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Photo Gallery | ~ Current Trends in Grief Care ~ Suicide, Terminal Illness, Veterans With PTSD

Chaplain Terry Morgan, MMinPS, BCECR – “Post Traumatic Stress of Combat Casualties” ~ The grief journey of our armed forces personnel 

"Moral Injury" is the title of what happens to a soldier who is forced to commit what is, in their mind, an atrocity, or when the witness and are unable to stop, or sometimes even hear about these events.  This typically happens when a superior officer orders them to do something as part of the war.  Moral Injury makes PTSD and TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) much worse.  Treating Moral Injury has been shown to significantly reduce symptoms of PTSD and TBI.” 

This is only one scenario talked about this day, which brought understanding to the audience of just one of the many issues our veterans are suffering.  Chaplain Morgan and Gold Country Chaplaincy work one-on-one with veterans, among many other community members including the homeless, serves as a Chaplain on-call crisis hours at Sutter Roseville Hospital as well as working with businesses in our community.  The chaplains within Gold Country Chaplaincy have a ‘server’s heart.’ 

Alan Pedersen ~ “Proactive Grieving – Taking Charge of your grief journey” ~ was eloquent in his expression of having lost his beloved daughter, one of three children.  Pedersen’s loss of his daughter brought him to his knees, deep in grief as would any parent suffering the loss of their child.  What Pedersen experienced, during his course of grief, were the responses from friends after a time prompting him to ‘move on from his grief’ attitude.  Here is where Pedersen took a long look at this philosophy from others….what Pedersen found was being with his daughter in heart and soul daily, living her legacy for her – not forgetting her – not saying, “well, I now have 2 children when asked how many children he had.”  The one main ingredient to healing was keeping his daughter alive in spirit, although she now lives in Heaven.  Pedersen wondered, why in the world would he no longer have a daughter; because she is no longer here on earth?   She will always be his daughter, he her father, period!  These are the deep feelings about his loss.  He did not lose the love he feels for her ~ her being will always be with him.  He will not have one less child, period!  Why would he want to put her away from his heart and mind? 

Pedersen feels this is the proactive grieving role ~ and reminded us all that our losses are still deep in wealth of memories and love. 

Diana Aten Conwell ~ “I Don’t Know How to Say Goodbye.”  “Communication for Couples With a Terminal Illness.” 

As Diana is a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist, she is all but too familiar with the subject of grief – that of a client.  She suffered the loss of her husband, now she was the client, experiencing firsthand how to say goodbye to your loved one, now a couple sharing a life facing a terminal illness.  As Diana reflected, she shared the many caveats a couple faces when stricken with your partner who is dying. 

Diane explained how important it is for the couple to talk about their feelings as they embark upon this journey together.  The roles have now changed with regard to the new perception of their life together.  Perhaps the intimacy and closeness once shared has become distant due to health issues or emotional issues and Diane could not stress enough the importance of developing and maintaining perhaps a new intimacy that can now be shared.  She reminded us that exploring what is a comfort level for the couple to share their myriad of emotions which can include the ill person can show much anger as a way to push away their beloved, hoping it will make it easier for the one left behind.  As one partner becomes caregiver, emotions of stress, alienation from their normal relationship that can develop, even anger at having to be now in the position of caregiver and feeling helpless in this situation can all come into play. 

The main theme of Diane’s presentation was not to lose contact with your beloved as he/she is dealing with a terminal illness.  Talking about feelings, developing a deep understanding of needing intimacy in this new setting, but always remembering the love that is there. 

Marilyn Koenig/Friends for Survival ~ “A support system for those who’s loved one died by suicide.”   Koenig remembered, “There were no danger signs.”  Her son, Steven, was an 18 year old high school senior when he committed suicide by shooting himself.  This occurring in 1977, those who lost a loved one had no place to go to share the deep grief that as Steven’s mother, Koenig will live with the rest of her life.  In 1977, she recalls that few people spoke openly about suicide.  She had never encountered suicide before, “because nobody talked about it then.” 

Koenig learned of a few who had experienced their loved one’s suicide and she decided to open her home to anyone who wished to come and share their feelings. Now living for her surviving children, Marilyn began to pick up the pieces of her life.  Indeed, Steven’s death transformed a distraught mother into a committed activist.  The process started a few years after Steven’s death, when another Sacramento teen completed suicide.  For Marilyn, her single-minded search for answers – as well as her entrée into activism, was now a course being set. 

At around that time, Marilyn spoke with survivor, Charlotte Ross, a pioneer in the survivor movement.  After being appointed to a senate advisory committee on youth suicide prevention, Marilyn and Chris Moon started a support group in Sacramento. 

The group grew, as did Marilyn’s commitment.  She now serves as president of the nonprofit, Sacramento-based Friends of Survival, which meets twice monthly.

•    Diana Aten Conwell, MS, LMFT - "When the Bell Tolls" - Grief that comes with learning of a terminal illness.  Diana is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist (MFC#49952), Career Counselor, & Life Coach (CTI Certified) in private practice.

•    Chaplain Terry Morgan, MMinPS, BCECR - "Post Traumatic Stress of Combat Casualties" - The grief journey of our armed forces personnel. Chaplain Terry is the Sr Chaplain/Exec. Dir. of Gold Country Chaplaincy & Press4Hope.

•    Marilyn Koenig - "Friends for Survival" - A support system for those whose loved one died by suicide. Marilyn is the co-founder and Exec. Dir. of Friends for Survival, Inc.

•    Alan Pedersen - "Pro Active Grieving" - Taking charge of your grief journey.  Alan Pedersen is the Exec. Dir.  of The Compassionate Friends.

 

 

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