Catholic Church

Grief Support

We begin this Grief Brief with the often asked question: “How long will this grieving last?” The simple response is that it will last for as long as is needed for each individual person.  People grieve for as long as it takes to heal from a very difficult life event – the loss of a loved one or some other significant loss.

The length of one’s grieving time depends on many factors.  Those who have accompanied a loved through a long illness, perhaps as the caregiver, have already done some of their grieving- but not all. They grieve for as long as is necessary after the death.  Sudden deaths, because they entail no time to prepare, may require that one experience grief for a  longer timeframe, depending upon circumstances.  Traumatic deaths from shootings, stabbings, suicides, accidents, natural disasters, drug overdoses, or the tragedies of war usually have an extended period of grieving because of the grave circumstances of the deaths. The nature of one’s relationship with the deceased will certainly impact grieving time, as well.

Waiting solely for time to pass will not bring about the healing from grief that is necessary or required to enable one to go on with his or her life in a meaningful manner.  Losses require grief work, and that is exactly what it is –work.  It is helpful to realize that grief work requires experiencing all of the feelings that the loss has stirred up.  Speaking to trusted others about one’s loss is helpful. Writing out one’s feelings helps as well.  Reminiscing about the time spent with the loved one, remembering that person on special occasions, and celebrating the life of the person in some special manner will all be a necessary part of the grief work that one does.

When considering time and grieving it is important to look at the phases of time – yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  It is comforting initially to return to memories of the no-too-distant past, for it is there that the sad, but recent, memories of the loved  one  are.  Remaining in the sadness of the past can deepen one’s personal sadness.  It can perhaps lead to a period of depression which may exist for a longer period of time.

For grieving persons the future is a big unknown.  How life will unfold and progress is quite unclear.  Worrying about what will be or what could happen can easily lead to increased stress, fears, and anxiety. Projecting what the future will bring,  too early in grief,  is not helpful.

The present is the best place where one can direct one’s attention and energy. The benefits to one’s well-being will thus be significant. Focusing on what is now, as opposed to what was or will be, can aid the grieving person to face life events one day at a time. This can insure a smoother and more effective passage through one’s grief journey.

A good suggestion might be to visit the past for briefer time periods as grieving progresses.  Trying to project future outcomes for one’s life too soon, can deepen one’s anxiety about “moving on”. The present ,therefore, is the time frame into which one can place one’s efforts at survival, healing, and growth. Stay there, for it is where your heart dictates that you should remain.

 

 

Breve de Duelo #19: Cuanto Tiempo Va Durar este Duelo?- Comenzamos este Resumen de duelo con la pregunta que se hace a menudo: “¿Cuánto tiempo durará este duelo?” La respuesta simple es que durará todo el tiempo que sea necesario para cada persona. Las personas se afligen por el tiempo que lleva curarse de un evento de la vida muy difícil: la pérdida de un ser querido o alguna otra pérdida significativa. La duración del tiempo de duelo depende de muchos factores. Aquellos que han acompañado a un ser querido a través de una larga enfermedad, tal vez como cuidador, ya han hecho parte de su dolor, pero no todos. Se afligen durante el tiempo que sea necesario después de la muerte. Las muertes repentinas, debido a que no requieren tiempo para prepararse, pueden requerir que uno experimente el dolor durante un período de tiempo más prolongado, según las circunstancias. Las muertes traumáticas por disparos, apuñalamientos, suicidios, accidentes, desastres naturales, sobredosis de drogas o las tragedias de ;a guerra suelen tener un período prolongado de duelo debido a las graves circunstancias de las muertes. La naturaleza de la relación de uno con el difunto ciertamente también afectara el tiempo de duelo. Esperar únicamente para que pase el tiempo no provocará la curación de la pena que es necesaria o requerida para permitirle a uno continuar con su vida de una manera significativa. Las pérdidas requieren un trabajo de duelo, y eso es exactamente lo que es: el trabajo. Es útil darse cuenta de que el trabajo de duelo requiere experimentar todos los sentimientos que ha despertado la pérdida. Hablar con otros sobre la perdida de uno es útil. Escribir los sentimientos de uno también ayuda. Recordar el tiempo que paso con el ser querido, recordar a esa persona en ocasiones especiales y celebrar la vida de la persona de laguna manera especial será una parte necesaria del trabajo de duelo que uno hace. Cuando se considera el tiempo y el dolor, es importante observar las fases del tiempo: ayer, hoy, y mañana. Inicialmente, es reconfortante volver a los recuerdos del pasado no muy lejano, porque es allí donde se encuentran los recuerdos tristes, pero recientes, de la persona amada. Permanecer en la tristeza del pasado puede profundizar la tristeza personal. Tal vez puede conducir a un período de depresión que puede existir durante un período de tiempo más largo. Para las personas en duelo el futuro es una gran incógnita. ¿Cómo se desarrollará la vida y el progreso es bastante claro. Preocuparse por lo que será o lo que podría suceder puede conducir fácilmente a un aumento del estrés, los temores y la ansiedad. Proyectar lo que el futuro traerá, demasiado temprano en el dolor, no es útil. El presente es el mejor lugar donde uno puede dirigir su atención y energía. Los beneficios para el bienestar de uno serán, por lo tanto, significativos. Centrarse en lo que es ahora, a diferencia de lo que fue o será, puede ayudar a la persona afligida a enfrentar los eventos de la vida de un día a la vez. Esto puede asegurar un paso más suave y efectivo a través del viaje de la pena. Una buena sugerencia podría ser visitar el pasado por períodos de tiempo más breves a medida que avanza la aflicción. Tratar de proyectar resultados futuros para la vida de uno demasiado pronto, puede profundizar la ansiedad de uno sobre “seguir adelante”. El presente, por lo tanto, es el marco de tiempo en el que uno puede ubicar sus esfuerzos de supervivencia, curación y crecimiento. Quédate allí, porque es donde tu corazón dicta que debes permanecer.

 

 

 

As we explore sadness, depression, and grief, we who are grieving have come to know the pervasiveness of sadness within the grief journey.  It is sometimes hard to believe that the intense feelings of absence, aloneness, and missing will ever lighten.  What we do with these feelings is important.

Sadness is felt more strongly during the early months of grieving  quite often, if not daily.  Equating one’s degree of sadness with the degree of love and affection one had for the person who is no longer tangibly with us, helps us to move more easily through the depth of the sadness.  Choosing to remain in the sadness for long periods of time can easily lead to a depression known to some grievers.  They will visit and revisit their feelings of sadness, missing, and aloneness in order to feel closer to the person they have lost.  As mentioned, remaining there is not helpful.  Some feel it is a way to never forget the person lost. The truth is that forgetting persons with whom  we have shared days, months, and years of our lives does not easily happen.

There will always be occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, or special family events when remembering with sadness will be felt.  The consoling reality is that, in time, the sadness will lighten, as it should.

However, when the sadness, related to the losses we have faced, remains intense for long periods of time (weeks or months) it can incapacitate a person physically, emotionally, spiritually, and socially. Then depression has truly set in, that is the depression of grief.  In situations like this the grieving persons will not freely admit to the degree of depression they are experiencing, but it may become evident to those with whom they live.  In such circumstances there is a  need for professional help.  Medications, personal counseling, the support of a trusted friend or mentor, as well as a grief support group can be helpful.  These interventions can prevent the grieving person from sinking more deeply into his or her sorrow, depression, or despair.

M any grieving persons are wary of taking medications like anti-depressants, sleep medications, anti-anxiety pills, etc. for fear of becoming dependent upon them, as can happen.  Knowing that medications  can help to take the edge off of the overpowering feelings being felt can ease the fears of addiction.  It is important to realize that as the intense feelings lessen  so will the need for the medications also lessen.

In truth, as helpful as medications can, be they can dampen the many feelings that accompany  the grief process.  Feelings like anger, guilt, regret, unforgiveness, and depression do need to be looked at, internally processed, and talked about with a trusted other so we can let them go.  Blocking  feelings   for too long with many medications, denial, or even over-activity will certainly interfere with the healing that grief work can bring.

So, in conclusion, know that we will be sad, or maybe even depressed over the loss of someone special in our lives.  Remaining in the sadness or the depression of grief for too long is certainly not helpful to grieving persons.  Acquiring the assistance of a professional person can sometimes be needed.  Overall, sadness is much a part of grieving a loss because we realize that we have lost someone that we have truly loved.

 

Breve de Duelo #17

A medida que exploramos la tristeza, la depresión y el dolor, los que sufrimos hemos llegado a conocer la omnipresencia de la tristeza en el camino de dolor. A veces es difícil creer que los intensos sentimientos de ausencia, soledad y falta de ausencia, soledad y lata de alguna vez se aclararán. Lo que hacemos con estos sentimientos es importante. La tristeza se siente con más fuerza durante los primeros meses de duelo con bastante frecuencia, si no todos los días. Al equiparar el grado de tristeza de uno con el grado de amor y afecto que uno siente por las persona que ya no es tangible con nosotros, nos ayuda a movernos más fácilmente a través de la tristeza. La elección de permanecer en la tristeza durante largos periodos de tiempo puede llevar fácilmente a una depresión conocida por algunos quejarse. Visitarán y volverán a sus sentimientos de tristeza, falta y soledad para sentirse más cerca de la persona que han perdido. Como se mencionó, permanecer allí no es útil. Algunos sienten que es forma de nunca olvidar a la persona perdida. La verdad es que olvidar a la personas que quienes compartimos días, meses y años de nuestras vidas no sucede fácilmente. Siempre habrá ocasiones como cumpleaños, aniversarios o eventos familiares especiales cuando se sentirá el recuerdo con tristeza. La realidad consoladora es que, con el tiempo, la tristeza se aligerara, como debe ser.  Sin embargo, cuando la tristeza, relacionada con las pérdidas que hemos enfrentado, permanece intensa durante largos períodos de tiempo (semanas o meses), puede incapacitar a una persona físicamente, emocional, espiritualmente y socialmente. Entonces la depresión realmente se ha establecido, esa es la depresión del dolor. En situaciones como esta, las personas afligidas no admitirán libremente el grado de depresión que experimentan, pero puede ser evidente para las personas con quienes viven. En tales circunstancias se necesita ayuda profesional. Los medicamentos, el asesoramiento personal, el apoyo de un amigo o mentor de confianza, así como  un grupo de apoyo para el duelo pueden ser útiles. Estas intervenciones pueden evitar que la persona afligida se hunda más profundamente en su dolor, depresión o desesperación. Muchas personas afligidas temen tomar medicamentos como los antidepresivos, los medicamentos para dormir, las pastillas contra la ansiedad, etc., por temor a volverse dependientes de ellos, como puede suceder. Saber que los medicamentos pueden ayudar a eliminar los sentimientos abrumadores que se sienten puede aliviar los temores de la adicción. Es importante darse cuneta de que a medida que disminuyen los sentimientos intensos, también disminuirá la necesidad de medicamentos.  En verdad, tan útiles como pueden ser los medicamentos, pueden amortiguar los muchos sentimientos que acompañan el proceso de duelo. Los sentimientos como la ira, la culpa, el arrepentimiento, la falta de perdón y la depresión deben ser examinados, procesados ​​internamente y discutidos con alguien de confianza para que podamos dejarlos ir. Bloquear los sentimientos durante demasiado tiempo con muchos medicamentos, rechazo o incluso actividad excesiva sin duda interferirá con la curación que puede traer el trabajo de la pena. Entonces, para concluir, sepa que estaremos tristes, o tal vez incluso deprimidos por la pérdida de alguien especial en nuestras vidas. Permanecer en la tristeza o la depresión de la pena durante mucho tiempo ciertamente no es útil para las personas en duelo. La adquisición de la asistencia de una persona profesional a veces puede ser necesaria. En general, la tristeza es una parte importante de la pérdida de un duelo porque nos damos cuenta de que hemos perdido a alguien a quien realmente amamos.

 

 

Grief Brief # 16 

As we begin a new grief message this month our focus will be on how children face losses and  how they express their grief.

A number of people believe that babies and small children are unaware of a loss that occurs within a family.  This is not totally true.  Although they don’t understand the concept of death and the loss that ensues, they do sense that something is amiss.  Their parents and others are sad , and perhaps weeping. They can easily respond to this with clinging and restless behavior.

As children enter the 2-6 year age ranges they can easily sense the absence of someone loved. They are no longer there within the family or at gatherings.  They ask about the person or wait for them to be present once again.  There are lots of questions that await answers on their part.  They can be told that their special person had become tired, weakened, or ill and has died.  They have left the family and friends for a place of rest, peace, and happiness.  Children brought up in a Christian home are told that heaven in that special place.  God is there, and other deceased family members are there .  Their dear ones are all happy and well.  It is helpful to reassure children that at some point, as their lives end, they too will  be able to see and be with their special persons.  This can be comforting to children.

It can be noted that parents who receive the many questions about loss and death may not be able to respond adequately to the questions asked by children.  They may be heavily grieving.  In which case, adult family members can offer to provide the requested information.  The language needs to be simple and offered in the easiest manner possible so that responses to questions are understood.  Linking sadness and others feelings of loss to the explanations being given will help children to more easily accept the feelings that they are experiencing.  It might be noted that when children grieve, they do so in shorter time periods.  They may ask their questions, express their sad feelings , and then be off to do a favorite activity.  How different from the sustained periods of grieving that adults experience!

Adolescents, who are experiencing losses of family members or friends, react in a totally different manner.  They grieve, but their grief expressions may be deeply internal or very overt.  There can be  enraged or have a sense of unfairness about the death, especially if it was traumatic, or perhaps marked by suicide.  Grief Counselors  in the school setting and anguished parents make every effort to reach out and provide comfort.  Teens, however, readily turn to peers to express their feelings of loss.

The behavior of teens may express an acting out of their sense of dismay at loosing someone close to them.  Behaviors may become reckless, explosive, or repressed by silence and a lack of communication.  Adults can offer their presence, caring, and any signs of comfort at this difficult time.  Group activities like candlelight vigils or memorial gatherings are helpful, as are offers of individual counseling by professional persons.

As can be seen, expressions of grief, related to losses experienced, will vary with the age groups of children.  The support of caring adults, simple answers  to questions, and the opportunity to express sad feelings in safe and sincere manners will always be helpful to children, as well as teens.  Participating in memorial services and funerals will help to heal  grieving hearts in significant ways.  Having children participate in these rituals that mark the passage from life to death can bring healing to them, especially if they are prepared for the experience by loving and caring adults.

Now that the Thanksgiving holidays are upon us, we are drawn by a spirit of gratitude that speaks to us.  Too often, however, we look around at our world and our lives, and foremost in our minds is not that which is enriching us and bringing us joy, but rather at that which we have lost.  Someone significant to us will not be at our Thanksgiving dinner table.  The gathering of family for the holiday weekend makes us keenly aware of the fact that someone very special will be absent for all of the sharing and fun that holiday get-togethers can bring.

We do have a choice about how we can keep the memory of our deceased loved ones alive and with us. This may entail including the missing persons, by name, in our blessing before the Thanksgiving meal.  In the toast that may be a part of our meal, the names of our loved ones might also be mentioned.  Sharing stories of holidays past will most assuredly have those who are gathered remembering and recalling memories that inevitably include the absent loved ones.  These are both memorable, as well as humorous.  Before very long, our loved ones’ stories and anecdotes are a part of the conversation.  Somber or cautious feelings lighten significantly. Those who have been trying to avoid their own sadness or tears, as well as fearing to provoke sadness in others, may soon be laughing and smiling as everyone shares and reminisces.

It does take a bit of courage to start such sharing, and thus it requires the bravest among us to be the initiators.  It is good to recognize that the positive results of the endeavor far  outweigh any negative or foreboding feelings one may have in being the “initiator”.  I would encourage any or all of the practices that were just suggested because I know that they work.

As indicated earlier, the Thanksgiving holidays invite us to be thankful.  Taking some quiet time to consider how the special persons who were a part of our lives have enriched them is important.  We have been graced by their presence for varying numbers of years.  During that time the memories of who they were for us remain.  We remember that they had qualities that we have always admired and would choose to emulate in our own lives.  We take the time to thank them for having brought the gift of themselves into our world and into our personal lives.

Thankfulness for those who still remain with us is also very much in order.  We share love and support with each other as we gather on special occasions like the holidays.  We acknowledge that we are able to heal and move forward in our grief journey because of the love and support of these dear persons.

May our good and gracious God shower His blessings upon each of us as we experience this holiday and the next ones that will soon follow.

As we share this Grief Brief (#13), we will look at the concept of change. Grief and the healing it brings will cause our hearts, minds, and souls to change with the changes that can aid us in moving forward with our lives.
Most people, especially those in the middle and latter phases of life, would prefer stability without a lot of change. They seek the “tried and tested” as opposed to innovation. When we grieve, however, change is imposed upon our lives. This occurs not in radical ways that diminish who we are, but in ways that develop new aspects of our person and lives.

Many authors who write about grief, loss, and the grieving process refer to the term “the new normal” which points to the adulterations that grief imposes and must be slowly accepted. As we describe these we learn:

• Grieving requires that a person look at one’s attitude each day that grief is unfolding. Beginning a given day with an attitude of pessimism sets the tone for the whole day. When one is convinced that nothing will go well and that sadness will pervade the whole day, that is exactly how things will play out. Questioning how one can go on without that special person makes going forward more difficult. A special prayer, an inspiring quote, a bit of soft music, or a request to one’s Higher Power for strength can adjust a negative attitude to be a more hopeful one.

• Reviewing one’s priorities while grieving can also lead one to consider needed changes. Formerly, one’s job or status, one’s income and personal pursuits were the major focus, whereas in the world of grief these priorities become less important. What becomes important, however, is one’s faith or spirituality, one’s God, one’s close family, good friends who will support and listen, one’s health, and a life that will bring purpose and meaning once the healing of grief has occurred.

• Going through grief’s emotional pain, loneliness, and sadness provides the opportunity to grow in strength, wisdom, and new insights. When one undertakes what was considered difficult or impossible and succeeds self-confidence is sparked. Navigating through necessary paperwork, finances, garden and household chores decision-making, etc. can challenge feelings of ineptitude and bring a sense of achievement, as well as pride. One also changes and grows as one seeks to discover a sense of purpose and meaning for one’s life. As healing completes the major part of the grief process there is a sensed need to reach out in caring to others in a meaningful way. All of the new pursuits and changes in the lives of grieving people are exactly what their deceased loved ones would wish for them.

As this grief note concludes I would like to inform my readers of an up-coming “Pre-Holiday Workshop” that will be offered at St. Matthias school on the Saturday before Thanksgiving (10 AM – 12 Noon). The session will assist grieving persons to face the holiday season with some degree of ease and grace. All will be welcome to attend.

As we face grief and the grieving process it is important to be aware that we are holistic human beings. Consequently, grief will affect the physical, emotional, and spiritual components of who we are.
Persons who ignore the need to grieve may sometimes be alerted by some physical problems that erupt. It is not unusual that chronic physical ailments like back issues, digestive problems, unstable blood pressure or diabetes are exacerbated by the stress of loss. This is so especially when the need to grieve a significant loss is ignored.

In this grief brief we will look at the spiritual part of our being. It is certainly affected and stirred by loss. Persons who have a strong relationship with their God or Higher Power will lean more heavily upon the comfort and strength that that relationship provides. When human strength, expended by grieving, begins to exhaust, there is a turning to the Divine for the help needed to cope and heal in this long, difficult process that we call “grief”.

Some may have the relationship with their Divine Power shaken by the loss. This can occur when prayers have been forthcoming, asking for a cure, a turn-around in the illness, or just more time with the loved one. When that doesn’t happen and death does occur, there may be disappointment and even anger that divine intervention was not available. These outcomes may well be reversed in time as the grieving person comes to realize that divine guidance and help are real needs as one grieves.

