Help for Coping With the Death of a Loved One
Losing a loved one who has died can be an emotionally challenging and unfamiliar experience. Many people do not know where to begin to find help in coping with loss.
The Chaplaincy Department of Memorial Hermann Health System has gathered the following resources to help support people in Houston, Texas, and the surrounding communities. We hope that you and your loved ones will find these resources to be helpful at your time of loss.
"What we have once enjoyed deeply we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us."
- AARP: What to Do When a Loved One Dies
- Burial Assistance: If you are at a hospital or have hospice services, social workers, chaplains, or case managers may be able to assist you further in locating financial assistance for burial and cremation. Your local county burial assistance program will be able to direct you to available resources:
- 211 United Way Helpline: If you are struggling or are in need of resources, support is available to everyone in the Greater Houston region by dialing "2-1-1." Trained professionals answer the line 24/7, 365 days a year to assist you with accessing community resources including homeless shelters and survivor services, counseling support, food aid, medical aid, resources for veterans, addiction treatment resources, support for people with disabilities, natural disaster recovery assistance, and more. Support is available in over 90 languages. Just dial 2-1-1, or see their site to find out more: https://www.unitedwayhouston.org/211/.
- Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress is available to you and your loved ones at (800) 273-8255.
- Bo's Place is a local Houston non-profit that serves adults, children, and adolescents healing from grief. They offer bereavement support, including educational materials, grief support groups and recommendations for people in the Houston area who are coping with the death of a loved one. A variety of their educational resources are provided below. For more information and additional resources, see their website: https://www.bosplace.org or call (713) 942-8339.
- Center for Loss & Life Transition: This site was created by Dr. Alan Wolfelt, a well-known grief counselor. Below are some of the resources available through the site:
- AARP: Five Surprising Truths About Grief
- The Montrose Center of Houston provides support to LGBTQ communities, including general counseling services and group counseling. Additional services, including housing support, HIV services, substance abuse services and others are also available.
- Recommended Books:
- Understanding Your Grief: Ten Essential Touchstones for Finding Hope and Healing Your Heart, by Alan D. Wolfelt
- The Unwanted Gift of Grief, by Tim P. VanDuivendyk, DMin
- Healing After Loss: Daily Meditations for Working Through Grief, by Martha Whitmore Hickman
- Podcasts & Audio:
"Grief is in two parts. The first is loss. The second is the remaking of life."
Grieving the loss of a loved one during the Covid-19 pandemic can present many unique challenges for bereaved individuals. Many people may have not been able to see their loved ones before they died due to safety precautions. The death may have been sudden or unexpected. Some families have had multiple members infected and even suffered multiple deaths. In addition to losing loved ones, one may be coping with the stress of having one's life upended by the pandemic in many ways.
Grief is not limited to the death of a loved one. Our greater Houston community, our state, country, and our world are going through a global crisis. This crisis has impacted the physical, mental, and spiritual health, as well as to the safety and economic security, of so many. A crisis such as this can provoke grief as well as trauma for many individuals.
You may be grieving the loss of a job, or struggling with loneliness at not being able to visit with family or friends. You may be having to adapt to working from home, are working under new safety precautions, or have lost a job. You may be struggling with child care or be concerned about your child’s schooling. You may be grieving how life was for you before this crisis.
The multiple stresses of life right now might be compounded and feel unmanageable. It is important to seek support for one’s physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being during the pandemic.
We hope the resources on this page may be of support to you and your loved ones.
"And when great souls die, after a period, peace blooms, slowly and irregularly. Spaces fill with a kind of soothing electric vibration. Our senses, restored, never to be the same, whisper to us. They existed. They existed. We can be. Be and be better. For they existed."
Many families often have questions about how to best support children and adolescents experiencing grief and loss. There are numerous resources available to support children, adolescents and their families coping with grief. The websites and resources below may offer a good starting place:
Bo's Place Support Groups for Children & Adolescents: Bo's Place is located in Houston and offers free support to the community.
- The Dougy Center: The National Center for Grieving Children & Families
- Coalition to Support Grieving Students
- Sesame Street® has developed a number of resources that are printable, in addition to videos that you can watch with your children of different ages.
- Recommended Reading (Books):
- Healing a Child's Grieving Heart, by Alan D. Wolfelt
- Guiding Your Child Through Grief, by James P. Emswiler and Mary Ann Emswiler
- Recommended reading list from Bo's place for:
"The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not 'get over' the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same nor would you want to."
- Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital Pregnancy Loss Support Group for Parents
Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital offers bereavement support group for parents who have experienced a pregnancy loss. The group meets the first Thursday of the month from 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. (Room 103) and the third Thursday of the month from 7 - 8:30 p.m. (Room 201).
The meeting will be at the Hope and Healing Center & Institute (717 Sage Rd, Houston, Texas 77056) in the Family Room.
Please call (713) 704-0600 to register for the Group Session or email email@example.com.
If you are unable to register, walk-ins are welcome.
- Bo's Place Pregnancy Loss Group in Houston. Groups are hosted at their center, and Bo's Place is also able to refer you to local groups in your area. Bo's Place provides free support services for the whole family dealing with grief.
- Share is a national organization with local chapters to support people experiencing loss of a pregnancy or infant. Local support groups meet in Houston and several of the surrounding communities.
- Through the Heart: Pregnancy loss support & education
- M.E.N.D. (Mommies Enduring Neonatal Death) is a non-profit Christian organization supporting women and families who have suffered miscarriage, stillbirth, or early infant death.
- Modern Loss: Miscarriage and stillbirth
- Helping Your Family Heal After a Stillbirth
Help for Those Grieving the Loss of a Child
Grief Is a Process
Grief is an ongoing process. While some may feel an expectation to "get over" a loss quickly, most people find that it takes time to heal. It may take more time than we ever imagined. There may be ups and downs. Everyone experiences grief differently, and being compassionate to yourself and others going through grief can be beneficial. It could be months or even years before you begin to feel more like yourself again after a difficult loss. As you navigate coping with the pain of loss, you may find it helpful to have the support of friends, loved ones, counselors and support groups. We hope these resources are a comfort to you and your loved ones as you begin the healing process.