Posts Tagged ‘grief and loss’

Have You Been Turned Away from a Grief-Support Group?

Saturday, May 31st, 2014

empty beach_tracks in sand_large rock_oceanBy Judy Brizendine

Someone shared her experience with me this week, and it broke my heart, shocked, and angered me all at the same time.  This person ‘diligently searched’ (her words) for help with grief, and was turned away from grief-support groups by several organizations.


3 Things in Life Are Certain — How Do You Respond to #3?

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

orange and black Road Work Ahead sign_change_griefBy Judy Brizendine

We’re all familiar with the saying about two things no one can escape: death and taxes! But what about the third certainty in life? Any ideas? (more…)

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.


Sunshine After Grief

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

sunshine_bright-red-gold-white-flowers-clustered-togetherYou may not be in a place right now to believe what I’m going to say—but at least consider that sunshine after grief is possible!

Fourteen years ago, I questioned whether I would ever feel like smiling again—and whether I’d be happy in the future. But now I know it’s true—and not just for me, but for so many others who have been through the pain of grief. If you’re wondering the same thing, I want to reassure you that happiness is not only possible, but likely to happen for you, if that’s the choice you make after loss.

A wonderful friend from a past grief support group, who lost his wife several years ago, suggested that I share my story to encourage others who are disheartened and now facing loss. Regardless of where you are at this moment, know that you are not alone, and many of us have been in the same place—struggling with negative feelings, fears, and uncertainties.

My story of loss happened suddenly, without any warning. I thought everything was just fine. My husband took off on a mountain bike ride—something he frequently did—except this time, he never came home. The instant he died, my entire life changed. I had trouble envisioning any kind of future for myself back then.


Snugly Bundles of Love Bring Life to Grief

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011
Photo of Max the cat in the dryer

Max in the dryer

I’d like you to meet this little guy—well, actually he’s not so little! His name is Max, and he’s around fifteen pounds of pure love and limitless curiosity. He’s like a toddler on the move, poking his head (and his paws) into, behind, and underneath anything that looks interesting or new. This photo captured him sneaking into the dryer just as we started loading it with clothes! We never know where we’ll find Max next. When discovered, he always looks at us as if to say, “What?”

My daughter presented Max and his little sister Molly to me a while after my husband died. I wasn’t used to an empty, silent house. All life seemed to have gone away. Explaining what these two little critters brought back into my life and home is hard to put into words. Energy. Delight. Playfulness. Warmth. Anticipation. Love.

Picture of the cat named Meadow


My experience is not unique. The same was true for my mom, brother, mother-in-law, and countless others after the loss of a loved one. None of them thought they wanted a pet. In fact, they were pretty sure they didn’t! But the people around them were persuasive! Each soon discovered a secret that pet owners have known for years. Pets have a curious way of melting your heart. Somehow, before you even know what’s happened, they’ve wiggled their way into your life and set up shop!

The emotional benefit of pets, especially during difficult times (such as grief or loss), is underestimated. See the related article in the L.A. Times.

Consider finding your own Max and Molly! Or Sammy, Josie, Abby, Jackson, Meadow, Maggie, or KC—each one has a unique, endearing personality; each has quirky little habits; and every single one has stolen the heart of its owner.

Most likely you have stories of your own to tell, too!

© 2011 Judy Brizendine