Sunday, November 15, 2009

When in doubt...

La parabola del Buon Samaritano Messina Chiesa...Image via Wikipedia

There is a principle in moral and ethics that states: "when in doubt, don't act".

I have found to exceptions to this principle. Both in Canon Law, regarding the Sacraments of Baptism and Anointment of the Sick.

If there is the slightest possibility that the person who will receive the Sacrament is dead, it is better to administer the sacrament instead of not doing so.

I believe that the same exception applies to compassion.

If you think that the person needs your support, please reach out. It is better to be told not to do so, or that there is no need to be compassionate, than leave a needed person alone.

When working with bereaved parents, we are trained to watch their body language and look for the signs to approach them in a more personal level.

In my experience, a hug is always better than leaving them alone. If you are not comfortable hugging, maybe you could reach out squeezing their arm or patting their back.

When in doubt, never, ever leave someone in pain by themselves.
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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Center for Loss and Trauma - MISS Press Release


November 16, 2009

CONTACT: Dr. Joanne Cacciatore: 602.574.1000 or Katherine Sandler: 480.861.7511

MISS Foundation Helps Traumatized Families in the Center for Loss and Trauma

Phoenix, Arizona (November 16, 2009) --- The MISS Foundation, through the Center for Loss and Trauma, is opening their doors to help families suffering traumatic loss. Traumatic experiences traverse culture, ethnicity, socioeconomic class, religion, and region. No one is exempt.In the midst of such psychological despair, there is a sense of grief that cannot be explained or described or captured or contained.

The Center for Loss and Trauma is one place where compassionate psychotherapy, counseling, and research can occur, as well as the bridging of vitally important supportive resources to help families in need. Located in North Phoenix, this unique center specializes in providing services to those affected by traumatic experiences, death, grief, and various types of loss. The Center for Loss and Trauma also serves military families, those coping with the death of a child, bereaved families, those affected by natural and mass disasters, victims of crime, families going through divorce or separation, and those suffering reproductive losses.

The mission of center is to C.A.R.E. for the most vulnerable members of society by providing highly specialized, expert counseling to those affected by traumatic loss; advocatingwith others so they may find hope, healing, and happiness in the aftermath of trauma; providing a place where compassionate research can occur; and educating individuals and society at large about the experiences of the bereaved. Dr. Joanne Cacciatore, LMSW and CEO, is a researcher and an expert family and individual therapist in the field of traumatic death and bereavement. James Jones, LMSW, is a Vietnam veteran and specialist in PTSD. Kathy Crowley, LCSW, has extensive experience working with individuals with chronic illness, abuse, and family stress.

The Center for Loss and Trauma also houses the MISS Foundation, a non-profit family bereavement organization, which offers free services to bereaved parents and siblings.Psychotherapy is provided on a sliding scale basis to those in need.

Dr. Cacciatore passionately explains, “Society’s only appropriate response is offer unconditional support and compassionate care so that one day, having been upheld and cared for, those who have suffered from such trauma can reach out their hand to help another. It is the only way to truly heal."

For more information or to schedule an appointment at The Center for Loss and Trauma, please call 623.979.1000 or visit us online at For information on the MISS Foundation’s services, please visit and the MISS Foundation’sPSA can be found at

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Center for Loss and Trauma - MISS Press Release

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Survivors of Suicide, November 21, 2009

Inconsolable Grief, by Ivan KramskoyImage via Wikipedia

I follow some blogs.

Many relate to grief, parental loss, the struggle of everyday life, parenting, art, cooking and crafts.

I love to read what my friends share with me. This is taken from my dearest friend Kara, Kota's mom.

Suicide leaves a lot of unanswered questions inside the loved ones of the person that couldn't take his/her pain anymore and decided to end it. I am not talking about ending his/her life, I believe that those that attempt suicide just want their internal pain to stop, one way or another.

I am a survivor of suicide. A dear family member killed himself when I was 11 years old. Obviously, the fact that he had died by his own hands was kept from me until I was 18 years old. That was when my world shattered for the first time. I loved him dearly and I know he loved us more than life itself, so you can imagine that I couldn't comprehend why he killed himself. It took me a lot of grief work (repressed for 7 years) and a lot of therapy to make my brain understand the why's and to let my heart forgive him and the rest of the family for his death.

If you or anyone you know are survivors of suicide loss, please take into account the following information:

On Saturday, November 21, 2009, simultaneous conferences for survivors of suicide loss will take place throughout the U.S. and internationally. This unique network of healing conferences helps survivors connect with others who have survived the tragedy of suicide loss, and express and understand the powerful emotions they experience.

Each conference site is organized locally, but they’re all connected in spirit as participants across the globe watch a special 90-minuteAFSP broadcast together on that day. In the U.S., conference sites will show the broadcast together from 1-2:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time and international sites will show it from 1-2:30 p.m. local time. Many conference sites plan their own local programs around the broadcast, including panels and breakout groups, all aimed at helping survivors heal.

For those survivors of suicide loss who don't live near a conference site or who find it difficult to attend in person, the 90-minute broadcast will also be available live on the AFSP website from 1-2:30 pm, Eastern Standard Time, with a live online chat immediately following the program. It will then be saved on the website so that survivors can watch it again throughout the year at anytime. For more information see the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:
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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Butterflies & Dragonflies

Cairns Birdwing, the largest butterfly in Aust...Image via Wikipedia

The tragedy of child death leaves the family in a profound chaos.

It doesn't matter the age of the child at the time of death or the cause of death. Each family member has to work hard to redefine him or herself, to find their new role within the family and to find a way to survive.

Little by little, as the first months go by and the emotional anesthesia draws away, the bereaved parents search for new ways to reconnect with their dead child... maybe because they are not ready to say good bye, maybe because love trascends death.

Paraphrasing Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, death is the final liberation from the cocoon, the butterfly is free to open its wings and fly away.

It is curious how bereaved parents, from different cultures and from different parts of the world, identify the presence of butterflies - and in some cases, of dragonflies - as special visits from their dead child.

I know that for many strain from the subculture of parental bereavement, this idea is completely deranged, but who are we to judge how a parent copes with the death of their beloved child?

Wouldn't it be more compassionate not to judge and appreciate the beauty that nature offers?

Every time you see a butterfly near you, with its beautiful colors, imagine that someone who is not physical presence is saying hi.

When you see a dragonfly, with its transparent wings and its color body, flying erratic nearby, think of a kiss someone special is sending you from above.

Open your heart and close your mind for a bit... remember: love is stronger than death.
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