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Posts Tagged ‘Grieving’

A_Widow's_Pursuit_Cover_for_Kindle“A Widow’s Pursuit” has found a publisher!

My book is being published with Tate Publishing and Enterprises, LLC.

Before the release date, I will be doing some book events to get the word out. I’ll have more updates to follow. If you know of anyone, who is not one of my blog followers, who may be interested, have them sign up for my e-mail list for future blog posts and updates on book events.

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five-golden-stars-digit-star-icons-white-background-pointed-shiny-rating-rounded-corners-eps-34907363[1]Guest blogger, Jessica Kane has some helpful advice in dealing with loss, in her article, “5 Techniques for Coping with Death.” My favorites that helped me cope during my grief were numbers 3, 4 and 5 🙂 Of course #5 was my foundation in helping me cope in a healthier way than I could ever do myself.

5 Techniques for Coping with Death

Dealing with the loss of a loved one is one of the most difficult challenges that people face in life. According to the National Institute on Aging, prolonged mourning is unhealthy and can lead to anxiety and depression. It is important to take appropriate steps to proactively cope with the grief and pain. Below explains 5 ways to successfully cope with the loss of a loved one.

1. Understand Who Grieves the Most

The National Cancer Institute has detailed research on risk factors for grief and bereavement outcomes. They have found that those who lack social support, have a history of depression, a lower income and are pessimistic tend to suffer more. In addition to this, those who had an insecure or an ambivalent relationship with the deceased tend to experience more negativity and grief. People who tend to cope through overthinking almost always have higher levels of stress and depression. The younger the age, the more difficulty after a loss. Understanding your personal situation and being aware of your risk factors will help with coping.

2. Social Connections

Social interactions are very effective with normalizing emotions, improving mood and enriching overall quality of life. Socializing engages the mind, reduces stress and provides opportunities to bond with others. An active social life can actually improve nutritional intake because people tend to eat more when they are around others. In addition to this, being social can help lower blood pressure, boost the immune system and reduce the symptoms of depression. Sometimes those who are grieving tend to withdraw, avoid others and become sedentary. However, researchers at the University of Berkeley’s Greater Good Institute have found that socially inactive adults are 70 percent more likely to experience cognitive decline and related health issues compared with socially active adults. Being socially active results in excellent emotional and physical benefits.

3. Active Choices

According to the National Institute of Health, exercise and physical activity reduces stress, improves mood and prevents and delays disease. Being active is a key to dealing with the stress and grief while doing something productive. Physical activities can be simple things like gardening, dancing and housework. Exercise can be regularly scheduled specific physical activities such as jogging, cycling and lifting weights. Exercise has been proven as an effective treatment for improving cognitive functions and reducing the symptoms of depression. Exercise also decreases the likelihood of developing chronic conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. Even walking 30 minutes a day will improve health and sleep quality while relieving anxiety and depression.

4. Travel

An ancient Chinese idiom says that traveling is better than reading 10,000 books. Many people coping with grief tend to withdraw and fixate on the past. However, travel forces us to be active, adapt to new situations and exposes us to the wonders of the world. Traveling forces us to engage others and experience life. Traveling locally or even internationally are excellent ways to leave the painful comfort zone at home and embrace the beauty of the world around us.

5. Spirituality and Religion

Most people only turn to religion during holidays or special events. However, there are benefits to both spirituality and religion. While there is great diversity with spirituality, yoga, tai chi and meditation have proven benefits for stress release and health. These aren’t just exercises, but actually ancient methods of spiritual practice and purification. Religion can play an important role in coping. While there is limited empirical research on the benefits of religion, studies have shown that religion is very helpful with coping because of the social support. Religion also provides a belief system that helps to understand and cope with death.

Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who writes for Legacy Headstones, a leading Ohio-based headstone manufacturer and vendor.

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Cropped pictureFrom my experience, as a young widow raising children, this is not an easy answer. First, I had to work through my grief. There’s no specific time limit for grief. It’s when a widow has worked through the stages and has accepted the loss. For me, it took two years before I could see the light of joy again.

I believe the parent must first work through grief to be capable of entering into another relationship. If they don’t, they could have unresolved grief and the children might have compounded grief. However long it takes, widows must work through their grief to then help their children complete theirs.

Once I was in a healthier state of mind and accepted my loss, I then realized my children still had a ways to go. After two years of widowhood, with an 8 and 9 yr. old, I had a marriage proposal. I really had to pray about it. A counselor told me that children can take on average four and a half years to work through grief.

So I put my heart and wants to the side. My children were my top priority and I had to make sure they resolved their grief before I moved on. I had them in support groups and children’s grief camps. I brought them to see counselors when I saw it was appropriate. And I always prayed for God’s direction!

So all my sacrifices and hard work paid off! It has produced the most beautiful joys and rewards. It wasn’t easy! I did remarry once my children were grown and on their own paths in life. My one daughter is married and my other is engaged. They have both been making very good decisions in their lives. Read my book to find out all the details of how the three of us made it through.

A Widow’s Pursuit: Finding Out There’s More to Life Than Grief

 

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I hadn’t thought about it until my daughter was engaged and the wedding plans began. Then it occurred to me one day, “I should be the one to walk my baby down the aisle. I spent the most time raising her!”

All my sweat and tears, for 14 years as a young widow, doing the best I could for my daughter. I was so proud of her, not to mention how much I loved her. I was honored to walk my precious daughter down the aisle and give her away to the man of her dreams. It was so beautiful and bittersweet!!

Down the aisle

 

 

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stock-photo-transform-your-thinking-on-blackboard-background-238546603[1]What does it take to transform a widow’s grief into a renewed life?

My friend, Ferree Hardy, has compiled 5 Turning Points in scripture to be aware of to help in a Widow’s Transformation. As Ferree writes on her blog, Widow’s Christian Place, she states that grief is not our destination but part of a journey of love. “We grieve because we’ve loved.”

Ferree suggests how we can watch for turning points in a widow’s grief with Wisdom, Knowing God Better, Contentment, Gratitude and Purpose.

Follow Ferree’s link to her website and see how she uses scripture references to help in 5 Turning Points That Help Transform Grief for Widows.

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footprintsHard to believe… 20 years ago my first love passed away. I became a 34 year old widow with 2 daughters, 6 and 7 years old. My life changed in a matter of weeks when my husband died of pneumonia. This wasn’t what I planned. My plan was to continue living in our Florida home, going on yearly vacations, and enjoying our children as they grew up. But apparently, it wasn’t in God’s plan. He had another plan for me.

As I look back over the last 20 years, life turned into a journey where I never thought I would travel. It took a couple years to work through my grief before I could see the light of day again. But once I pulled through, with continuous faith in being led by God’s peace and guidance, I emerged as a new being.

I went to college and found a career to help others going through grief and hard times. At 37 yrs old, I started my adventure in social work. My children came first so school took awhile. I received my bachelor’s degree (BSW) when I was 46 and 4 years later, I received my master’s degree (MSW) followed by a Licensed Master’s of Social Work degree (LMSW). I was 50 years old with an education and life experience.

I raised my children for 14 years on my own. I refused a marriage proposal because if I had taken it, I would have regretted it. My children did not need a replacement and didn’t need any other grief in their lives. I wanted them to know that they came first until they were adults and on their own.

Today, at 54, I’ve been remarried for 5 years. My oldest, at 27, is in nursing school and working in the hospital as a nurse tech. My youngest, at 26, will be getting married in a few months. She completed her bachelor’s degree and then moved to California. We live on opposite sides of the country but my main concern is that she is happy. And I believe she is!

To sum it up, this year I finally obtained a full-time job position as a social worker for a home health agency. I actually pursued my dreams and I’m able to serve others now that are having a difficult time with illness, grief and loss. It comes full circle and down to one thing…..

II Corinthians I: 3,4

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

 

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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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images9QEMR5QRIt’s that dreadful time of year for most widows in their first year of widowhood! We can not hide from them. If we have children we have to go through the motions and put on a happy face even if we feel like crawling up into a ball and drowning in our sorrows until January comes!

It’s a good time to change traditions. I choose a different way to get through the holidays that first year of widowhood than ever before. Check out my article I wrote several years ago but just published this month in an on-line website for anyone experiencing loss, Open to Hope: Finding Hope After Loss- A WIDOW REMEMBERS THE FIRST YEAR OF HOLIDAYS.

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There may come a time, in a widow’s world, where dating may be considered. When there are children involved, this can be a difficult decision. Is it time? Is it in God’s plan? Here is an article I wrote several years ago that I just had published on The Grief Toolbox: Dating vs. Children…What’s a Widow’s Priority?

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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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