Understanding Death, Grief, and Mourning – A Resource Manual
Co –Sponsored by Cornerstone of Hope and Cleveland Clinic

This comprehensive resource provides help for adults, teens, children, and those impacted by grief/bereavement associated with suicide and murder.



  • What's Your Grief - Grief/bereavement education for adults, teens and children; specializing in social media resource sharing including video, music, and articles
  • Open to Hope - Video interviews, articles, and blogs 
  • Center For Loss & Life Transition - Books and resources through the Alan Wolfelt, PhD, Center for Loss Program 
  • The Grief Recovery Method  - Bereavement Support for Adults (Intensive) 
  • Grief Watch - Resources for Bereaved families
  • The Compassionate Friends - National Bereavement Support Group Locator
  • Grief Healing - Bereavement support blog
  • My Grief Angels - Nonprofit online bereavement support and education organization
  • - Provides resources on grieving and lists of grief counselors and support groups
  • Silent Tears - Facebook group to share personal stories of loss and connect with others
  • - Resource to find support groups in your area
  • LGBTQ Grief Loss Support - Facebook group for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning people to share personal stories and find support


  • Weird Is Normal When Teenagers Grieve  - Website created by a teen who has experienced loss; helpful website for teens. [Website is no longer active, so this now links to a free pamphlet based off the book of the same name and origin.]
  • The Dougy Center - The National Center for Grieving Children and Families
  • HealGrief - Grief support program for college students

Cleveland Clinic Employees

  • Employee Assistance Program
    For Cleveland Clinic Caregivers (employees) and their family members (residing in the employee’s household): Confidential, no-cost counseling services that address a wide range of issues (grief/bereavement, couple counseling, mood disorders, work stress, etc.)

Resources in Spanish


¿QUÉ ES EL DUELO? (What is grief?)


El Poder de Creer en Ti Mismo

Un Mensaje Para Quien Sufre la Pérdida de un Ser Querido



End-of-Life Resources
Recommendations from Hillcrest Spiritual Care Department

  • Alternative Medicine: The Christian Handbook
  • Awake at the Bedside: Contemplative Teachings on Palliative and End-of-life Care
  • Bereavement Training in Perinatal Death
  • Behref Haymim = In the Winter of Life: A Values-based Jewish Guide for Decision-making at the End of Life
  • The Conversation: A Revolutionary Plan for End-of-life Care
  • Conversations in Palliative Care
  • The Essential Guide to Religious Traditions and Spirituality for Healthcare Providers
  • Final Acts: The End of Life, Hospice, and Palliative Care
  • Final Gifts: Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs, and Communications of the Dying
  • Geriatric Palliative Care: A Practical Guide for Clinicians
  • The Grief Recovery Handbook
  • The Healing Gods: Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Christian America
  • Healing to All their Flesh: Jewish & Christian Perspectives on Spirituality, Theology, & Health
  • A Hospital Handbook on Multiculturalism and Religion
  • Lesson Learned on the Journey: Exploring the Realities of Faith through Word and Art
  • Meditations for Bereaved Parents
  • On Death and Dying: What the Dying Have to Teach Doctors, Nurses, Clergy and their Own Families
  • Oxford Textbook of Spirituality in Healthcare
  • Paging God: Religion in the Halls of Medicine
  • Primer of Palliative Care
  • Psychosocial Issues in Palliative Care
  • Psychosocial Palliative Care
  • Religions, Cultures, and Healthcare: A Practical Handbook for use in Healthcare Environments
  • The Religious Care of the Psychiatric Patient
  • So What’s the Difference: A Look at 20 Worldviews, Faiths and Religions and How they Compare to Christianity
  • Spiritual Therapy: How the Physician, Psychiatrist, and Minister Collaborate in Healing
  • Spirituality and Mental Health Care: Rediscovering a ‘Forgotten’ Dimension
  • Spirituality, Health, and Healing: An Integrative Approach
  • Spirituality in Nursing: Standing on Holy Ground
  • Spirituality in Patient Care: Why, How, When, and What
  • Textbook of Interdisciplinary Pediatric Palliative Care
  • Using the Power of Hope to Cope With Dying: The Four Stages of Hope
  • Why Do We Suffer: New Ways of Understanding
  • Your Body Speaks your Mind: Decoding the Emotional, Psychological, and Spiritual Messages that Underlie Illness
  • Write for Life: Healing Body, Mind, and Spirit through Journal Writing
Rights of Mourners

Rights of Mourners

From The Mourner’s Bill of Rights by Alan D. Wolfelt, PhD*


Though you should reach out to others as you do the work of mourning, you should not feel obligated to accept the unhelpful responses you may receive from some people. You are the one who is grieving, and as such, you have certain “rights” no one should try to take away from you.The following list is intended both to empower you to heal and to decide how others can and cannot help. This is not to discourage you from reaching out to others for help, but rather to assist you in distinguishing useful responses from hurtful ones.

  1. You have the right to experience your own unique grief. 
    No one else will grieve in exactly the same way you do. So, when you turn to others for help, don’t allow them to tell what you should or should not be feeling.

  2. You have the right to talk about your grief.
    Talking about your grief will help you heal. Seek out others who will allow you to talk as much as you want, as often as you want, about your grief. If at times you don’t feel like talking, you also have the right to be silent.

  3. You have the right to feel a multitude of emotions.
    Confusion, disorientation, fear, guilt and relief are just a few of the emotions you might feel as part of your grief journey. Others may try to tell you that feeling angry, for example, is wrong. Don’t take these judgmental responses to heart. Instead, find listeners who will accept your feelings without condition.  

