If you’re mourning the loss of your mom, or if your mom is fighting a devastating illness, or if personal heartbreak clouds your celebration of this special day, can you still experience joy wherever you are? I have a few suggestions for you to consider. I know this subject can be very difficult, and my intention is to open your mind to a few things you may not have considered. I’m also going to share a personal confession with you, so please keep reading.
Archive for the ‘Decisions and choices’ Category
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?
I would venture to say that nearly everyone going through grief has questioned (at one time or other) whether they would ever reach a happy life again. I’m here to say that healing is available for everyone who really wants it.
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.
The 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.
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.
As 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.
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)
Anything 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.
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.
I hope you’ll check out the article—and share it with your friends, family, and people you know.
People everywhere are experiencing all types of loss. Everyone needs hope. And when faced with grief, we all need help.
Just click on the link to read: Fairhaven Memorial Blog
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.
At 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.
When 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.