Thursday, February 23, 2017

Grief Support Resources

The emotional upheaval these trying times can cause is sometimes so overwhelming that even the support of friends and family may not help relieve the amount of sadness and grief you feel.
At Bryan-Braker Funeral Home we offer the following aftercare grief sessions:
»  Center for Loss & Transition 
A leading provider of information and inspiration in the areas of illness and dying, loss and grief, healthy caregiving, life transition, and spirituality.
»  Growth House 
An international gateway to resources for life-threatening illness and end of life issues. Hypertext topic pages link to sites around the world. Links to hospice and home care, bereavement, death with dignity, AIDS, and related topics in life-threatening illness.
»  GriefNet 
GriefNet is an Internet community of persons dealing with grief, death, and major loss. They have many email support groups. Their integrated approach to online grief support provides help to people working through loss and grief issues.
»  National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization 
Committed to improving end of life care and expanding access to hospice care with the goal of profoundly enhancing quality of life for people dying in America and their loved ones.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

How To Make A 3D Family Tree

Gather your photos! This DIY family tree is a three-dimensional tree made with branches in a pot.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Embracing Uncertainty After Loss

The script has changed. An unexpected detour has occurred. The GPS navigation system has malfunctioned. The next move is unpredictable. The future is uncertain. What do you do now?

Loss of any kind creates a feeling of uncertainty. Fear of the future might consume your thoughts and actions and might even negatively affect you physically, emotionally, spiritually, or psychologically. Although the emotions of loss such as sadness, denial, anger, hopelessness, guilt, regret, and many others are natural and normal responses to loss, at some point you must take steps to move forward. In order to do so, you will need to acknowledge, accept, and embrace your future. Your life has definitely changed after loss; but, it has not ended. So, how do you navigate this seemingly wilderness of grief? How do you journey through the unchartered territory? How do you come to terms with a future that you did not expect?

The journey begins with a choice. You must choose to face the fear head on. In other words, you will need to embrace it. Make a decision to allow and receive all the possibilities that lie ahead, even though they may not be visible, or even conceivable, at the present time. Change is inevitable and it is always occurring. Everything changes. You might have even forgotten the power of your inner strength as you embraced the uncertainty of previous situations and challenges in your life.

Think of changes you have embraced in the past, even if subconsciously they seemed insignificant. How did you embrace a bad weather day on a planned sun-filled vacation? How did you embrace a no-show commitment from a friend or business associate? How did you embrace test results and treatment after receiving a life-altering diagnosis? How did you embrace starting anew after a relationship demise? How did you embrace surviving a serious house fire, car accident, etc. In most cases, you made a choice, whether on your own or with guidance, to take positive, forward-moving action. The other choice, of course, would have been to do absolutely nothing and stay stuck.

Is there meaning and purpose in the uncertainty of changes, situations, or challenges? I believe there is, although maybe not apparent at the time. We all have a divine, unique purpose for being on this earth. The loss that you are currently experiencing just might be enhancing and moving you closer to your reason for being here. Or, it may be propelling you into a new and different purpose. Adopt an attitude that embraces learning and growing from each experience in life and keep moving forward.

My Mantra: Everything in life is temporary, including life itself. Decide to Say Yes! to the Gift of Now.

Article Source:

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

How To Plan A Graveside Ceremony

When planning a graveside service, it's important to consider the type of cemetery involved and what types of tombstones it has. Make sure there is an adequate number of chairs for a graveside ceremony with help from a licensed funeral director and embalmer in this free video on funeral planning.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Modern Grief | Sophie Townsend |

You know who did grieving well? Queen Victoria. As a widow, Sophie reflects on her own experiences of grief in an age where the personal expression and symbolism of loss has been largely lost.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

How You Can Grow Through Grief

I once read an article by a British physician who said that, "Growing up is a series of mourning losses." It made sense because as we get into our teens and beyond we have gone through so many losses in which our childhood imagination of what life is all about is constantly challenged by the real world.

