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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

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

When Bad Things Happen

July 24th, 2012 by judytalks

The recent shootings in Colorado leave everyone reeling and wondering why this happened. In fact, it happens all too often. Suddenly, twelve people are dead, leaving loved ones in shock and grief, with no answers and little understanding of how to mourn.

Comfort when you need it most is offered by those around you, but the healing process takes a long time. Emotions can change in a matter of seconds, and practical problems, such as planning a service and managing daily living, need attention. It’s too confusing, too much to bear, yet we power through and hope for the best.

I applaud those who mourn and extend my deepest sympathy. What friends can do is continue to stay close and, especially, to listen. Mourners need to talk. Help with the practical things, share your own feelings, and give feedback but not advice.

I wish you well.

Judy

Knowledge is Gold

July 8th, 2012 by judytalks

What is your approach to problem-solving? Do you gather information you may need ahead of time, just in case? Do you wait for a snafu and then ask people for advice? Or perhaps the time to deal with a calamity is when it happens and you tear your hair looking for answers.

Most of us come predisposed to follow one or another of these problem-solving methods. Whether or not there’s an ideal way is not the question; how you manage and get through the crisis is what’s important.

Accidents, critical illness and death strike when you least expect it. The devastation it causes to mind, body, and spirit makes gathering information more than difficult. You simply clutch at straws, unable to think straight anymore. That we manage at all is remarkable, but it’s not necessary to heap more distress and anxiety on ourselves.

Knowledge really is gold. Start to accumulate information on the effects of crisis, trauma, illness, and death that ultimately hit all of us. There is an abundance of books and articles on websites, social media, author and grief sites. Store up some gold for yourself to spend when you need comfort and support. And, while you’re at it, encourage those you love to do the same.

Judy

Tragedy and Staying Strong

January 10th, 2011 by judytalks

I last wrote about the violent assassination attempt on a Congresswoman in Tucson, AZ. Though I knew none of the persons who were struck, wounded, or killed, I was deeply affected. The element of feeling secure when out and about – at a supermarket, no less- is shattered in light of this incident. But the larger fact to consider are the extreme emotions felt by individuals who commit these crimes.

To share the genuine grief of those personally involved is simpler than to actually mourn for a loved one.

Those who help grieving people encourage openness and regular expression of their emotions, as a means of receiving comfort and healing. It takes strength to do this. Standing tall, acknowledging their deep pain, and mourning openly will yield healing, and give confidence for moving forward. But is takes time.

I wish us well, those of us who have witnessed tragedy. I especially send love and prayers to those who have experienced personally the loss of a life too dear to them.

Judy

A Sober Look at the Faces of Death

January 9th, 2011 by judytalks

The New Year has begun and my goals and plans are made for new business ventures and writing opportunities. I decided to blog today because I had neglected this enjoyable way of communicating, as busyness crowded my time during the holidays. Christmas, for me, is filled with joy and happiness that comes from the closeness of family and friends.

I signed on to the internet and, there, in bold headlines was the shocking news of a shooting in Tucson, in which a congresswoman had been shot in the head. In all, 18 people were hit, 6 were dead, and the gunman apprehended.

I don’t report news of this kind, as a rule. I tell people of the sadness and despair that follows the death of a loved one, regardless of the circumstances. My concern and expertise are tied to emotional upheaval and the need to put a loved one to rest. Comfort and healing are the necessary ingredients for survivors when a life is lost.

As I listened to the news reports, the tears came and a deep feeling of sadness enveloped me. My childhood was spent in a small town, and at a time, when shootings, street violence, and random killings were not frequent occasions. The people who lost loved ones today will need support and comfort for a long time. Those who were injured may be traumatized for many years.

Regardless of how a death occurs, there are warm, loving, and effective means for helping the bereaved.
Listen.
Affirm their feelings.
Spend time with them, preferably in person, but otherwise, by phone.
Assure them that you care and can be counted on for support.
Plan short activities out and about that are relaxing.

My personal goal for 2011 is to stay strong and give more.
My business goal for 2011 is to learn more and reach more.

Here goes, New Year!
Cheers to everyone.
Judy

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