Posts Tagged ‘coping with grief’

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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Watch Out for Built-In Obstacles During Grief

Friday, September 7th, 2012

gray stone wall with trailing green vines_obstaclesI’m very honored to be guest blogging for the second time today for the Fairhaven Memorial Blog!

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

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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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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Grief Brings Change — and You Possess a Powerful Tool!

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

colorful horizontal layers of sunset_peach gray green_grief_change_attitudeGrief is tied to significant loss, and grief brings change.

Whether your loss is the death of someone or the end of a relationship, loss of health or mobility, loss of your home or job, loss of your business or your assets, loss of security, or any meaningful loss, you will experience change. How you respond to the change (and this will likely be many kinds of changes)—will determine your future. How you respond sets your course in a positive or harmful way.

Attitude is one of the most powerful tools in your life, possibly the most important one. Your attitude determines how you ‘see’ what happened to you, and it will be a key element in how you respond.

Much, if not most, of what happens in your life is outside of your control. So how will you respond to the majority of events, conditions, and circumstances you face?

Think about it. Life is about learning. When we don’t get it right the first time, we usually get another chance to learn the lesson—and we keep going back to square one until we ‘get it.’

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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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When Was the Last Time You Laughed?

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

bulldog wearing pink organdy collar and sporting an 'attitude'When was the last time you laughed—especially uncontrollably? If you’re somewhere in the grieving process, you probably think this is an unusual question, maybe even inappropriate. Keep reading!

Laughter is a “healing” escape. Research has confirmed the powerful medicinal effects of laughter. It truly is a miracle drug! And how many ‘drugs’ today have no negative side effects? Laughter produces only positive effects—on both the mind and the body! Laughter even helps to fight disease.

Have you noticed in your own experience that positive and negative responses cannot occupy the same space? If you’re giggling, can you stay mad or upset? How many times have you been angry with someone, and they kept teasing you until you smiled or laughed? When you couldn’t keep from smiling (no matter how hard you tried) didn’t your mood change?

I understand that at times during grief, especially early on, you won’t be able to laugh. And please know that I am not disrespecting or disregarding the grieving process. It’s crucial. However, everyone needs breathing space from grief. Otherwise, it’s too overwhelming.

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Grief Is Hope

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

trees with brigh orange leaves against smoky sky with sun peeking throughYou may be thinking, “Grief is hope? What in the world are you talking about? I’m in the middle of grief, and it sure doesn’t feel like hope! In fact, I’m struggling to stay hopeful.”

The word I haven’t been able to get out of my mind this week is ‘hope’ because I so desperately want to express this sense of hope to you. Each of us face losses of many kinds, and they are all devastating in their own ways. Our losses cause pain — and the pain is inescapable. But here’s where the hope comes in!

Grief is the way we get from pain to a fulfilling life again. When we choose to grieve, we are choosing hope, because we’ve decided to take the necessary steps to move through the pain (over time) and start living again.

Grieving does not happen automatically.

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Anchor Yourself During Grief

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

Sturdy tree laden with green leaves and surrounded by fogBecause grief is confusing, disorderly, and sometimes overwhelming — it’s very important to anchor yourself during grief to someone or something that will not fail.

Grief has a way of knocking you off-balance and stealing the wind from your sails until you get a handle on what’s happening, learn enough to know what to expect, and find out about the steps you can take to move toward healing. An anchor will keep you from falling during the unexpected chaos that comes with grief.

Anchors will vary among grievers.

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Especially When Grieving — Focus on What’s Still Good in Your Life!

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Woman's hands folded on an open BibleWhen grieving, particularly during the holidays, our first reaction is to think about what we’ve lost. Holidays are special (and emotional) times of the year, and of course, our thoughts focus on the people we love. If we’ve recently lost a loved one, or experienced another type of significant loss, the holidays bring pain rather than joy, and anxiety rather than anticipation.

What I’m going to suggest will take conscious effort on your part, but when you change your thoughts — your attitude (and emotions) will follow. This season, when you find yourself dwelling on all that you’ve lost, immediately refocus and think about at least one blessing you still have in your life. And then, another one …

Pretty soon, your thoughts will be headed in an entirely different direction because your mind cannot concentrate on both the positive and negative at the same time.

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Your Attitude — Friend or Enemy During Grief?

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

Bright blue sky with fluffy white and gray cloudsDo you have any idea how powerful your thoughts are — especially during challenging times such as grief?

It’s not unusual for people who are grieving to start feeling anxious weeks before the holidays arrive. I was just talking with someone who reinforced this idea. Her friend (who has experienced several losses recently) has already been talking about how much she dreads the holidays and knows they are going to be terrible. If she keeps on thinking, talking, and believing this way — her holiday experience will definitely be awful! However, it doesn’t have to be.

Our minds actively work to turn our thoughts into reality. You’ve probably heard of the ‘self-fulfilling’ prophecy. Our minds want us to be right, and through a complex process between our bodies and our minds, we live out our thoughts!

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How We Coped with Grief during the Holidays — and How You Can, Too

Sunday, November 6th, 2011

Tree Lined Country Road with Changing Leaves of Red, Gold, Orange, YellowCoping with grief during the first holidays or anniversaries after the death of a loved one or other devastating loss is especially difficult. Your pain is fresh and memories are tender. Emotions stay close to the surface, and those around you tend to be uncomfortable about what to say, how to act, and what to expect as the day approaches.

Like many families, ours had established traditions that carried over from one holiday to the next. Often the menu stayed the same from year to year, the place and time for the get-together was set, and everyone knew what to expect. Each person even sat in the same chair! Sounds boring, but it’s surprising how many families keep the same traditions over the years. We become comfortable.

After my husband died, the thought of celebrating the holidays the same way we always had — but without him there — seemed much too difficult. His absence would have been especially glaring. Who would sit in his chair? How would we respond to the emptiness?

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I’ll Think about Grief Tomorrow

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

cluster of blue market umbrella canopiesA friend used to teasingly call me Scarlett (as in Scarlett O’Hara from Gone With The Wind, who was known for saying, “I’ll think about that tomorrow!”)  This attitude is okay when it involves setting something unimportant or less pressing aside temporarily to concentrate on a more urgent issue at hand.  However, people tend to avoid thinking about grief altogether, as though by not thinking about it, they can somehow escape it.

I’m surely not suggesting that you dwell on grief.  But at least know where to go and what to look for when loss touches your life, and grief arrives with it.

I had never thought about grief until I was face-to-face with it, and then I had no idea what to do.

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