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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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Use Grief Rituals to Help Sustain You

Use Grief Rituals to Help Sustain You

March 13, 2019

In my previous Tip of the Month, I addressed the topic of caregiver grief, and offered a few suggestions for coping, including the use of rituals. Now I’d like to expand a bit on the topic of rituals and ask for your input. 

What are grief rituals? They are symbolic actions providing meaning and comfort after a death, and a means to release the varied emotions of grief. Grief rituals can be personal such as writing in a journal, lighting a candle, or expressing oneself through art, music or poetry. Rituals can also be communal as attending a funeral or celebration of life service, hanging ornaments on a memorial tree, or sharing with others a memory or life lesson learned from the person who died.

Why are grief rituals important—especially for caregivers? A recent survey of 399 hospice caregivers in 38 states demonstrated that those caregivers who used meaningful rituals following their patient's deaths had higher scores on a compassion-satisfaction scale and lower scores on a burnout scale.* When done with others, rituals help to create a sense of support and camaraderie.

 I want to hear from you! What rituals do you practice alone, or with others, when someone you have cared for dies? I would love to learn from you. Please send me a sentence or a short paragraph to:

I plan to compile your ideas for an upcoming Tip Of The Month. Let me know if I can include your name and place of work.    

Warmest regards,

Rebecca S. Hauder, RN, LCPC 

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