Dr. Gloria Horsley discusses grieving for dad with Lara Krawchuk, a clinical social worker in Pennsylvania. She lost her father, paternal grandmother, and was handling becoming a new mother all at once. As a specialist in oncology therapy and an adjunct professor in the grief and loss field, Krawchuk is a strong believer in discovering meaning in grief. She points out that her father died too young and simply at the wrong time. Having two children is difficult enough without losing a grandparent, but she realized she saw hope in her children’s faces every day. Today, she knows her father remains in their hearts and she has a continuing bond with him.
Her professional specialty supports those who are facing a terminal illness, grief and loss. Krawchuk operates a continuing education program and self-care retreats aimed at professionals. Plus, she’s also segued into the role of caregiver. While Krawchuk has been in social work for two decades, that didn’t make her father’s leukemia diagnosis any easier. He survived a bone marrow transplant shortly after her first son was born, but died right before her second child arrived. Krawchuk says his life and teachings live on in her work today.
Advice for Grievers
Krawchuk says finding a support group is the best thing you can do when facing a loss. Tell your story as many times as necessary, and find an environment that encourages you to share. Seek out connections and find places where you’re comfortable. You can also maintain connections with the person who died, whether with rituals or simply by engaging in their favorite activities.
Using art or movement therapy can be a great help, but also remember to just be kind to yourself. Strength isn’t a requirement, and realize that this is a lifelong journey.