Persons who don’t profess adherence to an established religious group, church, or sect may pursue some other source of needed comfort and strength as they grieve. They may turn to a mentor, a wise and admired friend, or to books that have always provided them with inspiration and needed wisdom. Others may explore the spiritual principles that they have upheld throughout their lives to be the roadmap or guide for moving forward in grief

No matter what the source, when spiritual needs are felt, grieving persons can reach for the spiritual guidance and support they need to help them to better cope with their grief and loss.

 

As mentioned in the last Grief Brief, I would once again like to extend to any persons who have experienced loss and are grieving, the invitation to join the Grief Support Group that is held weekly at St. Matthias the Apostle Parish. The group will resume its weekly sessions on the second Saturday of September (9/9/17) and new members are welcomed. The group meets in the school library (St. Matthias School) at 9 AM. The address is 9475 Annapolis Road in Lanham, MD 20706. If anyone would like more information feel free to contact: Miriam Jacik, the Grief Coordinator at (301) 345-6054.

One of the issues that arises for people as they grieve is the subject of closure.  Some well-meaning persons in our society (that may include some family members and friends) would have us bring the process of grieving to a close at some point along the journey of grief.  They are yearning to see and relate to the “old us”- the one who is socially engaged, ever ready to reach out and help others, etc.  The changes that grief effects upon a person doesn’t necessarily let that happen.  The “old us” becomes a “new us” with values and life goals that have been re-processed and re-prioritized to create a “new normal” state of being.

The question, then, is : “Is there closure after a loss?”  There can  and should be some closure to the experiences  of deep pain, longing, and missing.  Staying with these feelings inhibits the moving forward that one needs and that the deceased persons  would desire for us.  Pain softens in time only to be renewed in a more gentle manner when special occasions remind us that someone very dear is missing from our midst.

One never forgets, however, what was.  Love is still there, memories are still there,  and both will always be in the minds and hearts of those who grieve.  Therefore, there can’t  be true closure in grief.

Another form of closure spoken about and related to grief occurs when  family and friends have the realization that their loved one has truly died.  This happens during the uncertainties of war and natural disasters like floods, hurricanes, tsunamis, as well as accidents, etc.  With this certainty the beloved can begin their grieving process.

So, we will conclude this grief message with the assurance that in most circumstances grieving will not entail a final period of dismissal or closure.   As long as loving memories of our deceased persons  persist throughout our lives in our hearts and minds they are with us, never to be forgotten.


On a completely different note I would like to extend to any persons, who have experienced a loss and are grieving, the invitation to join the Grief Support Group that is held at St. Matthias the Apostle Parish.  The group will resume weekly sessions on the second Saturday of September (9/9/17) and new members are welcomed.  The group meets in the school library  {St. Matthias School} at 9 AM. The address is 9475 Annapolis Rd. in  Lanham, MD 20706.  If anyone would like more information feel free to contact:  Miriam Jacik, the Grief Coordinator at (301) 345-6054.

Grief Brief   #9

One of the difficult aspects of grieving is dealing with the strong feelings that emerge during the grief process.  Among those known to most grievers are: sadness, loneliness, missing the person lost, anger that they are no longer a part of one’s life, and guilt over what one believes should or could have been done for the loved one.  Hindsight becomes quite keen while one is grieving.  Self-blame, regret, and guilt easily follow.

Anger may extend beyond self or the loved one to anger at God, who after all, could have spared the person for several more years, giving him or her wellness. Anger at medical personnel in our health care system can also arise when we believe that they could have tried harder to save the person or to have given better care.   Anger may also be extended to the person who died, especially if one feels that self-neglect was a causative factor in an earlier than desired death.

As feelings emerge they have a power of their own which will certainly increase if the feelings are repressed or denied.  Looking at feelings and trying to understand what they are conveying to us is quite important. Taking the time to see the reality of what one feels, talking about those feelings with a trusted other, or writing them out gives an escape of them from our inner world.  Of course this process cannot be done just once.  The feelings will emerge several times over until they dissipate and one can let them go.

Whenever strong feelings emerge during grief they require a process of forgiveness for needed healing to follow.  Forgiveness is extended to anyone considered to be complicit in any aspects of the loss.  When forgiveness of whomever, including self, is hard in coming there is a need to pray for the ability and strength to forgive.  Then, peace can follow.

