Let’s Talk About Hope, Help and Resources During Grief and Loss/by Rev. Mrs. Wambui Njoroge, MS
Hope and Help During Grief and Loss.
There is hope and there is help for families, friends and all those who have experienced the loss of a loved one in the past or recently. Individuals in the US Diaspora community will find the following resources valuable. To the bereaved families, I send my prayers and heartfelt condolences. This marks the start of a journey that a family has been forced to travel on. It will take God’s severe mercies to find comfort when one is hurting so intensely. Luke 4:18 Jesus Himself declared, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent me to heal the broken hearted…to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” If you are reading this article, and you have lost a loved one, may you be encouraged. To know that, even though you may at times feel so alone, you are not alone.
Loosing someone you love: “You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved…they live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It is like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly – that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.” (Anne Lamott). You can also go online and look for the Stages of Grief by Elizabeth Kubler Ross, but for today, let us access resources for those who are hurting in the Diaspora community.
Families and Friends Access Online Resources: There are all types of counseling resources and support groups online. When you search by your Zip Code, you will be able to locate one that is near your home address. Most of the support groups meet in a Church. They are open groups so that you can join at any time you need and leave at will. Most do not charge a fee. Currently, many providers are using Telehealth to help families. You can pay out of pocket for the services, and for those who have insurance, most likely there is a behavioral service counselor assigned to you. If you do not have insurance (There are willing family and friends who can help you navigate this most tragic time/try also freementalhealth.us. There are many Online platforms with resources, Facebook groups, but the following are the ones I recommend. For children and youth, it is important for the parent or guardian to browse and be familiar with the sites. I trust parents in Diaspora are comfortable with parental controls and do their best to monitor online activities.
Online Resources, but many support groups meet in person, mostly in a Church. They are likely to be Open groups, do not cost, and one can join and leave at will.
www.griefshare.org/this is also available in other countries and major cities, including Nairobi.
www.GriefNet.org /Personal level or Professional
www.compassionatefriends.org/ Is for parents who have lost a child of any age or a miscarriage.
/ is for parents, adults working with kids, counselors, teachers.
is a safe place for kids to share and help each other (a companion site of GriefNet.org).
www.GrievingChild.Org/this provides support for a grieving child, or teenager-what to do when death impacts a child/teen. There is a youth section which includes separate areas for kids 12 years and under; and those who are 13 years and over.
Post Funeral: The funeral home that cared for your loved one may have helpful resources. Ask the director for this resource, or just sign up Online. They can send you a Daily Affirmation for the next 365 days. It will help you understand why you feel the way you do, and how you can get out of being stuck in the pit of grief. Family theory explains it that feeling like falling in a deep dark pit, out of which, one must climb out carefully, step by step. As you climb out slowly each day, you start seeing a ray of light-so you know there is Hope after this tragic experience.
Guidance Counselor/Behavioral Health: For the parents with children/teenagers in school, K-12 Grade, your guidance counselor is a gateway to services. The other day, a parent remarked, “School counselors are not doing such a good job…” This is a very unusual time because issues of mental health have escalated. So, the counselor who was used to talking to small groups, or helping students one-on-one, is now required to help about 300 or more students. This is not practically possible. My recommendation is: instead, ask the guidance counselor to give you a referral, or to recommend various resources. As a parent, you are the best advocate of your C/Y. Choose an appropriate service. In addition, for families with medical insurance, ask for a referral from your doctor or refer self to the Behavioral Health Services in your county of residence (use your Zip Code). This is important for services and for how money has been allocated to States/Counties.
Community Help: Alternatively, in times of crisis, NATIONWIDE Call the new Tel. 988/Lifeline.org or Text Hello to 988. Or drive to Emergency Room of the State Hospital in your county. Sometimes, I have said, ell them Rev. Wambui has referred you there/You can give them my telephone and ask them to text me with full information. Or ask your Pastor/Ministry/Pries to give you a referral. When I was new in this country, my Children’s school was my lifeline. The teachers who were teaching my children, allowed me to borrow notes, ask questions and information about navigating the system. They were helpful. That’s how I became a friend of the school, and later a friend of the university before stepping into any classroom. This way, I am always seeking to learn new approaches, and also to understand how USA works. Fact is, I cannot stand and stay here in this country and watch families suffer. Help is available.
Psychological Services: Colleges and Universities: For students in colleges and universities help is available through the Clinic or psychological services.
Diaspora Community of Faith: We have a lot of help in the community of faith. Reach out to your Pastor, Priest, Minister, District Elder, Deacons, Lay Reader, Lay Minister, Imam, Rabbi, or just talk to a person who cares. Do not stop young adults from talking to significant adults who care. There is nothing to be ashamed of in grief. Sometimes it is difficult to talk to your family members like husband, children, or siblings because they too need help. They are emotionally involved in the grief and they are hurting.
You have a right to grief: Grief has no set time limit. Never tell a person who has lost a loved one through death, or other life circumstances, “Get over it” “move on” or “is this all you want to talk about.” Do not think you are very smart. The grieving person you shun off knows you are avoiding discussing their loved one. A person who is grieving should be allowed to tell their story until they no longer need to talk about. Do not expect that your family and friends will be available to always listen to you. Nor is your community of faith available for your grief as used to happen back home. Especially in the U.S, many people are too busy to be of help as you wish. Get into a grief group or make an appointment and talk to a counselor.
Grief is ongoing: Grief may not end because death is a part of this life. Essentially, as you mourn your loved one, others continue to experience loss. Be encouraged as you take small steps towards recovery…one day at a time. Sometimes, you just want to get over this one most difficult hour without your son, daughter, mother, father, husband, wife, sister, brother or best friend… “To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven. A Time to be born and a time to die…A Time to weep, and a Time to Laugh” (Ecclesiastes 1:1-2, 4). Over time, grief changes in character where it does not always hurt so much, and the sadness, and sorrow you feel is not so intense. Be patient with yourself and with others.
What next? Grief is personal in many and some ways. To some, especially young adults, it might feel like it is not possible to live without the person who has died, like a mother, a friend, or a sibling. Grief among young people might have suicidal ideation accompanied by fear of death. There are questions like, Will I be next? Or Who is next? Young people feel most vulnerable that the death of a friend can come so early in life. Having faith in God is very helpful in overcoming the fear of death. One must believe in a supernatural power to overcome grief. Families are encouraged to participate actively in as many activities as they can that concern the celebration of life of a loved one. Healthy activities are like, memorials, viewing of the body, home visits, writing tributes, and burial ceremonies. Some people refer to them as the last rites or saying farewell until we meet again. This is helpful so that no one is not caught up with guilt feelings, and have to deal with unfinished business.
Wambui is a freelance writer with Kenyanparentsinusa.org. She is the Interim Chair for Mental Health STARS Association, Inc (Powered by KEMEN). You can read her articles Online or in Rev. Wambui’s corner. Courtesy of Kenyanparentsinusa.org Also, there are many interesting and informative articles from different authors, as well as various topics from health, education, politics, and business. She is overheard saying, that, although it takes a village to raise a child, “we are in a new village called the United States-it is nothing like our village. Diaspora, let us inform, educate and raise awareness of mental health issues. I believe we are resilient and we gonna make it!
What next? If you have an article that you would like to have published, send an email.