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Bereavement Ministry

An on-going Grief Support Group is being offered for anyone who has experienced the death of a loved one. If you or someone you know is dealing with the loss of a loved one, please consider attending the group in the St. James parish center. The group typically meets every-other month and dates and times will be announced on the website and in the bulletin.  This group is FREE and there is no forced participation. Refreshments are provided.

For more information, please contact Tom Bekkers at 920-660-8066 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Tom is a trained grief counselor and the facilitator of the group. He is also a member of St. James Parish. Please feel free to help yourself to any of the grief material located at the church entrances in each parish with our Circle of Faith Catholic Community.


Our Next Group Meeting... 

The next Grief Support Group is set for Sunday, May 21 from 6 - 8pm at St. James Parish. The topic is “What’s Really Normal When You’re Grieving.” All those who are mourning the loss of someone dear to them are invited and welcome to attend. No registration or fee required.


Tear Soup

Tear Soup, a recipe for healing after loss is a family story book and video that centers around an old and somewhat wise woman, Grandy. Grandy has just suffered a big loss in her life and so she is headed to the kitchen to make a special batch of Tear Soup. To season her soup Grandy adds memories like the good times and the bad times, the silly and the sad times. She does not want to forget even one precious memory of her loss. Tear Soup give you a glimpse in Grandy's life as she blends different ingredients into her own grief process. Her tear soup will help to bring her comfort and ultimately help to fill the void in her life that was created by her loss.

Additional information can be found at http://www.griefwatch.com/tear-soup-home.html.


Carol Luebering's article, "Getting Through the Annual Reminders of Your Loss" is attached HERE for your reference.


Ways to Help Those Who are Grieving

  • Be there. Do not offer solutions, just be there and listen.
  • Encourage them to talk about the loss. Mention the name of the person who died, or talk about the specific loss. Don’t avoid or change the subject.
  • Offer reassurance. Affirm the normalcy of grief reactions.
  • Don’t take anger personally. It is often part of the grief. 

Strategies to Get Through the Holidays after the Death of a Loved One

By Tom Bekkers

Holidays are often difficult for anyone who has experienced the death of someone loved. Rather than being times of family togetherness, sharing and thanksgiving, holidays can bring feelings of sadness, loss and emptiness. Since love does not end with death, holidays may result in a renewed sense of personal grief—a feeling of loss unlike that experienced in the routine of daily living. Society encourages you to join in the holiday spirit, but all around you the sounds, sights and smells trigger memories of the one you love who has died. No simple guidelines exist that will take away the hurt you are feeling. I hope, however, the following strategies will help you better cope with your grief during this joyous, yet painful, time of the year. Please remember that by being tolerant and compassionate with yourself, you will continue to heal in your personal grief experience.

  1. Talk About Your Grief. During the holiday season, don’t be afraid to express your feelings of grief. Ignoring your grief won’t make the pain go away and talking about it openly often makes you feel better. Find caring friends and relatives who will listen—without judging you. They will help make you feel understood. It is normal to have to cry during the holidays. So many sights, places, aromas and sounds are instant memory-grabbers. Because it isn’t healthy to hold back emotions, schedule “tear times” into your day. Pick a certain length of time to cry, ten minutes, maybe, or even an hour, whatever makes you comfortable.   
  2. Be Tolerant of Your Physical or Psychological Limits. Feelings of loss will probably leave you fatigued. Your low energy level may naturally slow you down. Respect what your body and mind are telling you. And lower your own expectations about being at your peak during the holiday season. Try to maintain consistent sleeping and eating patterns as much as possible.   
  3. Mention the Name of the Person Who Has Died. Include the person’s name in your       holiday conversation. If you are able to talk candidly, other people are more likely to recognize your need to remember that special person who was an important part of your life.
  4. Buy a beautiful Christmas candle and light it each day through December.  One mother remembered, “Every time that candle was lit, the whole house seemed warmer. It was my daily, silent reminder of him and it made me feel so much better!”
  5. Enlist the help of others in wrapping your gifts. Many friends are only too happy to help, but need to be asked. You supply the paper, ribbon, and tags. You don’t have wrapping paper or can’t bear to look over what you do have? Collect the colored comic pages from Sunday newspapers and use them as wrap, attaching a pretty bow when you are done. Don’t worry, this is the one year you can do a lot of “strange” things (like this) and people will accept it!
  6. Plan Ahead for Family Gatherings. Decide which family traditions you want to continue and which ones you would like to begin following the death of someone loved. Structure you holiday time. This will help you anticipate activities, rather than just reacting to whatever happens. Getting caught off guard can create feelings of panic, fear and anxiety during a time of the year when your feelings of grief are already heightened. As you make your plans, however, leave room to change them if you feel it is appropriate. Have you always hosted Christmas dinner? Are presents traditionally opened on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning? Talk over possible changes with your family asking for a new host/hostess this year. Switch time for presents as this may provide a few less painful memories.  
  7. Determine to do one special thing for someone else in December. Decide who that will be and put the name on your calendar so that you won’t forget. Maybe you know someone who is hurting like you or a lonely neighbor who could use a short visit. Perhaps you could make cookies to give away (or buy them, when cooking is too much work), pick out a special card to send or take a plant to someone. The season is a little easier when your eyes are focused, even for a brief time, on someone else.    
  8. Embrace Your Treasure of Memories. Memories are one of the best legacies that exist after the death of someone loved. And holidays always make you think about times past. Instead of ignoring these memories, share them with your family and friends. Keep in mind that memories tinged with both happiness and sadness. If your memories bring laughter, smile. If your memories bring sadness, then it’s alright to cry. Memories that were made in love – no one can ever take them away from you.          
  9. Contribute to your favorite charity in your loved one’s name. You could choose the Christmas club that helps the less fortunate through your local newspaper or youth organization or a church in your area. When writing the check, take the time to jot down a note that introduces the one in whose memory the gift is given. Oh, it feels good to share this about to special family members!
  10. Express Your Faith. During the holidays, you may find a renewed sense of faith or discover a new set of beliefs. Associate with people who understand and respect your need to talk about these beliefs. If your faith is important, you may want to attend a holiday service or special religious ceremony.      

