Online Grief Support: Which Resource is Best for You?
It used to be all we had for support after the death of someone dear to us was our family and friends. Back then, the careful tending of the bereaved was solely in the hands of those living in the community. It was “aftercare” at its most humble, heart-driven level.
On some level, things haven’t changed much: the bereaved can still find solace in their community – but often there isn’t enough time or energy to “dig down deep”; which means (commonly) we can give little more than superficial grief support to those in need. But there is one resource you can turn to day or night, without having to wake anyone up from a sound sleep or interrupt someone’s dinner.
Today, there’s the Internet. Unfortunately; unlike our friends and neighbors, it has no clue what you’re really in need of – Google provides similar search results to anyone entering terms like “grief support” or “grieving quotes” – after all, the search engine has no idea of the kind of loss you’ve experienced and is unaware of the depth of your sadness. It serves up the same selection of online grief support sites, grief quotes, grief poems, and grief blogs to someone who has lost a spouse as it would to a bereaved parent. It’s up to the “end-user” (that’s you) to decide which online grief support resources are of use to him or her. That can be tricky, even in the best of times (and–let’s face it–when you’re grieving, you’re far from “your best”).
That’s where I can help. I’ve been writing about death, grief and loss for the Internet for over a decade now; which really means I’m very familiar with currently-available online grief support resources. Here’s what I’ve found –which will come as no surprise to anyone–not every site or resource is worthy of your time. Another thing: new grief support websites are going “live” all the time. Grief blogs abound, grief quotes, too; if you’re looking for online grief support, without the headache of searching through hundreds (if not thousands) of search results, this post can certainly assist you in your desire to “heal after loss”.
What Kind of Grief Support Do You Need?
It seems (especially after reaching middle age) grief, that complexity of emotional, spiritual, psychological and physical reactions to loss, is ever-present in our lives. We feel it when we’re “let go” from a job; when a relationship or marriage ends, when a pet dies; when a friend or relative decides they no longer want you in their life; whenever the sense of “loss” is strong, grief is there. There’s even something called “anticipatory mourning” – which can begin long before the actual loss. So, the question becomes: what type of loss have you recently endured? I ask because I’ve grouped many of the following online grief support resources according to the related loss: spouse, child, parent or pet.
If you’re looking for spiritual or religious guidance from grief support website, or want a more inclusive site that deals with more than one type of loss; we have those, too. The grief blogs and websites with grief poems and grief quotations worthy of your attention are also listed. My goal is to simplify your search for the online grief support resources which are right for you.
Death of a Spouse or Domestic Partner:
The Sisterhood of Widows
National Widowers Organization
In 2005, the AARP offered online visitors "A Guide for the Newly Widowed" which, even though the content is over 10 years old, it still well-worth worth reading.
Loss of a Child:
Death of a Parent or Sibling:
National Alliance for Grieving Children
Death of Active Duty Military Personnel:
Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (T.A.P.S.)
Loss Due to Suicide:
The Alliance of Hope for Suicide Loss Survivors
Loss of a Pet:
Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement
Humane Society of the United States
Be sure to read the page coping with pet death. Help Guide.org, which declares itself as a "trusted non-profit guide to mental health and well-being", also offers valuable insights into coping with pet loss.
Christian-based Online Grief Support:
Hope for the Heart
All-Inclusive Grief-Related Websites:
The Center for Complicated Grief
Center for Loss and Life Transition
Online Support Groups:
Daily Strength offers free membership in a Widows and Widowers Support Group, while Online Grief Support provides grieving people access to discussion forums, including You're Too Young to be a Widow. Grief Net, rich with educational content, offers email support groups monitored by trained volunteers. Also, be sure to check out Psych Central's list of online and email grief support groups. You might also find Grief.com's online grief support forums as well.
Porter Loring Mortuary hosts a variety of grief support groups, held either at Porter Loring Family Care Services, on 2119 Mannix, or at Alamo Heights United Methodist Church, 825 E. Basse Rd. Read Grief Support Groups page of this website to learn more about these grief support groups–open to anyone in the community who has lost a loved one.
Are You Searching for Grief Quotations?
One of the sites I like the most (for quotations on almost any subject) is Goodreads. Now there are over 1,600 quotations there tagged with the word “grief”. Some are profoundly honest; like this one: "You care so much you feel as though you will bleed to death with the pain of it." (J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix). All come from literature; consider these beautifully written words, from the book The Truth about Forever, by author Sara Dessen): “Grief can be a burden, but also an anchor. You get used to the weight, how it holds you in place.” Two other sites for grief quotes are BrainyQuote and Grief Speaks.
The publishers of the What's Your Grief? blog noted above posted "64 Quotes about Grief,Coping ;and Life after Loss". It's a gallery of beautifully done quote graphics, like the one at the right. You'll probably not be surprised to learn What's Your Grief? is also on Pinterest, with 26 boards on topics like creative expression, practical grief support, grief podcasts, and journaling; of course, there are boards with grief quotes of every variety. (You can find them on Pinterest at https://www.pinterest.com/whatsyourgrief.)
The Benefits of Online Grief Support
Years ago, we had fewer grief support options; it was primarily up to our friends, neighbors and relatives to give us the compassionate attention we needed after the death of a family member or friend. Our community was smaller, and our options fewer. However, today, thanks to the pervasiveness of the Internet, we've access to a diverse community of people; some are licensed professionals but many more are just average folks like you and me who also carry the burden of grief. I hope you find comfort and gain insight in these recommended cyber places and spaces.