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After Your Loss

Grief

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Feelings of despair or deep sadness are known as grief. Losing a person in one’s life can bring up those feelings. One can even have anticipatory grief, which occurs before death and can happen for both the person with the illness and people close to them.

We each mourn in our own way and in our own time. While it’s a completely normal process, it can be difficult and consuming.

Many people find their experience of grief is different than what was anticipated. It can be harder and deeper than expected and affect one on many levels – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.

You may experience some of these feelings and physical symptoms of grief:

  • Anger
  • Sadness
  • Shock
  • Confusion and forgetfulness
  • Anxiety
  • Sensitivity to noises and movement
  • Guilt and self-doubt
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Longing to see your loved one
  • Imagining you see your loved one or hear their voice
  • Low energy, changes in appetite, weight gain or loss, headaches, and nausea

Bereavement Coordinators

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Trained health care professionals, called bereavement coordinators, can offer support through the grieving process. At Kaiser Permanente, our bereavement coordinators are part of the hospice care team and are typically a social worker or spiritual counselor.

Bereavement coordinators offer support from the time hospice care begins, connecting you with support groups and local resources, mailings with information on coping with loss, and checking in with you or others who were close to the patient. In some cases, bereavement coordinators may be able to offer short term one-on-one counseling, provide regular follow-up phone calls, or connect you to our trained volunteers.

Call the bereavement coordinator near your service area to learn more:

  • Diablo Area (Walnut Creek, Pleasanton, Antioch):
    (925) 229 – 7817
  • East Bay Area (Oakland, Richmond, Alameda):
    (510) 752 – 4076
  • Napa/Solano Area (Vacaville, Vallejo, Napa):
    (707) 645 – 2106
  • Redwood City Area (Redwood City, San Mateo):
    (408) 235 – 4100
  • Sacramento Area (Greater Sacramento, Roseville):
    (916) 977 – 3197
  • San Francisco Area (San Franciso, S. San Francisco):
    (415) 833 – 3173
  • Santa Clara/San Jose Area (Mountain View, Santa Clara, San Jose, Milpitas, Gilroy):
    (408) 235 – 4100
  • Southern Alameda Area (San Leandro, Fremont, Hayward):
    (510) 675 – 5792

Self-Care

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Losing someone you love is a natural, yet painful, part of life. Grief is part of the healing process as you cope with your loss.

Taking care of yourself is important when grieving. Self-care includes giving yourself permission to have feelings, even painful ones, reaching out for and accepting support, and avoiding pressure to “get over it.”

Self-care also includes taking care of your body by getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and being physically active, if able.

Resources

Calendar of Events

You don’t need to grieve alone. Check our calendar for listings of support groups, celebrations of life, and other bereavement resources in your local area.

Mail Support

To help you through the grief process, Kaiser Permanente sends support materials through the mail. Created by our bereavement counselors, these materials include information on the different stages of mourning, and support resources that many of Kaiser Permanente families have found helpful for managing grief. Content helps address the wide range of emotions you may experience, like sadness, guilt, relief, or anxiety. Information on self-care is also included. If you prefer not to receive this material, you can opt out at any time.

Websites

Connect with others who have lost a loved one in an online, virtual support group and find information on grief, loss, and healing.

Compassionate Friends
Supporting Family after a Child Dies
www.compassionatefriends.org

Hospice Foundation of America
www.hospicefoundation.org

Books

After-Loss: A Recovery Companion for Those Who are Grieving by Barbara LesStrang

How to Go on Living When Someone You Love Dies by Therese A. Rando, PhD

Living with Loss: One Day at a Time by Rachel Blythe Kodanaz

Living When a Loved One Has Died, by Earl A. Grollman

Seven Choices: Finding Daylight after Loss Shatters Your World by Elizabeth Harper Neeld