Archive for the ‘Effects of Grief’ Category

What Happens When Life Throws You a Curve Ball — and What Does Grief Look Like?

Friday, November 1st, 2013

lone chair on the beach, blue sky, plants in sandOver the past year, I’ve connected with a special woman and devoted mother I’ve grown to respect and admire. We met initially when I appeared on a radio show she co-hosts – and then again when she invited me to appear on another show to help people understand what grief looks like. Last week she sent me an article she wrote and asked me if I had seen it. I hadn’t – yet I’m so glad she shared it with me.

This article is the first guest post I’ve included on my blog. When I read it, I knew it belonged here!

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Which Best Describes Your Approach to Grief — a Cheetah, a Turtle, or an Ant?

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

closeup of cheetah, your approach to grief, do you run

Stop for a minute and think about your approach to grief. Do you face it like a cheetah, a turtle, or an ant?

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Everybody Needs a Sanctuary During Grief

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

sanctuary_grief_purple heather field_green treesAt first glance, a number of characteristics could be used to describe the way ‘grief’ operates, and none of them produces an effect consistent with the words ‘refuge’ or ‘sanctuary.’ The very nature of this process that leads us toward healing when we choose to enter into it is the reason everybody needs a sanctuary during grief.

Grief crashes upon you like a wave. It bounces you around and twists you inside out. Grief sends your emotions into a tailspin, and up and down like a roller coaster, until you’re emotionally spent. Grief is unruly, messy, and disorderly. You’ll go forward and then backward. At times, you’ll question your sanity.

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Grief’s Effects Run Deep and Wide

Monday, June 24th, 2013

grief's effects_deep and wide Grand Canyon_rock formationsGrief remains a mystery to many until they’re forced to find out about it firsthand. What they will discover is that grief’s effects run deep and wide.

People have searched to learn about the effects of grief, so I wanted to shed a little light on the subject.

When grief noticeably touches your life and everything inside and around you, and you finally grow tired of things the way they are, then you’ll likely decide to figure out what’s going on and take action. Do you understand what is happening? And do you know what you have to do to get beyond this point?

Grief holds the power to literally stop you in your tracks. It spills over into every part of your life, and you cannot keep it self-contained or compartmentalized, regardless of how hard you try. Grief’s effects impact:

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When Tragedy and Grief Devastate You, What Do You Do?

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

old wooden gate_brick and stucco arch_sunlight peeking thruNo one expects a tragedy.  Yet, tragedies strike, seemingly out of nowhere, and they’re devastating.

Last week brought terror and heartache to people across our country, but our collective pain and grief are only a shadow of the pain and grief felt by victims whose lives were directly touched by the tragedies in Boston, MA and West, TX.  My heart aches for each of these people and their families … for the way their lives have been forever changed and for the unbelievable pain they face over the next weeks, months, and years as they work through their grief and learn to accept (and adjust to) the changes inflicted on their lives because of their losses.  When tragedy and grief devastate you, what do you do?

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Is It Possible to Take a Break from Grief?

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

serene turquoise blue ocean_green and gold plants in foreground_blue sky_take a break from griefIs is possible to take a break from grief? Stick with me for a moment and let me explain. Please! I think it’s not only possible at times, but necessary, to take a break from grief.

I will say, without a doubt, that grief is one of the most difficult experiences any of us will face in life. The idea of taking a break from grief does not in any way minimize or make light of its intense pain, effects, or significance. I recognize the deep and complex impact of grief that follows loss. In fact, its fierce and powerful characteristics are exactly why we need to take a break from grief.

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The Many Faces of Grief

Friday, February 15th, 2013

faces of grief_stormy turbulent clouds_blue sky peeking throughThe faces of grief are an ever-changing landscape unique to each person’s experience. Depending on where you are in the process, the face of your grief and the words you use to describe it will vary all over the map.

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What Defines Your Life? — an Experience, Person, Achievement, or Something Like Grief

Monday, January 28th, 2013

bridge span against sky_What defines your life_Stunned by Grief_StrengthI doubt that anyone would argue with the statement, “Life is an ever-changing, developing story.” Stuff happens to us all the time. We find ourselves in different situations, sometimes unexpected. We meet new people. We go places, and we try new things.

Everything factors into the way we see ourselves and the world around us. We hardly notice certain things while others produce life-altering effects. That’s what I’m talking about here — the life-altering effects — and whatever creates them! So the question is: “What defines your life?”

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What Color Is Your ‘Grief’ Umbrella?

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

Line of brightly colored umbrellas related to grief

You’re probably thinking, “I don’t even know what a ‘grief’ umbrella is”—and you’re asking me, “What color is your ‘grief’ umbrella?” Let’s work through this idea together …

Grief is a mystery and a shock when you first meet up with it. Nothing you’ve ever seen, read, or thought about grief prepares you for its reality. Just like death—when death steals someone you love away—a staggering realization hits your senses that your life has changed and it will never be the same again. That’s the way grief is, too. And when grief shows up, trust me, you’ll need ‘grief’ umbrellas.