DEATH AND GRIEF IN THE FAMILY: TIPS FOR PARENTS

By James Batts, PhD, NCSP Eastern Kentucky University

Our children grow up in a culture that avoids expressing grief and tries to deny the inevitability of death. The realization that all life must someday end is one of the most difficult concepts we as adults have to deal with and is one of the most difficult concepts we have to teach our children. Death is all around us, yet as parents we believe that if we do not talk about it with our children death will not touch them.

Children will face many deaths that will have an impact on their daily lives. Some of these deaths may be anticipated and some sudden. Children may have to face the fact that a friend, a sibling, or a parent has died or that they, too, will die. Children will need adult help in understanding what is happening and will typically look to adults as models for how to cope.

To Read the entire article, click HERE to view the PDF.


The Mourners Bill of Rights

  1. You have the right to feel a multitude of emotions. Confusion, disorientation, fear, guilt and relief are just a few of the emotions you might feel as part of your journey. Know that there is no such thing as a wrong emotion. Accept all your feelings and find listeners who will do the same.
  2. You have the right to make use of rituals. Funeral/memorial rituals provide you with the support of caring people. More important, they collectively see you off on your painful but necessary grief journey. Later rituals, such as lighting a candle for the person who died can also be healing touchstones. If others tell you that rituals such as these are silly or unnecessary, don’t listen.
  3. You have the right to experience grief attacks. Sometimes out of nowhere, a powerful surge of grief may overcome you. This can be frightening but is normal and natural. Find someone who understands and will let you talk about it.

Ways to Cope with Grief

  • Write—whether poetry or songs, letters to friends (to send or not), or a daily journal.
  • Listen to music from meaningful artists. There is so much expressive music from classical to the blues to contemporary to country, each with its own flavor of “Sad Songs” and also inspirational, uplifting ones.
  • Sew something, quilt something, create something.
  • Take slow deep breaths, count to 10, concentrate on your breathing, the movement, let go of stress.
  • Do something kind for someone else. You will realize that you can make a difference.
  • Find a quiet place to think, to remember, to process, to meditate or be alone with your thoughts and allow the healing to take place in silence.
  • Participate in a ceremony—religious, candlelight, or dinner with friends and family, or create your own ritual.
  • Watch a favorite movie, sad so you can cry, or happy so you can laugh.
  • Draw, paint, sketch or doodle.
  • Sing in the car, the shower, at church, with friends.
  • Enjoy food.
  • Give yourself permission, time and space to grieve.
  • Be patient and gentle with yourself.
  • Cry—it is not a sign of weakness. Tears release tension and are healing.
  • Accept your grief—don’t pretend that it doesn’t hurt. 
  • Grieving is a natural and healing process.
  • Plan activities that are enjoyable.
  • Ask for help when you need it and accept help when offered. Let others know what is right for you; they will take their cues from you.
  • Seek support through family, friends, clergy, support groups or counseling.
  • Don’t overextend yourself or take on new responsibilities right away.
  • Take good physical care of yourself. Try to get enough rest...emphasize nutrition...exercise in moderation...see your doctor for a physical.
  • Pace yourself. Grief takes energy.
  • Don’t compare yourself to others who are grieving. Everyone heals in their own time and way.
  • Don’t become dependent on alcohol or drugs to get through the painful times...they will only mask the pain.

 

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The Our Father

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen

Hail Mary

Hail, Mary! Full of grace, The Lord is with thee, Blessed are thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen

Glory Be

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen