Get Help Now!  (312) 655-7700
  Do You Need Rent, SNAP or Utility Assistance?

Newsletters & Articles


LOSS Program Office
721 N. LaSalle Street
Chicago, IL 60654

Main Line: (312) 655-7283
Fax Line: (312) 948-3340

Featured this Month:

Starting Over
Monday, August 01, 2016 by Cynthia Waderlow MSE, LCSW
Your family has experienced a suicide.  In its wake the world feels different and much of what once mattered now feels less meaningful...  The first weeks and months after a suicide are disorienting, and your energy is drained.  You are only trying to survive the shock, the relentless questions, the unyielding despair. You find yourself looking for solutions because fulfilling your role as a parent has become infinitely harder.  Your children and teens are presenting with grief symptoms that you don’t understand.  Are they grieving??? There may be more tantrums, the teens are not talking and seem to prefer time with friends, children are no longer sleeping in their own beds, homework is not getting done, teachers are trying to be understanding, but you are getting calls from the school.  It can be any scenario that makes you feel that your family’s structure has collapsed, and you are overwhelmed by the thought of trying to fix it.

We hear similar narratives from parents with questions about managing their children’s challenging behaviors under the circumstances of sudden loss.  It may be strange to consider, but the dynamics of resistance in children and teens during grief may be a valuable impetus for communication and connection.  Even if the relationship with the deceased parent or sibling was one of conflict, each child is dysregulated by the unanticipated disruption of an attachment figure.  Each will naturally look for distractions from pain and confusion, may react to, and perhaps exploit your lower energy, may become more demanding or dismissive when his or her assumptions about the world have been shattered.

Here is one first response:  Make space in your mind for your unique child’s experience.  Take your observations in without judgment, only notice them.  This is the beginning of true presence and compassion.  If irritation or frustration rise up, also notice these, but let your reactive feelings pass with the intention of really seeing your child in the circumstances.  Spend moments just appreciating each child’s life.  After getting familiar with this process, you are in a clearer state of mind to speak to them, respond to them, without the old expectations that are likely to trigger resistance.  You can acknowledge their unfathomable loss and the changed world in your own words.  Tell them that you understand the new problems and behaviors as part of grief and confusion.  Give them your faith that somehow you will work through this time together.  You can acknowledge your fatigue, your own confusion and sadness about your children’s pain.  But your child-speak message of a commitment to know them and love them as they are, to rebuild a life for them with emotional comforts and supports can be a surprising message of strength, even when you are most vulnerable and without direction.  It is the ground for a means to construct orderly, emotionally honest, yet flexible family life after a loss that has left you at Ground Zero.  Your family’s rise from the ashes of profound loss, a process in awareness and healing over time, begins with this conversation.



Archives:

Starting Over
Monday, August 01, 2016 by Cynthia Waderlow MSE, LCSW
Your family has experienced a suicide.  In its wake the world feels different and much of what once mattered now feels less meaningful...  The first weeks and months after a suicide are disorienting, and your energy is drained.  You are only trying to survive the shock, the relentless questions, the unyielding despair. You find yourself looking for solutions because fulfilling your role as a parent has become infinitely harder.  Your children and teens are presenting with grief symptoms that you don’t understand.  Are they grieving??? There may be more tantrums, the teens are not talking and seem to prefer time with friends, children are no longer sleeping in their own beds, homework is not getting done, teachers are trying to be understanding, but you are getting calls from the school.  It can be any scenario that makes you feel that your family’s structure has collapsed, and you are overwhelmed by the thought of trying to fix it.

We hear similar narratives from parents with questions about managing their children’s challenging behaviors under the circumstances of sudden loss.  It may be strange to consider, but the dynamics of resistance in children and teens during grief may be a valuable impetus for communication and connection.  Even if the relationship with the deceased parent or sibling was one of conflict, each child is dysregulated by the unanticipated disruption of an attachment figure.  Each will naturally look for distractions from pain and confusion, may react to, and perhaps exploit your lower energy, may become more demanding or dismissive when his or her assumptions about the world have been shattered.

Here is one first response:  Make space in your mind for your unique child’s experience.  Take your observations in without judgment, only notice them.  This is the beginning of true presence and compassion.  If irritation or frustration rise up, also notice these, but let your reactive feelings pass with the intention of really seeing your child in the circumstances.  Spend moments just appreciating each child’s life.  After getting familiar with this process, you are in a clearer state of mind to speak to them, respond to them, without the old expectations that are likely to trigger resistance.  You can acknowledge their unfathomable loss and the changed world in your own words.  Tell them that you understand the new problems and behaviors as part of grief and confusion.  Give them your faith that somehow you will work through this time together.  You can acknowledge your fatigue, your own confusion and sadness about your children’s pain.  But your child-speak message of a commitment to know them and love them as they are, to rebuild a life for them with emotional comforts and supports can be a surprising message of strength, even when you are most vulnerable and without direction.  It is the ground for a means to construct orderly, emotionally honest, yet flexible family life after a loss that has left you at Ground Zero.  Your family’s rise from the ashes of profound loss, a process in awareness and healing over time, begins with this conversation.