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What Happened to Grief and Caregiving? The Healing Power of Resilience.


Those of you who have received my newsletter for awhile may be wondering what happened to my discussions about grief and thoughts on caregiving. Am I tossing them in favor of resiliency? Not at all. In fact, resiliency is a healing concept that works very well with both grief and the challenges of caregiving.

Let’s look at grief within the context of resilience. Physicists use the term resilience to describe “the capability of a strained body to recover its size and shape after deformation caused especially by compressive stress.” (Merriam Webster.) From the Latin resilire, resilience literally means “to recoil” or “jump back.” Thus, the concept of bouncing back from adversity.

However, when you’re grieving, the idea of “bouncing back” seems a little too chipper and upbeat. As I’ve written about previously, the spiral nature of grief can last for a long time. So, while you may not bounce back immediately from grief, using and increasing your resiliency skills can help you not only “recover your shape” but also move forward as a stronger and more confident person beyond your loss.

Similarly, caregivers need to learn and exercise resiliency to keep themselves healthy and happy while they are caring for their loved ones. The ability to ask others for help, being open to exploring the idea of acceptance, and learning from the journey are all aspects of resilience from which caregivers can benefit.

There will be more about these ideas in later posts. I’m looking forward to exploring grief and caregiving within the healing framework of resilience with you. 



  1. Sue Cushman says:

    I have been reading many of your sites. They have been so informative. I just stopped on this one to write you. I learned about you through the Psychology e-mail I get. I fell apart after I left my ex-. I managed to hold it together for 4 years, while I worked and got 2 new programs going. I started on the second one at a Women’s Center, as the Disability Specialist, first in the country, in December. I had already started having flashbacks when my daughter had a miscarriage. My granddaughter was born in Jan., my divorce was final Mar. 6, my dad died the 12th. My husband had bragged he had gotten his two sons by raping me (I was raped 3 X in first 5 years of marriage and had 4 kids). I had not realized he was a pedophile, although I knew he though I was 13 when he met me, I was 18. He went on to molest children. I caught him molesting an autistic foster child, but because of domestic abuse, and they were arresting both parents, was afraid to turn him in. I finally left him after 24 years, 25 years by the time divorce decreed. He was mad could not go to dad’s funeral and get paid. I ended up with major depression, PTSD, suicidal for 13 to 15 years, nauseated for 20 years because of the medication. I finally found a therapist who could help and has. I read all the time still to help. I have no support other than him, or limited support. I am still too afraid to lean on people too much, or they will leave me. I tell too much, just like I am doing here. Or, I just smile, and noone knows anything is wrong. I just appreciate all the columns you have written. They have helped me a lot. I will make use of them. Thank you. In the midst of all this, I did complete my Bachelor’s degree, have gotten medication that now works, am trying to straighten out the negative thinking, and at the age of 65, am trying to get a job again in the area of mental health. Thanks again! Sue

    • Bobbi says:

      That’s a lot on your plate, Sue. I’m glad my writing has been helpful to you. Hang in there and keep up with us here at Bounce!

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Bobbi Emel is a therapist who helps people in Los Altos, Palo Alto, Mountain View and the greater Bay Area manage their stress and develop their strengths.
She is effective in helping people dealing with anxiety, worry and grief; and also those who want to improve their effectiveness and performance.