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~Brianna

This Again??

Last week Diana Cuddeback, Director of Heartlinks Grief Center and I attended the National Alliance for Grieving Children (NAGC) Annual Conference in San Antonio, Texas. We were privileged to share Heartlinks journey over the last three years in fund development programs and organizational planning with some of the participants. Those attending the conference were professionals who do the hard work of helping children grieve, mostly in not-for-profit organizations. Here are some shots from the conference:


My husband, Bill, graciously assisted with the table where we sold the book about my family’s grief journey I recently published, We Lost Her. We had so many interesting conversations about the attendees’ work and many of their personal stories of grief. It seemed to me most of those in the grief field had a personal loss that moved them to the profession.

One personal story especially hit home for me. Bob, a veteran professional at a grief organization in Texas, told me the story of when his Dad died when he was seven. He then related that he had a “re-grief”, he called it, a few years ago. Another death in his family brought all those feelings he had as a little boy back. Bob was knowledgeable enough to seek grief counseling and worked his way through this grief renewed from long ago, realizing he had not fully dealt with his Dad’s death. He let us know he felt better now and valued the experience as another step in his grief journey and learnings in life.

As I described my family’s story to Bob, it hit me that a “re-grief” is what I’d had while writing We Lost Her. I described it in Chapter Nine in this way:

“In writing these words and remembering those feelings 47 years later, I feel blessed to have taken this opportunity to figure out how her death changed me and my life. I naively thought that it would not be difficult to put this story down on paper. I thought, “I’ve mourned, I’ve dealt with the grief and am a very happy person, so blessed with a wonderful life, so it will be simple.” I could not have been more wrong. It was very difficult to relive my teenage grief as I wrote. But like all things in life that are really hard, I’ve learned from writing her story.”

A website that is listed on the back of We Lost Her in the Helpful Resources section is “What’s Your Grief?” This site has wonderful resources – online weekly blogs and articles about grief. They describe the “re-grief” phenomenon as Delayed Grief, defined as:

“When grief symptoms and reactions aren’t experienced until long after a person’s death or a much later time than is typical. The griever, who consciously or subconsciously avoids the reality and pain of the loss, suppresses these reactions.”

And, it is another perfectly normal part of the grief journey. I believe some of my other siblings are struggling through delayed grief, too, after stirring the emotions as we talked about our experiences for the book and I pray we all get the help we need. The good thing is Heartlinks Grief Center is right here for us – a program of Family Hospice of Belleville, IL. Diana and her team of professionals are there for us and for you, too – we are so blessed in Southwestern Illinois. If you or a person you love, dear reader, is struggling with a recent loss or delayed grief, please call now.

Be Blessed,

Ellen

“We Grow Stronger Together”

Ellen Krohne, author of We Lost Her, available on Amazon.com

Heartlinks Grief Center volunteer and Family Hospice board member

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