Grief Awareness Month

September 2021

Calvary Hospital’s 3rd Annual Grief Awareness Month

The goal of Calvary Hospital’s annual Grief Awareness Month is to raise awareness on all aspects of grief and share resources which may be of comfort for those seeking support and a sense of community here in New York and nationally.

Maria Georgopoulos
Maria Georgopoulos, LMHC, FT
Director, Bereavement Services

Hi, I’m Maria Georgopoulos, Director of Bereavement Services here at Calvary Hospital. Grief is a challenge for all of us at any age and through every season.

Grief is a process, not an event. Every person is different. We need to be sensitive to the fact that every person grieves in their own unique way. When we make ourselves available to them, we can figure out what they need to help them in their difficult grief journey.

Here at Calvary, our mission is to make sure that everyone experiencing grief has a safe place to go – and get the support they need – when a significant person in their life dies.

September 2021 marks our 3rd annual Grief Awareness Month, and we want to help those in our communities that are feeling challenged in their grief find help, connection, and compassion. We encourage you to look at the expanded resources that we have compiled for you this year.

At any time, if you have questions, I invite you to reach out to me or any member of my team. We are always here for you.

Root Grounding Meditation

Yvette Ramirez
Yvette Ramirez
Calvary Chaplain

Calvary provides one of the New York metropolitan area’s most comprehensive bereavement support programs for adults, children and teens. Calvary’s bereavement services are available to anyone who has experienced a significant death in their lives. A connection to Calvary is not required.

Yvette Ramirez, a chaplain at Calvary Hospital, leads a grief support group in Spanish for those who have experienced the death of a spouse. This support group is available remotely via zoom for 20 participants. Yvette leads her group members through several grounding meditations, one being a ‘rooting,’ guided meditation that she uses to start each session.

We sat down recently with Yvette to talk about her group, her experience, and to learn more about her grief support practice.

Coping With Grief: Activities for Children & Teens

Jacqueline Marlow
Jacqueline Marlow
Bereavement Counselor
Calvary Hospital

Death can be perplexing and confusing for us all. For children who have experienced the death of a significant person, grief can produce many challenging and unfamiliar feelings like guilt, isolation, and anger. When the death of a significant person remains unaddressed, these feelings may dominate childhood and could adversely affect the ways in which they respond to grief in their adult life.

Bereaved children and adolescents express their grief in many different ways, which is perfectly normal. For example, a young child may experience manifestations of grief in their bodies, such as head or stomach aches, or other physical discomfort.

Adolescents are faced with multiple complexities in their grief: simultaneously experiencing important changes in their own development while having to adjust to life without the person who died. As a result, both children and adolescents may experience difficulties in concentration that affects their life at home as well as their academic performance.

How Adults Can Help

Parents and guardians can support a child along their grief journey by providing a safe space for them to talk about their grief and by finding ways to accompany them in their grief.

One way guardians can do this is through the use of creative arts, which can effectively promote and foster curiosity and a meaningful exploration of the relationship to the deceased and introduce healthy ways of processing difficult life transitions. Creative arts are also helpful techniques for individuals who are more comfortable expressing grief non-verbally.

Here are ten activities that will help children explore their grief, and if done as a family, may open new paths to conversation.

Reflections On 9/11 And How It Changed My Life

R. Abby Spilka
R. Abby Spilka, MA, CT, LMHC
Bereavement Counselor

As the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks approaches, I am in a thoughtful mood. I reflect on previous anniversaries and the visceral pain that I feel while watching the ceremonies on television. I feel like I still carry the weight of the collective grief of families, friends, the city, and the nation. Some of my clients tell me about their loved person who died of a 9/11-related illness; I wonder when will this ever end?

We live in a culture that insists that we “move on” from grief, be strong, and don’t express emotion. I recommend you do the opposite of all those suggestions!

