I was impressed that although April felt like a Wisconsin November, May flowers pushed through victoriously!   We were still having nights with temperatures below freezing when the first spring flowers blossomed.  I was so amazed that when I saw them in our yard, I stopped to tell them that I admired their resilience and beauty in this trying spring.  (Pictured below: April vs. May flowers outside our front door at Hope & A Future.)

The last couple of years have been especially challenging for most, if not all of us.  As a nurse, I have spent a lot of time with people dealing with stressful situations.  For some the stress is acute but they recover quickly.  For others, there will not be a recovery.  And for others, resilience is needed to embrace the reality of a new normal.  What has been different in the last couple of years is that a lot more people have been dealing with stress.  The pandemic, the great resignation, inflation, increased awareness of racial disparities and war have been factors.  Covid is still with us and that brings a  new reality.  Things that we once did without thinking now require more thoughtfulness and planning.  And this adds to the stress of life.  Yet, stress can lead to good change and we can hope that like May flowers we too can push through beautifully!

This week, a Hope & A Future friend forwarded a podcast about ambiguous grief.  The podcast left me with a feeling of hopefulness about this difficult topic.  Ambiguous grief is grief that does not have closure. There are many examples of circumstances that cause ambiguous grief. A few  include; divorce, the death of a loved one following suicide, the death of an abusive parent or the loss of a parent or spouse to Alzheimer’s Disease. These are hard circumstances that do not allow for a tidy closure. In the circumstance of Alzheimer’s Disease, the person suffering from Alzheimeris is still alive, but may no longer know or recognize their loved one.  The relationship is painfully changed and this can leave loved ones grieving for the relationship they had before the ravages of the disease took over.  Loved ones may be left wondering, how do I grieve this?  How and when do I move forward? How do I take care of myself? And how do I honor my loved one?  People dealing with ambiguous grief need social support. However, if their friends have not experienced such a loss, they may not know how to relate.  Dr. Boss pointed out that healing from ambiguous grief is often facilitated when the suffering person is able to help others in similar circumstances.  This is especially true when the effort to help lessens the pain of others. At Hope & A Future we are able to offer a layer of social support to residents and their loved ones.  Because of our smaller size, staff and visitors have the opportunity to spend time together.  Support and meaningful relationships result.  At the end of the podcast  Dr. Boss pointed out that hard times in history are often followed by great times in history.  She thought this might be because people who have gone through hard times together, come out with new ideas that help each other live better.  Intergenerational resilience has always been our goal and that is why we call ourselves Hope & A Future!  Our hope is that like the beautiful daffodils, we will push through hard times together and come out strong and beautiful!

I hope you find time to enjoy spring blossoms with a friend!  After the long winter, Spring has come!

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