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Tragic events, ongoing difficulties, death, grieving

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Like our other resource topics, this is a work-in-progress. Focused on the social/emotional aspect of dealing with difficulties, including illness, elder care, death and grieving.

Here's an essential book for all families: first as preparation for life's inevitable losses and second, as a resource on your bookshelf for times of crisis. Giving Hope: Conversations with Children About Illness, Death and Loss by Elena Lister, MD and Michael Schwartzman, PhD, with Lindsey Tate. Read our review of the book.

Tragic events

Dealing with tragic events - A collection of ideas and resources for taking care of yourself and your children in the wake of national or local tragedies.

Responding to Grief, Trauma and Distress After a Suicide: U.S. National Guidelines - from the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Illness, seeking help

Kate Bowler has a podcast and has written several books, including Everything Happens for a Reason: and other Lies I've Loved and No Cure for Being Human (and Other Truths I Need to Hear).

Find Help - search available help in your zip code area, for help with food, housing, bills, and more.

211 - a service of United Way, dialing 211 puts you in touch with a service professional in your area who can help you find available services.

Courageous Parents Network - "Courageous Parents Network is a non-profit organization and educational platform that orients, empowers and accompanies families and providers caring for children with serious illness. Here—in videos, podcasts, printable guides, Guided Pathways, and blog—you will find wisdom from families and pediatric care providers to help you get through each moment. And be the best parent you can be."

Don't Look Down: why children don't fight cancer by Louise Dillon Bennett. "The victory is not in fighting, but in enduring, showing up every day knowing that you have no choice. The courage is not in fighting cancer but in living with it. The Beads of Courage [UK] is a wonderful organisation that doesn’t give rewards for ‘beating cancer’ but marks every needle, test, tablet, anaesthetic, operation and transfusion. It’s a visual representation of everything that has been withstood. What counts is not the willingness to fight, but the willingness to stand, with both feet solidly planted, and look cancer in the eye." In the U.S., see: Beads of Courage.

Meal Train - a way to organize friends and family to help with meals, rides, chores, etc. 

Caregiver Action Network - "Caregiver Action Network (CAN) is the nation’s leading family caregiver organization working to improve the quality of life for the more than 90 million Americans who care for loved ones with chronic conditions, disabilities, disease, or the frailties of old age." See their guides and resources.

Engaged Patients - "Engaged Patients is a national campaign under the guidance of the Empowered Patient Coalition non-profit with the vision that all patients and their loved ones have free access to the tools and the resources they need to be fully informed and participating members of their health care teams."

Laurel's Kitchen Caring - Recipes for Everyday Home Caregiving by Laurel Robertson, Carol Flinders, Brian Ruppenthal (ISBN 0-89815-951-2). More than recipes, this can help you think about a loved one's specific needs and offer food and comfort). Published in 1997, this book is still available.

Babies and children

NICU Parent Network's webinar series - free online webinars produced in association with the National Perinatal Association. Many topics covered - for NICU parents and staff.

Healing Hearts Baby Loss Comfort - this website has resources centered on baby loss and grieving, some of which are of help for other kinds of losses and grief. The resource list includes organizations, camps for siblings and also a book list.

Share Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support - for parents and all family members as well as professionals. Local groups and online communications.

Star Legacy Foundation is a nonprofit "dedicated to reducing pregnancy loss and neonatal death and improving care for families who experience such tragedies."

The Compassionate Friends - supporting family after a death.

A Haven - "Helping children grieve through a family centered approach" - see their informative resource pages.

Dougy Center - "find support, resources and connection before and after a death—for children, teens, young adults and their families."

Hand to Hold - helps families before, during, and after a NICU stay and infant loss

CuddleCots - when a baby dies, a cooling bassinet can provide a way for the baby's body to stay near the parents for a bit longer, offering time to grieve, to take photos or hand/footprints, to clip a lock of hair. Some hospitals offer these, many of them donated by parents who experienced a loss and raised funds to purchase one for other parents. We're grateful to Saul's Light, an organization in New Orleans working to support parents whose baby is in NICU as well a grieving parents, for bringing these to our attention.

Domestic Violence

National Domestic Violence Hotline - 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY) or 800-942-6908 (Espanol)

A great FAQ page and list of resources offered by author Rachel Louise Snyder at

National Health Resource Center on Domestic Violence - "a comprehensive source of information for those wanting to educate themselves and help others on the many issues related to domestic violence."

Futures Without Violence - "Are you concerned about your relationship? Does your partner scare, criticize, or blame you? Does your partner tell you what to do and who to see? Has your partner ever hurt or threatened you, or pressured you to have sex? You are not alone. Abuse happens in every culture, every country, every age group, and it may be happening to you. No one deserves to be abused or threatened. You cannot stop your partner’s abuse, but you can find help and support for yourself."

Elder Care / Housing

When the Nest Never Empties: A Handbook for Living with Adult Children and/or Elderly Parents by Cheli English-Figaro, Esq. - Multigenerational families were common throughout human history. In the 20th century many people in the U.S. adopted the nuclear family as the ideal, and now we’re seeing a resurgence of multigenerational living. In her direct, brief handbook, Cheli urges us to reflect on a range of topics, from the challenges to the rewards of living together, and to have “The Talk–The Aging Talk”—with loved ones. Although, as she says, “many people prefer to stick their heads in the sand and pretend they will never lose their independence,” she urges us not to live in a state of denial. Whether you're the parent of a young adult who has come back home, or the child of aging parents, or an aging parents yourself, this handbook can help!

UpsideHōm - a company that provides support services to people 55+ living in selected apartment buildings. Rent includes a few services (housecleaning, a "manager" to call for help with obtaining services). There are add-on services - meal deliveries, rides, home health care, etc. They partner with a company that provides home health services - PapaPal.

Village-to-Village Network - information and assistance to grassroots organizers of local "villages" that help people age in place, in their own homes and communities.

End of Life planning, funerals, grief

Go Wish cards - a way to talk about what's most important and make choices. 

Questions - for memories and laughter - from Rachel Stafford (Hands Free Mama) - a list of questions she developed when they learned her father-in-law was dying. 

Funeral Consumers Alliance - a nonprofit organization offering guidance and resources for those planning a funeral.

"We don't 'move on' from Grief. We move forward with it" - Nora McInherny's Ted Talk, viewed by over 4 million people.

How do You Help a Grieving Friend? (watch this 4-minute video from Refuge in Grief).