Caring for our aging parents in the Sandwich Generation can definitely become a way of life that goes on for many years. I’ve been helping my own parents for over 15 years – starting when my father’s Parkinsons Disease worsened. But what happens when our parent passes away? For those of us in the Sandwich Generation, other caregiving responsibilities can actually be a blessing that keeps us going and encouraged in the midst of sorrow. Just a few days after my beloved dad passed away, we welcomed sweet new grandtwins into our lives. They spent the first few weeks in the NICU and praying for them while helping to babysit their siblings kept us extremely busy. For my mom and me, that was really a blessing. We mourned, but we were also able to channel that grief into something positive full of sweet hugs and comfort.
When a parent you’ve cared for over a long period of time passes away and you have more free time all of a sudden, though, that can be very difficult and lonely. I wanted to share some excellent resources and sites to help and encourage any of us dealing with these family issues full of grief and sorrow, whether we are staying blessedly busy or not. Some are sites I’ve recommended before, while others are new. I hope and pray they will be a blessing to you, as they have been to me.
- GriefShare.Org – My very favorite resource in times of grief and loss. I discovered their site when it was fairly new as I was reeling from the death of my beloved husband. At the time they offered a downloadable Bible study on the topic of grief that I printed out and worked through and was blessed by. As the years have gone by, the site has grown and when my beloved father passed away, I found they now had a wonderful library of books to recommend and a one-year daily email of comfort that you can subscribe to. It contains comforting Bible verses, devotional thoughts, and suggestions for grief and loss books. I’ve recommended this site to family and friends for years for any loss that they are experiencing and all have been blessed by this wonderful ministry. They can also point the way to a local Griefshare group in your area where you can meet weekly with others in a support group.
- Hospice – After my elderly dad passed away, my family and I expected Hospice to end. But they kept touching base with us to see how my mom and I were doing. Of course, we were experiencing grief and sorrow, but with the grandkids keeping us busy, we were also doing OK, so we never followed up on anything they had available. From what I’ve heard, though, if that is a need for you they can link you up with a support group, recommend other resources, and continue to come along side you to help you during the first year or so after the passing of your parent. National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization provides information and support to patients and families facing life-threatening illnesses and has some interesting looking articles on the topic of bereavement that might be a help to you. Another useful looking site is Hospice Giving Foundation. (And be sure to read More Thoughts for the Sandwich Generation Family Dealing With Grief and Hospice for another thought-provoking resource to help you.)
- Seniors For Living has an excellent report on dealing with grief and loss through bereavement with even more resources and ideas.
- Denise Brown and her site Caregiving is another favorite resource of mine. She also has another site, AfterGiving.com, which is for those whose loved ones have passed away. You can go there just to read other articles or you can register and post your own articles. Writing is often a wonderful cathartic when dealing with grief and this can be a good way of doing just that. And speaking of writing out your grief…
One of my favorite resource sites for those caring for elderly parents or others with Alzheimers Disease or other dementia symptoms is AlzheimersReadingRoom.com. This past week, he asked for information, insight and advice for one of his readers, including whether there is a “place or page for those mourning to write about the loss…now that my mother is gone, I feel there is no place for me to follow.” As I read some of the comments, and added my own, I was intrigued to discover some new-to-me ideas to pass along with you as well. Here are four of my favorites. You can read the whole article at Alzheimers Reading Room where there are many other suggestions listed in the comments:
- Griefnet.org – They have over 50 e-mail grief support groups and two web sites – one for adults and one for Kids and their parents. There is monthly charge for some of their services, but according to their site – no one is turned away if they can’t afford the fee. They are affiliated with Virtual Memories where you can write a tribute to a loved one. Again, some of the services are free, some are fee-based. This can be a sweet way of sharing your love for your parent online. They’ve been in operation since 1996.
- Tributes.com is another online resource for current local and national obituary news, lasting tributes celebrating the lives of loved ones, and various resources to help provide support during times of loss and grieving. They offer the opportunity to purchase last online tributes as well.
- Virtual Hospice is a Canadian site with “information and support on palliative and end-of-life care, loss and grief.” It looks like a great resource site for the caregiver, as well as having useful information for them after their loved one passes away – including The Moments After Death and Grief in Times of Celebration.
- Alz Connected is an Alzheimers Disease support site that has a discussion board titled “Caregivers Who Have Lost Someone.” Sounds like a great resource for those who want to touch base with others who have walked down this “valley of the shadow of death.”
For those of us who are Christians, we know that death doesn’t mean a permanent separation, it will only be for a time. Still and all, it is so hard on us who are left behind. Of course, my ultimate and total best resource for this, as well as for anything else, is the Word of God – full of comforting and encouraging Bible verses. Here are a few of the posts and resources I’ve shared at SandwichINK:
- Comforting Bible Verses and Great Resources To Bless the Sandwich Generation Dealing with the Issues of Grief
- Encouraging Bible Verses of Comfort from Psalm 23 for the Baby Boomers Generation
- Comforting Bible Verses for the Sandwich Generation: Jeremiah 29: 11 and Isaiah 42: 16
- The Sandwich Generation Granny Nanny is Clinging to These Comforting Bible Verses
- Comforting Bible Verses for the Sandwich Generation: Proverbs 3:5-6
- Pain and Suffering is Inevitable, Especially for the Sandwich Generation! So What Do We Do About It?
- Wonderful Devotions On Grief and Loss Makes This an Excellent Book for Boomers and Senior Citizens
We are truly blessed to have so many resources available to us online and off to help us through the various Sandwich Generation issues we may have to deal with – including the sorrow of losing our beloveds. I pray that you will find help and hope here at SandwichINK, as well as at some of the resources listed above. And, as always, if you have any suggestions to add, we’d love to hear about them.