By Lara Rogers-Krawchuk
In this video, I will share lessons learned from my long time work as an oncology social worker, therapist, adjunct professor, and lover of the contemporary concept of meaning making along a grief journey. I will also offer personal insights from being the daughter of a dad who died much too young and at the totally “wrong” time.
Life as a griever with two young children was very hard, but I found hope every day in their smiling faces and exploration of a world still worth living in. I believe my father continues to live on as light in our hearts. We feel him every day! I am eternally grateful to my boys and my husband for pulling me through the darkest grief of my life. I am honored to support other grievers as they find their way on their own grief journeys.
I am a clinical social worker and adjunct professor. My private therapy practice, in West Chester, PA, specializes in supporting families facing physical illness and grief and loss of all kinds. I also run self-care and continuing education retreats for helping professionals. I too have been a caregiver. I had been working in the field of oncology social work for over almost 20 years when my father was diagnosed with Leukemia. He went through a bone marrow transplant shortly after the birth of my first child. Though he fought long and hard he died just before the birth of my second child. I miss him very much and his illness and death informs my work a great deal! It is an honor to walk alongside families facing illness and great loss.
My advice to grievers is to find someone safe to talk to about your loss. Tell the story over and over and as often as you need. Do not let anyone tell you the “right” way to grieve or to rush you. Stay connected, in ways that feels comfortable, to your loved one. Continued connection may come in ways you do not expect. Stay open to mystery. Use music, art, movement and story to help you heal. Be kind and compassionate to yourself. You do not have to be strong, but do try to take care of yourself; even when it is hard. Honor the pain and also try to connect with hope and joy. The journey is long and painful, but you are NOT alone!
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson