our peers and other influences. A belief system is created that affects the way that we perceive life, death and grief.

Is That Your Heart You’ve Been Ignoring?

Have you heard the phrase “Driven to distraction?” It’s a common reality for many. Grief brings worries, fears, anxiety, plus the pain of being alone. Being alone is one of the most difficult aspects of loss of a loved one. Now with the pandemic and physically needing to social distance, there is more alone time. With that is a craving of distractions to keep the mind busy. And understandably so. No one wants to feel the pain of grief and being alone.

Holidays and Holding Two Feelings — Grief and Gratitude

“There are moments which mark your life. Moments when you realize nothing will ever be the same and time is divided into two parts, before this, and after this.” — N. Kazan There are indeed events that divide your life into “before and after.” And holidays often make you realize the significance of the event you’ve experienced. If you’re grieving, holidays —…

Wordless Grief — The Body Remembers

By Martha Carr, Psy.D., LMFT

It’s 11:38 pm and I am jolted awake by an earthquake. It’s so rough it feels like I am thrown straight up in the air, taking me out of slumber instantly. My brain scrambles to figure out what is happening and, while I am still moving, my right arm instinctively and spontaneously reaches out, grabbing for Richard. For 42 years he slept to the right of me. The bed is empty of course. It’s been empty for four years. It takes me a few seconds to reconcile the two realities – the one in which he is still there and the one in which he is gone. My heart breaks a little again as consciousness brings me into the actuality of my life.

A Thanksgiving Gratitude Journal

Download the Gratitude Calendar

As Thanksgiving approaches you may wonder what you have to be grateful for. If you have recently lost your spouse or another loved one, this may be the first significant holiday you’ve spent without them. Your grief may be so fresh that it’s hard to feel anything else. If some time has passed since your loved one died, this is still going to be a strange, perhaps surreal holiday season. The pandemic is raging anew, even while there is hope on the horizon for a vaccine. But that is in the future — this is now. What is there to be grateful for this very day? Discovering — or rediscovering — gratitude can actually be a simple and thoughtful process, beginning with a Gratitude Journal. Download this Gratitude Calendar — created by HOPE therapist Lori Oberman — and use it daily as inspiration for your Gratitude Journal. Day by day you may discover the healing power of gratitude — an especially miraculous gift at this time of the year. Wishing you all the blessings of this season — All of us at HOPE Connection.

Self Compassion

By Andy Smallman

Andy Smallman is a long-time educator, advocate for healthy human development and founding director of the Puget Sound Community School.

People who have experienced the death of a loved one understand what it means to feel as if one’s walls are closing in. The more recent the death, the more significant this feeling often is, although emotional reminders of the loved one sometimes surprise us years later by how powerful the feelings are.