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Grief Under Fire: Get Past ‘Flashpoint’ Issues to Reach Healing

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

large boulders in stream_brightly colored flowers foreground_set in forest landAnything that gets in the way of healing from grief is a concern, but certain issues are especially critical, complex, explosive, or unpredictable. I describe these subjects as ‘flashpoint’ issues because they hold the power to block your path to healing, to derail your progress.

Everyone’s grief is uniquely his or her own. Each experience is different, just as each person, personality, past, circumstance, and everything about an individual is unique.

Sometimes, certain issue(s) override everything else as you face your loss—and these issues can become the rocks that block your progression toward healing. Different circumstances will force particular issues to the forefront, issues that are somehow attached to, or emerge from your loss. Some examples are isolation; fear; anger; guilt;  ‘Why?’ questions; victor/ victim; and “Do I really want to get well?”

In facing my own loss, flashpoint issues took me by surprise, either because they were so contrary to my own personality—or because I was shocked that they showed up as part of my grief.

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My Life Feels Out of Control — Is Grief a Factor?

Monday, October 8th, 2012

bridge covered with fog_grief_loss_Judy BrizendineWe automatically connect grief to certain circumstances. When someone we deeply love dies, we expect to grieve. However, we may only vaguely link certain situations and experiences to grief, if we associate the two at all. So the questions, ‘Is Grief a Factor?’ and ‘Am I Grieving?’ are important ones to consider.

I recently watched a drug intervention program on television. A young woman seriously addicted to heroin talked about two things in her life that had caused her tremendous pain: her father abandoned the family when she was very young, and her mother was not regularly present to take care of her and her sister. Later on, she also lost a relationship with the only true love of her life. Her main goal now is to escape from her ever-present pain by doing whatever she has to do to obtain the money to stay high on drugs. She said she doesn’t want to feel anything. Do you think the root of her problem could be grief that she never faced?

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Grief Was Not What I Expected — and What a Teacher It’s Been!

Friday, June 8th, 2012

bright multicolored hot air balloon, american flag, blue sky, hopeI’m very excited to be guest blogging today for Fairhaven Memorial Park.

I hope you’ll check out the article—and share it with your friends and anyone you know who would be interested.

Just click on the link:  Fairhaven Memorial Park

 

What Do You Do When Tragedy Strikes?

Monday, March 12th, 2012

dark turbulent threatening stormy cloudsWhat do you do when tragedy strikes?

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about something since March 2, the day that spelled devastation for so many people in Indiana, Kentucky, and Alabama. Life can change in an instant. I doubt that anyone who was affected by the deadly tornadoes woke up that Friday morning thinking they (or someone they love) would be hurt, or die, or lose their home later that day—and it would all take place within a matter of seconds.

We just go about living our lives each day. We can’t constantly be thinking about what may happen, or worrying needlessly, because that’s no way to live a happy, fulfilling, and trusting life. At the same time, when tragedy strikes, we are jolted into the reality that much of what happens to us is beyond our control. Terrible, unexplainable things occur every day—and individual lives are affected and changed—sometimes forever.

I’m not writing this message from a distance. The subject hits very close to my heart.

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What Is the Widespread Misunderstanding about Grief?

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

smooth polished stone heart lying among shells on the beachMisunderstanding about grief is common. Just talk to people, if you can get them to talk about it. People generally don’t want to discuss grief until they’re faced with it in their own lives—or in the life of someone they know.

A key misconception is that grief will finally just go away on its own. This mistaken idea goes right along with the one we’ve all heard: “Time heals all wounds.” Neither is true.

All loss results in grief—but the process to reach healing is a choice each person has to make. We choose whether to face our grief or try to ignore or bury it. Every person eventually chooses whether to be a victor or a victim.

I don’t want to mislead you. At first, grief is all-consuming, and the pain is overwhelming. You’ll be in a state of shock and feel numb. Some describe this feeling as being ‘in a fog.’

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The Devastating Reality of Sudden Death

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

single white calla lily nestled among green leavesWhen someone dies unexpectedly, the shock and pain are indescribable. Often we are paralyzed. We don’t understand, and we don’t know what to do.

Millions of people around the world are mourning the sudden death of Whitney Houston and trying to take in the reality of something they cannot believe is real. For Whitney’s family and those who love her the most, the pain is beyond comprehension. My heart breaks when I think of what her daughter Bobbi Kristina, her mother Cissy, her ex-husband Bobby, and others closest to her are going through right now, because I’ll never forget the unspeakable pain I lived through fourteen years ago when my husband John went mountain-bike riding and never came home. Tragedy strikes—and we are overwhelmed by grief.

No one is prepared for death, even if someone is sick and isn’t expected to live. And when death comes unexpectedly, we feel even more helpless and confused. Grief is not something we think about until we come face-to-face with it, and by that time, it’s too late. We’re thrust abruptly into grief, we don’t have a clue what is happening to us, how to respond, or what to do—and at some point, we’ll know we have to find a way to navigate the fear, confusion, and uncertainty of our personal grief journey.

Misunderstanding surrounds grief.

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