TIPS FOR THOSE WHO GRIEVE
- Grief is the natural process to adjust to loss and for the heart to heal.
- Time does not heal all wounds.
- Grief requires active grief work to heal, not the passive passage of time.
- Grief takes as long as it takes.
- Grief work is the hardest work you will ever do; therefore, it is exhausting.
- Grief is the work of remembering.
- The goal of grief work is NOT to forget your loved one, but rather to be able to remember him/her without that awful pain sweeping you downstream into the rapids over and over again.
- Grief comes in waves which, at first are close together but gradually with active grief work, begin to space out.
- Grief gets harder before it gets easier.
- Drinking and drugging to medicate the pain only delays and prolongs the grief.
- Grief will wait as long as you demand it to wait.
- The most important thing you can do to help yourself through your grief is to tell your story over and over again, to whomever is emotionally safe for you.
- Feelings are neither good nor bad; they just are, and they need to be felt in order to be released.
- Depression is normal in grief. It slows you down and keeps you from running away from grief through distraction or busyness. Depression forces you to enter the process of healing and to feel the pain of grief in order to release it.
- Allow friends who are emotionally safe to be there for you. Do not decide for them what they can and can’t do for you. Ask for what you need and let them decide what they can and can’t give at a particular time.
- Having structure in your day is helpful.
- Have a specific time to go to bed and to get up.
WHAT DOES A GRIEF COUNSELOR DO?
Grief is the normal process in which a person adjusts to loss or major change of any kind. Bereavement, on the other hand, is a specific type of grief process by which a person adjusts to the death of a loved one. It is a normal life crisis although it can feel very abnormal at times. This is because our society tends to avoid conversation that would provide better understanding about the grief process. Grief counseling for bereavement is supportive counseling that facilitates a healthy adjustment process by helping the heart to heal from the inside out. Grief counseling helps you understand what to expect in the grief process, what works and what doesn’t work in managing the waves of grief, and teaches you healthy coping skills.
Grief work is the hardest work you will ever do; therefore it is exhausting. There are no Band-Aids for grief and time does not heal all wounds. Grief takes as long as it takes. Grief comes in waves. At first the waves are so close together you barely can catch your breath before another wave pummels you against the ocean floor. But gradually, with active grief work these waves will begin to space out. The goal of grief work is not to forget your loved, but rather to be able to release the awful pain of grief and to remember your loved one without the pain washing you downstream over and over again.
DR. JAN PETTIGREW
Dr. Jan Pettigrew is an oncology and grief crisis counselor who provides supportive counseling for cancer patients and their families, as well as, bereavement counseling for those who have experienced the death of a loved one. Through individual and family counseling sessions, seminars, and retreats she teaches patients and their families how to be healthy emotionally, spiritually, relationally and mentally as they confront life and death issues. Dr. Pettigrew began her practice in 1979 as a clinical nurse specialist at Morton Cancer and Research Hospital in Dallas, Texas before going into private practice in 1986, first in Dallas and then in 1993 moving her practice to Little Rock. In Dallas, she helped develop a bereavement support group called Life After Loss which won a national award from the American Cancer Society and was adopted as an ongoing program, they offer to help family and friends dealing with the death of a loved one. In Little Rock she has served as a consultant for CARTI Cancer Center in providing counseling for patients and families going through cancer treatment.
Dr. Pettigrew received her Ph.D. in Nursing from Texas Woman’s University where she focused her studies upon the impact of the nurse’s presence with persons experiencing suffering. She completed undergraduate and graduate nursing studies at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Nursing. Dr. Pettigrew also did postgraduate study in counseling at Dallas Theological Seminary where she explored the interface of health care and spiritual care. She describes her role as an awesome privilege to be invited to come alongside and support people through very difficult times in their lives and then to witness transformation take place as they experience healing.
IF you have lost a loved one, Dr. Pettigrew also does grief counseling. Click on the GRIEF, LOSS AND LEGACY tab for more information.
Dr. Pettigrew is located in Little Rock Arkansas, but she will do counseling sessions via phone. To connect with Dr. Pettigrew call (501) 663-7211.
WHAT DOES LEAVING A LEGACY MEAN?
To leave a legacy is to put a stamp on the future, making a contribution to future generations. People want to leave a legacy because it makes the life of their loved one matter.
These 10 questions will help you determine what you want your legacy to be:
- What do you want your life to stand for?
- How do you want to be remembered by family?
- What will those beyond your family and friends remember you for?
- What kind of an impact do you want to have on your community?
- How will the world be a better place because you were in it?
- What contributions do you want to make to your field?
- Whose lives will you put a stamp on?
- What lessons would you like to pass on to future generations?
- What do you want to leave behind?
- How can you serve?
EXAMPLE OF LEAVING A LEGACY
Not only was Personal Pep Rally formed to encourage, motivate, and educate cancer patients, it was also developed for Marc Stringer. Stringer was alive battling cancer when we create this 501c3, and he was involved in all preparation and planning. He and Lauren brainstormed the details behind ENDURE THE DIRT; the 5k mud run in the rice fields around MACK’S PRAIRIE WINGS in Stuttgart. ENDURE THE DIRT is the fundraiser that gives us the monetary backing to fulfill all of our missions. Stringer’s diagnosis was not very promising, but we knew that his life would be kept alive by giving back through our mission work. Stringer passed away on January 24, 2020, but he continues to live and motivate others through Personal Pep Rally’s mission work.
Marc Stringers legacy lives on benefiting other cancer patients and their families through the JOY MAIL program, scholarships given to seniors whose family has battled cancer, Endure the Dirt and Personal Pep Rally’s many other projects.
DR. JACLYNN ELIAS FAVORITE ARTICLE ABOUT LEGACY
BOOK LIST FOR LEGACY BUILDING
Mom Share Your Life with Me- Kathleen Lashier
Dad Share Your Life with Me- Kathleen Lashier
Grandma Tell Me Your Memories- Kathy Lashier
My Dad: In His Own Words- Miriam Hathaway
Letters to My Daughter- Lea Redmond
Letters to My Son- Lea Redmond
Letters to My Grandchild- Lea Redmond
A Grandparent’s Legacy: Your Life Story In Your Own Words