This is important information provided by Hospice of Petaluma, where I worked as a social worker for over 25 years.


Whether you personally have experienced a loss, you are supporting others, or even witnessing the events remember: We all grieve differently, and ALL grief is valid.

* Extreme Self Care

While chaos is swirling we must try to drink plenty of water, eat whenever possible, sleep even if it’s in small naps, breathe and focus on the exhale, and notice gravity. When the world has been flipped upside down, feel your feet on the ground or physically hold something heavy to ground you to the earth.

* Try for Maximum Compassion

We try to have compassion for others and for those wanting to help but who may not know how to. Most importantly, have compassion for yourself. Try to let go of what you should do and focus on what you are able to do in this moment.

* Expect shock and a range of emotions

The emotions we experience might surprise us and feel unexpected. They are all important and normal. Just some of what you might experience may include: numbness, anger, sadness, confusion, overwhelm, unexpected waves of feeling, exhaustion, an unfocused mind, and increased sensitivity to stimulus.

* Protect your nervous system

We can easily become overwhelmed by the mass of images, stories, noise, light, color and other stimulus. Offer yourself patience and protection for your nervous system. Protect yourself from others opinions on this tragedy. Connect with others you trust. Look through grief and other resource materials at your own pace. Offer healthy distractions and moments of quiet and darkness when possible.

* Practices of comfort

At these times we must look for moments of comfort in any way. You can create a small altar where you are (something to do with kids as well); create a place for memories through a journal or a thought box; or dedicate small moments in honor of the loss such as during a workout, a walk or a meal.

* Body Absorbs the impact

Our bodies are used to a certain rhythm and routine, patterns and movements. We might just feel like something is wrong, missing or forgotten. The body may also experience tired muscles, changes in appetite and tightness in the chest, throat and stomach.

We continue to weather these storms together and support one another in the beautiful ways that this community has already connected. While we hope that the immediate danger will soon pass, we must also remember that grief is a marathon and we must go slowly, conserve energy and return often to our breath.

Hospice of Petaluma
416 Payran Street Petaluma, CA (707) 778-6242

Memorial Hospice
439 College Avenue Santa Rosa, CA (707) 568-1094

North County Hospice
205 East Street Healdsburg, CA (707) 431-1135

Our grief services are free of charge. Donations are welcome. Individual, child & family grief support also available.