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Reflections from Jessica Mead
Friday, August 01, 2014 by Jessica Mead
In a recent Workshop on adaptive grieving, I was asked to participate in an exercise where I responded to questions about a significant person in my life who had died. My colleague began asking me questions like, “What kinds of things did your loved one teach you about life?” And, “What strengths did she/he see in you?” These were questions that no one had ever asked me before.  I found myself really enjoying answering them. As I answered, I was able to reflect on my own qualities and characteristics that I had never connected to my father before. It made me think about how much I missed talking about him. Now that it has been 9 years since his death, there are fewer people in my life who knew him well. I no longer live in my childhood home where neighbors and friends would tell me a story about how he helped them do something in their yard. I no longer keep in contact with many of the friends that I had then, and many of our family members who knew my dad for his lifetime have passed away. This exercise really got me thinking about my grief journey, past and present.
Managing Family Strife After a Suicide
Friday, August 01, 2014 by Cynthia Waderlow MSE, LCSW
When a suicide occurs, the surviving family structure undergoes enormous stress as it attempts to reestablish equilibrium.  Traumatic loss is always highly disruptive, and individuals within the family may find themselves needing to balance, or even postpone grief as they mobilize toward the re-creation of a secure base.  Interpersonal conflict within the family at this time represents increased disruption and further distraction from the need to grieve.  It is rather common that immediate and extended family members respond to the suicide death with accusations, threats or relationship cut-offs, resulting in additional and very painful challenges for survivors.   Engaging with conflict and marshalling the energy to defend one’s self, or to protect children from adult issues can derail stabilization efforts and complicate grief for an entire family system in need of grief’s healing processes.