Archive for the ‘Response to tragedy’ Category

Hard Lessons Learned about Grief: How Can You Turn Things Around after a Tragedy?

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

group of skyscrapers showing opening up to blue sky

You just received some stunning news, and your world has been turned inside out and upside down.  What will you do, and how can you turn things around after a tragedy or a deep heartache and keep going?  Your first thought is, “I don’t know how I’m ever going to get through this.” Even though your world has stopped, everyone else’s world keeps going on as usual.  How will you get through this tragedy?  What will your life look like afterward?

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Grief Is Hard

Thursday, October 22nd, 2015

Gray stone heart surrounded by green mossBy Judy Brizendine

For once, let’s forget about dancing around the bush – or being politically correct. Let’s agree not to sweep the truth under the rug and stay silent. If you’ve faced a major loss, you know the truth. Grief is hard.

Even grief professionals are sometimes surprised and overwhelmed when they face a profound personal loss. (more…)

Making the Discovery—Finding Hope in Grief

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015

heart laying on dead wood with new growth all aroundI can’t imagine anybody being less prepared to face grief than I was―and if anyone had told me I might discover something good in grief—especially HOPE—I wouldn’t have believed them!

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How Do You Stand Back Up When Grief Knocks You Down?

Friday, June 5th, 2015

Golden sunrise peeking through clouds over ocean_hope_griefBy Judy Brizendine

Grief is a formidable force—and when it hits you directly, it holds the power to take you to your knees. What can you do? How do you stand back up when grief knocks you down?

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Why Is Chris Kyle’s Story So Important?

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

American flag, cat, old barrel, blue skyBy Judy Brizendine

You know how it is when something makes such an impression on you, or affects you deeply, and you just can’t get it out of your mind. My husband and I went to see American Sniper a couple of weeks ago and I can’t stop thinking about what I saw. Even more, I can’t forget what I felt as I watched Chris Kyle’s story unfold on the screen. (more…)

Our 15-Year-Old Cat Taught Me Something about Grief

Saturday, October 25th, 2014

cats sleeping together_grief_lessonsBy Judy Brizendine

Max and Molly were inseparable. They spent their entire lives together – until Molly became sick with an incurable form of cancer. Soon afterward we had to put her to sleep. Then Max was alone, without his sister, for the first time.  And surprisingly, Max our cat taught me something about grief.

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Outstanding List of Online Resources for Coping with Grief

Friday, March 14th, 2014

metal container filled with bright yellow sunflowers_grief_copingI’m always watching for outstanding resources to recommend, and the article discussed in this post is filled with 115 helpful websites on grief and bereavement. I believe this list represents a collection of some of the very best online resources available for coping with grief and bereavement.

In this article on the MastersInCounseling.org website, you will find a wide range of resources directed toward grief brought about by a variety of life events, including but not limited to death. You’ll find information to help you understand, guidance to help you cope, and a supportive community so you know you are not alone.

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At the End of the Day What Are You Focusing On — and Will You Survive or Thrive?

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

strong tree silhouette against bright blue sky and fluffy white clouds, survive or thrive

Grief is tough – there’s no doubt about it. But don’t ever think you are powerless over your journey or your life. At the end of the day, what are you focusing on? Ask yourself the question. It’s important. Your answer may well determine not only if you will still be standing, but whether you’ll survive or thrive.

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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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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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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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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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Grief or Hope — What Defines Your Life?

Friday, August 31st, 2012

dark crumbling bldg wall with view to complete stone and brick building_green tree bathed in sunshineWhat defines your life? Sometimes an event or experience creates such a strong impact—positive or negative—that we allow it to define not only who we are, but also our future.

Each of us can probably point to certain defining moments in our lives when something happened that changed our course or direction. Maybe it’s an ‘Aha’ moment when suddenly we understood a concept that changed everything for us. Perhaps it’s an achievement such as finally earning an advanced degree, winning a race, or reaching an important personal goal. Positive events such as these can be pivotal in moving us ahead, in charting a new path, or by propelling us to a higher level. Such events may also work to redefine who we are and who we can be as a consequence of our experience.

On the other hand, painful events carry the potential to define our lives, too, and the result can either be positive or negative.

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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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