Grief Support with Beads of Courage Compassion and Courage Programs – Resources for clinicians
Grief. It is a feeling that is common throughout the entire human race. What is not common is how it is experienced or managed. Grief is hard, it’s messy, it doesn’t follow a specific path or a distinct order of stages and it certainly does not end. Grief is also not just associated with the feeling of loss after someone dies. It is the loss of what was, what is, and what could have been if circumstances were different.
I have stood beside countless families enduring their unique grief experiences for the past 25 years as a Certified Child Life Specialist. I have endured my own personal grief in my private life. My education prepared me and taught me a lot about how people grieve and how to support them, but nothing has taught me more than walking alongside those experiencing these feelings and learning from them about what they need.
They need to remember their loved one and tell their story.
They need to reflect on the good times and process the “what could have been” feelings.
They need you to not be afraid to mention their loved one’s name or memory.
They need something tangible to physically hold that loved one close.
Above all, the most poignant lesson I’ve learned is that although grief does not ever end, it can change for the better when the person is properly supported.
July is Bereaved Parents Awareness Month which is intended to recognize and raise awareness of all parents who have had a child die at any age and of any cause. It may be one of the most significant human losses. When a spouse dies, you are widowed; when parents die, you are orphaned; yet having a child die comes with no word to describe your new state of being because it is a feeling so incredibly large that no word can encompass that new reality.
Beads of Courage honors all grieving parents this month and always as well as anyone enduring similar experiences. Beads of Courage® Compassion and Courage resources are available to help to encourage positive coping strategies and process these huge feelings. The art form of beads are integrated into all of these tools to provide beautiful and tangible objects on which to set intentions, reflect, remember, and garner strength on the most difficult days. They serve as a reminder that “you can do hard things” and “you are not alone.” Those using these resources walk away with an experience and physical object to help tell their story, to reflect and process feelings, to say their loved one’s name again and again, and to have something physical that can be held close to continue to process the enormous variety of feelings.
The Beads of Courage® Compassion and Courage resources were designed by caring clinicians to be used in a variety of settings to support anyone who is grieving regardless of age or situation. These programs are intended to be facilitated by a caring clinician with those in need of grief support. Our team is ready and waiting to connect with these caring support staff to help educate them on the use of these tools and how they would best fit into the wonderful services already being offered or for those looking for something new. We invite you to learn more about what we have to offer by visiting our clinical resources website at https://beadsofcourage.org/clinical-resources/ and reading more about Compassion & Courage resources in our program catalog.
– Krista Burgbacher, MS, CCLS – Certified Child Life Specialist & Beads of Courage Program Director.