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The Understanding Your Suicide Grief Journal: Exploring the Ten Essential Touchstones
     

The Understanding Your Suicide Grief Journal: Exploring the Ten Essential Touchstones

by Alan D. Wolfelt
 

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With ample space to unburden the heart and the soul, this companion workbook helps grievers explore the 10 essential touchstones for finding hope and healing. The exercises throughout the journal recall the content of the book and ask corresponding questions about the survivor's unique grief journey.

Overview


With ample space to unburden the heart and the soul, this companion workbook helps grievers explore the 10 essential touchstones for finding hope and healing. The exercises throughout the journal recall the content of the book and ask corresponding questions about the survivor's unique grief journey.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781879651593
Publisher:
Companion Press
Publication date:
08/01/2009
Series:
Understanding Your Grief Series
Pages:
136
Sales rank:
165,299
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.40(d)

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

The Understanding Your Suicide Grief Journal

A Companion Workbook to the Book Understanding Your Suicide Grief


By Alan D. Wolfelt

Center for Loss and Life Transition

Copyright © 2009 Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-879651-59-3



CHAPTER 1

Touchstone One]

Open to the Presence of Your Loss

In the companion text ...

We discussed the necessity of opening to the presence of your loss. To heal in grief, you must honor — not avoid — the pain. One way to embrace the pain while at the same time maintaining hope for the future is by setting your intention to heal. Even as you embrace your pain and set your intention to heal, remember that healing in grief does not happen quickly or efficiently. Also remember that the common perception of "doing well" in grief is erroneous. To "do well" with your grief, you must not be strong and silent, but rather mourn openly and honestly.

As you were reading Understanding Your Suicide Grief, you discovered that honoring your grief means "recognizing the value of" and "respecting" your grief. You learned that while it is not instinctive to view the grief that follows a death to suicide as something you want to honor, this death requires that you mourn. You also learned that it is not self-destructive or harmful. It is self-sustaining and life-giving!


HONORING YOUR GRIEF

Describe any ways in which you have honored your grief. If you feel you have not been honoring your grief, write about ways you could be doing so.

________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________


DOSING YOUR PAIN

The pain of your grief will keep trying to get your attention until you have the courage to gently, and in small doses, embrace it. How is the pain of your grief trying to get your attention? (See p. 27 of Understanding Your Suicide Grief for a definition of dosing your pain.)

____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________


SOUL WORK AND SPIRIT WORK

You have learned that there is an important distinction between "soul work" and "spirit work." In addition, you now realize that "soul work" precedes "spirit work" on the path to integrating this loss into your life. Where do you see yourself right now in this process that you are now aware you must experience?

________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________


SETTING YOUR INTENTION TO HEAL

When you set your intention to heal, you make a true commitment to positively influence the course of your journey. You choose between being what I would call a "passive witness" to your grief or an "active participant" in your grief. Describe below your understanding of the difference between being a "passive witness" to your grief or an "active participant" in your grief:

________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________


INTEGRATING YOUR SUICIDE GRIEF

You learned that when you set your intention to heal, you make a true commitment to positively influence the course of your journey. Use the space below to explore your intention to heal in grief.

________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________


NO REWARD FOR SPEED

Reconciling your grief does not happen quickly or efficiently. How do you feel about your capacity to go slow and be patient with yourself in your journey through grief?

_______________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________


SHOCK VERSUS DENIAL

You learned there is a real difference between shock and long-term denial. You learned there are different sub-types of denial. Explore any thoughts you have related to this topic.

________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________


FACE ANY INAPPROPRIATE EXPECTATIONS

Sometimes people who are openly mourning feel ashamed of their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Do you feel any sense of shame or embarrassment about how your grief feels or how you are mourning? If so, write about it below.

________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________


GRIEF IS NOT A DISEASE

While grief is a powerful experience, so, too, is your ability to help in your own healing.

Write about any steps you've taken (even baby steps!) to help yourself begin to heal.

______________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________


Touchstone Two

Dispel the Misconceptions About Suicide and Grief and Mourning

In the companion text ...

We discovered that many of the perceptions we may have had — and society often teaches us — about suicide and grief and mourning aren't true at all. For example, grief does NOT progress in predictable, orderly stages. And tears aren't a sign of weakness; actually, they're a form of mourning and they are natural and necessary. Many misconceptions color our expectations about grief. The trick is to sort out the fact from the fiction and grieve and mourn in healthy, authentic ways.


MISCONCEPTION 1: Grief and mourning are the same thing.

Did you used to think that grief and mourning were the same thing? If so, how has this misconception affected you?

________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________


Now that we've explored the difference between grief and mourning, how will you mourn this death — that is, openly and honestly express your grief outside of yourself?

________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________


Do you see yourself having difficulty with expressing your grief outside of yourself (mourning) in any ways? If so, what ways?

________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________


MISCONCEPTION 2: Grief following a suicide death always results in "complicated" or "pathological" mourning.

