July 22, 2019
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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

 

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

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

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

Home Front

September 6th, 2012 by judytalks

My excellent adventure ended when I returned home on August 27. I was happy to see that everything was still up and running, though I had been gone for 2 months.

Flying Solo, the group I started in April, had been aptly managed by its members, who continued to meet, and even had a short list of topics to discuss and research. I couldn’t ask for more!

This group is beginning to branch out to other communities and so I’m busy preparing workshops to answer both general and specific questions that single people have about handling pesky situations. The support and information from a group does wonders to help navigate the muddy waters of finding honest repair people to figuring out options for transportation when needed.

Fall is on its way, though it’s still hot here, but I’m always geared up to “go to work” when summer vacation is over. What projects do you have on your to-do list? Let me know.

Best wishes,
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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