Remember that holding on to unforgiveness or any of the strong feelings that emerge during grief will also lead to an undue toxic burden of spiritual and emotional unrest and unhappiness to be carried throughout one’s life. Therefore, a word of wisdom is to visit and process the feelings. 

My first thought in writing this next grief note, is to wish you, the readers, a Happy Easter, A Happy Passover, and a Happy Springtime.  May these occurrences fill you with hopefulness and joy as you proceed through your grief  journey.

We will now look at one thing that could help us to move forward in grief.  Learning about all of the aspects of grief is very helpful to the person who is going through the process.  Fortunately, there are many wonderful books, articles, and periodicals that explore the many facets of grieving.  These are written by professionals who have specialized in grief education and grief counseling, as well as by persons who have walked the road of grief and choose to share their insights and learned experiences. Knowing what can possibly be of help to us in our journey is quite important.

Our libraries and bookstores, as well as articles on the internet, provide a vast amount of information on the topics loss and grieving.  Several decades ago none of that information was available to grieving persons, so we are fortunate indeed.

Some who are grieving may find it difficult to focus on or comprehend well information on the topic of grief.  This is so in the early months of grieving when there is a strong sense of dishevelment pervading one’s being.  Even some avid readers have lost that sense of comprehension early in grief.  That wonderful ability to enjoy books will return in time, however. In the meantime, choosing to read shorter articles or topics on grief that may be of interest is very helpful.  A lot of grief education of this type occurs in many Grief Support Groups. 

Caring friends will sometimes offer us books on the topics of grief and loss as a way of reaching out to us.  If you are not ready to read those books at the time they are received, just put them aside for a later date when they will become a treasure to you.

So, I invite you to learn more about grief from books, periodicals, and articles. They will provide you with gems of wisdom and a better understanding of your own grieving.

winter blues

Since the erratic winter months are upon us, perhaps we could look at the topic of the “winter blues”.

Cold gray days, the snow, and the bleak scenes in nature have a way of affecting our mood and emotional lives.  This is especially so when we are also facing personal tragedies, health crises, or the loss of loved ones.

The truth is that experiencing the holiday season (now thankfully over) and the bleakness of the winter months does not necessarily have to be a major problem for us.  There are some things we can do to lighten our spirits and cope a little better.  Here are a few suggestions that can brighten the days and offset the sad, lonely feelings that want to envelope us at this time.

  • Start with your thinking. A positive approach to a new day helps.  Decide early on that there will be something happening today that will make it a “good day”.  Look for that something!  Expect it!  Pray for its blessings!
  • Have an agenda for each day that will hold promising events, enjoyable encounters with others, or places to go, etc. Many or even one will do.
  • Reach out in love and caring to others. A kind word said during a telephone call, a smile or a warm greeting given to a person met, or  a listening ear offered to someone in need, can make the caring happen. As we give in love, love will be received and our spirits, no doubt, will be lifted. 
  • Take some time to reflect not only upon what has been lost and is being grieved, but also upon whom and what we still have left in our lives. This can bring a measure of happiness and peace.
  • At the end of the day be thankful for at least one “happening” that brightened the day and brought warmth to your heart. Be grateful and treasure it.     

So, let the winter months come!  Believe that some happiness can be found, despite whatever may be happening out of doors.                                                                                                               

Mass Times / Horario de Misas

Saturday Vigil / Vigilia del Sábado
5:00 PM
7:00 PM (en español)
Sunday / Domingo
8:00 AM
9:30 AM
11:30 AM
6:00 PM
Daily Mass Schedule / Misa Diaria
Monday – Saturday / Lunes-Sabado
8:30 AM
Holy Days of Obligation / Días Santos de Obligación
7:00 AM
12:00 PM
7:30 PM
*unless otherwise announced / *A menos que se anuncie algo diferente.

Devotions

Adoration / Adoración
Monday / Lunes 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Confession / Confesiones
Monday / Lunes 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Benediction / Bendición
Monday / Lunes 7:45 PM

Fr Jack’s Challenge