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The Many Faces of Grief: M - O


Mental health issues, Miscarriage, Murder, Moral injury, Molestation

On Mental Health:

Patrick J. Kennedy is one of the world’s leading voices on mental health and addiction. He works to unite government leaders, philanthropists, the private sector, and advocates in transforming our health care system to finally treat illness of the brain on par with illnesses of the body. Patrick speaks to the pursuit of mental health equity; the role of the Federal Parity Law; the need for health care integration; technology’s role in mental health care; brain health as an essential part of overall health; combatting the opioid crisis; a roadmap for a better health care system; national and state advocacy work; workplace mental health.

Patrick and Amy Kennedy, Education Director of The Kennedy Forum, recently joined The Chopra Foundation’s Never Alone Summit for a segment on youth, teen, and family mental health. Speakers included Deepak Chopra, Russel Brand, Jewel, Diane von Furstenberg, Russel Wilson, and more.

“A Common Struggle: A Personal Journey Through the Past and Future of Mental Illness and Addiction” details Kennedy’s personal struggles, as well as his bold plan for the future of mental health care in America.

This book is highly recommended. It will open your eyes.

On Miscarriage:

Miscarriage is a common event which is estimated to occur in approximately one in four confirmed pregnancies. Social networks play an important role in supporting women following this event and positive support experiences can play a role in buffering women’s experiences of grief, loss and psychological distress following miscarriage.

Women have reported both positive and negative social support experiences following miscarriage. Women’s partners were identified as their central support figures for most women in this study, and women also identified other women who had previously experienced miscarriage as helpful and supportive.

Conversely, women also expressed they felt there was a vast silence surrounding miscarriage, with others being commonly uncomfortable discussing the event leading to feelings of loneliness and isolation. Many women also felt the societal tradition of not disclosing pregnancy until after the first trimester contributed to the stigma surrounding miscarriage, and lead to poorer support experiences.

Raising awareness of the psychological impact of miscarriage appears imperative to assist the community to support women experiencing this loss, as well as reducing the secret and hidden nature of the experience. There are several recommendations that may assist well-meaning friends and family in providing appropriate support for their loved ones experiencing miscarriage. Unfortunately, many people in the wider community are uncomfortable with others’ grief, providing the recommended supports in the context of miscarriage would likely remain highly challenging.

~ BMC Women’s Health, October 2018

On Murder:

Senator Robert F. Kennedy Indianapolis, Indiana April 4, 1968

I have bad news for you, for all of our fellow citizens, and people who love peace all over the world, and that is that Martin Luther King was shot and killed tonight.

Martin Luther King dedicated his life to love and to justice for his fellow human beings, and he died because of that effort.

In this difficult day, in this difficult time for the United States, it is perhaps well to ask what kind of a nation we are and what direction we want to move in. For those of you who are black--considering the evidence there evidently is that there were white people who were responsible--you can be filled with bitterness, with hatred, and a desire for revenge. We can move in that direction as a country, in great polarization--black people amongst black, white people amongst white, filled with hatred toward one another.

Or we can make an effort, as Martin Luther King did, to understand and to comprehend, and to replace that violence, that stain of bloodshed that has spread across our land, with an effort to understand with compassion and love.

For those of you who are black and are tempted to be filled with hatred and distrust at the injustice of such an act, against all white people, I can only say that I feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling. I had a member of my family killed, but he was killed by a white man. But we have to make an effort in the United States, we have to make an effort to understand, to go beyond these rather difficult times.

My favorite poet was Aeschylus. He wrote:

"In our sleep, pain which cannot forget,

falls drop by drop upon the heart until,

in our own despair, against our will,

comes wisdom through the awful grace of God."

What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence or lawlessness; but love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or they be black.

So, I shall ask you tonight to return home, to say a prayer for the family of Martin Luther King, that's true, but more importantly to say a prayer for our own country, which all of us love--a prayer for understanding and that compassion of which I spoke.

We can do well in this country. We will have difficult times; we've had difficult times in the past; we will have difficult times in the future. It is not the end of violence; it is not the end of lawlessness; it is not the end of disorder.

But the vast majority of white people and the vast majority of black people in this country want to live together, want to improve the quality of our life, and want justice for all human beings who abide in our land.

Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world.

Let us dedicate ourselves to that, and say a prayer for our country and for our people.


