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griefhealing%20homepage[1]Definition of “Grief”:

Intense emotional suffering caused by loss, disaster, misfortune, etc; acute sorrow; deep sadness

There are many reasons that people grieve.

There are many ways that people handle their grief.

So how can we say “Grief” is good?

Let’s think about some of the reasons why people grieve:

  • Death- such as when someone loses a loved one to death…the grieving widow.
  • Divorce- Or when there is a divorce, we understand that family members are separated which causes another form of grief….intense emotional suffering.
  • Natural disasters…when homes are destroyed by earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes, etc. Even if individuals were blessed enough not to lose any family members, they have lost sometimes all their material possessions they’ve ever owned…pictures…sentimental things. These people have to grieve over their losses.
  • Pets- There’s grief over losing a pet that is someone’s family member.
  • Moving- And do we give much thought about individuals going through grief that have moved because of a job change to a new city, or a new state. Do we realize that all the family members in that particular family are going to have to grieve? They will have to leave behind their family and friends.
  • Illness- This can be chronic, new diagnosis (cancer), amputation, aging (loss of memory, vision, hearing, etc.) This list can go on and on, but you get the idea.

Sometimes because it isn’t a death or a divorce, we don’t think about it as grief. Do we?

So what are some of the ways people handle their grief?

There are healthy ways and unhealthy ways.

  • Unhealthy ways are when people resort to drugs or alcohol to numb their pain. Perhaps someone experiencing depression may need a short-term anti-depression medication to get them through the shock, which is common. But other individuals have a way of abusing prescription drugs.
  • Some people resort to instant gratifications such as gambling, shopping, or eating. These are gratifications that I resorted to when my first husband died. I drank my Margaritas until I felt no pain. I gambled the sympathy money away. I gained 20 lbs. in 2 months which caused me to have to go shopping for a new wardrobe. Once I got hooked into these instant gratifications to numb my pain, it was almost impossible to stop until I had my wake-up call from God and suffered consequences.
  • Other ways people fall into handling their grief may seem healthier. They may work more, maybe becoming workaholics, or even become obsessed with exercising and healthy eating. Usually it’s a matter of doing anything to get your mind off of your grief.

But is this really healthy? Probably not!

Everyone must work through their grief by working through the various stages of grief. The majority of us, work through stages of shock, emotions such as depression, anger, and/or guilt, physical symptoms of grief, we then resist going forward until we gradually find hope and affirm our new reality.

Grief is hard work. We can’t bury it or pretend it doesn’t exist. Nor can we continue to numb our pain. We have to face it and deal with it. It’s normal to be depressed for a while. It doesn’t mean we’re going crazy. All it means is that we are acknowledging that we are sad because things will never be the way they used to be. And that’s OK! As long as we can move on and not get stuck in a stage, we are moving forward.

When God gave me my wake-up call, I was going down a dangerous path. I surrendered to God to help me through my grief. I’m not sure I could have done it without His help. He provided me a healthy way to work through my grief. As I worked through the stages and transitioned into a new life, I can now help others walk through their valleys of grief. I can help them realize that what they feel is normal, and encourage them that they will find hope one day just as I did.

If we can handle grief in a healthy manner, we grow from the experience and it becomes a “Good Grief”.

 

 

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images[9]Sometimes I can’t help but think…is this life on earth all there is? I want to believe, that when our loved ones die, there has to be something else! I admit that if I didn’t have faith in an eternal life, I wouldn’t be as at peace that I am now. Knowing I’ll see my loved ones again in Heaven, goes a long way in continuing on in this life that’s filled with pain, sickness, loss, etc.

Just thinking about Heaven puts life in a different perspective. I live my days knowing that this is not my final home. Just as in the book I wrote, “A Widow’s Pursuit: Finding Out There’s More to Life Than Grief“, life is also about finding purpose to help others through their grief. And to know there is another final destination. It’s not here!

For widows/widowers this can be painful because we won’t be married in heaven. However, we will know our loved ones in heaven….”At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.” (Matthew 22:30) I’ll also admit that I didn’t like this verse for quite a while. I began to accept this more when I read a Billy Graham book, “Hope for the Troubled Heart”.

Excerpt from “A Widow’s Pursuit“:

Reading books brought comfort, too. I read Billy Graham’s book, Hope for the Troubled Heart, and then focused on the last two chapters that pertained to death and heaven. He regarded death of not being final, but another phase of life. That lifted my hopes.

“Someone has said that death is not a period, but a comma in the story of life.” Graham continues, “Everything that happens prior to death is a preparation for the final voyage. Death marks the beginning, not the end. It is our journey to God.”

 Going into Graham’s last chapter, he talked about what heaven could possibly be like through quotes from the bible.

In Revelation 22: 3, John wrote: “His servants will serve him.”

Graham adds,

 “Each one of us will be given some task that we will enjoy doing. Some may be the cooks who prepare heavenly dishes, some may play with the children. Perhaps we will be called upon to tend the gardens or polish the rainbows. Our imaginations are limitless. Whatever we do, the Bible says we will serve Him. Just think – loving the work you are doing and never getting tired!”

 This must be where Nicole serves the food!

Heaven felt like a whole new world opening up for me. I found these chapters exciting to read. He described heaven as, “The Ultimate Family Reunion.” However, one part remained hard to digest.

“We may not be married in Heaven. Some of us who love our wives and husbands very much may find that sad, but the more I think about the promises of Heaven, the more I believe whatever God has in store for us will be unbelievably more joyous, more delightful, and more wonderful than what we now enjoy.”

 Maybe when our reunion comes, it won’t matter. Until then, my wedding bands stay on.

I wore Nelson’s wedding ring on my left hand next to my ring. This notion of not being married in heaven persisted as the most sensitive area to talk about in my grief. Our wedding song had been, “Always and Forever.” In Graham’s last chapter, he concluded with a poem from an unknown poet that touched my heart.

 “Together Forever”

In this dark world of sin and pain

We only meet to part again;

But when we reach the heavenly shore,

We there shall meet to part no more.

The joy that we shall see that day

Shall chase our present griefs away.

 I can’t wait for that day to come. Heaven will be my eternal home and Nelson will be there waiting for me!

Please visit my friend Ferree’s blog, Widow’s Christian Place, and watch an amazing video, Knowing What I Know About Heaven!

 

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New GriefShare groups usually start up in August or September: Click on the picture below and if you have facebook, it will bring you to my facebook page to hear the video. If you don’t have facebook, go to griefshare’s website: www.griefshare.org to get all the information about the organization and find a location near you!
Now is the perfect time to connect with a GriefShare group meeting near you. Many groups are gearing up to start new 13-week cycles. If you are grieving the loss of a friend or loved one, find the nearest group at www.griefshare.orgGriefShare is a weekly seminar/support group. The seminar is video-based, and features leading experts on dealing with your grief. This video will give you a small sample of the kind of help you will find by attending a GriefShare group. On this short clip, you will hear from Susan Lutz, one of 46 grief grief experts featured in the GriefShare program.

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Our New Life in Georgia

Our New Life in Georgia

In a family shouldn’t your spouse be first and children second? But what happens when your spouse dies? Should the children become first priority?

The way I prioritize, is that God comes first. In my marriage, my spouse came second and our children came third. When my spouse died, my children stepped into second place until they became adults. It was an enormous sacrifice. They were 6 and 7 years old when their father passed. I was only 34 years old.

Keeping God first meant He was the only Father to my children. Yes, they had a huge void in their hearts from a human father, but they had some very supportive uncles and grandfathers who filled in. They were happy children for the most part. It was very challenging however to be the only parent.

Now human nature calls, and some years down the road, I’m lonely. I begin to date and find someone that makes me happy. My girls express to me that they are not fond of this new man in their mother’s life. I first feel that they have no business in my business. Luckily, they were still in second place and not first place. It was really what God’s plan was for my new life.

Keeping God in first place, I wanted to keep my lines of communication open with Him. Through my years of dating throughout my widowhood, I had made a promise with God that I wouldn’t sleep with any man unless I was remarried. My choices of men were not your men that had “God first” in their hearts, if you know what I mean. So most of the time, any dating relationships usually ended quite quickly.

All this to tell you that I remained a single parent until my daughters were adults. This was one of the best decisions I have ever made. The sacrifices were enormous. It was not easy but so well worth it! Both of my daughters have blossomed into caring, responsible adults that are giving purpose into this world. Isn’t this the whole point of sacrificing for our children?

And me? Once my children were independent adults, I then married a guy worth waiting for!

