Archive for the ‘Emotions’ Category

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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Hope, Trust, Joy and Wonder — Wisdom from Babes

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

Little girl offering cocker spaniel a taste of her ice cream coneAs 2012 ends and the anticipation of a new year (along with the prospect for new beginnings) arrives, I can’t help but think about life through the eyes of a little child. Children have the right idea—and we can take away valuable lessons for living by looking at life through their eyes.

I sensed life through a new lens this Christmas. As adults, I think we often tend to become jaded over the years—a bit cynical; less than enthusiastic about things that excited us before; and sometimes we end up just going through the motions of holidays, celebrations, and even our everyday lives.

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We Are not Alone — the Bell Tolls for Each of Us

Friday, December 21st, 2012

lone craggy rock with trees atop_blue ocean_alone_blue skyAs I lay in bed last night, trying to go to sleep, a line from John Donne’s famous poem kept racing across my mind: “No man is an island.” His words of so long ago are surely as true today as when he wrote them.

I kept thinking about the tragedy last week in Newtown, CT, especially since just a few of days ago marked the first day of funerals for those who were gunned down. I couldn’t get those families out of my mind … nor the words of the poem.

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Stick Up for Hopefulness, Especially During Grief

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

Whimsically painted Adirondack chairs_primary colors_hopefulnessIs hopefulness worth sticking up for?

This time of year should be joyful, hopeful, exciting, and filled with anticipation. But when you’re grieving, the holidays often produce feelings of dread instead of happy expectation. If you’re grieving, what are you supposed to do? Are you doomed to an anxiety-ridden season?

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Coping with Grief During the Holidays

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Christmas lights_star_golden color_grief_holidays

Judy Brizendine was interviewed today by Anna Banks for a special show about dealing with grief during the holidays – on the program “Living Fully After 40™ Radio.

Anna also wrote an article for her Living Fully After 40™ Blog today (December 12) about Judy, her STUNNED by Grief books, and the challenges of grief and the holidays.

This time of year, which we normally greet with excitement and anticipation, is extremely difficult for anyone who has experienced the death of a loved one or other types of deep losses. Instead of joy, someone who is grieving most likely is experiencing feelings of dread, anxiety, a lack of energy, loneliness, and an overall sense of being overwhelmed. However, there are things you can do to make your holiday season more manageable—and to carve out moments of  joy in the midst of your grief.  You’ll find suggestions to help you cope with grief during the holidays in Judy’s guest blog article, ‘5 Ideas to Ease Holiday Anxiety During Grief,’ written for the Journeys Through Grief Newsletter.

Check out Anna’s blog to read the article about Judy (as well as a host of other articles dealing with issues we all face) whether or not we are past the age of 40!

(Photo courtesy of office.microsoft.com)

 

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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Be Good to Yourself — and Choose to Grieve

Friday, September 21st, 2012

series of steps, open door in middle, closed door at top, passageway, light shining at topYou may be wondering what I’m really saying. Choose to grieve?

You’ve just been overwhelmed by a major loss. You feel powerless. You’re in agonizing pain. You don’t know what to do or think. And I’m urging you to choose to grieve. What do I mean?

At first, your pain will spread to nearly everything you see, think, and feel. Your thinking will likely be impaired and unfocused, and your concentration reduced. You won’t be in a position to consider and make logical decisions right away. However, don’t be overly concerned. This fuzzy state of mind will improve.

Your initial state of shock and disbelief is your body’s way of protecting you. Your loss is too difficult to absorb all at once, so your body and mind seem to enter into an ‘autopilot’ state. You’re able to function in a basic way, but at the same time, your body protects you from grasping all that is happening within and around you. Reality will hit soon enough.

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Life and Loss — Parallel Tracks in Our Lives

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

parallel railroad tracks representing life and lossAt any given time, loss is part of our normal, everyday experience, right along with the rest of life—including our greatest joys.  When we confront losses, especially serious ones, we often have to remind ourselves that we still have goodness in our lives, too.  We sometimes have to force ourselves to remember that the two tracks are always running alongside each other—and our lives are filled with joy and pain, good and bad, ups and downs—at the same time.  At certain times, one track carries more weight and is more visible, and during those times the pain tends to overshadow the joy.  However, even when pain is the dominant emotion we feel, that doesn’t mean  everything in our lives is bad.