The 20th anniversary of 9/11 gives us the unique opportunity to mourn collectively, perhaps in a way we haven’t since that tragic day. Remember those candlelight vigils? The flowers underneath the missing posters? As a community, we shared in the grief of a day that changed us forever.

WCBS Radio “Health & Well-being Report” spotlights the 20th anniversary of 9/11 and Calvary’s 3rd Annual Grief Awareness Month with R. Abby Spilka, MA, CT, LMHC, Bereavement Counselor.

Listen to the complete interview here.

Bereavement Support at Calvary Hospital

We produced a video to provide an overview of Calvary’s comprehensive bereavement support program for adults, children, and teens.
Please note that most of the footage was filmed prior to March 2020.

More Information
Anyone who is interested in participating in our bereavement groups must schedule a meeting with one of our bereavement counselors before attending their first session.

To schedule an appointment, please call: 718-518-2000, ext. 2281.

2021 Recommended Reading List

To help navigate your path of loss, we have collected a list of books we have read and recommend to help comfort you.

Children

When Someone Dies: A Child-Caregiver Activity Book

When Someone Dies: A Child-Caregiver Activity Book
by the National Alliance for Children’s Grief
When Someone Dies: A Child-Caregiver Activity Book is an activity book for children that also provides valuable information to parents and caregivers about how grief impacts children. Contained within the pages of the book are activities for children designed to help them better express, understand, and cope with their grief.

View on Amazon
Available in Spanish: “Cuando Muere Alguien: Un Libro de Actividades para Niños y sus Cuidadores

The Invisible String

The Invisible String
by by Patrice Karst
“The Invisible String” helps children cope with difficult emotions such as loss and anxiety.

View on Amazon

Chester Raccoon And The Acorn Full Of Memories

Chester Raccoon and the Acorn Full of Memories (The Kissing Hand Series)
by Audrey Penn and Barbara Gibson
After his friend Skiddel Squirrel dies in an accident, the title character copes with this loss and learns to share and appreciate memories of their times together.

View on Amazon

I Miss You: A First Look at Death

I Miss You: A First Look at Death
by Pat Thomas and Leslie Harker
This installment in the “A First Look At” series from psychotherapist Pat Thomas helps young kids understand death and feelings of loss.

View on Amazon

Sesame Street

Sesame Street in Communities – Helping Kids Grieve
PBS
Through support, open conversations, and finding ways to keep the person’s memory alive, families can begin healing together.

Visit sesamestreetincommunities.org
Available in Spanish: “Apoyo en la aflicción

Perder a Un Ser Querido

Perder a Un Ser Querido (Loss and Grief) (Hablemos Acerca de… (Let’s Talk about It)) (Spanish Edition)
by Caitie McAneney
The death of a loved one is a heartbreaking event in a childs life. This book will guide readers through the feelings and questions they might have after such a loss. Readers will learn what grief is and how it is different for each person. Readers are encouraged to accept their feelings and talk them out with the people in their support system. This book includes color photographs, a glossary, a table of contents, and an index. Websites for more information supplement the text to give readers the resources they need in this troubling time.

View on Amazon

Teens/Tweens

The Memory Box

The Memory Box: A Book About Grief
by Joanna Rowland and Thea Baker
“The Memory Box” tells the story of a child who processes the death of a loved one by making a special box of mementos and written memories.

View on Amazon

How to Carry What Can't Be Fixed

How to Carry What Can’t Be Fixed: A Journal for Grief
by Megan Devine
An illustrated journal for meeting grief with honesty and kindness―honoring loss, rather than packing it away.

View on Amazon

Journal for Teens Dealing With Grief and Loss

Journal for Teens Dealing With Grief and Loss
by Teen Journals
Three (3) month journal for teens dealing with grief, death, and other loss.

View on Amazon

Adults

It's OK That You're Not OK: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn't Understand

It’s OK That You’re Not OK: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn’t Understand
by Megan Devine
In It’s OK That You’re Not OK, Megan Devine offers a profound new approach to both the experience of grief and the way we try to help others who have endured tragedy.

