I want to take a moment to write this quick and humble update. Quick because we’re talking about ourselves and anything that even borders on self-promotion makes us want to run out of the room and hide under the kitchen table like embarrassed children. Humble because we’re so grateful for the time and attention you’ve already given to What’s Your Grief. I think I speak for both of us when I say writing this blog and connecting with you has kept Litsa and I going through many grey days and we will be forever thankful.
When we started What’s Your Grief we had a very clear vision for where it was heading and we thought we knew the direction and duration of the path that would get us there. To our surprise the landscape changed over time…and then changed again…and we’ve ended up somewhere very far from where we began. Somewhere good. But throughout all this there has been one goal we’ve refused to abandon, one thing about which we’ve said over and over – someday we’ll get there.
Litsa and I met while working at a job where we supported people in the hospital at the time of their loved ones death. Most often these deaths were sudden and unexpected and we’d watch as shocked family and friends gathered in waiting rooms and sterile hallways trying to comprehend what just happened. Complicated information from doctors in scrub hats and white coats, beeping machines, wires and tubes, sick and injured patients at every turn – many of you know first hand, it’s like wading through the fog of a very bad dream.
Everyone would gather at the hospital, each with his or her own understanding of what was going on. They’d anxiously wait for someone to come and set the story straight because so far nothing made any sense. Then, all of a sudden, the waiting and confusion was over because someone resembling a doctor came and told them their loved one died and a nurse in pink scrubs was asking if they wanted to say their goodbyes.
Maybe it had been hours since their nightmare began or maybe it had been days, but eventually we watched every single family walk out the hospital doors to face a new kind of confusion armed with nothing more than a bag full of their loved one’s personal belongings and, if they were lucky, a flimsy brochure entitled Understanding Grief. Some of these families we’d see again as part of a long-term bereavement program, but many we would not. Either way as professionals our roles and resources we’re limited and we couldn’t shake the helpless feeling of having little more to offer grievers than general yet overly ambitious print resources.
We knew from our own personal experience that no matter how or when your loved one died all grief is complicated, and we understood that no book, brochure or website could ‘get you through it’. But we at least wanted to help people find solid footing and a good jumping off point. We wanted something specific, thorough, practical and relatable and if we couldn’t find useful grief resources such as these then there was no use offering them at all.
(Credit where credit is due: This isn’t to say that there aren’t some amazingly helpful organizations out there doing great thing, there absolutely are and we hope we’re doing a good job connecting you with them.)
We saw a void and since 2012 we’ve been trying to fill it. Now, without deserting the first chapter (i.e. we’re still focused on the website), we’re moving onto the next which is to create the print resources we, as grief support workers, always wished we’d had.
So far we’ve created our first two resources. We hope you’ll understand the need for us to develop our library gradually, the reality is we’ve never made any money from What’s Your Grief and designing and printing comes at a cost. But once again Litsa and I have a crystal clear vision and we hope our capacity to help those who struggle with grief and loss will grow as big as our dreams will allow. I’m sorry that was cheesy but it’s how I feel.
And you can find our new store here:
Thank you so much for your continued support.
Eleanor and Litsa