Frequently Asked Questions – Family, Friends and Caregivers

1How will I benefit from grief support services?
Sometimes it helps to talk with someone outside your family or friends to focus on your own feelings. Our staff are skilled, caring, non-judgmental listeners. We’ll help you understand your feelings and teach you ways to cope that work with your life.
2I have good support from my family, friends and religious community. How can grief support help me?
We can never replace the people in your life. But, even with many people around, you may feel alone. You may hesitate to share your grief with others for fear of burdening them. You may find when trying to talk about feelings, others turn away or change the subject, or appear to be uncomfortable. We will help you learn better ways to communicate with your family and friends and meet people who are also experiencing grief.
3How will it help me to talk to someone about my grief? It won’t bring my loved one back.
You may be overwhelmed, realizing that life will never be the same. We help guide you in this difficult period and help you understand what this loss means in your life. We believe while you never really forget, the pain of your grief becomes less intense with time.
4Since my loved one died, I have been very busy and don’t have time to grieve. How can you help me?
Following a death, you may be occupied by the details of the estate. Keeping busy at work, spending time with family or starting a major project, provides a needed distraction from grief. We respect these realities, but know that delaying feelings of grief does not make it go away. Experiencing grief in the way most comfortable for you will help lessen painful emotions.
5It was hard at first, but I think I’ve pulled myself together. How do I know if I’m grieving?
Grief is usually associated with sadness, depression, lack of energy and wanting to be alone. But, grief can look very different. Some people need to always be with others. Some keep themselves busy and others may have physical symptoms – difficulty sleeping, changes in appetite, fatigue, frequent colds or stomach complaints. Grief may even affect memory. We can help you understand and deal with your unique situation.
6What are some common fears or misconceptions about grief counseling?
Some people fear that needing grief counseling means they are “crazy” or have a mental illness, but grief is natural. People may feel that asking for help with their emotions is a sign of weakness – they should be able to pull themselves together and get on with life. We believe that asking for help is a sign of strength and your commitment to help yourself feel better.
7Could grief support sessions make me feel worse?
Some people feel more emotional after sessions. As you talk about your grief, feelings come to the surface. Although painful at first, you can work through these feelings and release them. Unexpressed feelings can turn into physical illness, family conflict or work problems.
8Is a grief support group right for me?
Many people find sharing their story with others who have “been there” is very positive. It can help you feel less lonely and isolated. People who were hesitant to come to a group often find that strangers (who are also grieving) can quickly become an important source of support and comfort. Group leaders will never require you to share more than you are ready to share.
9I think I’m doing all right, but can you help my family members?
Yes. We will discuss your concern about other family members with you and can offer grief support to them, but each person must decide whether to accept.
10I have family members out of town who may need grief support. How can we access services for them?
Out-of-town family members may have been very involved in caring for a loved one but must eventually return home. Grief support services can be accessed through hospices in other areas. If you have difficulty finding a local hospice, call Hospice Link at (800) 331-1620 or the National Hospice Organization Help Line at (800) 658-8898.