Self-Healing Expressions
grief and volunteering
Bringing the self to healing, one lesson at a time.
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The First Year of Grief: Help for the Journey
The First Year of Grief: Help for the Journey.
The bereaved are guided and supported through the grief process in this grief-healing e-course.

A Different Grief:  Coping with Pet Loss
Are You Facing The Loss Of A Beloved Pet?
Explore both the myths and the realities surrounding the experience of pet loss, including why it hurts so much and how it differs from other losses in this Self-Healing Expressions email course.

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Words of comfort for sympathy

Finding Your Way through Grief: A Guide for the First Year by Marty Tousley, RN
Finding Your Way
through Grief:
A Guide for
the First Year

Help for Your Grief Journey


Healing Through Service

The First Year of Grief: Help for the Journey
The First Year of Grief: Help for the Journey

Understand the nature of grief and loss and their potential impact on all aspects of your life: physical, financial, emotional, social and spiritual. Learn how to move through grief actively and make the process of mourning a healing one. Find support and guidance in dealing with the many facets of grief.

Learn More Now! [Audio Message by the author]

Service to Others: A Pathway to Healing

by Marty Tousley, Bereavement Counselor

You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late . . . the love of our neighbor in all its fullness simply means being able to say to him, 'What are you going through?'
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

At some point in your grief journey, you may feel the need to channel your pain, as well as the time and energy once devoted to your relationship with your loved one, into something productive and meaningful through the gift of volunteering. As one who truly understands the grieving process, you may feel ready to reach out to others who are suffering the pain of loss. Now that you've found your own way through the many challenges of grief, you have a great deal to share with others who are suffering: you can identify with their struggles, empathize with their sorrows and doubts, and offer valuable information and support.

What causes or issues are important to you?

What skills do you have that you could offer to others?

Is there something you've always wanted to learn how to do?

Giving of yourself as a volunteer enables you to pursue personal interests, polish old skills and learn new ones, and make a positive difference in your community.

Learn more about volunteering, find your local volunteer center and choose the interest area you want to explore at the Points of Light Foundation's Volunteer Center National Network.

See also the links to local volunteer opportunities on the AARP Community Service: Home Page.

Other useful information on volunteering can be found on these Web sites: If you're interested in becoming a hospice volunteer, contact your local hospice organization – or consider some of the agencies that offer in-depth training applicable to all hospice settings:

Hospice Volunteer Association
Hospice Volunteer Network
Hospice Volunteer Training Institute
Hospice Volunteer Training Series
Metta Institute
Upaya Institute

Also highly recommended: Stan Goldberg's inspiring book, Lessons for the Living: Stories of Forgiveness, Gratitude, and Courage at the End of Life, in which the author shares the wisdom he gains from being a hospice volunteer.

Giving back to the courageous folks who serve your community is another alternative. Consider how Scott Mastley (whose brother died in an auto crash) honors the men in his local fire department every year, as a way of thanking the individual fireman who comforted his brother as he lay dying:

"I gathered the courage to call the man who sat in the car with my brother while they waited for the ambulance to arrive. The man was a fireman, and he was off duty, painting a house to earn extra money, when he saw the accident." Read on: Turkey Talks: Thanking the Man Who Comforted My Brother

Wishing you Peace and Healing,

Marty Tousley, Bereavement Counselor

Copyright © 2009 Marty Tousley, CNS-BC, FT, DCC. All rights reserved.

Marty Tousley is the author of these popular online grief healing courses and ebooks:
The First Year of Grief: Help for the Journey
A Different Grief: Coping with Pet Loss
A Different Grief: Helping You and Your Children with Pet Loss
How To Write a Eulogy: Guidelines & Examples for Paying Tribute to Your Loved One
Heartfelt Condolence Letters ~ With Condolence Message Samples

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