You have learned that while a suicide death may be viewed differently because of the circumstances, research indicates that survivors integrate the grief at about the same pace as those who experience any kind of unanticipated death. How do you feel about that?

________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________


Have you heard about the "stages of grief"? If so, what is or was your feeling about this popular grief model?

________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________


Since the "stages of grief" model isn't really accurate, how do you believe you will move forward in your own unique journey through grief?

________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________


Grief is often a one step forward, two steps back process. How could you help yourself during those inevitable times when you think you're moving backwards instead of forwards?

________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________


MISCONCEPTION 3: Grief and mourning progress in predictable, orderly stages.

Have you felt pressured to "overcome" your grief instead of experiencing it? If so, how and why have you been pressured?

________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________


What does it mean to you to move toward your pain?

________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________


How could you deal with friends, family, coworkers, etc. who encourage you (either outright or implicitly) to move away from your grief?

________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________


MISCONCEPTION 4: We can always determine the "whys?" of suicide death.

Write about the thoughts and feelings you have had about why this person took his or her own life.

________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________


Do you believe you may never fully understand why? If so, how do you feel about living with this uncertainty?

________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________


MISCONCEPTION 5: All suicide survivors feel guilty.

You have learned that guilt is one of the most prescribed responses for a survivor of suicide. Yet, you were reminded you may or may not feel guilty.

Have you had anyone prescribe to you that you should feel guilty or asked you if you do? If so, what has this been like for you?

________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________


Do you, or do you not, have any feeling of guilt? If so, write about your guilt here.


MISCONCEPTION 6: Only certain kinds of people complete suicide.

Have you been told that only certain "kinds" of people complete suicide? If so, what have you been told? What do you now understand related to this misconception?

________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________


MISCONCEPTION 7: Only a crazy person completes suicide.

Has anyone told you the person who completed suicide was "crazy"? If so, how does this make you feel? What can you say to help people understand that while these comments may be well-intended, this doesn't bring you comfort?

________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________


MISCONCEPTION 8: It is a sin to complete suicide, and the person who does goes straight to hell.

What are your thoughts related to suicide and sin? Were you taught anything about this when you were growing up, and, if so, what? Where are you with this now?

________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________


MISCONCEPTION 9: Suicide is inherited and runs in the family.

Has anyone told you that suicide is inherited? If so, describe below. What do you now understand about this misconception?

________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________


MISCONCEPTION 10: You should move away from suicide grief, not toward it.

You have learned that society often encourages you to move away from your suicide grief. Some people would like you to be "back to normal" quickly and efficiently. Use the space below to write about what you have learned about the need to move toward your grief, not away from your grief.

________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________


MISCONCEPTION 11: Tears of grief are only a sign of weakness.

What has your experience with tears been since the death?

________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________


Do others around you make you feel any sense of shame or weakness about crying? If so, who and why?

________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________


MISCONCEPTION 12: Being upset and openly mourning means you are being weak in your faith.

Are you a person of faith or consider yourself to be a spiritual person? Do you believe in God or a power greater than yourself? Use the space below to write about your personal beliefs.

________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________


Do you think you are being weak in your faith/spiritual life if you are struggling with this death? Or has anyone else made you feel this way? What is your understanding of the relationship between "having faith" and needing to openly mourn?

________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________


MISCONCEPTION 13: When someone you love completes suicide, you only grieve and mourn for the physical loss of the person.

You have come to realize that when someone completes suicide, you don't just lose the presence of the person. List some of the "secondary losses" you are experiencing as a result of this death.

________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________


From the list above, choose one or two of your most significant secondary losses and write about them here.

________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________


MISCONCEPTION 14: You should try not to think about the person who completed suicide on holidays, anniversaries, and birthdays.

Since the death, have you encountered a holiday, anniversary date, or birthday that was connected to the person who died? Describe what you did on this day and how you felt.

________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________


On this day, did you try to avoid thinking about the person who died or did you try to honor your grief and the memory of the person who died? Write about your choice and how it turned out for you.

________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________


What is the next upcoming holiday, anniversary, or birthday connected to the person who died? How could you commemorate the life of the person who died on this day?

________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________


MISCONCEPTION 15: After someone you love completes suicide, you should be able to "get over" grief as soon as possible.

What thoughts do you have when you hear people talk about "getting over" grief?

________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________


Has anyone else told you or made you feel that you need to "get over" your grief? If so, who and in what circumstances? How did this make you feel?

________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________


How do you feel about the reality that you do not get over your grief but rather learn to reconcile yourself to it?

________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________


MISCONCEPTION 16: Nobody can help you with your grief.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from The Understanding Your Suicide Grief Journal by Alan D. Wolfelt. Copyright © 2009 Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.. Excerpted by permission of Center for Loss and Life Transition.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Alan D. Wolfelt, PhD, is a grief counselor and the director of the Center for Loss and Life Transition. He is the author of the Healing Your Grieving Heart series, The Journey Through Grief, Transcending Divorce, and Understanding Your Grief. He lives in Fort Collins, Colorado.

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