Recently there have been several people who were offering consistent leadership and frequent support feedback to the online grieving community that have slowed and/or then stopped. Sometimes they have announced that they need or want to transition out. They are retiring blogs, groups and/or involvement online for many reasons. Ultimately, this is appropriate for them. Many have started blogs out of a deep loss, a deep need for self expression. They write charismatic posts that draw readers... only, after a time, to feel a tug and a pull away from writing on the topic of their grief. I have also observed people who have left the online grief community and returned several times. They are testing their ability to stand apart and find they must return a few times to make their transition complete.
Process is important, both your personal process and the process of your constituents.

Let's discuss honestly the background of what may be happening with you and your online presence. Why do some feel the need to leave the support communities that they have served?

Perhaps you are:
-- No longer experiencing the same perceived needs
-- Starting to feel like it's work
-- Unacquainted with a lifestyle of volunteering
-- Frustrated with your own personal progress
-- Experiencing compassion fatigue
-- Tired of seeing the same issues of grief arise over and over
-- Feeling marginal - that the larger group could easily go on without you
-- Disappointed with group members who seem hypocritical / angry / depressing / power plays
-- Experiencing increased demands from work / home / other organizations
-- No longer believing in organized help groups
-- Discouraged by cliques
-- Now busy establishing a relationship
-- Now involved with a living child
-- Are too sick physically to stay involved
-- Uncomfortable with another moderator's or leader's approach or activity in the group
-- Choosing a few close relationships with other grievers to stay in contact with that meets your personal needs
-- Connected through similar circumstances and when those circumstances cease - the need for involvement ceases
-- Limiting your time on the internet
-- Disappointed by receiving few visible or tangible responses from people in the group
Another factor may be that many average people find that the online site they were trying to use was not user friendly and they've become weary of technological challenges.

There can be many good reasons for a person to cease or reduce their offering of online support in the grief community. And, there is no reason to feel guilt about any of your reasons. If you feel that your season of offering leadership has concluded, know that there are people who are committed to a long-term vocation of providing online grief support. I use the word vocation QUITE apart from profession or financial compensation... because none of us are making a living doing this! I am referring to a calling. The word vocation is from the Latin vocare (verb, to call), is a term for an occupation to which a person is specially drawn or for which they are suited.

Not all of your reasons are ones that you would share with your readership. However, if you are well aware of your motivations, it will help in order that any less-than-flattering reasons do not manifest unintentionally. Select and choose what to reveal about your process with care. Focus on your readership's needs, their tomorrows - where will they go tomorrow for inspiration, support, compassion or care? Your followers are the newly grieving and recently vulnerable. Your constituents deserve to understand the shift to some degree. Many of them cannot even conceive of a time when they would feel ready to "move on", so they will struggle with understanding how someone else can or would. They also may feel a premature prompt to "move along" themselves if they identify deeply with you. Being "stuck" and "moving on" are huge issues in the grieving world, you owe it to them to handle this with care.

Process the transition with your readership. Do not underestimate the importance of your online presence and involvement. Understand that they still need online support. Be sure to tell them that there are people that are called to the facilitation of grieving people as a vocation and identify a few of those people or websites so your readership have options for support.

So, if you feel the need to conclude active online activity with grieving people... what does "finishing well" look like?

I want to request, for those who are retiring - besides telling your constituents that you are phasing out... you may want to archive your writings so that they are accessible, notify any websites that reference yours that you are retiring - and provide good grief support referrals that are stable for your readership to rely on.

Another idea - select the best parts of your writings and offer them for posting on a long-term grief site so that they can continue to be available within an active online community.

These are some ways you can "finish well."

There is honor in finishing well.