You’re not alone.
Grief doesn’t end with the funeral.
If you Google the word 'grief,' the search engine will deliver well over 23 million results! That's an unbelievable amount of information about dealing with grief at a time when you may already feel overwhelmed by the smallest of tasks. While the experience of grief can be very isolating, we’re here to support you in countering these feelings of loneliness and disconnection. The resources contained in this section of our website are intended to help. Should you need additional support, please don't hesitate to call us. We will do our best to ease your bereavement and, if requested, assist you in finding a grief counselor, support group, or therapist.
Evan W. Smith Funeral Services offers grief counseling and other mental health services to the Delaware community in collaboration with Leslie Holley, a Nationally Certified Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor.
“A Healing Place” is a series of workshops offered on a quarterly basis where Leslie will facilitate sessions to help participants learn about the grief cycle and how to move through the grieving process in a healthy way.
In addition, monthly informative blog posts will cover a range of mental health and grief topics from how children respond to grief, to living in a COVID-19 world and much more. You can also access our weekly social media posts.
All of these services are offered at no additional charge as part of the continuity of care represented in every one of our funeral services packages.
A collection of supportive tools for the bereaved
Everyone must cope with loss on his or her own terms. The emotional upheaval of these trying times can be so overwhelming that even the support of your friends and family may not relieve the sadness you feel. To assist you in your aftercare, we have provided some helpful grief support resources including additional links below.
Grieving Alone and Together: Responding to the Loss of Your Loved One during the COVID-19 Pandemic by Sara Murphy, Ph.D., CT, with a foreword by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.
The Funeral Service Foundation, through its COVID-19 Crisis Response Fund, has funded the creation of a booklet that addresses the challenges of grieving the death of a loved one during the COVID-19 pandemic. Grieving Alone and Together: Responding to the Loss of Your Loved One during the COVID-19 Pandemic by Sara Murphy, Ph.D., CT, with a foreword by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D., is available for free to anyone who has experienced the death of a loved one or who would like to learn how they can support those who have.
Center for Loss & Transition
A leading provider of information and inspiration in the areas of illness and dying, loss and grief, healthy caregiving, life transition, and spirituality.
>> VISIT SITE
Sesame Street’s ‘When Families Grieve’
Educational content and interactive activities to help support children through their grief.
>> VISIT SITE
Videos, resources, newsletter, and an online therapeutic grief program created by Dr. Jason Troyer.
>> VISIT SITE
Resources and support for adults in grief, as well as those who surround them, in order to build a community that promotes healthy grieving and healing.
>> VISIT SITE
National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization
Committed to improving end-of-life care and expanding access to hospice care with the goal of profoundly enhancing quality of life for people dying in America and their loved ones.
>> VISIT SITE
We’ll be with you all the way. The compassionate, experienced staff at Evan W. Smith Funeral Services is trained to help individuals and families through their grief journeys. We have the resources and expertise to help you move forward. If you are ever in need of aftercare, please don't hesitate to reach out to us.
When Grief Doesn’t Ease
There is no timetable for grief.
Sometimes, it may feel as if the heartache will never end.
You aren’t the only grieving person who has longed for some measure of relief. Grief counselors and therapists tell us that the length of time it takes to mourn the loss of a loved one is dependent on the situation, how attached you were to the deceased, how they died, and your age and gender, among others. So many variables exist and there’s absolutely no way to predict how long it will take for you to adapt to your loss.
The Difference between Normal and Complicated Grief
Research findings have led experts to come up with many differing categories of grief experience ranging from normal to complicated. Normal (or uncomplicated) grief has no timeline and encompasses a range of feelings and behaviors common after loss such as bodily distress, guilt, hostility, preoccupation with the image of the deceased, and the inability to function as one had before the loss. All are normal and present us with profound – and seemingly endless – challenges. Yet, Katherine Walsh says, “Over the course of time, with average social support…most individuals will gradually experience a diminishment of these feelings, behaviors, and sensations.”
How do you know if your bereavement is no longer within the range of normal?
Ms. Walsh goes on to say, “While there is no definitive time period by which this happens, if an individual or members of a family continue to experience distress intensely or for a prolonged period – or even unexpectedly years after a loss – they may benefit from treatment for complicated grief.”
These insights can help.
While grief educators and theorists tell us that a diagnosis of complicated grief should not even be attempted until after the first anniversary of the death, if any one of the following symptomatic clues exists for longer than six months, you may want to consider grief counseling or grief therapy:
- You cannot speak of the deceased without experiencing intense and fresh grief long after the loss.
- A relatively minor event triggers an intense grief reaction.
- Your conversations with others are littered with references to loss. In other words, the loss is an ever-present motif in your world view.
- You have issues related to your loved one's possessions. Keeping everything the same as before their death could indicate trouble just as tossing out everything right away can also be a clue to disordered mourning. (Note: You also need to factor in your cultural and religious background)
- You have developed physical symptoms similar to those of the deceased before their death. Sometimes these symptoms recur annually, on the anniversary of the death, or on holidays. Increased susceptibility to illness or the development of a chronic physical complaint can also be an indicator.
- If you have made radical changes to your lifestyle, or excluded friends, family members, or even activities associated with the deceased, it may indicate unresolved grief.
- A long history of depression, often marked by guilt or low self-esteem, can reveal disordered mourning. The opposite is also true: a person experiencing a false sense of happiness or elation could be experiencing unresolved grief.
- A compulsion to imitate the deceased, in personality or behavior, can be a sign of complicated mourning.
- Having self-destructive impulses or exhibiting self-destructive behaviors can be significant. These can range from substance abuse, engaging in self-harm, developing eating disorders and suicidal tendencies.
- A sense of unexplained sadness occurring at a certain time each year (holidays, anniversaries, or birthdays) can also be a clue to unresolved grief.
- Developing a strong fear about dying, especially when it relates to the illness that took the life of your loved one, is an important clue.
- If you have avoided visiting your loved one's grave or if you are still unwilling to discuss the circumstances of their death, this could indicate complications in your bereavement.
There are many types of complicated grief: it can be delayed, masked, exaggerated, or chronic. A year after the death, if you feel your grief symptoms are not improving or are worsening, we advise you to seek professional grief counseling or therapy. If you are in need of additional support, please do not hesitate to reach out to our caring staff.
Whether you need to plan a funeral for a death that has occurred or are seeking to preplan arrangements, our staff is always available to assist you. Please contact us anytime.
Recent Blog Posts
In our blog, we share resources and information that families in our community can use to cope with their loss or better understand their grief. We also write about the ways we have been involved in the community. Check out our latest posts.