  4. You have the right to be tolerant of your physical and emotional limits. 
    Your feelings of loss and sadness will probably leave you feeling fatigued. Respect what your body and mind are telling you. Get daily rest. Eat balanced meals. And don’t allow others to push you into doing things you don’t feel ready to do. 

  5. You have the right to experience “grief bursts.” 
    Sometimes, out of nowhere, a powerful surge of grief may overcome you. This can be frightening, but is normal and natural. Find someone who understands and will let you talk it out. 

  6. You have the right to make use of ritual. 
    The funeral ritual does more than acknowledge the death of someone loved. It helps provide you with the support of caring people. More importantly, the funeral is a way for you to mourn. If others tell you the funeral or other healing rituals such as these are silly or unnecessary, don’t listen.

  7. You have the right to embrace your spirituality.
    If faith is a part of your life, express it in ways that seem appropriate to you. Allow yourself to be around people who understand and support your religious beliefs. If you feel angry at God, find someone to talk with who won’t be critical of your feelings of hurt and abandonment. 

  8. You have the right to search for meaning. 
    You may find yourself asking “Why did he or she die? Why this way? Why now?” Some of your questions may have answers, but some may not. And watch out for the clichéd responses some people may give you. Comments like “It was God’s will” or “Think of what you have to be thankful for” are not helpful and you do not have to accept them. 

  9. You have the right to treasure your memories. 
    Memories are one of the best legacies that exist after the death of someone loved. You will always remember. Instead of ignoring your memories, find others with whom you can share them. 

  10. You have the right to move toward your grief and heal. 
    Reconciling your grief will not happen quickly. Remember, grief is a process, not an event. Be patient and tolerant with yourself and avoid people who are impatient and intolerant with you. Neither you nor those around you must forget that the death of someone loved changes your life forever.

*Used with permission

Common Reactions to Grief

Common Reactions to Grief

Prepared by Capital Hospice (public domain)*

One of the many disturbing aspects of grieving is experiencing a variety of unexpected or seemingly uncontrollable emotions and/or physical sensations. Often individuals who mourn fear that they “are going crazy” or somehow “abnormal” in how they are responding to their loss. It is important for the bereaved to have others validate or normalize these reactions to grief. The following list includes many of the normal responses to the death of a loved one:

  1. Spontaneous crying, often at times where there is no apparent trigger. Individuals sometimes are frightened by the unpredictability of tears.  
  2. Mood swings, where a person’s feelings change very quickly. Feelings may range from intense sadness to guilt to anger to numbness. Some of the guilt may be related to feeling angry with the person who has died for leaving.  
  3. Disbelief and denial of the loss. Awakening and expecting the person who died to be alive; hearing his or her voice or briefly seeing his or her face; sensing his or her presence.  
  4. Difficulty with concentration and memory. Bereaved may not be able to concentrate on reading material; may lose his or her train of thought in the middle of a sentence; may walk into a room and forget why; may lose things or forget appointments. This response seems especially surprising to grieving persons.  
  5. Physical reactions may include tightness in throat or heaviness in the chest; an empty or nauseated feeling in the stomach; lack of desire to eat; difficulty sleeping or awakening very early without being able to go back to sleep; dreams about the loved one; lack of energy,fatigue.
  6. Intense preoccupation with the life of the person who has died, including the need to talk about the loved one and the story of his or her illness and death; assuming the person’s mannerisms or traits. 
  7. Feel awkwardness with others, not knowing what to say in response to: How are you? and feeling uncertain as to whether others are interested in the person’s grief. Feeling isolated and uncomfortable in social situations where everyone is expected to be happy and celebrating.  
  8. Need to review the last days, months or years of the life of the person who has died to try to determine if things should have been done or said differently; trying to understand the “why’s” or “should haves” and feeling some guilt at not having done more.

*Used with permission

Funeral Resources

Funeral Resources

Funeral Resources for Special Circumstance and Body Donations

All Ohio Cremation Society
Phone: 216.631.4500

Cleveland Memorial Society
Phone: 216.751.5515
Individual must join society prior to death, then chooses from contracted funeral homes. No viewing after pick up.

Malloy Memorial and Crematory 
Phone: 216.221.3380 
Offers Simple Burial

Callistian Guild 
Phone: 216.641.7575 
Provides free burial for indigent Catholics when referred by Parish Priest or Health Care Professional. Burial is offered only to people without any immediate family.

City of Cleveland Indigent Burial
Phone: 216.664.3266 or 216.664.2317 
Hours: Monday - Friday | 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Busch Funeral & Crematory Services Community Care Program
Toll-free: 800.252.8724 
Reduced fee funeral services for financially limited families per referral by Health Care Professionals with knowledge of the patient’s financial circumstances.

Chevra Kadisha - Jewish Sacred Society 
Phone: 216.371.5717
Assists in the ceremonial processes honoring a Jewish passing. Services are free of charge.

Charles Taylor Funeral Home 
Phone:216.451.7590 or 216.323.9907 
Simple Cremation if referred by Hospice

F.J. Corrigan 
Simple cremation if referred by Hospice. Simple burial; includes casket, vault, transportation and graveside service. No wake.

Cuyahoga County Veterans Service Commission 
Phone: 216.698.2600 
Free burial at Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery in Rittman, Ohio for Veterans. Arrangements coordinated by local funeral homes.

Body Donations

Body Donations

Cleveland Clinic Foundation Body Donation
Business hours: Monday - Friday | 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Phone: 216.444.2253
Phone (after hours): 216.444.2200
Used for cadavers for medical education. No charge for cremation, yet could be several months-year for returned remains. Need to complete form and qualify.