Community Resources for the Bereaved
Where do you start when you are struggling with your grief and need help? Many people look strictly at online support and while it is a good option to have, there is something to be said for having one on one help from flesh and blood people. Believe it or not, there are places right within your community that will be able to point you in the right direction. All you have to do is ask. Below you will find a list of a few such places.
If you have a service at a funeral parlor, ask the director. They may even bring up counselling options when you come in to make arrangements, but if they don’t, just ask if they provide counseling or after care. They will absolutely be able to help you find something. Remember, this is their job. You are not the first person to ask them for help, and you will not be the last. They are trained for just these types of questions, and they will help.
If you are religious, ask an officiant at your place of worship. Whether it be a pastor, reverend, priest, rabbi, imam, or someone else you trust, we also have helped many people through similar circumstances. It is our job to look after your spiritual well being and we will do so. In some smaller communities, you may not need to ask; they may follow up with you after the services. That isn’t always possible, but that does not mean you cannot reach out to us. I know I have an open door policy and tell my grieving families from the very beginning that they can call me at any hour if they are troubled. I know that sometimes it is easier to be angry at God than it is to accept what has happened. I also know that faith may not feel like much of a comfort. But if it is part of your belief system, this is an excellent time to lean on it, even if you aren’t sure you want to.
If you aren’t religious or are concerned about the way you are feeling, talk to your doctor. Tell him or her how you honestly feel so that they can assess what sort of help will be best for you. They may be able to direct you to mental health services, provide a temporary prescription to help you handle your emotions, or any number of other options. But they will only know what you need if you talk to them about it, and are clear about how you feel.
If your loved one passed on after a long illness and was receiving end-of-life or hospice care, they are also an excellent place to go. Many times, they will inform you of programs prior to death to help you prepare. If they offer information about counseling or support groups, take them up on it. If they haven’t already talked to you about it, please contact them. Again, this is something that they deal with on a regular basis, so it is not a burden to them. Many hospice workers form a bond with their patients and those who care for them, and they want to be sure that you are getting the help you need. Likewise, if your loved one passes on while at the hospital, ask the chaplain on duty or your loved one’s doctor and they will be able to point you in the right direction. Many deaths at a hospital are due to sudden accidents, fatal injuries, or violence. These can especially be difficult to cope with, and hospitals are aware of this. They will be able to provide you with after care assistance.
Support groups are also excellent places to find support. You may find meeting times and locations in the newspaper, the phone book, religious bulletins, or online. Go more than one time, even if you don’t feel like it is helping. It may take a while for you to open up or really listen to what others are saying.
This is not an exhaustive list by any means. It is just to show you that there are many places for you to turn if you need guidance on your journey through your grief. Let your community help you. There are many of us trained to do just that. Please utilize us.