Check out these additional resources for books, media, blogs, and online support.
24/7 Online Support Group
The Alliance of Hope was created by survivors for survivors. They provide online healing support and other services for people who are coping with devastating loss to suicide. Find online support groups, community forums, a bookstore, and even counseling via Skype and phone. Recommended by a Muskegon local who found healing through this alliance!
The Dougy Center’s Podcast
Remember the last time you tried to talk about grief and suddenly everyone left the room? Grief Out Loud is opening up this often avoided conversation because grief is hard enough without having to go through it alone. This podcast brings you a mix of personal stories, tips for supporting children, teens, and yourself, and interviews with bereavement professionals. Platitude and cliché-free, we promise!
Resources for Widows
Author and speaker Miriam Neff founded this site to connect widows (a word she still doesn't like) and offer tips on finances, relationships, and more. You'll find it very practical and informational. This site also includes a podcast where Miriam and her daughter discuss specific lessons they've learned on various topics as it relates to spousal and partner loss. Miriam is one of the returning speakers at the local Widow's Retreat in Muskegon each October.
Grief Support Blog
In these blogs, Eleanor Haley and Litsa Williams seek to leave no stone unturned in demystifying the complicated and sometimes crazy experience of living life after loss. Covering a variety of grief topics, grievers and grief professionals alike will find their approach practical, relatable, informative and engaging. The site also provides many ways for readers to participate in posts, ask questions, and honor their loved ones. Highly Recommended.
Online Community for Child Loss
The Compassionate Friends offer online support for bereaved parents, as well as local chapters of support groups. Learn from others who have also walked this difficult road, and share your own experience when the worst thing has happened.
Online Community for any Death Loss
Find and share stories of Hope here, and connect with others who have experienced grief and loss.
Resources for Victims of Drunk and Drugged Driving
MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) provides a wide variety of supportive services including honoring your loved ones, understanding your rights, help in preparing a victim impact statement, connecting you with local chapters, and more. A very active resource provided at no cost to victims.
Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support
Share Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support is a community for anyone who experiences the tragic death of a baby. They serve parents, grandparents, siblings, and others in the family unit. Services include bed-side companions, phone support, face-to-face support group meetings, resource packets, private online communities, memorial events, and so much more. You can also find a Share Chapter near you.
Support for any Death Loss
"Some things cannot be fixed, they can only be carried," says creator and widow Megan Devine, who seeks to tell the truth about grief, with no sugar-coating. This site offers support that actually sounds like you - something that speaks to your life, your mind, your heart. She offers a "Writing in Grief" course and other unique opportunities.
Support for Loss of a Twin
Losing a twin or close sibling is a unique experience, as the founders of this support group well know. Find useful resources, events, and consider joining as a member if you are a twinless twin.
Interactive Grief Forums
A grief resource website that was the first of its kind to use technology to help people through their grief. Forums include death of a child, spouse, sibling, parent, suicide, and more.
Q & A Column on Grief and Bereavement
Dr. Robert Neimeyer is active in the field of grief and bereavement, and offers this weekly question and answer column, directed by readers like you. Ask questions in confidentiality, and read through other frequently asked questions. Dr. Neimeyer offers practical and honest advice.
Support for Men Grieving a Loss
This is a virtual toolkit for men coping with loss of a loved one - led and organized by widowers themselves. A great place to learn how men grieve and connect with other widowers online or in your area.
Support for Children, Teens, and Families
NAGC is a non-profit organization that raises awareness about the needs of children and teens who are grieving a death and provides education and resources for anyone who supports them. A leading resource in the field...highly recommended.
Borrow a Book
Books are another great way to gain insight from those who have been where you are. Many of these books for adults, teens, and children are available to borrow at a Sytsema Location! Contact Keri (231-855-6688) to check availability. However, these are great books to have on hand and read more than once, so feel free to follow the link to purchase your own copy!
A Grace Disguised
While I would recommend this book to anyone who has experienced grief, it is especially unique in covering the interweaving of trauma and faith. The author's practical, no-nonsense approach to grief can be applied to many of our stories and radiates hope for the griever in a platitude-free manner. Highly recommended!
