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A Look At Grief – When Life Stops

October 29th, 2012 by judytalks

When the life of someone you love stops, the part of your life that you shared with that person stops also. It’s abrupt and it’s painful. Suddenly everything changes because life as you knew it has stopped.
Does it matter whether there was time to prepare? Having your loved one in hospice care may give you the opportunity to talk about life, death, survivor concerns, and last wishes. But this isn’t always possible, or isn’t discussed. Talking about the past can take precedence over the present moment, often leaving survivors with no knowledge about the state of affairs they will have to handle.
Death education is almost never talked about in our society. We have a denial/dismissal attitude, preferring to believe that we’ll “cross that bridge when we come to it.” But, often, there is no warning, or the subject never comes up. The face of grief is more than emotional pain and confusion. Though deep sadness accompanies the death of a loved one, time and energy may have to be devoted to legal and financial issues, sometimes with little knowledge of the facts of the estate.
As a survivor, speaker, and grief facilitator, I have looked into the faces of many people of all ages who were overwhelmed with responsibility. Women, especially, are affected by financial issues, though men may be also. Men usually are not prepared to run a household or prepare meals.
Is there a reason we, as a society, can’t face the fact of death? Can we begin to educate ourselves as to the realities of loss and survivorship? Where did this come from, and how can we change it?
I’d like to make a difference in this aspect of life. As a survivor, my children and I know the pain of losing someone. With minor children and no will, I had to go to probate court. I needed a better job, and there weren’t the grief groups around then that there are now. But we can still do better.
Any ideas? Suggestions? Comments? Please email me. jstrong@survive-strong.com
Judy

The First 24 Hours

October 16th, 2012 by judytalks

When crisis strikes, the first 24 hours are crucial to everyone’s well-being. Shock and emotional upheaval take over and render you helpless in a situation that requires calm and clear decision-making. What do you do?

Sudden illness, accident, or assault are all critical situations that affect not only the individual in crisis, but those who care about them. You may find that you must make important choices that will affect everyone. Where do you go for help?

When my husband was in ICU, I had to make critical decisions about his treatment that would affect the whole family, immediately and for the rest of our lives. I found that there are professionals who can give good insight, without persuading you of any particular choice. They see these situations daily and can guide you to a conclusion that you can live with. I also realized that my own intuition gave me a good idea of what we needed as a family.

Friends and extended family members sometimes offer advice that is well-intended, but this is your situation, not theirs. Standing your ground may be difficult in the face of what is happening. It’s important that you understand who will be living with these choices, and make that clear to others.

When you find yourself in turmoil, whether the first 24 hours or days or weeks afterwards, you may need to center yourself and take time to think clearly. If you are in the habit of giving yourself quiet time or meditation every day, this will serve you well. If not, now would be a good time to begin your own program for peace and clarity.

Trauma can strike anytime. It’s impossible to be completely prepared for the awfulness that can result from a sudden illness or accident. But when you have devoted yourself to a calming frame of mind, you will be able to implement it anytime, anywhere.

Think about setting aside a few minutes today to begin quiet time for yourself. You may find you can’t imagine a day without it.

Judy

First Responders

October 8th, 2012 by judytalks

Out of the blue a crisis hits and you can’t think straight, don’t know where to turn, and panic is setting in. What do you do?

For anyone who has ever had this experience – and that’s probably almost everyone – someone who’s been there can be a port in the storm. Never mind if the situation or circumstances were different. Just having someone take you by the hand and stay with you is a blessing. Knowing that they’ve faced a crisis and survived delivers a sense of hope and reassurance. When there is a death of someone close, it may be awhile before you get your bearings and can make a clear decision. That support will keep you afloat while you contact family, talk to professionals, and wade through the many details that demand time and attention.

In the grief and death field, there is a long list of people who can help, including friends, therapists, groups, medical staff, and spiritual leaders. But if you’re lucky enough to know someone who has had a similar trauma in their life, even if it’s not identical, that’s the one I would call first.

What can this person do for you? A first response would be to listen, to stay close, take some notes, make suggestions but not decisions, and look to your need for understanding what is happening. This person would also check that you’re eating, sleeping, and spending time alone processing your loss.

When that crisis hits out of the blue, think about people you know who might fit this category. It may not be a close family member or friend. But it can’t hurt to ask for help, and true comfort and support may be in short supply. It often comes from unexpected places.

Judy

Written By A Survivor

October 1st, 2012 by judytalks

When you search on the internet for information about a subject, what’s the most important thing you look for? If you’re like most people – and like me – you look for credibility. Experience is not only the best teacher; it also gives insightful, relevant, and solutions-oriented information that you can count on.

A study or a proven benefit can enhance the credibility of some inquiries. But if I want to know how something really works, I ask people who have personal experience. It’s the true test.

Whenever I write on the subjects of grief and loss, I am writing as a survivor. I’ve done considerable research, interviewed people, and worked with other survivors. Those who have been through it understand the emotional pain and mental confusion of grief. Though each situation is unique and no one knows exactly how someone else feels, having someone say “I’ve been where you are”, is immeasurably supportive. A survivor gives you comfort when you need it most.

Judy

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