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LOSS Program Office
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Chicago, IL 60654

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Featured this Month:

Keeper of Memories
Wednesday, November 28, 2018 by Cynthia Waderlow MSE, LCSW
I’d like to extend some brief thoughts about family grief through the holidays. There is a lot written on the subject to be found on the internet and various bereavement books. No wonder, because holiday traditions have “normal” and “what we always do” baked into them. When a loved one central to the family has died from suicide, these days can be approached with perhaps too much hope that they will help us feel better, or only dread or confusion.


The Implications of Loss and Grief for Infants
Sunday, March 1, 2015 by Cynthia Waderlow MSE, LCSW
The Children’s Program has been privileged to work with bereaved children ranging in age from 3 to 19.   In addition to following research literature, we’ve been able to observe and learn about their grief responses according to developmental stages, and this is ongoing, as more young survivors share their experiences and questions about their losses.  We apply the model for relevant goals and outcomes, and to encourage the best support for each child to move through the grief process while maintaining or even enhancing development. Although there are some universal expectations for each developmental stage, every young person has unique inner resources and challenges, and the particular contexts of the child’s life also shape the individual needs and expressions of grief after the death of a parent or sibling. Because such losses do have developmental implications for children, we know that parent consultation and counseling for children provides much needed guidance and support.  Esther Shapiro, an authority on grieving families, states that “repair of our shattered selves following the death of a loved one depends both on our relationship resources and on the specific tools of our developmental moment “      (p. 87).  A wealth of information related to grief and family development can be found in her book, cited at the end of this article.
Marriage and Loss
Sunday, February 1, 2015 by Cynthia Waderlow MSE, LCSW
We like to hope that a profound loss like the suicide of ones’ child might help a couple to grow closer as they survive the loss together, but we know that some marriages have failed in the wake of such loss. What are the dynamics that might threaten the intimacy and safety of a marriage when a couple meets with profound grief?   Not only is each parent changed by the loss of the child, but the marriage is permanently altered.  New meanings and ways of life may be forged.   Each individual will journey through the agonizing and difficult feelings related to the loss, and each person will have to deal with how the other has changed.  Because families are systems, everything affects everything.  The balances that we achieve through roles and patterns of interdependence contribute to our identities and to the assumptions we form about life as we know it.  After the child’s suicide, this is all stripped away.  Each aspect of family structure is likely to be reconsidered as the survival work begins.