Not enough, not belonging, neglect

On not Enough:

For decades a prayer has circulated in the background of my daily life: May I trust my own goodness. May I see the goodness in others. This longing emerged from a deep place of suffering I went through as a young adult. During that dark time, I felt anxious and depressed, separate from the world around me. I was continually judging myself as falling short, not good enough, doubting my basic worth. That of course kept me from feeling close and connected to others and to the world. It blocked me from feeling creative, stopped me from being fully alive.

It feels like grace that this “trance of unworthiness” led me onto a spiritual path [Buddhism] that showed me how to hold myself with compassion. This allowed me to see through the layers of judgment and doubt and to discover beneath them clarity, openness, presence, and love.

Increasingly over the years, my trust in this loving awareness as the essence of who we all are has become a guiding light. No matter how wrong or lacking we may feel, how caught in separation, or how trapped by the messages, violations, and inequities of the society we live in, this basic goodness remains the essence of our Being.

~ Tara Brach

On neglect:


What is neglect and what are the types of neglect?


As Porchia-Usher defines, chronic child neglect is an ongoing, serious pattern of deprivation of a child's basic physical, developmental, and/or emotional needs for healthy growth and development. Child neglect is more prevalent and difficult to resolve than other forms of child abuse. Let's take a look at the types of neglect.

Physical Neglect. The failure to provide necessary food, clothing, and shelter; inappropriate or lack of supervision.

Medical Neglect. The failure to provide necessary medical or mental health treatment.

Educational Neglect. The failure to educate a child or to provide for special education needs.

Emotional Neglect. The failure to meet a child's emotional needs and provide psychosocial support, or permitting the child to use alcohol or other drugs.

~ Child Welfare Information Gateway

Ensuring that young children have safe, secure environments in which to grow and learn creates a strong foundation for both their futures and a thriving, prosperous society. Science shows that early exposure to maltreatment or neglect can disrupt healthy development and have lifelong consequences. When adult responses to children are unreliable, inappropriate, or simply absent, developing brain circuits can be disrupted, affecting how children learn, solve problems, and relate to others.

The absence of responsive relationships poses a serious threat to a child’s development and well-being. Sensing threat activates biological stress response systems, and excessive activation of those systems can have a toxic effect on developing brain circuitry. When the lack of responsiveness persists, the adverse effects of toxic stress can compound the lost opportunities for development associated with limited or ineffective interaction. This complex impact of neglect on the developing brain underscores why it is so harmful in the earliest years of life. It also demonstrates why effective early interventions are likely to pay significant dividends in better long-term outcomes in educational achievement, lifelong health, and successful parenting of the next generation.

For more information, read Persistent Fear and Anxiety Can Affect Young Children’s Learning and Development. Illustration by Betsy Hayes.



On being orphaned:

How Many Orphan Children Do You Think There Are?

There are a staggering number of orphan children worldwide. In fact, more than 140 million children are considered orphans by one definition or another. Sadly, there are orphan children who are even abandoned by the statistics! Who counts those who live on the streets, in landfills and sewer systems? How could you?

What Do You Think Happens to the Average Orphan Child?

Beyond suffering and the ultimate tragedy of death, the children that do survive, often do so in ways that demeans and criminalizes themselves and brings suffering to others as well. The sad reality though, is that if a good and caring person is not there to provide what they need, who is? Pimps, child labor bosses, terrorists, rebel armies with child soldiers, child traffickers, even less - than- good- willed- relatives who want a personal slave. The end result is truly heartbreaking as many of the orphan children out there will die of starvation and issues related to malnutrition. They will die from preventable diseases. They will die at the hands of others and themselves. They will spend much of their life in jail. They will do harm to others and impact the world in a negative fashion.

But It’s a Massive Problem:

How Can We Make a Difference?

Perhaps the biggest tragedy of all is that we know how to turn tragedy into triumph...we just need more help doing it! We know how to turn terrible statistics into wonderful statistics. And when you help the children, you are doing a wonderful thing, but the good you have done doesn't stop there. It spreads!

The world and global society benefit when we help orphan children.

Instead of harming themselves and others, they grow up to be responsible, healthy, adults that give back to the community they live in instead of taking away from it.

The good that is done, is generational.

When we give the children what they need to THRIVE, not just survive we break the cycle that creates orphans in the first place, and the next generation of children will have YOU to thank for the fact that their parents didn't abandon them...but instead raised them in a healthy and loving environment. There will be less crime, less disease and less orphan children to take care of!

~ Orphan’s Lifeline International

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