September 23, 2020
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Losing Your Independence

March 30th, 2020 by judytalks

The world wide pandemic that hit our planet has threatened our very lives, and sent us into confinement. Our health,  jobs and social life have been thrown into chaos, and it’s hard to determine, from day to day, which is worse:  What we know or what we don’t know. We know leaders everywhere are struggling to cope with it, and citizens are trying to adapt to new rules about staying home indefinitely.  We also know there is an abundance of information that can change in a matter of hours.

What Is Happening?

What do we call the situation we’re in?  We’re experiencing a deep and confusing sense of loss. When you lose something you love or need for your well being, you suffer that loss. Combined with fear and anxiety, our emotions are taking a beating.

Those initial feelings are compounded with incessant questions about our preparedness for dealing with this monster.

How is it spread? What are the symptoms? Have I touched something that’s contaminated? Did I wash my hands long enough?

What exactly have we lost? Essentially we’ve lost that sense of independence, of feeling secure wherever we go and who we’re with. Routine, everyday habits, social gatherings, and job-related issues for those who work away from home, are now jeopardized or completely gone.

The immediate effects of loss are uncertainty and confusion. Whatever was in place in our daily lives has been wiped out. It’s like going down a long, narrow flight of stairs without a railing. If it’s also dark and you’re carrying something, it’s even more distressing.

You can no longer take things for granted. Those positive, dependable measures are no longer in place. Though “home” may be your favorite place in the world, being confined 24/7 for an indefinite time creates a brand new situation.

Trying to re-adjust and manage under the circumstances becomes difficult and usually annoying. Add to that, there’s a sense of  abandonment, and you begin to feel angry. Everything was going well, your routine was in place, and you felt secure.

What Can We Do?

I know how important it is to take charge of your life when you’ve been dealt a crushing blow. I’m a grief facilitator, writer and survivor. One of the most difficult tasks, when you are in a state of grief or loss, is to be assertive, and take back your  life. Putting the ball in your court is necessary and effective. Doing it is another matter. It requires making a complete turnaround from wondering what’s going on, to deciding what is actually happening in YOUR life, not the entire world’s.

What’s Happening In My World

I am in Calgary, Alberta, Canada with my daughter and son-in-law. Through I have lived in Arizona most of the last 18 years, I came here from Texas. Eventually, I’ll be returning to Arizona. Right n0w, the three of us are staying put as much as possible. Daughter Jennifer is a substitute teacher. Her job stopped when the schools closed. Son-in-law Jim brought work and supplies home yesterday, and he’ll be home bound until further notice. I’ve been here since December 17, 2019, when I came for Christmas and was invited to “stay as long as you like”. I may be here for quite awhile.

Though we’re aware that the numbers keep going up for those infected and at home, those hospitalized and for fatalities, we are relatively safe. Our job is to avoid contact, shop prudently and wash hands, wash hands, wash hands. We also are disinfecting anything that comes into the house – newspapers, grocery bags, boxes, shoes – ANYTHING.

It’s critical now that all of us find ways to stay optimistic and focused. Take an online class (Jennifer is learning French), do home maintenance or repairs that you can manage, stay in touch with friends and loved ones through apps or face time, and read some good books. And while you’re at it, project over the next few weeks and months what you’ll do when this is slowing down and it’s safe to venture out. Now that we know what it’s like to be really cooped up, plan a way to celebrate freedom. Losing your independence is beyond a learning experience; it can be a motivating factor to cherish the times when you’re in control of your life.

What Are You Doing?

Sharing stories is a great way to connect. It’s also a way for offering ideas and solutions to problems you’ve solved.

Have an interesting incident you’d like to share? Got a funny story? An innovative way to stay sane? Please feel free to leave comments, ask questions or share a story.

Thank you for reading my blog.

Judy

 

 

How Do You Know When Grief Turns A Corner?

July 9th, 2015 by judytalks

For some grievers, it’s sudden. Out of the blue, you feel different, things look brighter, and you can breathe easier. For others, the process has been working its way upward for some time.

The fact of mourning is entirely personal. It can’t be measured by any yardstick. Its parts can’t be labeled or identified by anything you already understand. The person in mourning knows very little going in, and has very little idea of the way out.

One thing is known:  The sudden impact of death is crippling, and the deep impact of pain can literally make you double over. Comfort from family and friends is just the beginning in the mourning process you face. How then do you know when grief turns a corner? How is it felt or noticed by you or others?

Someone once told me, “I could see that something had changed by the look on her face.”

Your thoughts, feelings, and decisions in the beginning set the stage for your bereavement. How can I cope, what should I do, how do I stop the pain are the most immediate  concerns. But the day to day priorities change, and you can rethink and rework your personal grief process to reflect your needs.

An example may be the option of handling things alone or joining a group. Often people rule out participating in a group or a specific program, wanting to “go it alone”.

There’s a lot of information that can guide you. Make a small change, with the idea that if it doesn’t feel right, you can change back.

Information sources you may want to check out include:-

Internet:  Grief resources, articles, books, programs and chat groups.

Book stores, local groups led by funeral homes, churches, community centers, or in private homes.

As always, check out credentials and formats to see what might suit you best.

My books and articles are posted on my website and are also available at Amazon.com. Click on the “buy from amazon” button, then scroll down to the “visit Amazon”s Judy Strong page”.

I wish you well,

Judy

Where Has All The Comfort Gone?

March 20th, 2015 by judytalks

Time has passed. The Holidays are over, and everyone else’s life seems to go on with all the daily and ordinary things they do. Yours seems to stand still. People you talk to just assume that you feel better, that you are nearly “over it” and your brand new life lies ahead, clear and straight.

What’s wrong with this picture?

Is there a disconnect somewhere?

The answer is yes. The disconnect occurs because comfort comes in rushes at first, everyone wanting to help and console you. The sadness and shock of losing this most necessary person has you in its grip.  You still can’t imagine how life can go on.

Staying connected is difficult during bereavement. Family members are at different stages of mourning. Friends are busy with lives that haven’t been as disrupted as yours. Everyone wants you to feel comforted, but knowing what that takes, long-term- is far from their minds. Ours is a society that moves on.

It is up to you to maintain those close relationships. Stay in touch by phone, email, or in person. When someone invites you to an outing, meeting, or social gathering, go. Whether you feel like it or not isn’t the issue. Being with caring and relaxed people is the beginning of learning to live alone.

Comfort has all kinds of faces and isn’t well-defined. Just getting out there helps you to take a look at the world again and see possibilities. Old friends may bring new friends. New groups, hobbies, or interests develop while you’re testing the waters, surrounded by people you can trust. They are there to support you. Let them.

I wish you well,

Judy

 

A Moving Experience

February 10th, 2014 by judytalks

A few weeks ago, I could look out my patio door and see beautiful, sweet, juicy oranges in abundance on my orange tree. Today I see tall evergreen trees and mounds of snow on the ground and piled on my balcony. A different view; a different part of the country.

I moved to Edina, MN on January 18, 2014. Yes, it’s cold. but the sun is shining, and the sky is a pale shade of blue. I’m adjusting to the changes while planning on buying more sweaters.

Leaving the Valley of the Sun was not without some pain. In eleven years, I made wonderful friends, participated in fun and informative trips all over Arizona and beyond, and devoted time and energy to worthwhile activities. AZ Blankets 4 Kids, the Choraliers, and my Flying Solo group leave memories that warm me from head to toe.

Coming back to the Midwest also has its perks. Family is here. The change of scenery is invigorating, and the city offers possibilities for personal and professional growth I’ve needed.

Plans for this move have been in the making for a couple of years. Thoughts and prayers have been abundant, as I considered how and exactly where I wanted to live. I must say that I’m happy and contented in my little apartment, even though I’ve been a little house bound because of the severe cold. Never mind. I had plenty to keep me busy. At eight o’clock the morning after I arrived, the moving van delivered 52 boxes, 1 plain chair, 2 tables, a card table and chairs, and my bicycle. Unpacking was my main occupation for over a week, and I’m still not completely settled. I did finally get the bicycle out of the dining room and down to the garage. Since I also sold my car before I moved, I’m learning the Metro Transit system, and working my way up to getting on a bus. Who says change is scary? I feel great!

Just Do It
Judy

House For Sale

February 14th, 2013 by judytalks

Ten years ago, I was looking for a life style change and a more financially sustainable environment. I found it in sun-soaked Arizona, a beautiful Southwestern state with a magnificent landscape, and diverse historic areas to be explored. I settled into a retirement community where I had the opportunity to build my own house, an exciting prospect.
During the years I have lived here, I have visited many stunning landscapes, and learned about the people who settled this part of the Southwest. I’ve made friends, learned to quilt, published two books, and become a dedicated writer and facilitator on the subjects closest to my heart – grief and loss. But the grandchildren are in Minnesota. My children are scattered all over the North American continent, including Canada. It’s time for another change.
I listed my house December 1st. Moving is stressful. I spend hours each week downsizing my furnishings and personal belongings. Toss, sell, or donate is what I mutter under my breath throughout the day. I make appropriate repairs and clear the clutter whenever I leave home – just in case.
I’m looking forward to a return to beautiful, though decidedly colder Minnesota. I recently read a survey on the internet that listed Minneapolis as the healthiest city in the nation. I guess subzero temperatures really do kill germs.
Know anyone who wants to spend time in a lovely climate in a fabulous community in Arizona? I have an orange tree in my back yard with fruit that is out of this world. And several cactus that have glorious blooms in the spring. My website has my contact information. Just email me or call.
www.survive-strong.com
Spring is coming.
Judy

Vacations Are For Clarity

August 15th, 2012 by judytalks

My vacation is nearly over and it has been wonderful. But I have to add one more reason to get away for awhile. Vacations are for reflection. Have you noticed how differently you think about things when you’re away from home? A change of scenery and experience and meeting new people is relaxing, and generates a different perspective.

I left on my adventure with ideas in my head about my various grief activities. My personal involvement has grown through group leadership and participation, while my writing has slowed down. My first thought was to reverse that situation. I changed my mind after I encountered people everywhere I visited who had a story to tell about loss.

Face to face sharing and personal response has no equal. The gift of listening is comfort itself, wrapped inside the support of a touch of the hand and a smile. There are incomparabe riches for both parties when you trust someone with your deepest emotions.

So, upon reflecting, I plan to enlarge my group involvement, while keeping up with the writing, also my passion. My heart is telling me to do this.

Happy rest of the summer,

Judy

What’s A Vacation For Anyway?

August 5th, 2012 by judytalks

Why does anyone ever take a vacation? There are several reasons. A short getaway, business/pleasure, sight-seeing, or an extended trip for any purpose all qualify. My vacation this summer has been an extended trip to visit family.
Our family live all over the North American continent. Christmas usually finds us at my house in Arizona. Everyone who can, comes to celebrate and to connect with one another. It’s an important aspect of being “family”. This year, I decided to spend a couple months going to see them where they live. It’s been wonderful, relaxing, busy, and enlightening to be with only one household at a time. I’m always amazed and proud of how my children live their lives. Their ability to achieve, solve problems, and maintain the life style of their choosing is remarkable. More importantly, we’re a family that cares about spending time with one another. I felt welcomed in each household.

A vacation allows one to get away from your homefront and examine your life from another perspective. A vacation is about change, a change in scenery, climate, values, and daily routines. It serves to make room for considering possibilities, new directions, what to let go of, and what to keep.

This vacation is serving that purpose for me. Renewed energy and ideas are motivating me, and directions for my continued commitment to the grieving community are taking shape. I also see some brand new endeavors on the horizon.

I need to take longer vacations more often. How about you?

Judy

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