From One Widow To Another
Widows of all ages can benefit from the Miriam's insights as she reveals her struggles and victories in the murky waters of widowhood. She offers advice on finances, how to surround yourself with wise supporters, and even how to find renewed purpose and mission.
Healing A Parent's Grieving Heart
100 Practical Ideas
Alan Wolfelt, PH.D
With these constructive and feasible suggestions, parents can discover healthy ways to take action in their grief after a child dies. Alan Wolfelt has also written 100 practical ideas for children, spousal loss, teens, traumatic death, and the list goes on. Very worthwhile.
On Grief and Grieving
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and
If there is a grief topic that is not included in this book – I don't know what it is. An excellent book to have on the shelf to gain insight along the grief journey. From regret and relief to possessions of your loved one and holidays, this book has it covered. Insightful, theoretical, and practical all rolled up in one.
When Your Soulmate Dies
Alan Wolfelt, PH.D
Any book by Alan Wolfelt would be highly recommended. This one in particular lays out the honest truth about coping with the loss of a spouse. The depth of love often reflects the depth of our grief, and you will definitely find yourself nodding along as you relate to these chapters.
Grieving The Child I Never Knew
A devotional companion for those who have experienced miscarriage, neonatal death, or stillbirth. This book, with its journaling components, invites you to grieve honestly and well, presenting your questions and hurt before God who is the ultimate Healer.
Five Cries of Grief
Merton and Irene Strommen
After the tragic loss of their 25 year old son, these parents, Merton and Irene, write from individual perspectives, even as they share the same loss. In each new stage of their grief journey, you'll hear the mother's cry and the father's cry - a unique perspective on coping with their son's death and their journey toward healing.
Harold Ivan Smith
Filled with wisdom and fueled by common questions from grievers, Harold Ivan Smith, well-known for his seminars and books on grief, explores the difficult questions that we're all wondering. Reading this book may bring comfort and help uncover the isolation in grief, as we find that others ask similar questions.
Books For Kids and Teens
One Wave at a Time
I love using this book for kids because, in addition to the great illustrations, it gives language to feelings that are difficult for children to identify. After the death of the boy's dad, different emotions (anger, sadness, happiness, fear, numbness) wash over him throughout the day. This book affirms the complex emotions that children feel and encourages them to "surf" the waves as they come.
The Invisible String
This book doesn't use "grief language" and may not even have been intended for such, but I like how the idea of an "invisible string" connects them to their loved ones and encourages those continuing bonds. The main theme of the book is that we are never alone, so read this book to children who need to be encouraged and affirmed by that truth.
Samantha Jane’s Missing Smile
Julie Kaplow and Donna Pincus
This tender, honest story is a practical way to teach children that sharing their feelings is important and acceptable. After Samantha Jane's father dies, she doesn't want to overwhelm herself or burden her mother by expressing emotions. The author is clever about using Samantha Jane's thoughts to explain to readers that our feelings won't just go away if we try to ignore them, but taking action in our grief is when healing can begin.
A Grief Journal
The Dougy Center's first journal especially created for grieving teens. Whether a teen has experienced the death of a parent, sibling, grandparent, close friend, or other family member, this Deconstruction/Reconstruction journal is an advice-free place where teens can draw, write, paint, and transform whatever they're thinking and feeling.
This is an excellent read for young teenagers and adults alike. The main character experiences the loss of her mom to cancer, and walks through what the first year is like as she navigates life without her mom. The details of family life and school friendships are honest and convincing, capturing both the difficulties and the unfamiliarity of life after loss.
A Hug from Heaven
A Hug from Heaven is unique in that it's written as a poem of love from the person who died. The message of the book is that love is stronger than death, and it is okay to hurt and feel many different emotions as we miss our loved ones. This book, a personal favorite, gives voice to many questions and worries that children (and adults) are feeling, and can be read again and again.
Watch this very worthwhile video clip about the importance of involving children in funeral services and ritual events. As parents, we want to protect our children from death and difficult experiences...but, we promise, a funeral won't hurt them! Rather, the experience is proven to be helpful in their grief process as they remember and honor their loved ones and have a chance to say goodbye.
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