However, I also would argue that in one sense all of life is a series of mourning losses, from birth to the big death. Loss experiences never seem to stop coming. Yet we always seem surprised when they occur, as though we were unlucky, or we did something wrong to have such a thing happen. And there is good reason for this: we are focused on life and living, as we should be.

Nonetheless, everyone experiences grief and the loss of loved ones. But it never happens in a vacuum. There is much that mourners experience and learn from their ordeals that helps them become more human, whole, and sensitive beings. Here is some of what we can learn in the midst of our sorrows--that will change our lives for the better--if we will only be open to it.

1. We learn that everything changes. This means of course that we too have to change to meet the new conditions of life. We are not the same persons we used to be. Loss may cause us to go in a different direction. Since change is eternal, it teaches a big life lesson: to live in the present precious moment.

2. We learn that healing highlights the need for community. We need each other. The importance of deep human connection becomes clear. Sometimes you may realize that such connection is not just a part of healing--it is needed throughout life. We thrive on it. We want connections we can always trust and rely on.

3. We learn about the power of and need for love. Paracelsus, the Renaissance physician and alchemist said, "The main reason for healing is love." That is, the motivation to heal is closely wound up in the love of those who are near and dear to us. Perhaps healing love is what all of our lives should continuously be about. This could be the number one lesson that the pain of loss has to teach.

4. We learn the importance of dependence and the awareness that we all need help. Despite the run on rugged individuality, we all need assistance at various times and by the right people. It is okay to depend on others.

5. We learn we are so alike, but we are also very individual in how we mourn. Interacting with friends and relatives often shows that our grieving styles tend to mimic our lifestyles. They are so different and yet we all feel sorrow, each in our own way.

6. We learn that searching for meaning is necessary. Our grief often causes us to look at spiritual questions and find a different meaning in life and death. We often wonder where our loved one is now. Reflecting on the questions of why we are here and if there is an afterlife may affect our values, especially if we have input from those we trust and respect.

7. We learn the importance of holding the memory of the deceased. We learn that memories are critical grieving tools and that we can continue to use them as part of our new life. And we should always remember the advice of the great American writer Antoinette Bosco: "We do no honor to our departed loved ones if we change so much from the pain that they wouldn't recognize us as the person they knew and loved."

8. We learn we cannot control everything. The illusion of control hurts deeply when reality shows the way life really is. The universe is on its own schedule; our plans are second. Grief thrusts us into a totally unfamiliar existence where we feel confusion, usually traced to our inability to control what has happened. Acceptance of our inability to control much of life--and allow it to unfold--is a major step forward.

9. We learn that resistance to the normal flow of grief (with its many ups and downs) and to life changes brings more suffering. We have to let change happen; we can't stop it. We want our old life back but we can't have it. It is necessary to go on to the next stage, wiser and more knowledgeable.

In summary, every loss experience is an opportunity to learn and find new meaning in existence. Life is all about meeting continuous change through renewal. We have to reinvent ourselves to meet the new conditions of life. In short, we are continuous works in progress, gaining from each transformation. For our part, we have to let it happen, refuse to resist, take advantage of the wisdom presented to us, and use the insight gained to become more complete persons.

Article Source:

Monday, February 6, 2017

Before I Die I Want To...

In her New Orleans neighborhood, artist and TED Fellow Candy Chang turned an abandoned house into a giant chalkboard asking a fill-in-the-blank question: "Before I die I want to ___." Her neighbors' answers -- surprising, poignant, funny -- became an unexpected mirror for the community. (What's your answer?)

Friday, February 3, 2017

Judy MacDonald Johnston: Prepare For A Good End Of Life

Thinking about death is frightening, but planning ahead is practical and leaves more room for peace of mind in our final days. In a solemn, thoughtful talk, Judy MacDonald Johnston shares 5 practices for planning for a good end of life.