October 25, 2020
Text Size
make text smaller make text larger

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

Grief Shared

May 15th, 2015 by judytalks

In the immediate aftermath of grief, friends and family may surround you with comfort and support. Everyone calls, many visit, and you walk the necessary steps through this awfulness that has happened. Cards and phone calls are sent to notify people, services are planned, legal issues are addressed for follow-up, and financial settlements have been discussed. A few weeks have gone by, and now is when most of those people begin to withdraw. There doesn’t seem to be much more for anyone to do, except to stay in touch and wish you well.

It’s at this point that grievers may wonder if sharing their grief with others in mourning would help ease the pain. Everyone’s heard about grief groups. Whereas years ago, they were few and far between, today they abound. They may be held in community centers, churches, offices, or even homes. Some are basically open-ended with a general plan and a facilitator, while others use a printed program that focuses on one specific issue each week. These issues may include emotions, such as fear, sadness, or anger, or they may include practical problems, such as handling the money, finding legal counsel, or getting your car fixed. The question is, “How will this really help me?”.

Looking for an appropriate group can be daunting. At a time when your emotions are unpredictable and you often feel fatigued, checking out numerous groups may seem overwhelming. Here’s where asking for help comes in. People who have been in a group can give you insight as to the format and also the benefits they derived. Plus any drawbacks. The funeral director, clergy, and community centers will probably also have pertinent information about several groups for you to consider.

If you wish to find a group, take a minute to jot down what you hope to gain from your relationship with others who gather regularly to express their loss. Decide what kind of openness and comfort would be acceptable, and what you would not like to experience. Then call the leader and ask questions. The leader should be non-intrusive and should maintain a non-judgmental atmosphere. Ground rules are discussed and agreed upon. Leaders may be psychologists, therapists, facilitators, or grief counselors. Some groups are led by non-professionals and can be very beneficial, but it’s important that confidentiality be enforced and trust understood.

What can you expect in the way of benefits from a grief group?

1.   First of all, you can say anything (within reason) without alarming anyone. Sometimes you can’t do this with friends and family.

2.  You will have a place to go and a specific time to meet on a regular basis. Looking forward to certain things helps to regulate your life.

3. The leader will be a resource person for you if you need to address other issues.

4. You will probably connect with 1 or 2 other people, maybe more, and have friends you can count on after your group work is finished.

5.  A person who has suffered a loss can go to a group anytime. It doesn’t have to be immediate. People have been known to seek a group months or years after losing someone.

It’s said that shared grief helps ease the pain and anguish of losing a loved one. For each person, their grief is unique and is borne individually. You may derive great comfort, learn something beneficial, or simply enjoy not being alone all the time. Give yourself every opportunity to explore the options available.

I wish you well,

Judy

The Changing Face of Grief Recovery

February 28th, 2014 by judytalks

The Changing Face of Grief Recovery
When I was widowed twenty-three years ago, I had a difficult time finding a grief group. The Yellow Pages yielded nothing, friends had no ideas, and the church I attended at the time had none. I finally called the mortuary that had handled my husband’s services, and they told me they had a group that met on the premises. Perhaps they had mentioned it in one of our conversations, but I didn’t remember. I was given the necessary information as to the format – small and led by survivors – the meeting time and the room in the lower level where they gathered. I began attending at the next meeting.
It was small and informal, but yielded good results. Attendance included five to ten persons who sat around a table with a leader and simply shared how the week had gone. You could talk as much as you wished, but needed to take turns at first. Others would respond with general ideas, but didn’t give advice or express negative remarks. Sometimes we cried, sometimes we laughed. The general rule is that each person’s way of mourning is entirely theirs and is respected. Grief groups don’t cancel meetings for holidays; in fact, those are the times most necessary for getting together.
I attended the group every week for six months until I was ready to be on my own. I felt then, and feel today that the group helped me immensely. I only wished there had been a group for teens and children.
Today there are many choices for help with the grieving process. Groups may be small and informal or large, organized, and managed by professionals in the field. There are centers for grieving children, (I facilitated at one for two years), camps, ongoing support groups led by survivors, and workshops that cover many issues.
It makes me more than glad that this most important part of life is being acknowledged and dealt with considerately and efficiently. If you’ve been helped by such a group or facility, pass on the good word.
Judy

Announcing a Free Tips Booklet

November 26th, 2012 by judytalks

A Tips Booklet is a handy reference guide that gives short bits of information on a subject. Recently, I had the pleasure of contributing a page to a valuable Tips Booklet titled SeniorCare Tips to Ease the Journey. This booklet helps you to deal with the wide range of issues involved with SeniorCare.

