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Resources For Grief Blog

Welcome to this online journal for caregivers to the dying or bereaved—important and challenging work, for sure! My goal is to support you by providing inspirational thoughts, pertinent resources, and suggestions for self-care. With appreciation for all you do!

- Rebecca Hauder

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Create Some Distance

Create Some Distance

April 3, 2018

A recent post by Washington Post's advice columnist, Carolyn Hax, grabbed my attention. In her column titled, How to witness suffering, yet avoid emotional burnout, Hax states that "None of us can afford to live and die by others' suffering, nor are we built for it." She suggests that while it's normal to feel sympathy for another's pain, it is not wise to dwell on it. Rather we should "get on with something joyous or even just ordinary..."

While on the surface her words may sound callous, in practice, we caregivers are most effective when we create some emotional distance between ourselves and those experiencing distress. Yet, there are times when another person's suffering will linger with us; when, because of the circumstances, we will have trouble setting aside our thoughts and concerns for the other.

If shaking thoughts, feelings, and images of someone for whom you provide care is a challenge for you, consider seeking assistance from a peer, a counselor, or someone you trust to help you sort out your feelings. Often a third party can provide some fresh insight and perspective.

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