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A Mothers Grief Seven weeks feel like seven days and seven years, all at the same time. And then there is anger… Getting through each day is all there.

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Presentation on theme: "A Mothers Grief Seven weeks feel like seven days and seven years, all at the same time. And then there is anger… Getting through each day is all there."— Presentation transcript:

1 A Mothers Grief Seven weeks feel like seven days and seven years, all at the same time. And then there is anger… Getting through each day is all there is. I dont believe people understand what really being alone is until they experience grief. The first stage is denial. It takes a while to accept that it is real. By Diana Mihalakis in Surviving the Folded Flag, by Deborah Tainsh (2010), p. 8 – 10.

2 Once you have passed through anger, you can then deal with guilt. The next stage of grieving is hurting and missing. This has been the most treacherous and scary period of my life. Today, two-and-a-half years after the death of my youngest child and only son, I have found acceptance. By Diana Mihalakis in Surviving the Folded Flag, by Deborah Tainsh (2010), p. 8 – 10.

3 Resources of Bereaved Military Parents American Gold Star Mothers Association Gold Star Fathers Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors: Marine Parents Legacy.com The Compassionate Friends

4 Resources for Bereaved Military Family Members Stephens Touch American Soldier Foundation Operation Proud Hearts. Grief i-Phone application support/id ?mt=8#http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/grief- support/id ?mt=8# Military Family Grief-Loss Packet

5 provides comfort and care to families of deceased military members has assisted 35,000 surviving military family members and casualty officers since 1994 provides comprehensive services and programs, such as peer based emotional support, grief and trauma resources, case work assistance, and connections to community-based care. TAPS – Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors

6 TAPS helps survivors connect with others through: Peer Support Community Resources Online Community Support Events (e.g., Survivors Seminars, Good Grief Camps for children) By Phone TAPS offers special programs for: Widow, Widower, Significant OtherSuicide Survivor Surviving ParentExtended Family Surviving SiblingFriend or Battle Buddy Surviving Adult ChildCaregiver for a Grieving Child TAPS – Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors

7 TAPS offer help through: 24/7/ TAPS Resource Help Line Benefits and Assistance Grief Counseling Care and Support Groups TAPS offers the following resources: TAPS Magazine Survivor Resource Kit Grief Publications Gifts for Families of the Fallen Links to Helpful Organizations TAPS – Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors

8 Advice for Grieving Military Parents from Gold Star Parents Grieve in your own way and at your own pace. Wait at least a year to make big decisions. Stay connected to the people around you. Give others permission to talk about your child. Allow yourself to enjoy hobbies and activities. Let others help. Comfort your other children. Consider creating a legacy for your child. Set your own rules about talking with the media. Consider becoming a member of a support group. From Surviving the Folded Flag by Deborah Tainsh, (2010) p

9 Advice for Friends and Comrades from Gold Star Parents Reach out to the family. Respect differences in grieving. Listen. Share stories. From Surviving the Folded Flag by Deborah Tainsh (2010), p

10 A SOLDIERS GRIEF: Ways Loss of Buddies Can Create Trouble for Warfighters They are bothered by their memories of combat experiences. They feel guilty that they failed their buddies if they were seriously injured or killed. They are grieving the loss of their buddies. They feel responsible and guilty that they survived when their buddy did not. They numb out and detach to keep from expressing their emotions. Their friends and loved ones tell them that they have changed.

11 EOD Marine Remembered for Heart, Selflessness, and Courage

12 Comments from a U.S. Army Sergeant following the Loss of Several Buddies I dont remember feeling any emotion at the time, probably due to the adrenaline. As the commander gave the briefing, every soldier cried. I can still see the stunned looks of loss, tragedy, and total disbelief on everyones face. I dont think Ive ever felt more grounded or mortal than at that very moment. We created a circle, held hands, and prayed out loud for the souls and families of those we had just lost. Comments by Chris Kruppa, U. S. Army sergeant, from Surviving the Folded Flag, by Deboran Taish (2010), p.176.

