Grief Support OnLine Course is Coming Soon

In last month’s newsletter I mentioned that within the month we would release the Grief Support Certification Training as an Online program. October ended up being a very full month of travel and work for me, and so the Online training product is not yet ready for release.

I have been delivering the Grief Certification Training in a class-room-style setting since 2004 and included in the Online training all the components taught in that program. Since I still have more work to do on the Online training program I thought it a good idea to ask all you, especially those of you who have already taken the training, and those of you who would like to take the Grief Support Certification training so as to be certified as a Grief Support Counselor, to tell me the top two items you believe must definitely be included in the Grief Support Certification Online Training program.

Please leave your comments including your top-two must-include items on my blog or email me at


Thank you so much for your contributions

A Mother’s Voice: Indestructible Relationships to Survive a Child’s Death

A Mother’s Voice: Indestructible Relationships to Survive a Child’s Death

© Jane A. Simington, PHD

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For more than thirty years, I have been a professional, helping people as they move through difficult life experiences. I am also a bereaved mother whose son was killed when he was 13 years of age. My therapeutic practice and my comments in this article, blend my personal and professional experiences of loss and grief. As a therapist, when I work with an individual or a couple who have lost a child to death I help them prepare for the rocks in the waters they will have to navigate. I explore with them the solutions that they think will work for them and I give them suggestions of what worked for me and for the many other couples I have helped through crises.
Losing a child to is an extremely difficult experience. It can challenge even the strongest among us, ripping us apart at the very core of our being. When we feel torn open, raw and vulnerable, it is easy to strike out at others, to blame, to criticize, to be angry at them if they appear to be grieving too much or too little, or even if they do not grieve in the same ways as we do.
When I work with grieving individuals, who are in an intimate relationship, I spend considerable time discussing the importance of paying attention to how their relationship is being affected by grief I help them find strategies to keep their relationship alive, and as they heal from their grief I encourage the use of techniques that can make their relationship thrive. Here are a few points.
1) At the initial visit I ask every bereaved person what they want their relationship with their partner to look like in five years. I believe this is an important question, for a clearly defined goal increases the chances that the desired outcomes will be achieved.

2) I discuss a model of grief I have developed based on my own research and clinical experience, as well as on the research of others. This model is designed in a Figure of 8. In the top portion of the 8, I place the word Head. In the bottom portion of the Figure of 8, I place the work Gut. I describe the need to recognize that people grieve in their own ways and that these ways of grieving can change over time, especially when we find that the ways we have been using do not work, or are no longer working. Some people begin their grief journey in their head, as depicted by the Head portion on the Figure of 8 Journey through Grief model. They try to logically figure out the grief process. They may read every book that has been written on grief and attend every workshop on the topic. Others however, begin their grief journey in their guts, as depicted by the Gut portion on the Figure of 8 Journey through Grief model. Here they experience intensely all the gut wrenching emotions of grief.

The important point of this model is that regardless of where the grieving parent starts on their journey through grief, it will soon be recognized that they cannot resolve all their pain in that particular way and will move into the opposite portion on the Figure of 8. As they do so, the partner may be frustrated with the ineffectiveness of his or her efforts and also change positions on the Figure of 8.

Explaining this model to grieving parents can help them recognize that at any given time, each partner may be responding to grief in ways that are very different from each other. One partner may be attempting to work through his or her grief by gaining information and using reason, while the other person in this relationship may be exploding with emotion. The model makes it easier to envision how the back and forth movement from the Head to the Gut can wear on a relationship. Drawing the model and explaining the process can be valuable in helping partners understand how their individual movements back and forth around this Figure of 8 can result in confusion and relationship struggles. Recognizing that at any given time each may be experiencing grief in a very different way can help partners refrain from judging and scolding each other for not grieving correctly.

3) Support, love and intimacy are essential when the relationship is threatened by grief. This is a time when both partners need to care for themselves and for each other and care deeply for their relationship. It is important that they recognize that in five years, only the two of them will know how much they have hurt through each step of the process. There is a deep, strange kind of intimacy in knowing that each has been so badly hurt and that together they have survived and their relationship has thrived. I believe, that even in the very beginning, when grief is raw, it is necessary to help partners recognize that in five years it will be only the two of them who will be able to look back and know how much love it took to help each other through the pain and the chaos, and in doing so will love each other all the more for having done so.

Portions of this article were first published on the blog The Indestructible Relationship.


A Time of Renewal and Transformation

A Time for Renewal and Transformation


This morning at dawn,

prodded by a magical stirring in the air,

I wandered a wooded area

to capture signs of spring I knew would be there.

The Geese are back, the Robins too;

Pussy willows? I saw a few.

Wild things need no temple; they need no bells to ring.

The breezes coming from the South

have told them it is spring.

In this outdoor cathedral, standing on holy ground

I marveled at the lessons of rebirth that I found.

The unborn beauty beneath the earth

again reminded me,

That life renews with joy, and peace, and immortality.

©Jane A. Simington PHD, 2014



Before I Was Your Mother

Before I was your mother,

I was a girl,

who had no idea of anything

outside of pain and sorrow,

a girl who did not know

how to be a girl.

Before I was your mother,

I was a girl

beaten for not being

what my mother

wanted in a girl.

Before I was your mother,

I was a woman


for not being what

a man wanted in a wife,

Before I was a mother,

I was lost for so very long,

Before I was your mother

I was a woman

who did not know

how to be a woman.

When I became a mother,

in your eyes

I was not a woman,

I was a role

needed to be played.

Before I was a mother

I did not know

what being a mother was

I tried on many different things.

While being your mother

I was condemned

For not being the woman

my parents wanted me to be

while being your mother

I struggled

to be a girl,

to be a woman.

I struggled to be.

You struggled against

my becoming a woman,

you struggled against

my becoming a girl.

You struggled against my love,

punishing me for not being

what you wanted me to be

as your mother.

I struggled against my love too,

I was never me.

When I became your mother

I was beaten with words, with anger,

With rejection for not being

What a child wanted

in a mother,

together we created

an unhealthy way

of treating each other,

a pattern that did us

more harm than good.

Patterns designed to destroy

all we were working for

I fought to keep us together

This almost destroyed us

In becoming a woman

I stood up

to the girl, the woman

in you

and said no more.

That hurt you,

it was not intended to cause harm,

it was intended to break

the hurtful pattern

we were in.

Before I was your mother,

I was no body,

being your mother

gave me purpose,

a place to start.

We all need a place to start

Taking the time to find

Our place gives us

The opportunity to