Hospice Youth Journeys: Helping Kids Navigate through Grief & Uncertainty

Through creativity and imagery, Hospice of the Red River Valley Chaplain Tom Holtey shapes a safe and warm environment for youth to explore their grief emotions during Youth Journeys, a day-long grief workshop offered by Hospice of the Red River Valley for young people, ages 6-18, who have experienced the death of a loved one. “I’ve been with Hospice for...

A Child’s Understanding of Death & Grief: Age Matters

by Kriston Wenzel, LSW, CT From the very moment we enter this world, we are exposed to new people, things and experiences. Life is new—every day. And for most of us, when life is lost, that’s new too. No matter the age, the loss can evoke feelings of sadness, helplessness and even anger. But for children in particular, the loss of...

5 Ways to Help Children and Teens Grieve

By Kriston Wenzel, LSW, bereavement specialist As adults, we often don’t know how to process and work through our own grief; it’s common to feel even more helpless when consoling a child or teen. The grieving process is unique to each of us; however, children and teens grieve differently than adults. Youth may not be able to express or even...

Top 5 Common Myths of Grief

by Jennifer Messelt, bereavement specialist If you’ve grieved the death of a loved one, you know grief is complex. There’s no way around it. Did you feel societal expectations about the “right” way to grieve? Did you ever feel like you were grieving “wrong?” Our culture’s discomfort with grief has created many myths and misunderstandings, often inhibiting those who are...

Coping With the Grief of Sudden Death

By Kriston Wenzel, LSW, bereavement specialist As a bereavement specialist at Hospice of the Red River Valley, I facilitate support groups. The support groups vary from our teen/kid groups, to general grief groups, to grief groups for widows. As a facilitator, I am always in awe of the honesty and emotion shared by those who attend the groups. A topic of...

Coping With Grief During the Holidays: Resources for the Grieving, Tips for Everyone

Traditionally, the holidays are a time of joy, laughter, sparkle, glitter and celebrations shared with family and friends. But for individuals who are grieving the loss of a loved one, the holidays can be difficult, bringing about feelings of anxiety, sadness and emptiness. As the holidays approach, it may be helpful to think about how to take care of yourself...

What not to say to a grieving person

What NOT to say to a Grieving Person: Tips from a Bereavement Specialist

By Jennifer Messelt, MSW, LCSW "I know exactly how you feel." In the nearly seven years I have worked as a bereavement specialist, I have learned this is one of most unwelcome phrases heard by those who have experienced the death of a loved one. No matter how similar two losses may seem, no two deaths are exactly the same....

Honoring the Memories of Loved Ones

Honoring the Memories of Our Loved Ones

By Connie DeKrey, bereavement specialist I just returned from a trip to Walmart to pick up graduation cards. On my way to the Hallmark kiosk, I passed by an aisle newly designated for plastic white crosses, silk floral arrangements and wire wreath holders. Memorial Day is fast approaching. While the original intent of this holiday is to honor soldiers and veterans...

Coping With Grief at Milestones

By Virginia Grief changes things. This may sound simplistic, but when a loved one dies, our lives are never the same. Our lives continue—days come and go—but how do we celebrate milestones and grieve at the same time? Recently, I spoke with a mother who attends a grief support group. Her story (shared with her permission) is one of double tragedy;...

How to talk to a child about death

How to Talk to a Child about Death

By Kriston Wenzel, LSW Talking about death is not something most of us are comfortable doing—even with other adults. Sometimes in the midst of our own grief, we forget that death can present a tremendous blow to even the youngest children. Children understand death very differently than adults, depending on their age and stage of development. Below are tips to...