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Remembrances

October 24th, 2015 by judytalks

Remembrances

The death of a loved one is accompanied by deep emotional pain, pain that can’t be dismissed. The longing to hold on to that irreplaceable person is profound, and letting go is unthinkable.

Amidst all of the practical things that must be done – notifying people, planning services, going over finances and legal issues – there is a desire to create a remembrance, a legacy that says this person’s life mattered.

A memorial or legacy can be accomplished in different ways, and you can have several if you wish. Often, a legacy is included in the settling of the estate. Honoring the life of the loved one may be done by giving a gift of money to an organization, college or university. Other means include the gift of a special collection, scholarship, garden, or a wing on a building. There may also be a monetary gift that is designated for a specific purpose, such as a charity for medical, educational, or civic projects.

Personal memorials are commonly done by individuals who send a donation to a foundation that researches an illness or disability associated with the deceased. All in all, remembering a person whose life touched yours in a deep and personal way helps the process of letting go.

It’s important for grievers to acknowledge the difficulty of the mourning period. It’s a time to actively assess the relationship that has ended, and determine how you wish to make a part or parts of your life rich and meaningful, despite your loss.

A remembrance may be a place of peace or an active, ongoing celebration that you can return to when you wish to renew your connection to that irreplaceable person.

Healing takes place by remembering, not forgetting.

Judy

 

No Time To Grieve A Survivor’s Guide To Loss And Healing

September 25th, 2015 by judytalks

No Time To Grieve A Survivor’s Guide To Loss And Healing

When a death occurs, it’s likely that the family has little information for solving the problems of grief and loss. The competing factors of emotional pain and practical responsibilities leave little time and energy for grievers to do the hard work of mourning their loss.

Death knocks on every door, often unexpectedly, and those who mourn are usually ill-prepared to cope. Fear, sadness and anxiety often become everyday emotions. Meanwhile, the responsibilities associated with handling an estate stare you in the face.

For those families who have experienced the death of a loved one, it becomes clear that there is certainly a need for death education in our society.

The important question to ask is whether you have in place what you would need to handle these responsibilities.

Legal matters before a death occurs include a do not resuscitate document, a living will, and an individual’s wishes for disposition of the body and final resting place. Handling the estate following the death has numerous considerations. A will, trust, military records, marriage/divorce papers, social security, and dependent children just to start. Finances include investments, pensions, property, cash flow, and taxes.

Those of us who have had such an event in our lives would have benefitted from a guide book that gave pertinent information and support as we struggled to manage every day. Had we known, we might have had paperwork in order, discussions completed, and a clear understanding of the emotional needs of the bereaved.

In our society death education usually comes after the fact, leaving survivors grasping at straws, and undermining the deep need to mourn completely and appropriately.

Resources abound for getting your affairs in order. Estate lawyers, community classes, and the internet all give pertinent information for you to consider. A good choice might be a thorough and relevant book that you can read and keep handy for reference from time to time. One that you can carry in purse or briefcase would be ideal.

The benefits of such an excellent reference book would begin with a comprehensive list of issues associated with bereavement. Deep grief affects every aspect of our being – physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. There is pain, fatigue, confusion, and anger, as well as other feelings and considerations. Where to begin?

For now, let’s start with the first responsibility you face – services. In general, there are reviewals, funerals, memorial services, gatherings of mourners, or a combination of all or a few of these acknowledgements.

If you plan to get your affairs in order, you may wish to start researching the above named services for consideration. Whatever your age or situation, keep a notebook with your ideas and preferences listed. You may also want to confer with clergy, spiritual leaders, or family for insight and suggestions.

In the years I have been writing on this subject, preparation or lack thereof regarding death and loss has been a leading cause of either consternation or peace of mind for those who mourn.

Keep your references and notes in easy reach, knowing that whenever it is needed, you have made important choices.

My website: www.survive-strong.com

Amazon page: www.amazon.com/author/judystrong

I wish you well,

Judy

How I’m Thriving

August 7th, 2014 by judytalks

I recently published an e-book on Kindle entitled From Surviving to Thriving Finding Comfort Following Loss. I became a survivor in January, 1991, when my husband of 27 years died.  I remember the pain and confusion of those early weeks and months when I wondered if my family and I would survive at all. I began journaling and have continued to write about the fact of grief and bereavement.

We did survive. In fact, we have all thrived. My four children are independent, productive and thoughtful people. I have managed to rise to the cause and make a good and satisfying life for myself. That’s where the thriving comes in. Grief and loss change everything. Feeling powerless, bewildered, and afraid, grievers look to everyone and everything for comfort and support. We search for answers to tough questions, and ways and means for moving out of darkness and back into the light of day.

You will never be completely free of the fears of survivorship. You will never be completely pain-free. But you can take back power over your own life and build a new life, by design, not accident. I am thriving today by doing things that I love – creative writing, quilting, spending time with family, and interacting with others who are in transition from surviving to thriving. Comfort and ideas come from unexpected places.

Gratitude is a great healer. I keep a journal for recording those things, people, and happenings for which I am grateful.  May you find what you seek today and begin or continue your own journey toward peace.

Judy

 

From surviving to thriving

July 15th, 2014 by judytalks

Can  you remember the last time someone in your family died? Perhaps you were a child whose elderly great-uncle died, or maybe someone young was tragically killed in an accident. Consider for a few minutes where comfort came from. Who reached out to you, to your family?

Surviving the loss of a loved one is very difficult and very personal. To begin to move toward healing and a sense of yourself as a thriving person requires an understanding of what has happened to you, not just your loved one.

Where do we go for the death education we never got? There are many resources available today that weren’t around 20 years ago. The internet is an ideal place for up-to-date resources. Books, articles, e-books, groups, camps, professional counselors, and faith-based spiritual centers are in touch with the needs of grievers.

For my part, I have just published an e-book on Kindle, titled From Surviving to Thriving  Finding Comfort Following Loss. Based on personal experience, and research from the professional community, this e-book gives comfort, support, and clear directives for processing your grief. It takes time to manage the pain and begin to move forward.  As you walk through this difficult time in life, you will become aware  of the resources already inside you.  Emerging whole and confident allows you to begin to visualize a new life built on memories and a clear sense of who you can become.

I wish you well,

Judy

For my Kindle books:  www.amazon.com/author/judystrong

Death Education and the School of Hard Knocks

March 18th, 2014 by judytalks

As I look through my blogs and articles material, I realize I’ve covered many aspects of grief and loss. I began writing about grief following the death of my husband. My first book, No Time to Grieve A Survivor’s Guide to Loss and Healing, was taken from my journal, and documented the struggle I experienced finding answers and support. A Child’s Grief Surviving the Death of a Parent, resulted from personal experience – my own and others – and general research. I began giving seminars, writing articles, and doing radio interviews shortly after, and have gathered considerable information on this important aspect of life.
In our society, death education usually comes after the fact. Though there are classes on various topics concerning dying and bereavement, most of us learn how to help ourselves and others the hard way – through personal experience, when emotions are out of bounds and cognitive abilities are diminished. It doesn’t have to be that way.
It’s safe to say nearly everyone will face the death of a loved one and need comfort and support. We also find ourselves in a position of wanting and needing to help someone else to cope with a loss. As a writer and educator, I love to teach. My website displays my books with a synopsis you may read. My blog appears there and on Authors Den and Good Reads. My articles may be read on the website and also on www.ezinearticles.com and www.scribd.com. If you haven’t checked them out, please be my guest.
My current writing project is in full swing. Longer articles and little e-books are in the making and will appear on Kindle. More informative, these additions to my teaching tools will give you the knowledge you need when you want to reach out with comfort and support to a grieving friend. You don’t need a Kindle to read them. For $0.99, they can be downloaded and read on your computer, or printed out.
My work as a grief facilitator with children and the Flying Solo group I started for adults has taught me the importance of giving clear, honest, reliable tools for everyday use. Death knocks on every door, and when it does, a solid foundation for healing begins with confidence and knowledge. Whether you need comfort for yourself or for a friend, your death education can begin now.
I wish you well,
Judy

How to Help A Grieving Child

June 6th, 2013 by judytalks

Everyone wants to give comfort and support to those we know who have lost a loved one, regardless of their age. Knowing how to help a child is often difficult, because the child can’t always express the hurt and confusion they feel.

I feel privileged to be able to bring relevant information to you on a radio network that is dedicated to the needs of children. I will be discussing important aspects of connecting, comforting, and supporting children in mourning, with practical ideas that work.

My interview is scheduled for Monday, June 10, 2013 at 10:30 CST. Dr. James Sutton, psychologist and host, will be talking with me, so please check out the website, www.thechangingbehaviornetwork.com to see when you can hear the interview. A copy of my book, A Child’s Grief Surviving the Death of a Parent, will be given away in a drawing, and I’ll be offering a free PDF Booklet on the subject of SeniorCare.

I would be pleased to have you listen to the interview. When adults connect with a grieving child, the healing process can follow.

Kindest regards,
Judy

Living Alone and Liking It

February 18th, 2013 by judytalks

Learning to live without an irreplaceable person is a battle with yourself. The impossible has happened and whether you actually live alone or not, you are struggling to exist without your loved one.

In the early years following the death of my husband, three of our four children still lived at home. I was mourning the loss of the one person I depended on for my life’s breath, not because I was incapable of caring for our family, but because together we had learned to function as one whole being. By the time I was completely alone, I could more than survive; I began to thrive.

Grief and loss don’t end with bereavement. Moving forward is a decision, one that includes memories of that person still present in your life. But you begin to create a life for yourself that is to your liking, one that affirms your ability to be as comfortable and efficient alone as you were as part of a team.

Over the years, I have listened to many people describe the painful jouney of their own loss, and how they re-designed their lives. These stories are a testimony, not only to strength and courage, but to the resilience and innovation of self-worth. I’ll relate some of these life journeys over the next few weeks, no names, but fleshed out characters and personalities that have weathered the storms of life. If you have a story you’d like to share, please email me.

I wish you well,
Judy

Where Do I Go For Help?

November 2nd, 2012 by judytalks

Crisis and loss come in all sizes, shapes, and colors. The devastation that results from natural disasters is enormous, counting loss of life, property, and your sense of security.

Today it’s the East Coast, with the aftermath of Sandy. Tomorrow it may be in another part of the world. Regardless of location, this planet is mourning its losses every day. With or without warning, the human race takes a back seat to every kind of destructive act of nature.

Finding comfort when you need it most is difficult. In a disaster, numerous organizations rally to preserve life and property. When it’s safe to return, assessing your damage can be heart-rending. Personal property, those sentimental items so dear to you and to family, may lie amongst the debris, damaged beyond repair.

The job of the work crews is to get things up and running. When businessess, transportation, utilities, hospitals and the like get going again, it brings back a sense of normalcy. But no one is assigned to retrieving the lost personal items. Though these things seem irreplaceable, other family members, friends, or neighbors often have copies of pictures and memorabilia like those you lost. When you get yourself settled, contact everyone you can think of and ask for help. As items begin to surface, you can restore your memories in your treasure chest. It’s the beginning of healing.

Emotions are not usually reliable in a crisis, but contact with others and having them share memories with you is the beginning of hope, and pushes the fear and sadness away.

If you are grieving for any reason, stay in touch with those who love you and let them give comfort. Mourning takes time and energy. Take care of yourself.

Judy

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

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