How many of you can relate????

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This past year, September 19, 2013, I had the opportunity to speak to a H.U.G.S. (Healing Under God’s Sovereignty) Grief support group in Deltona, FL. My dear friend, Carol Keefer, who facilitates this ministry for grieving parents, arranged a weekly meeting where I shared a message about FILLING THE VOID.

Losing a child is quite different than losing a spouse, however, any void that results from a loss of a loved one, has to be filled with something. The following youtube video is the message I shared with these grieving parents and I’d also like to share it with anyone that has a void to fill during his or her grief.

A Widow’s Pursuit: Filling the Void

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=SHE7ilbwuzs

A special “Thank You” to my friend, Lisa Dolce, for helping me put this together.

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A_Widow's_Pursuit_Cover_for_KindlePurchase, “A Widow’s Pursuit”, here.

When Cindy suddenly became a 34 year old widow, with two young children, she was thrown into shock. Due to her Christian upbringing, she immediately found peace by clinging to her faith.  Once reality surfaced, she was overwhelmed with responsibilities and unfamiliar feelings. She had to figure out a way not to feel the pain. She overindulged in unhealthy and risky behaviors. Due to her negligence, a terrible accident happened to her daughter.  Embarrassed of how out of control she had been, she realized she needed God’s help. By no longer dodging her grief, she’d cry every night and trusted God to take away her pain and heal her broken heart.  She found herself moving forward and finding comforting moments. Then there were days she’d collapse in despair. Old memories could trigger panic attacks. Childhood memories revealed that her deceased husband was only part of her past. She then reached a point where she accepted her loss. Being a single mom brought about a lot of confusion with new relationships. She struggled with males over being just friends, going on dates, as well as getting in vulnerable situations.  Going through grief wasn’t easy, but Cindy realized that as long as she pursued God’s will for her life, she would reap more peace and comfort.  Once through her grief, she understood the meaning of her journey. She became more compassionate to others that had experienced losses. She was able to make new goals as she went back to school and obtained a LMSW degree in social work.  A WIDOW’S PURSUIT: Finding Out There’s More to Life Than Grief, is not only written from Cindy’s grief years, but beyond. Grief had become only a small part of her life. This book is a complete journey through Cindy’s grief and finding an amazing life after her loss.

REVIEWS:

 

By   Lori T   on September 21, 2013

  Not only is Cindy Adam’s one of my best friends, but she is an inspirational mentor in my life. Cindy’s journey through grief is a true testament of the faith and love that she has in her heavenly Father. Cindy has helped me in my life’s journey more times than she’ll ever know!  I highly recommend that you read Cindy Adam’s book:  A Widow’s Pursuit: Finding Out There’s More To Life Than Grief.

By  Carol K   on September 21, 2013

  This book is special to me because of my personal friendship with the author, but I truly believe this would be an encouraging and uplifting read for anyone who is/has gone through the painful, unimaginable loss of someone they love ~ whether through death or divorce. One thing that has stayed with me after reading this book is that while we will ALWAYS love the person we lost, we can also learn to remember that they were not the only part of who we were/are. We have a past and a future and God will be with us every baby step of the way. Enjoy this easy-to-read, don’t-want-to-put-it-down, wonderful book.”

By  Lynn   on August 13, 2013

  I really felt as though I were going along with Cindy and her family during the experience.  She expressed all the emotion as the reality set in, and didn’t spare any details regarding her grief process- which is one of the reasons I think this book will be such a help to people going through losses.  The honesty comes through, as does her walk towards recovering and dealing with what her life had been handed. It is an excellent example of encouragement and healing, and inspiration to those who need to find their own peace.
  Although the story is about Cindy’s personal journey as a young widow with two young children, her story is an inspiration for anyone who has gone through a loss.  Her faith in God shines throughout the book, and it is a must read for anyone dealing with grief. The message is clear – that there is hope and “more to life than grief”
  Not only do I want to share with you that Cindy is a remarkable writer, but she has taught me about life and how you never know what tomorrow will bring you. She is a mentor and friend to me and I couldn’t have asked for a more amazing mother! I thank God every night for the life I have. I give it all to him and thank him for blessing me with such a kind, compassionate mother.

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423893_227905027306832_216868583_n[1]This article was published this week on “The Grief Toolbox” website:

Yes, they’re coming! We can’t hide, it’s inevitable. The holidays are here!

Although my young children were grieving in their own ways, they looked forward to Christmas, presents, decorations, and celebrations. My oldest daughter was in second grade and my youngest was in kindergarten. This was the first year of holidays without their father. They participated in all their class activities for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas that year. In their grief, these special days in school appeared to give them relief, joy, and laughter.

For me, in my first year of widowhood, I despised the holidays coming. I wasn’t looking forward to any of them! The holidays were my husband’s favorite time of year. He not only loved shopping but he did most of the wrapping and decorating. He was also the life of the parties! So I knew exactly what to expect. I’d be depressed while shopping, wrapping, decorating, and celebrating that year. I couldn’t do it. Not even for my daughters. I’d have to plan something different. Somehow, I’d have to figure out, how to survive the holidays!

I decided that a trip would make the most sense. (If I had any sense that was!) For one thing, this would get me out of decorating the house. Planning a trip would also keep my mind busy to make sure things were done in a timely manner. I anticipated the joyful reunions ahead, knowing that I’d see family and friends that I hadn’t seen in many years. This pulled me through the days I had to shop and wrap my daughters’ gifts, to take with us.

As we pulled out of our FL driveway for a 4 week holiday road trip to NC, NJ, NY, PA, IL, MI, and SC, excitement went with us. Our first stop was Christmas in NC with my parents, sister, brother-in-law, and niece. Joy and pain coexisted that year for the holidays. But better to have both, than to suffer with pain the entire time. I know many people thought I was crazy to take this road trip not only in the winter, but we ended up driving through a northern blizzard that year. I didn’t care what anyone thought, I trusted that God would protect us and only give us what we could handle!

Bottom line….we survived the holidays!!

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aseasonofgriefsmall[1]Oh Dear! It’s that time of year again….HOLIDAYS…

For some, that means happiness, joy, and sweet memories. For others, it means sadness, grief, and bitter-sweet memories.

The GriefShare organization has an annual event called, “Surviving the Holidays”. This helps in dealing with the intense pain of grief during the holidays. Local churches around the world sponsor these seminars.  Find out where the closest “Surviving the Holidays” is to you. The event is about 2 hours long. It includes a 40 minute video along with some group discussion as you meet others that are dealing with grief during this holiday season.

If you’ve never heard of or been to a GriefShare group, and you’re experiencing grief from a loved one’s death, this may be the perfect time of year to start.

GriefShare is a grief recovery support group where you can find help and healing for the hurt of losing a loved one. When you go to the GriefShare website, you can enter your zip code to find the closest group to your home.

I strongly encourage anyone who is presently experiencing grief, to seek out a local group. If you’re not ready for a group, another option to consider, is to receive daily GriefShare e-mails for an entire year. There are 365 daily messages that will help and encourage you through a year of the grieving process.

GriefShare is a journey from mourning to Joy!

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600_img[1]I met this beautiful young lady, Drew Dotson, who is living with Cystic Fibrosis. My interview with Drew gives insight of the grief she has been through and offers hope to others that may be battling a chronic illness.
1) When you first learned that you had CF, how did that make you feel?
I understood I had CF at a very early age, but I realized the gravity of it when I was 8 years old. I read an article that mentioned the life expectancy for someone with CF, and this was a complete shock to me. I was devastated. At age 8, I had already made big plans. I wanted to be the first female U.S. President, an actor, a model, a teacher, in the military, and the list goes on. At a time when most kids are invincible, I felt that my life was ruined. I began to focus on everything I wouldn’t be able to do. It was an instant change.
2) How did you know you were going through grief?
I was consumed with the thought of my death. Every night I cried myself to sleep, thinking about how I was going to die young. I remember sitting in elementary school, thinking about how I would never get married or have children. I became very end-oriented and stopped thinking about what I wanted to be when I grew up.
3) What were some of the stages of grief that you went through, with an example of each?
I have toggled between different stages of grief throughout my lifetime. Currently, as a young adult, I think I am living in the acceptance stage, with occasional regression when I learn of deaths of others with CF.
Denial: When I learned the severity of my illness, I kept very quiet about it. I think this was my way of being in denial. I thought that, by keeping it to myself, it would be less of a reality.
Anger: I don’t recall having any angry outbursts or rage. However, I do recall rebelling against doing breathing treatments out of spite. I felt like, if I was going to die young, I didn’t want to waste my life doing treatments.
Bargaining: After my stint of refusing medications, I was hospitalized for the first time. This hospitalization was very emotional for me because I had pushed myself to the limit, and then I found myself regretting my behavior. I remember thinking that I would do better, that I wouldn’t let this happen again, etc.
Depression: College was a difficult time for me. I lost several friends my age with CF during this time. Also, because college is so future-focused, it was hard to keep from getting ahead of myself. For a lot of people, college is viewed as the transitional period to the real world. All of these thoughts were difficult to process because I had successfully spent so much of my life ignoring the future. I experienced a lot of sadness and didn’t feel as comfortable in social situations.
Acceptance: I spend most of my time now in acceptance. Routine doctor appointments help me keep tabs on the status of my health. Sometimes a bad visit or a hospitalization can push me more toward depression, but I am largely accepting of the situation. For the most part I consider myself accepting, yet realistic, about my illness. I can openly talk about death without feeling sad. There is a growing part of me believes I will see a cure in my lifetime, but I still try to live as though my time is limited.
4) What helped you the most to get through grief? (journaling, friends, etc.)
I think that talking to other people with chronic illness, specifically CF, was very helpful for me. I have a cousin with CF who is 18 months younger than me. She has been a big source of help for me because she understands what I’m going through. Sometimes it can be difficult talking to loved ones. They often want to be encouraging and uplifting, and sometimes that can make me feel as though the situation is being trivialized. I like having someone to talk to who won’t say “You’re going to live a long life” or “You shouldn’t think that way.” It is comforting to have someone that I can talk to without any reservation. I am lucky to have a family connection to CF, but there are also online communities for just about everything. My one warning is that, while online communities can provide support, they can also expose you to a lot of sadness.
5) What gave you hope?
I found hope in many things. First, I have always had a good support system in my family and close friends. Although I wasn’t very open about my CF growing up, I did have people I could talk to about how I was feeling. Second, I have been fortunate to have many more good days than bad days when it comes to my health. My good health, relatively speaking, has been a source of hope. Finally, the advancements made possible by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation have given me great hope. New medications and therapies help me maintain a better quality of life. There are clinical trials happening right now that could drastically change my life.
6) How did you take care of yourself during grief?
I don’t know that I took care of myself as well as I should have. I started seeing a counselor when I graduated from college because the transition to adulthood was challenging. It can sometimes be difficult to talk to loved ones about how I’m feeling because I don’t want to make them sad or worried. Having an unbiased third party was great because I didn’t have to fear any negative impacts from sharing my feelings.
7) What advice can you share with others that may be having a difficult time accepting a chronic illness?
I would encourage others find a confidant (or a few) that they can talk to freely. I think my emotional journey would have been easier if I hadn’t bottled up my feelings for so long. As much as a chronic illness can contribute to becoming tough, it’s important to know how to be vulnerable, too. I used to have quite the Napoleon complex, thinking that I had to be the best at everything else to overcompensate for my illness. Once I learned that it’s okay to be vulnerable, my life changed for the better; I no longer felt as much pressure to be perfect. I would also encourage people with chronic illnesses to practice gratitude. If you make a concerted effort to be grateful, you’ll see that you have a lot of blessings.
Visit Drew’s website and check out her YouTube video!

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Bright_green_tree_-_Waikato-300x225[1]I’d like to share part of a post from my on-line friend, JoAnne. Her website, Heartache to Healing, is a wonderful place to go for grief support resources!

How Can People Know, Someone Dies Before Their Time?

I’m sure many of us have heard the comment “they died before their time”  when someone dies at what seems earlier than they should have.  I felt that way when my husband died at age 55 following an accident.  Being widowed at age 49 simply didn’t seem fair.  When children die we all feel a terrible injustice and our hearts break for parents that have to endure such a loss.  But I wonder, how can people know someone dies before their time?
However long you live maybe it simply is your time.  We don’t know when our time is, when it will end here on earth and most of our religious beliefs help us come to terms with death and how we can find peace with it. When a loved one dies we most often turn to our religious faith for answers, comfort and support. Faith can offer strength to us when our loved ones die, I know for me,  my faith helped me walk the journey through griefRead more….

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