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Talking to children about loss

Simple DO’s and DON’Ts:

  • DO – Go first. As the adult, you are the leader. 
  • DO – Tell the truth about how you feel. – Telling the truth about your own grief and about how you feel will establish a tone of trust and make your child feel safe in opening up about his or her own feelings.
  • DO – Recognise that grief is emotional, not intellectual and that sad or scared feelings are normal. Avoid the trap of asking your child what is wrong, for he or she will automatically say “Nothing”.
  • DO – Listen with you heart, not your head. Allow all emotions to be expressed without judgement, criticism, or analysis.
  • DO – Remember that each child is unique and has a unique relationship to the loss.
  • DO – Be patient. Don’t force your child to talk. Give your child time. Make sure to plant healthy ideas about talking about feelings.

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  • DON’T – Say “Don’t feel scared”. Fear is a common and normal response.
  • DON’T – Say “Don’t feel sad”. Sadness is a healthy and normal reaction. Sadness and fear, the most common feelings attached to loss of any kind, are essential to being human.
  • DON’T – Ask your children how they are feeling. Like adults, fearful of being judged, they will automatically say, “I’m fine”, even though they are not.
  • DON’T – Act strong for your children. They will interpret your “non-feeling” as something they are supposed to copy.
  •  DON’T – Compare their lives or situations to others in the world. Comparison always minimizes feelings.
  • DON’T – Make promises that you cannot keep. Instead of saying “Everything’s going to be okay”, say, “We’ll do everything we can to be safe”.
  • DON’T – Forget that your children are very smart. Treat them and their feelings with respect and dignity as you would like to be treated by others.

Stay tuned for the first Course “Helping Children deal with Loss” in Zurich, in spring 2013. Sign up for my newsletter to be the first to know the dates as I only have four (4) spaces available.

WHY I do what I do

There are so many ways to pitch your business… But what would happen if I started telling people WHY I’m really in the business I’m in, from the heart? 

That question struck me as I was thinking of sending yet another “sales pitch” mail to all the networks I’m in. Do I want to sound like the current “Newsletter trend” or do I want it to come from the heart? When is it actually OK to speak from the heart without following all the sales pitch rules and formats? Are people going to find me weird if I do?

There is only one way to find out I guess, and that’s putting it to the test!

So WHY I’m in this business of Grief Recovery?

When we lost our firstborn daughter it dawned on me how little help there was for us as parents. We had received excellent medical care for our child, but when she had left us and all the medical equipment had been collected we were standing there with an empty crib, diapers, baby clothes, toys and all the rest of it that comes along with a baby. We now had to arrange all the practical details like organising the funeral, tombstone, documents for flying back to Sweden with an urn, insurance, medical bills having to be clarified etc etc etc.

Having to deal with all of that while in a state of chock and grief was mind boggling. There was no real list of support options presented to us, and I had to muster the energy to look for help myself.

I immediately signed myself up as support parent at the Children’s hospital and the palliative home care team here in Zürich to at least give other parents with the same diagnosis a chance to contact a fellow parent. But what about all the other people being stuck in loss and grief? How could I be there for fellow expats experiencing loss, living far away form their natural support system of family, friends, language and familiarity?

That’s when I decided to do the certification to become a Grief Recovery Specialist. I now work with my passion to help others getting unstuck, feel less alone in their grief and have someone listening to their story. I wake up every day feeling so blessed to be able to do this kind of work, and that our daughter taught me so much about life, death and all the things in between. Like my coach Edson Williams said yesterday, “Karin flipped the script from a bereaved parent to using the loss as an inspiration to help others.” That really warmed my heart.

So that’s WHY I’m doing what I’m doing! I just can’t stand the fact that so many are stuck and limited by their unresolved grief, and if I can just help a handfull of these people it’s worth it! And I just have to trust that the people needing my help will find me, in one way or another. Have a great weekend and start of February!

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Almost Christmas

We are a few days from Christmas and this year there will be people missing around the Christmas table, maybe they have been gone for a long time or maybe they left during the year. Regardless if it is “the first Christmas without…” or if it is “yet another Christmas without…”, please know that time will not heal all wounds so don’t be surprised if the pain from a loss flares up again during the holidays.

IMG_2039For you who know of people that are missing loved ones, please acknowledge this by talking about the missing person, mention their name, let the family know that you care and dare to talk about the more difficult aspect of celebrating this holiday. People in grief have not forgotten about the departed one and will only appreciate that you are there to listen and to talk.

Have a lovely Christmas and a wonderful new year 2013! Much love, Karin

Grief Recovery: How does it work?

Hi all, today I would like to start with a quote from the book “the Grief Recovery Handbook” written by John W. James and Russell Friedman – also the same handbook I use when I work with clients:

“Recovery from loss is achieved by a series of small and correct choices made by the griever. “

So how do you go about taking these small steps?