I am no different from anyone else.  When one area of my life or one thing is really distressing, I’m just as liable as anyone else to let negativity creep into my thinking.  We start to question what in our lives is positive, or when we can expect something good to happen again.  This kind of thinking is a trap to avoid.  We will defeat ourselves by  thinking this way.

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Grief and Loss Bring Choices — and You Are not Powerless!

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

stairs going in opposite directions_brick wall_cobblestone streetWhen circumstances and incidents take place that are outside of your control, do you sometimes feel as though you’re a pawn? Do you feel helpless? The truth is that loss is often beyond your control—and grief and loss bring choices—however, you are not powerless.

When grief entered my life, I was so naïve. I had no idea what to expect, and I surely didn’t realize I had choices (or responsibilities) for anything related to the grief that confused and overwhelmed me. However, as time went on, I came to understand that I did have choices to make—and these decisions carried the potential to drive me in completely opposite directions that would affect my future and my outlook on life.

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During Grief — and During the Everyday Times — Relationships Are Priceless!

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

two people walking and holding hands_grief support_The last few weeks have been emotional ones for me—but emotional in a good sort of way. I’ve been reminded just how priceless the people and relationships in my life are, not just during the tough times such as grief, but during the everyday times of life.

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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

 

Honor Our Fallen Heroes, Our Military, and Their Families

Sunday, May 27th, 2012

small red cross on sandy beach with worn military helmet propped against itMemorial Day is the time we’ve set aside to honor our fallen heroes who gave their lives for our freedom. No greater gift exists—and no greater sacrifice is possible—than to give your life for something you believe in.

While our military and their families deserve our thanks every day, May has been named National Military Appreciation Month. It’s easy to overlook the daily sacrifices service members and their families make for us, but their sacrifices are real and significant. Check out some ways you can show them your thanks on the Military Appreciation Month facebook page.

Some say that those in the military signed up for their lifestyle. They signed up to serve their country and give their lives if necessary to protect our freedom. But even though they’ve committed to serve, hardships accompany that service. Families are often separated. Children may be born while a father is away. Finances can be challenging when families live in separate locations. Moves can be frequent and unexpected. Communication may be sporadic. Deployments can come up unexpectedly. Pre-deployment training and preparation are stressful. And loneliness is sometimes overwhelming. Add fear to the equation when the service member is deployed to a war-torn area. In addition, a military career includes a certain amount of peril on a daily basis.

I was a military wife for twenty-one years. Those serving in the military are among the most dedicated, patriotic people I’ve ever known.

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Thanks, Mom! I Love You…

Sunday, May 13th, 2012

closeup of thorny green cactus heartThanks, Mom, for so much more than I can ever come close to properly expressing.

I’m so blessed that my mom is still here, but I know this Mother’s Day brings different thoughts and feelings for those whose moms have died. If your mom is no longer here, I hope you’ll take this time to focus on precious memories of her and joyful times you shared, even though you miss her terribly. Remember the blessing of who your mom was (and is)—that you can hold close forever! If she’s still here, then let her know just how precious she is to you.

Perhaps some of you didn’t have the kind of relationship with your mom that you longed for.

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When You’re Feeling Gloomy, Encouragement Is a Lifeline!

Saturday, April 28th, 2012

bright_yellow_tulip_green_leavesHow many of you have had to fight against discouragement? Every single one of us has been there—right? Whether you’re facing disappointment, despair, or another difficult condition or situation, unfortunately the following quote is true, and going through the ‘what is’ can be a challenge:

“In order to get from what was to what will be, you must go through what is.”
—Anonymous

Hopelessness seems to show up at the worst times—when things keep going wrong, when plans or dreams aren’t working out the way you hoped, when you’re being bombarded on all sides by challenges, and sometimes when you’re just plain tired!

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