Posts Tagged ‘grief journey’

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!

(more…)

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.

(more…)

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.

(more…)

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.

(more…)

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.

(more…)

Gratitude During Grief

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

orange rose nestled among varied bright yellow flowersYou may be thinking, “Gratitude during grief — are you kidding?”

A friend shared something with me that changed his life. Last year he started a gratitude journal. All year long, he’s written something in his journal each day. Even on the worst of days, he’s been able to find things to be grateful for.

Before going to sleep at night, he thinks about his day and records his gratitude in his book. Each time he writes, he starts out by saying that he’s glad to be alive! He almost died. That experience changes the way you think. Some days my friend also begins his day by writing in his gratitude journal.

(more…)

During Grief, Don’t Jump to Conclusions Too Hastily!

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

Mule peering through slats of white fence against blue sky backgroundHave you hastily jumped to a conclusion during grief (or just in your daily life), later learned you seriously misjudged a situation, action, or person’s intention —  and then realized your rash judgment created a division you could not completely restore? What a devastating realization!

During grief, be aware that emotions run in high gear. And certain times, such as the holidays, can trigger reactions that are uncharacteristically intense. Your thinking may be a bit unclear. So, with these things in mind — stop and think before responding (or reacting) instinctively to whatever situation you meet.

(more…)

When Grieving Stay Focused on Your Goal of Healing!

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

Rocky and snow-capped mountains covered with white fluffy clouds and blue skiesHave you faced obstacles — mountains to climb — in your grief journey? Sometimes we get so lost wandering around the mountains (and counting all the things we’re up against) that we forget about what lies beyond them. When grieving stay focused on your goal of healing!

Your mountains may be fears that cropped up in response to your loss. Your obstacles may be financial, or they may concern changes in your relationships with family or friends. You may be struggling spiritually or feel that you’re all alone.

(more…)

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.

(more…)

Grief Is a Solitary Journey — but Don’t Walk Alone

Monday, September 12th, 2011

Three American flags waving in the breeze against a clear blue skyYesterday morning my husband and I watched a documentary about 9/11 on television. The filmmakers captured the horror, disbelief, terror, confusion, and utter devastation of that day as well as it’s possible to do on film. However, I couldn’t help but think there’s no way any of us who were viewing the program could really know what it was like to be in New York on the streets surrounding the World Trade Center ten years ago on 9/11. And we couldn’t know the experience of those who had loved ones directly involved in the tragedy — and who watched and waited to learn their fate as events unfolded.

We can listen as people tell us their personal stories about 9/11, and we can relate to the way our world has changed and the feelings we share, but we’ll never feel what those folks felt that day — or appreciate all they’ve had to cope with since then. That’s the way grief is. No one understands as does someone who has suffered a similar experience.

(more…)

When You’re Stunned by Grief, Change Is Unavoidable

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

Deep orange sky at sunset with sun just above horizonAs quickly and as certainly as the sun will drop below the horizon in this photo, when grief strikes, change comes right along with it.

You may experience a few changes or many. Your circumstances will determine which internal and external changes occur — and how much they will affect you. They could be physical, emotional, financial, or spiritual ones, and possibly changes in relationships.

When your world turns upside down, no wonder change follows right behind. At first, change is staggering and maybe even paralyzing. I just want you to know what to expect.

I also want to assure you that your grief journey is a step-by-step process. Try not to take on too much too soon. You’ll find your own pace. I’d like to lend a hand.

Hold on!

© 2011 Judy Brizendine

What Kind of Grief Day Are You Having?

Monday, June 27th, 2011

photo of red suede shoesYou may think this is a little odd, but I was thinking about shoes the other day—and about how a shoe could tell a story about my grief journey.

I have a pair of work boots that I used to wear on job sites to keep my nice shoes from being destroyed. We never knew what we would run into on construction sites—drywall mud, paint, dirt, construction debris—or just about anything! So I tried to keep my work boots in the trunk, just in case. The grief journey is kind of like that—you never know just what you’ll run up against or how something will affect you at a certain time.

My work boots were comfortable, sturdy, ordinary, no-nonsense shoes. And well- worn. They were made for work. Certainly at times grief felt like hard work—and I felt worn-out and a little ragged—just like my work boots.Leather work boots

At other times, something would happen to really lift my spirits and give me hope— kind of like my red suede slip-on loafers. Comforting. Positive. Someone would call just to let me know they’d been thinking about me. Or a friend would offer to help with something I couldn’t do by myself. Optimistic shoes—like a grief day touched by the reassurance that everything will be okay again.

Not every day during grief is a ‘work boot’ day. Thankfully, there are some ‘red suede loafer’ days, too!

What kind of grief day are you having?

© 2011 Judy Brizendine

Hope after Loss—New Beginnings

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

photo of beautiful orchidHello world! Welcome to my blog!

It’s great to meet you. Take a few minutes and look around. See what’s here.

This blog is about hope and inspiration. It’s about help. It’s about seeing the beauty that’s all around you, even if you can’t see it right now. It’s about finding a way to smile—and know that you are not alone. It’s about getting you to believe—really believe —that you will make it through grief. And that life will be good again. But it takes effort on your part. You have to believe in yourself and really want things to get better!

You’ll find truth here. I won’t pull punches. I’ll tell you about things I learned the hard way. I want your path after loss to be easier than mine was.

Let’s make this journey together. You don’t have to do this alone.

© 2011 Judy Brizendine