During the 8-week one-on-one Outreach Program or the 12-week group Outreach Program I guide you through the Grief Recovery Handbook, making sure that we look at all the aspects of how you have been taught to deal with loss and grief. For example, time heals all wounds might be a myth that you have grown up with? Here is a picture:

If you broke your arm, would you then sit down and wait for it to heal by itself or would you go to the hospital to get it looked at and cared for properly? So why are we told to wait for time to heal our hearts when they got broken from a loss?

I lost my father in September 2001, just days after the 9/11 tragedy in USA. My world crashed and I wasn’t able to function properly for a long, long while. In 2003 I was introduced to the Grief Recovery Method, as the book was translated into Swedish by Anders Magnusson at the Swedish Grief Recovery Institute in Stockholm.

However, the steps in the book seemed overwhelming to do on my own. Also, I didn’t have to courage to ask someone to do it with me, so I left it, as you do…

It took me another nine years to actually sign up for the course myself, so trust me, I know how big the resistance is to do this work! It was a lot easier when I felt the support from the other people in the group to move forward and do the very important action steps. Without that help I wouldn’t have finished the Grief Recovery process.

I can also confidently tell you that when you decide to do the Grief Recovery Outreach Program, alone or guided by me in a group or one-on-one, you will be able to move on in life without dragging the old weight of unresolved grief and un-communicated feelings!

Drop me an e-mail or give me a call on +41 76 282 98 23 if you want to know more or have questions about how I can help you! Much love!

“Please place the oxygen mask over your own mouth and nose before assisting others…”

“Should the cabin lose pressure, oxygen masks will drop from the overhead area. Please place the mask over your own mouth and nose before assisting others.”

We have all heard it, on every flight we have ever boarded, and they are many as we live abroad. And I see a very clear comparison with how we can assist our kids through loss and grief.

We simply do what we have been taught ourselves, Don’t be sad, Replace the Loss, Grieve alone, Be strong (for others), Time heals all Wounds and Keep yourself busy, or something similar might be behaviours that you have been taught as a kid. And as we all know, kids do what we DO, not what we SAY!

So the first thing to do as a parent or guardian, is to look at our own way of dealing with loss and grief. Painful as might be to look at our own stuff, we need to look at what we have been taught and see exactly what “knowledge” we are teaching our kids. As long as we are unaware of what we have been taught, we are passing the same (sometimes false) information on to our own kids. Simple as that!

So if you feel like making the commitment to deal with your own grief and make sure that you have your “oxygen mask” on before you help your child, feel free to contact me or read more under “the Grief Recovery Method®”. Love, Karin

“When children Grieve”

What an important theme that is, how we as adults can assist our children through loss and grief.  It could be anything form dealing with death (of a grand parent, parent, relative, sibling, animal…), divorce, pet loss, moving, illness, changing school, losing confidence, self worth or power to get out of a bad situation…

So how can we teach our children those useful skills to deal with their feelings surrounding the topic loss and grief?

That’s exactly why I’m committed to create a workshop for you all that want to be able to give your children the right tools and skills to deal with loss from an early age.

Stay tuned for January 2013 and sign up for my newsletter to be notified when and where the workshop is taking place.

Love, Karin

I feel truly blessed!

For the first time ever I feel that I’m doing something meaningful! The amount of trust I’m given from the clients I meet, and to witness them work through really difficult issues makes me feel so blessed!

Grief is so much more than death, separation or divorce and there are so many people living a limited life because they are carrying around old, unresolved grief. These unresolved issues could be anything from moving, changing schools or losing a beloved pet to loss of trust, loss of self worth or loss of your physical body through illness or abuse. It’s just that we haven’t been taught that these issues, and many more, needs to be taken care of and resolved so that the person can move on in life. It’s so easy to be stuck with old memories and wrongdoings. We get reminded of them from time to time and all of a sudden we find ourselves experiencing the whole emotional trauma over and over again!

Have you ever thought about a sad memory and felt that thug in your heart?

I have, many times. I only had to think about the day we got Ingrid’s diagnosis and the day she passed away and immediately I was feeling the same exact feelings, remembering every detail about what I wore, what she wore, what was said and who was sitting where. That was so incredible painful! Now I can look back on these days and cherish the memories without being thrown in to all those traumatic feelings, and what a relief that is!

 

 

Grief Recovery in German!

Why wait? If I can help people deal with their Grief in a more loving and helpful way than I have ever come across myself, why be shy about not speaking PERFECT German? It’s more about listening and be a heart with no mouth so I have no excuses for bailing out on my mission, which is to help as many as I possibly can to get relief from old or more recent grief.

So today, ladies and gentlemen, I’m taking the BIG PLUNGE by starting up with a new client in German! I’m now OPEN FOR BUSINESS I THREE LANGUAGES!

What myths about grief did you learn as a child?

There is a lot of homework to go through if you decide to sign up for the Grief Recovery Method®! However, it is there in order to lift forward the old myths and intellectual comments you have learned to use when you are grieving yourself or when you meet others in grief.

Wouldn’t it be a relief to shake these old beliefs out once and for all?

Just drop me an email at karin.andersson.hagelin@gmail.com if you want to know more about the Grief Recovery Method®! Take care of yourself <3