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The Hidden Pain: Honoring Disenfranchised Grief

Grief is an inevitable part of the human experience, but when society fails to recognize or validate certain types of loss, the grief can become disenfranchised, making the grieving process more difficult and isolating.

Disenfranchised Grief can arise from a variety of losses, including:

- loss of a pet

- loss of a patient or resident

- a miscarriage or stillbirth

- the death of an ex-spouse

- a relationship, including estranged family

- a job, including a career transition

- a house

- a sense of self and identity

If you or anyone you may know is experiencing disenfranchised grief, it's not uncommon to feel guilty or ashamed. That's why it's so important to validate and acknowledge your experiences. One way to do that is by using the labyrinth as a metaphor for navigating the winding path of grief.

The labyrinth is a powerful symbol that's been used for centuries in many cultures.

The path of grief is not linear everyone's journey is unique.

By embracing this symbolism, we can offer support and validation to those who are going through disenfranchised grief.

Skilled, Assisted, and Memory Care

Moving into a care facility can be a significant loss for many older adults. It means leaving behind their homes, possessions, and communities and adjusting to a new environment.

This transition can contribute to feelings of multi-dimensional disenfranchised grief, especially if they also experience a loss of autonomy and control.

It's essential to acknowledge and validate these complex emotions and support older adults as they navigate this difficult transition. It's important to offer empathy, compassion, and a listening ear to those who are experiencing multi-dimensional disenfranchised grief.

I will never forget one woman in particular; for privacy, I will refer to her as 'Mary.'

Mary had lived her entire life in Ohio, and for over 40 years, she called the same house her home with her loving husband. However, one year after her husband passed away, her adult children decided it was best for her to move to California to be closer to them. Mary, at the age of 80, was uprooted from her home, her friends, her community, and the landscapes that she had grown to love.

She moved to a corporate-owned assisted living community 3,000 miles away from everything she had ever known. Mary lost her ability to prepare her meals (aside from a small kitchenette in her room), drive, and was far away from all her friends and community.

Mary's new home was nothing like what she was used to; it was an apartment-style housing complex, and she did not like the California weather. She missed the changing seasons and the birds that visited her bird feeders.

One evening, after weeks of being understaffed, Mary sat alone in the dining area, waiting for her dinner. She always arrived promptly at 5 pm, as she preferred an early dinner. But this night, it was well past 6 pm, and her table still had not been served. Mary began to cry. It broke my heart to see her in such distress.

I quickly checked in with the kitchen and got her dinner served. After I walked her to her room, Mary shared with me the grief she had been experiencing silently.

Mary's story is just one of many.

Carers, home care workers, and CNAs can experience disenfranchised grief when they lose a client or resident, including job loss. The relationship between a carer and a resident/client can be deep and meaningful, and the loss can be as significant as losing a friend or family member. However, this grief may not be recognized or validated by employers or society at large, which can leave workers feeling isolated and unsupported.

The grief is real and valid, and it's important that we recognize and validate the experiences of older adults and care teams who are going through this.

Honor ~ Release ~ Heal

Walking the labyrinth can be a powerful way to process grief. As you walk the winding path, you can reflect on your loss and begin to find inner peace and understanding. The labyrinth can offer a safe and sacred space for releasing emotions and finding healing.

If you are experiencing disenfranchised grief, it is important to seek support and validation. Support groups, therapy, and other resources can provide safe spaces for sharing and connecting with others who have also experienced disenfranchised grief.

Honoring disenfranchised grief is essential to providing compassionate care and support for those experiencing loss. The labyrinth can serve as a powerful symbol of validation and support, as well as a tool for processing grief. By acknowledging and honoring the unique experiences of each individual's grief journey, we can create a community of support and connection.

Honoring Disenfranchised Grief

Honor ~ Release ~ Heal

Walking the Labyrinth of Renewal

Two-Day Online Course Retreat

Book Your Online Course Retreat and embark on a transformative experience toward healing, renewal, and self-discovery.

This course allows you to recognize and validate disenfranchised grief and learn how to support others experiencing it. With the powerful symbolism of the labyrinth, you can reflect on your unique grief journey in a safe and sacred space.

You'll find inner peace and understanding as you release emotions and honor your loss. The best part? This course is designed as an at-home retreat, offering flexibility and comfort in your home environment.

Take the time you need to engage with the content and fully integrate the healing practices into your daily life. Plus, the discussion modules provide a chance to share and connect with others who are processing disenfranchised grief.


  • Recognize and validate disenfranchised grief

  • Incorporate nature-based practices, meditations, and ceremonies to heal disenfranchised grief

  • Process emotions related to disenfranchised grief and find inner peace and understanding

  • Build a support network with others who have experienced similar losses

  • Gain practical skills to support others experiencing disenfranchised grief

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand the concept of disenfranchised grief and its effects on individuals and communities.

  • Explore the healing potential of the labyrinth as a tool for grief processing and validation.

  • Learn nature-based practices, meditations, and ceremonies to facilitate healing and renewal.

  • Develop practical skills for supporting others experiencing disenfranchised grief, such as active listening, empathy, and validation.

  • Participate in guided discussions to share personal experiences and connect with others on a similar journey.

Don't let grief hold you back.

Join us and embrace a new path toward healing and renewal.

Retreat Publishes on March 31, 2023, and will be available on-demand.

Pre-Order by March 1 and SAVE $20!

Use Coupon Code: HEAL

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