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in the Year of Mercy

Lay Catholics must fight growing tide of secularism

Big turnout at East African Mass

Apparition at Fatima must be seen in historical context


Bereavement

A challenge for all
of us: Don't waste
your grief

How some have
been able to
grieve healthily

What happens
to an estate
after one dies?

Support groups


Unsung heroes

Age is no barrier
to a willingness
to bring 'A Little Joy'
to others

Who are our
unsung heroes?


Obituaries

Sister Alana
Hartman, SHF

Sister Ancila
DeLaO, SHF

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placeholder May 23, 2016   •   VOL. 54, NO. 10   •   Oakland, CA
Bereavement

How some have been able to grieve healthily

We cannot protect ourselves from the reality of death in our families.

Many people do not know how to grieve healthily. It was not on the school curriculum or done well in our families.

Rev. Padraig Greene

This can make it difficult for people to begin and participate in a grieving process but also to live a full life. Many people have become "emotional couch potatoes" because they have not allowed themselves to grieve and find healing.

There are no short cuts in this process if we want to use our grief in a positive way and not waste them. Grieving is the way that the heart can heal from loss and go on to love and live again.

Let me share with you some words of healing from recent grief session participants:

Susan — "After the unexpected death of my 24-year-old daughter in a car accident, I felt my world was crumbling. The disbelief and gut wrenching pain was unbearable. My family had been destroyed and broken in so many ways. I participated in the grief support and found I was not alone.

"There I found a safe place to cry and bear my soul of all the pain and hurt. I felt the companionship of other parents whose children have died and saw that life can go on, although in a different way. Now as a grief minister, I companion with parents whose children have died."

Jack — "After my wife died in 2014, my life became a nightmare. I became anxious and depressed. Someone recommended that I go to Walnut Creek grief support. It was one of the best things I have done to combat depression and suicidal thoughts.

"You grieve with people experiencing the same loss and healing begins. My healing journey is not over. I would highly recommend grief ministry to anyone experiencing the darkest of times."

Nancy — "I waited 18 months before accepting an invitation to grief ministry. Waiting for things to improve is a true waste of life. I had spent the time pretending that all would be OK. When I wanted to cry I would lock myself in the bathroom.

"Participating in grief ministry has freed me to enjoy all the memories of my life with my spouse. I miss the love of my life but I cherish the memories even more now that I have the freedom to remember him. My advice is to start on the right path immediately."

Doug — "In September 2013 our beloved son Luke died to suicide. He was away in his junior year at college. He was an amazing soul with many challenges, the pain of which ended up too much to bear.

"In the months after his funeral I went through several attempts to ease the traumatic pain. I attended the Suicide Support Group at St. John Vianney which was painful but enlightening. I valued the structure of the process which created a safe environment.

"I so appreciated the message of hope and wise approaches to healing. I heard that the pain will eat you alive and lead to depression, stress and unhappiness. I so appreciated the role God plays in our recovery if you simply open your broken heart to him. This insight was woven seamlessly into the process. "

Lucy — "I read in "The Catholic Voice" of a grief retreat facilitated by Father Padraig. My mother had died a few months previous. The retreat changed my life. It gave me time to just be 'in grief.'

"There was so much love, support and understanding. I was not alone. I learned that death ends a life, not a relationship. I continue my relationship with my mom by talking and praying to her, honoring her memory through old and new traditions.

"After the retreat I joined a chorus. When singing I feel close to both my parents as we used to sing Italian songs daily. I feel my Mom's love is in my heart today."

Mary — "After 51 years of marriage to a remarkable man, my husband died last year. We thought we were all prepared for it. We weren't, I especially.

"While others mourned, I felt I had become frozen in place. I remained in this state until a friend invited me to grief support in at Sorensen Brothers in Hayward, and then on to Walnut Creek. This ministry literally transformed my life. It is not a social gathering but an honest community facilitated by professionally trained grief ministers. It requires 'head work' as well as listening with the 'ears of the heart.'

"My family marvels at the strong appeal this ministry has for me but also acknowledges the peace and joy I carry home to share with them. I consider this ministry as a 'free gift' amidst my transformation."

 
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