Yesterday was a tough day. It was my husband’s birthday. I was fine until I got in the car to come into the office, then the tears started. Yes, the day was depressing, but somehow I made it thru until it was time to leave and the feeling came over me again. I got to the car and the tears started again. This will be a tough week or so. My husband died two years and eight days ago from Alzheimer’s Disease.

Surviving the loss of a close family member does not end at the funeral. I know that from experience. I also know that from seeing friends endure the pain for years after. I know that from being a facilitator for GriefShare. People come for help who have lost spouses, parents, children, more distant relatives and even friends. Some of the deaths they have sought counseling for include sudden and long term, accidents, strokes and heart attacks, cancer and Alzheimer’s, even murder and suicide. One thing they have in common is that the memory of that person lingers on and we who survive are left to grieve.

Many of us are fortunate in that we have busy lives working, caring for family members, activities with friends and neighbors. That helps to block out the memory of the recent death. However, for those who live alone, this can be an unbearable experience. And the feeling of loss can last for years.

Many of our caregivers have endured the loss of a loved one. They understand what it is like. If you are using or considering using one of our caregivers, talk to them about your loved one’s needs. Ask them to talk to your loved about their family and the ones who have passed on. Our caregivers will be happy to look at pictures and memorabilia or to hear stories about the family member. This will help tremendously in the healing process. Encourage your loved one to say he or she is having a bad day and why. They can do this while preparing a meal, doing chores or driving to the store or doctor’s office.

There are programs available for those in need of help. Hospice has a counseling program for those who had family members in Hospice. GriefShare is a non-denominational program held in many churches. This program is open to anyone who has lost a family member. There are professional counseling services also. Ask your doctor to refer you to someone.

One bit of hope is that as time goes on, it does get better. The feelings of loss become less intense and less often. But “ambushes” do happen – seeing a couple walking down the street holding hands when that was what you and your spouse enjoyed doing, watching kids play hoops when that was your son’s favorite thing, seeing your neighbor’s rose garden and remembering your mother’s love for roses. Be prepared for those moments and you and your loved one will overcome. But as always, we at Home Assist Senior Care are there for you