Important topics include hospital stays, downsizing, moving, family issues, grief, and Medicare to name just a few. Fourteen authors who are experts in their fields have contributed tips and contact information. It is a must for individuals, caregivers, families, and organizations for making important decisions about change and quality of life.

I am offering a free PDF copy of this informative booklet from now, November 26, 2012 through December 31, 2012. Please contact me at jstrongwrites@yahoo.com on the Contact page and put SeniorCare PDF in the subject line. Leave your email address and I will send the booklet. It is 498 KB. Do not use my email address that is listed for presentations.

Please browse my website for other products and offers. See the Books page for signed copies of my books and multiple copies at discount.

Caring for others can be difficult. Help is available for you and your loved ones.

Thank you for visiting my website. I wish you well.

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

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

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

Have You Written Your Will Yet?

July 19th, 2012 by judytalks

When my husband died at the age of 59, he didn’t have a will. Like so many of us, he thought he had pleny of time for end-of-life concerns. I had to go to probate court because we had minor children at home, and, because there was no will, handling all the legal and financial paperwork was a nightmare. Soon after, I had a will made and I began journaling. My journal became my first book, No Time to Grieve A Survivor’s Guide to Loss and Healing.

Death education, end-of-life issues, and “grief talk” is unpleasant to most of us. But getting your affairs in order is a reasonable and considerate thing to do. Funeral directors have told me that the legal and financial paperwork is an overwhelming problem for most families and survivors. The shock and pain of loss is more than enough to handle. When the documents you need are nowhere to be found, it adds stress to already overburdened emotions.

Twenty-one years ago, when I became a widow, resources were scarce for the bereaved. Today there are books, articles, websites, and groups that are dedicated to helping with this difficult time. Those of us who are committed to the grieving community understand and offer comfort and support. Search the web, visit libraries and bookstores, and look up local groups. You and your loved ones have everything to gain from taking care of things – and them – now, so you can relax and feel confident that their mourning period will be devoted to personal and emotional needs, without the headaches of looking for papers.

My best wishes,
Judy

Flying Solo – It’s not for sissies

May 31st, 2012 by judytalks

The local group I started in April, Flying Solo, is growing in numbers and in appreciation for one another. The real joy of this group is that it has taken on a life of its own. Participants come with ideas, solutions, needs, and sometimes humor, sharing all around, and getting better acquainted.
Interest spreads by word of mouth and friendly advertising, despite summer vacations and visits from family. My hope for this group is that it will spread beyond the perimeter of the community and become a connection to places and people we would otherwise never meet.
Have a great summer.

Judy

Touching Base with Survivors

April 12th, 2012 by judytalks

I’ve been privileged recently to connect with some amazing people who have walked through life’s difficulties and come out stronger than ever. I meet them everywhere-my community, my volunteer work with grieving families, and through other acquaintances. Their stories are testaments to the hope and determination that gives new life to shattered individuals.

All of this inspired me to make an effort to do more deliberate connecting. I will be starting a group in my community called Flying Solo next week for anyone wishing to learn more, share more, and simply connect with other hardy souls. There’s comfort and support in groups, so I’m gathering resources and looking forward to the potential for growth.

Everyone has something to share that may help someone else see life from a different angle. Put connecting on your to-do list today and bring some sunshine into your and their day.

Happy April.

Judy

Request a Presentation

Ideal for:

  • Assisted Living Facilities
  • Adult Recreation or Senior Centers
  • Hospital or Hospice Support Groups
  • Funeral Director Associations
  • Corporate Human Resources Depts
  • Social Service Agencies
  • Libraries or Estate Planners

To schedule Judy for a presentation, fill in the short form below so that we can contact you:

Company/Organization:
Name:*
Your Email:*
Your Phone:*
Additional Information:
Contact Preference: