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From Deepest Pain to Gratitude

April 22nd, 2015 by judytalks

The shock of immediate loss brings deep, relentless pain for which there is no solace. The comfort and support of friends and family gives only temporary relief, and then the sharp pangs of loss and sadness begin all over.

In the beginning, it’s impossible to even imagine that one day there will be a sliver of gratitude in this awfulness. For what could you possibly be grateful?

Healing begins in both the heart and the mind. The idea of being without that necessary person is unthinkable. The outpouring of love and devotion from one heart to another stops for lack of a destination.

You are alone, overwhelmed with the knowledge that someone you love is physically gone, and yet seems so very present in your life. How do you hold on to that comforting sense of presence, when your mind assures you that it simply isn’t true?

A quiet time each day allows you to remember all the emotions, each important event, the everyday conversations, and the unspoken bond that ties you together. Writing down whatever you wish – memories, feelings, future plans, and special times that only you two shared – becomes the foundation of gratitude.

Each part became a measure of support in your life together, and the sum total of all parts is the whole relationship you created. This can’t be destroyed. It remains a part of who you are. For this, you can be grateful.

Have a quiet time every day. Structure it any way you like. Remember to include one thoughtful and heart-warming gratitude for who you are because of that incredible person, whose face you can see and whose laughter you can hear.

You’ll know you are healing when the pain begins to subside and you can smile when you think of your loved one.

I wish you well,

Judy

Grief Lasts a Lifetime

August 18th, 2014 by judytalks

Understanding the critical aspects is essential for healing and moving forward. You do not get over grief, you come to terms with it. I want to share with you some meaningful tips that will help you as you learn to turn sorrow into gratitude. These heartfelt tips will address critical aspects of grief events and lay out a logical process for moving forward.

Todays tip:  Acknowledge the deep sadness and fatigue you may be feeling.

Your mind and body can’t handle all that is happening to you. Find a quiet place to gently breathe life back into your soul.

These tips will be posted regularly to give you insight and clarity for the period of bereavement. A quiet time each day helps with focusing on the difficult task of mourning. Your grief is about you, not just the loved one you have lost.

Let me know how things are going. I encourage comments, questions, and just touching base. 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

 

Count Your Blessings

November 20th, 2012 by judytalks

The turkey is defrosting in the fridge, the house is almost cleaned, and one more trip to the stored should wrap it up. My guests this year are from our Flying Solo group, all missing loved ones and all anticipating sharing a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

This is the beginning of the holiday season, a time when those who have had a disaster, a death, or are far away from loved ones may find it difficult to count their blessings. Perhaps just being alive is all you can name.

It’s been said that traditions keep a society stable and secure. That’s a tall order for a turkey to deliver, but I believe it’s true. Remembering the celebrations from your childhood can give one a sense of belonging and peace. Yours may have been a quiet family that enjoyed the food with little conversation, or it may have been a yearly opportunity to hold noisy conversations. Regardless, connecting with family and friends maintains ties that are hard to break, especially in the wake of tragedy.

There will be many this Thanksgiving who are bereaved and may want to be alone. Invite them anyway, for coffee and dessert, if not a whole meal. Ot call them sometime during the day and just chat. It’s hard to celebrate without that irreplaceable person in your life. You can always invite them for dinner the next day for turkey sandwiches and leftover pie.

Count your blessings, even if it’s only one or two.

Happy Thanksgiving

Judy

Families and In-Laws

June 27th, 2012 by judytalks

Robert Frost once said “Home is the place where, when you need to go there, they have to take you in”. Families can be a port in a storm or the last people you’d contact in a pinch. In-laws fit into this picture because they become part of the extended family.
Flying Solo, my Wednesday group that meets to share information and support, spent the last meeting discussing this very topic – families and in-laws. The range of ideas and opinions was large, with some memories that brought tears, and others that evoked anger and resentment.
Have you ever had a serious squabble with a family member or in-law? What were the points of view, and who took sides? How was it resolved, and did anyone win? Arguments can split family members, sometimes for years. This often happens when there’s a death in the family.
Comforting one another following a death is difficult. Everyone is grieving, and energy levels are low. When someone dies, each one grieves the person they lost, and though they may be related by blood or marriage, each loss is personal and individual. We miss who that persn was to us, and so we comfort on that basis. But a surviving spouse has different needs than a child, sibling, best friend, or co-worker.
Why do people do unkind and unjust things to one another? Often, the ego wins out over loyalty, fairness, and devotion. Lifelong hurts, painful memories, and notions of favoritism lie buried beneath the surface, ready to erupt when defenses are down. A death changes the whole family dynamic and threatens the security of “us”. Overlooking past debts, stepping aside for another to move ahead, or offering the last smidgen of dessert to the “baby” of the family no longer seems relevant. “I have to think of myself, my family, and my rights” becomes the mode of operation, and that comfort zone of knowing “they have to take you in” is diminished.
Practicing the concept of letting go can ease a hurtful situation. This approach is advised by both pratical and intuitive persons who have seen and perhaps experienced the ravages of painful resentment. It doesn’t condone and it doesn’t erase debt, but it does allow you to see everyone for who they really are, including yourself. We’re all in debt to someone, we can all give thanks. Try letting it go and breathe a sigh of relief.
Kindest regards,
Judy

Closure – Mixed Emotions

June 15th, 2012 by judytalks

What feelings do you have when something meaningful in your life comes to a close? Do you ever feel that there is a permanent end to an event or phase of your life? I contemplated this thought as we finished this season at the grieving center where I am a facilitator. Those families that close their participation will probably never completely be “finished” with their grief. And the families returning will use this break to enjoy summer vacations, but thoughts of their loved ones will still be present.

What is it that we want or expect from “closure”? Answers to questions may never come. Relief from pain is never complete. The ideal answer seems to be that we can put some things in life to rest , so we may rest. Saying goodbye allows you to start saying hello to the new ideas, possibilities, and people you encounter. It’s hard to move forward when you’re dragging a huge sack of rocks behind you.

We have a closing ceremony for those leaving, to acknowledge the work they’ve done and the healing that has taken place. Why not devise you own small ceremony for those hard to let go of things? Sound silly? If it’s crowding out room for new beginnings, give it a proper send-off and express gratitude that it’s done. Living in the moment is the attitude of choice for many. I’m trying to make it mine consistently.

Wishing you the best,
Judy

Keeping Your Balance

April 25th, 2011 by judytalks

What a year this is proving to be! I’ve been busy since Jan. 1, sorting out writing projects, enjoying book fairs and awards (mine and fellow authors), and riding the roller coaster that is creative writing and publishing.

Balancing the inner self when all around you is whirling is a lifelong task. You probably have your favorite ways to calm the storm and I have mine. Quiet reading, a long walk, yoga, and enjoying friends and family top my list.

I’ve added a couple of very effective ways to keep my inner self relaxed, which, in turn, keeps me more focused and efficient.

Trying to control the universe just wasn’t working so I gave it up. The higher power I call God can do the job better, so I quit. It’s harder than I thought it would be.

Expressing gratitude has become a mainstay on my daily to-do list. Feeling grateful and expressing it are not the same. Saying it, writing it, extending yourself are ways to give back for gifts received. And they help maintain balance. As I count my blessings, I can only say Thank You to everyone who has supported me, listened to me, put up with me, and given encouragement. Here’s to both feet planted firmly on the ground.

Judy

The Creative Spark

March 31st, 2011 by judytalks

I recently had the privilege of speaking to a wonderful group of Girl Scouts who were getting their Writing Badge. Ranging in age from kindergarten to 4th grade, (the youngest were there for the experience), each girl had completed several writing exercises.

We talked about a variety of topics dealing with writing, including genres, author habits, and the benefits of just keeping a journal. All in all, I enjoyed the experience and learned much from them. They like to express themselves and they appreciate a chance to share ideas.

Whenever I have been encouraged, I work harder and devote more time and energy to the project. Support can make the difference between continuing or giving up.

I’ve said before that I love being around children; they’re honest, enthusiastic, and imaginative. However, adults also need to be encouraged. The creative spark can be applied to writing, music, art, sports, and to the task of creative problem solving. LIfe’s ups and downs require sweat and tears. Would that we will always get that extra push when we need it.

Judy

The Year of Magical Planning

March 12th, 2011 by judytalks

A Child’s Grief was published in January, 2010. Even before the manuscript was edited, I began putting together a marketing plan that would inform and encourage grievers and those who help them to become educated about death, grief and loss.

To date, I have reached many, many people. Groups, organizations, in-person discussions, and online social networking has spread the notion that death education doesn’t have to come after the fact in our society. We can learn how to help ourselves and others.

I am gratified to see more openness on this subject, more willingness to talk and listen, more groups and centers that address all the aspects of recovery and healing.

My recent 1st place book award from Reader Views 2010 Book Award contest has given me pleasure and encouragement that I am living my passion. Keeping you informed about bereavement is my heart’s desire, motivated first because I am a survivor, then, as an educator and writer. My most recent endeavor, to become a grief facilitator for grieving children and families strengthens my resolve to forge ahead.

Please avail yourself of the resources on these personal and important subjects on my website, www.survive-strong.com. When trauma strikes, the more you know before hand, the better you will emerge from the awfulness that is mourning. I wish you well.

Judy

Priorities

January 13th, 2009 by judytalks

A large part of my life is about writing, books, and communicating. My second book came back from my editor with very helpful suggestions for improving the overall quality of my work.
I write on the subject of grief, loss, and the courage to grow. The Holidays are difficult for those who are grieving, but the New Year can bring a fresh outlook and some wonderful tools for moving forward at your own pace. The key is for you to take charge.
The comfort of friends and family often eases the pain of loss this time of year. As I talk with people, I have learned that, though it’s difficult to celebrate, the warmth of traditions and special remembrances gives the spirit a lift.
Whatever you resolve to do or change this New Year, remember to follow your heart and look inside yourself for your own wisdom and truth.

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