View on Amazon

Recommended Podcasts

To help navigate your path of loss, we have collected a list of books we have read and recommend to help comfort you.

‎The Mindfulness & Grief Podcast

‎The Mindfulness & Grief Podcast
The Mindfulness and Grief Podcast series, hosted by author and thanatologist Heather Stang, features compassionate insights for coping with grief and life after loss.

Listen to podcast

When Your Pillar Parent Dies

‎When Your Pillar Parent Dies – Grief As A Young Adult With Monday Mourning
Talk openly and irreverently about grief in a way that makes it more comfortable for others to talk about something no one really knows how to talk about.

Listen to podcast

TTFA

‎Terrible, Thanks for Asking
The show continuously, unapologetically, ferociously plows into subjects most people are too uncomfortable to touch.

Listen to podcast

Great Grief

Great Grief
From the mind of celebrated jazz vocalist Nnenna Freelon comes Great Grief, a podcast about love, loss and the ultimate shapeshifter known as Grief.

Listen to podcast

Bereavement Resources

Grief is a multifaceted response to loss and everyone has their own way of moving through it.

Calvary Hospital’s Bereavement Team has put together a selection of resources on the topic of grief. Be gentle with yourself.

If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911.

NYC Well

NYC Well

NYC Well is your connection to free, confidential crisis counseling, mental health and substance use support, information and referrals. You can reach the toll-free help line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by phone, text and online chat. Behavioral health professionals there can link you to the services you need.

https://nycwell.cityofnewyork.us/en/

1-888-NYC-WELL (1-888-692-9355) — 1-888-692-9355 (Español)
1-888-692-9355 (繁體中文) — 711 (TTY for hearing impaired)

Crisis Text line

In a crisis?

Text HOME to 741741 to connect with a Crisis Counselor

Free 24/7 support at your fingertips US and Canada: text 741741

https://www.crisistextline.org/

Samaritans Completely Confidential Hotline

Samaritans Completely Confidential Hotline

Samaritans free, non-religious 24-hour emotional support and crisis response hotline is available on an immediate and ongoing basis for people who are dealing with every kind of problem, situation, illness, trauma, or loss and need someone to talk to.

When You Need Someone to Talk to 24/7: 212-673-3000

http://samaritansnyc.org/calling-the-hotline/

Crisis Call Center

Crisis Call Center

24/7/365 Crisis Hotline: 775-784-809​
Crisis CHAT line: https://www.contact-usa.org/chat.html

Lifeline Crisis Chat is a service of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in partnership with CONTACT USA. It is the first service of its kind where crisis centers across the United States have joined together to form one national chat network that can provide online emotional support, crisis intervention, and suicide prevention services. Chat specialists are available to listen and support you through whatever difficult times you may be facing. ​Lifeline Crisis Chat is available in the United States and its territories.

http://crisiscallcenter.org/get-help-247/

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.

1-800-273-8255

Friendship Telephone Line For Seniors

Friendship Telephone Line For Seniors

A Crisis Intervention Hotline as well as a “warm line” for non-urgent calls, all specifically designed to serve older people.

1-800-971-0016

IMAlive

IMAlive

IMAlive is a live online network that uses INSTANT MESSAGING to respond to people in crisis.

https://www.imalive.org/who-we-are/about-imalive/

Online Crisis Network

Online Crisis Network

If you (or someone you know) are depressed and thinking about suicide, please call 1-800-442-HOPE (4673) to talk to a caring crisis hotline volunteer. Your call is free and confidential.

http://hopeline.com/hotline/

Online Support for Child Loss

Online Support for Child Loss

The rooms supply support, encouragement, and friendship. The friendly atmosphere encourages conversation among friends; friends who understand the emotions you’re experiencing. There are general bereavement sessions as well as more specific sessions.

https://www.compassionatefriends.org/find-support/online-communities/online-support/

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