Play your grief card

A grieving mother once shared with me that she was shocked at how insensitive others were, how they kept forgetting that she was in pain. She said, “I wish I could get a t-shirt that said, “My daughter just died. Please hug me.’”

In a time of loss, it can be challenging to express our needs as we navigate our responsibilities. We might need a gentler approach, a little extra time to complete a task, or someone to check in with us by text. What if there was a “grief card” you could pull out when needed, that would grant you extra freedom and flexibility during this season?

Here are some rights your grief card could entitle you to:

  1. To say no. In grief, your social, volunteer, or work obligations can feel overwhelming. When asked to do something extra, it’s reasonable to consider if you have the necessary resources. Especially in early grief, it can be helpful to put an exit strategy in place when you do say yes, because you might not be able to predict how you might feel when there.
  2. To move slowly. It takes energy to grieve, and you may need extra time to complete tasks. If you struggle to sleep at night, it may be helpful to carve out rest times during the day to recover and gather strength.
  3. To ask for help. When people offer to help it can be difficult to think of tasks for them, but remember, they want to help. You might say, “I can’t think of anything right now, but I will loop back when I think of something.” Consider keeping a log of names to pair with tasks.
  4. To find healing. Each of us grieves in our own unique way, and we have the right to be treated with tenderness and respect as we navigate our path. Healing takes just as long as it takes, arriving in its own mysterious time and way, like grace — or spring.

Grief support groups

Play Your Grief Card
April 17, 7-8 PM CT
What have you needed most to navigate your loss? We’ll invite group members to share what’s on their own personal “grief cards” and how they have used them to navigate loss.

Mind, Body, Spirit Grief Support
Wednesdays in April, 12 – 1 p.m. (April 3,10, 17, 24)
We’ll explore the impacts of grief on the mind, body and spirit, as well as what you can do to help ease the process.


Optage Hospice Chaplain Jenny Schroedel facilitates grief groups across PHS sites and in the larger community. Jenny is also an author, most recently of Naming The Child: Hope-filled Reflections on Miscarriage, Stillbirth and Infant Death.

If you are interested in joining a group, contact Optage Hospice or call 651-746-8200. Optage is the home and community services division of Presbyterian Homes & Services.



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