News & Press

Nurturing Hope in Difficult Times

  by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.   “Hope is the pillar that holds up the world.” — Pliny the Elder   The caller to the Center for Loss asked a question that is on the hearts of many right now: “Are we going to get through this?” It became obvious as the...

This Pandemic of Grief

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D. The coronavirus is not only causing a viral pandemic—it is giving rise to a pandemic of grief. As I write this, in mid-March, we as a global community are suffering so many losses that I hardly know where to begin. Death and grief go...

Eleven Tenets of Companioning the Bereaved

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.   Tenet One: Companioning is about being present to another person’s pain; it is not about taking away the pain.   Tenet Two: Companioning is about going to the wilderness of the soul with another human being’ it is not...

The Paradoxes of Mourning: Part 3 of 3

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D. Backtracking on the Route to Healing Paradox 3: Mourners must go backward before they can go forward. A paradox is a seemingly self-contradictory statement or situation that is in fact often true. The paradox of mourning we will consider...

In Praise of Slow Funerals

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.   Have you ever noticed that we are speed-obsessed these days, even though faster is often not better? A century ago, the Industrial Revolution brought about mass production and with it an emphasis on speed, efficiency, and productivity....

The Paradoxes of Mourning: Part 1 of 3

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D. Creating Hello Opportunities Paradox 1: Families must say hello before they can say goodbye.   A paradox is a seemingly self-contradictory statement or situation that is in fact often true. The paradox of mourning we will consider...

The Paradoxes of Mourning: Part 2 of 3

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D. The Dark Night of the Soul Paradox 2: Mourners must make friends with the darkness before they can enter the light.   A paradox is a seemingly self-contradictory statement or situation that is in fact often true. The paradox of mourning...

Grieving the Death of a Celebrity

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.   When someone we have admired from afar dies, it’s normal and natural to experience grief. This article will help you understand your thoughts and feelings over the death of a celebrity and find healing ways to mourn.   What is...

Why Is the Funeral Ritual Important?

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.   “When words are inadequate, have a ritual.”  — Author Unknown Rituals are symbolic activities that help us, together with our families and friends, express our deepest thoughts and feelings about life’s most important events.  Baptism...

Helping Your Family Heal After Stillbirth

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.   Stillbirth is a profound loss Few events in life bring about such warm and wonderful feelings of anticipation as the announcement of a pregnancy. As soon as you and your family learned you were expecting, you naturally began to have...

Reaching Out for Help When You Are Grieving

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.   “Action is the antidote to despair.”  – Joan Baez When someone you love dies, you must mourn if you are to renew your capacity for love.  In other words, mourning brings healing.  But healing also requires the support and...

Helping Yourself Heal During the Holiday Season

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.   Holidays are often difficult for anyone who has experienced the death of someone loved.  Rather than being times of family togetherness, sharing and thanksgiving, holidays can bring feelings of sadness, loss and emptiness.   Love...

Helping Yourself Heal When a Pet Dies

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.   A pet is a family member, too A pet is often a member of the family. In fact, surveys show some interesting facts about pet owners: 84 percent consider their animals family members; 99 percent talk to their pets, and 54 percent...

Helping Your Family Personalize a Funeral

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.   If you are in the midst of planning a funeral, you may be feeling overwhelmed right now.  Many details must be attended to. Many people must be contacted.  Many decisions must be made. Your natural and necessary feelings of grief make...

Helping Teenagers Cope with Grief

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.   Each year thousands of teenagers experience the death of someone they love. When a parent, sibling, friend or relative dies, teens feel the overwhelming loss of someone who helped shape their fragile self-identities. And these feelings...

Helping a Friend in Grief

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D. “While the above guidelines will be helpful, it is important to recognize that helping a grieving friend will not be an easy task.  You may have to give more concern, time and love that you ever knew you had.  But this effort will be...

Exploring the Uniqueness of Your Suicide Grief

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.   “The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love, and to be greater than our suffering.” —Ben Okri The wilderness of your grief is your wilderness. The death of someone from...

Helping Your Family Heal After Miscarriage

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.   Miscarriage is a significant loss It is normal and natural to hurt deeply after miscarriage. While others may imply or outright tell you that miscarriage happens too early on for you to be attached to the baby, or that miscarriage is...

Helping a Grandparent Who Is Grieving

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.   “When a grandchild dies, grandparents grieve twice.  They mourn the loss of the child and they feel the pain of their own child’s suffering.  Sometimes we forget about the grandparents when a child dies.  You can help by...

Helping a Grieving Friend in the Workplace

By Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.   “Grief is a long, painful journey.  As the friend of a grieving coworker, you can choose to help make the journey more tolerable.  Tell your coworker how sorry you are and listen if she wants to talk.  Be available to her in the...

Helping Yourself Heal When an Adult Sibling Dies

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.   “To the outside world we all grow old.  But not to brothers and sisters.  We know each other as we always were.  We know each other’s hearts.  We share private family jokes.  We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs...

Helping Yourself Heal When a Parent Dies

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.   Your mother or father has died.  Whether you had a good, bad or indifferent relationship with the parent who died, your feelings for him or her were probably quite strong.  At bottom, most of us love our parents deeply.  And they love...

Helping Children Understand Cremation

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.   The adult as role model and helper A child you care about is grieving the loss of someone loved.  If you, too, loved the person who died, you are now faced with the difficult but critical task of helping both yourself and the child...

Helping Children with Funerals

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D. The adult as role model and helper A child you care about is grieving.  If you, too, loved the person who died, you are now faced with the difficult but critical task of helping both yourself and the child heal.  Throughout the coming months...

Helping Yourself Heal When Your Child Dies

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.   “The experience of grief is powerful. So, too, is your ability to help yourself heal. In doing the work of grieving, you are moving toward a renewed sense of meaning and purpose in your life.” ~ ~ ~ Allow yourself to mourn Your...

Helping Children Cope With Grief

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.   Adults grieve. So do children. As an adult or child, experiencing grief means to “feel,” not just to “understand.” Anyone old enough to love is old enough to grieve. Even before children are able to talk, they grieve when someone loved...

Helping Yourself Heal When Your Spouse Dies

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.   “The experience of grief is powerful. So, too, is your ability to help yourself heal. In doing the work of grieving, you are moving toward a renewed sense of meaning and purpose in your life.” ~ ~ ~ Acknowledge your loss...

The Spiritual Path to Healing: An Introduction

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.   After the death of someone loved, you are “torn apart” and have some very unique needs. Among these needs is to nurture yourself in five important areas: physically, emotionally, cognitively, socially, and spiritually. In the coming...

The Importance of Hope

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D. “Today… I open my heart’s hand to allow… the touch of hope.” — Julia Cameron Someone you love has died.  In your heart you have come to know your deepest pain. Your grief has brought challenges that seem beyond your own capacity to survive....

You’re Not Going Crazy — You’re Grieving!

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.   In his beautiful book A Grief Observed, C.S. Lewis described his experience after the death of his wife. He wrote, “An odd by-product of my loss is that I’m aware of being an embarrassment to everyone I meet… Perhaps the bereaved ought...