13 Comments from a U.S. Army Sergeant following the Loss of Several Buddies Again, the events simply didnt seem real. How were we going to deal with losing two more of our guys? Once again I secluded myself in silent prayer as we again, several days later, held a memorial service…Again, we all stood in line to salute the boots, rifle, helmet and dog tags. Comments by Chris Kruppa, U. S. Army sergeant, from Surviving the Folded Flag, by Deboran Taish (2010), p.176.

14 Second Radio Battalion Honors Fallen Marine

15 Comments from a U.S. Army Sergeant following the Loss of Several Buddies For the first year after returning from Iraq, I averaged two hours of sleep each night. I wasnt having flashbacks or nightmares, all I kept thinking about was the guys we didnt bring home alive. I felt guilty. Not because of anything I did or didnt do, but because I wasnt killed instead of them. I think deep down I never thought Id make it home alive and I was mentally and emotionally prepared for that. I wasnt able to deal with my return home since my buddies hadnt returned with us. I believe the lack of closure and survivors guilt has contributed heavily to my personal grief and unrest. Comments by Chris Kruppa, U. S. Army sergeant, from Surviving the Folded Flag, by Deboran Taish (2010), p.177.

16 Guide for therapists using At Ease, Soldier! with service members Workbook for service members to assist in post- deployment adjustment

17 Five Aspects of a Military Widows Life that Affect Her Response to Her Husbands Death her age her previous experience with death children her duty station deployments

18 Resources for Bereaved Military Spouses F.I.NE. (Females in Need of Empowerment) American Widow Project Gold Star Wives of America Got Your Back Network Society of Military Widows

19 How to Help Military Children Grieve Their Loss Children are only going to hear the first sentence and the language must be age-appropriate, using terms that they understand. At the same time a parent is giving information and talking about the death of the loved one, they must also give assurance. No matter what kind of language you use with the child, dont say to the child, Do you understand me? because a child will nod yes. Ask the child to repeat what you said so that you can determine if the child understood what you said.

20 How to Help Military Children Grieve Their Loss Help children talk about their feelings. You might sit down and draw with the child. You could draw a picture of what it looks like to be sad or scared and ask the child to draw a picture, too. This can help both of you to let out some of your feelings. Giving the child some control and letting her know that she can do something about it helps a child manage her feelings. You can ask the child, What is it that helps you to feel better about something? Children can always come up with things that make them feel better. It may be something as simple as a hug or holding onto a stuffed animal. It might be sleeping with a light on. You could suggest that they wrap the feelings up in a big blanket so it cant bother them. Or perhaps they could stuff the sadness into a pillow case and put it somewhere and forget about it for a while.

21 How to Help Military Children Grieve Their Loss The importance of routine and rituals: Keep family routines in place. Children like predictability, so keeping routines like nap time and chores helps them feel more in control. Create a special time and place to spend together. Check out the resources provided on the handout.

22 Resources for Bereaved Military Children When Families Grieve Good Grief Camps (TAPS) Operation Hug-a-Hero (aka Daddy Dolls). A Soldiers Child Birthday Rainbows Snowball Express. Zero to Three The National Children Traumatic Stress Network. Special Ops Survivors Moyer Foundation Operation We Are Here

23 Seven Ways Americans Can Help the Families of Fallen Warriors Learn about military loss. Choose your words of condolence carefully. Acknowledge the familys sacrifice. Ask about their loved one. Be patient with the family. Be a good friend, neighbor, or co-worker Give the surviving military family a break from their grief.

24 Four Important Messages from Gold Star Parents We do not want our childrens sacrifice to ever be forgotten. We need our military leaders and civilians to understand the pain parents endure in the face of the service and sacrifices made by our military children. We need to know that our loved ones military family wont shut us out. We need to hear each others stories, to know we are not alone in the madness and crushing weight of loss, grief, and debate that surrounds war. From Surviving the Folded Flag by Deboral Tainsh (1210), p. 6

25 Thank You


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