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More Tips – Being Consistent

June 26th, 2013 by judytalks

Kids live in the moment.They hardly ever think about tomorrow. That’s why parents learn to never tell kids about an upcoming summer vacation in March. They’ll ask every single day if it’s summer yet. Even as kids get older, they focus mostly on what’s happening right now, something we should learn to do.

 

Helping a child through mourning means spending time together, talking, going places they enjoy, and putting tangible memories in a treasure chest for safe keeping. Setting aside time to spend with a child is a promise to honor. The child will look forward to that day and time, will prepare, and eagerly await for your arrival. This helps the child to begin to move forward and build a new relationship and add new activities to a life that has seemed to stand still. Whether these “dates” are every week, or every other day, consistency is paramount. To disappoint a child is grievous to both. If you have to re-schedule, do so as soon as possible, and chat a little when you call.

 

Children await guidance and direction from us, the adults they trust to help them to learn and grow. They listen and they model after what they observe. If we’re too casual about our promises, they’ll feel abandoned and devalued. Especially at a time when  grief and loss accompany them all day, everyday, they’ll cherish the times you set aside just for them. And you’ll reap rewards galore, because you will become one of their heroes.

 

Enjoy,

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

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

Grief Support A Critical Need

February 19th, 2011 by judytalks

Saturday I completed a training program to become a grief facilitator at an excellent center for grieving children. All family members are included and program activties are specific for each age level, including adults. The center is for support, not therapy, and allows as many weeks/months as each family feels they need.

There are more centers, more grief groups, more books, and more programs today than were available ten or fifteen years ago. However, the grieving community remains a hugely underserved demographic in our society. Somehow, we fail to realize the fact of loss, which may include death, divorce, desertion, loss of homes, jobs, and financial security.

I write continually about this subject in books, articles, and my blog. My goal is to educate and inspire, and also to give practical information for dealing with the aspects of loss and bereavement.

The statistics surrounding incomplete healing from loss boggle the mind.

Physical illness
Mental illness
Addiction to drugs and/or alcohol
Incarceration
Abuse
Inability to form healthy relationships
Inability to hold a job
The devastation to individuals, families, and society in general is enormous.

Finding information to become more aware and to learn basic skills in helping yourself or others may take a bit of research. If your community education program doesn’t include grief and recovery, ask for such a class. Senior centers, retirement communities, faith based facilities, and libraries all have ideal locations and space for such programs. Ask for them.

I’m a firm believer that death education should come before-not after- the fact. Death knocks on every door. Each person, every family needs and deserves simple understanding and preparation in the event of a tragedy. It’s a starting point, certainly not complete, but is foundational to healthier mourning and a sense of healing.

As always, I wish you well.
Judy

Lifelong Learning

January 25th, 2011 by judytalks

I am experiencing a very busy week as a participant in an intensive learning program to become a grief facilitator.

The classes have been highly informative, yet relaxed and enjoyable. The anticipated opportunity to work with children and families in a supportive capacity as they grieve fills me with a little apprehension and lots of wonder.

My family experienced loss and mourning twenty years ago this month. There was far less available in the way of help and support. Today, individuals and families may receive the comfort and support they need to truly grieve and to heal.

Meanwhile, I continue to write and look for places to educate. Drop me a line on my website.

Have a wonderful day,

Judy

Opportunity to Connect

January 18th, 2011 by judytalks

I’m always looking for ways to connect with people of all and any ages to share grief experiences. A few months ago I discovered a wonderful opportunity to work with children who are mourning the death of a loved one.

New Song Center for Grieving Children offers a training program to become a grief facilitator, and I will begin training this Saturday. I am eagerly anticipating this new venture in my life. Working with young children has been a source of great joy for me, as a preschool teacher and as a volunteer in a variety of organizations. I am looking forward to this opportunity to again connect with youngsters.

The subject of grief is ongoing in our society. Though the immediate impact of the violence in Tucson has begun to subside, the pain, grief, and adjustment have just begun. No one is ever the same after such trauma. We can learn how to help one another, whether friend, family or stranger.

Listen, really listen when someone expresses feelings or ideas.
Comfort by acknowledging their situation.
Support by helping with simple, everyday things.

Follow my new venture with New Song. I’ll post often.

I wish you well.
Judy

Exposure – Is This Going To Hurt?

October 18th, 2010 by judytalks

Putting yourself out there just smacks of risk, pain, and embarrassment. It takes a thick skin to tell people who you are, what you care about, and why they should trust you.
As a survivor, writer, and teacher on subjects of grief and loss, I understand the vulnerability of those in the mourning process. I need to lead gently, but to elicit a response , I also need to persuade. Without a response, no one benefits.
In looking at the websites and magazine copy of those doing similar work as mine, I’m happy to see a variety of backgrounds and intentions, as well as many areas of loss being covered. These include trauma, early grief, understanding loss, moving forward, and healing. When I lost my husband 20 years ago, there was far less available. That’s what prompted my writing on the subject.
Today, there are workshops, articles, books, grief groups, and camps for children. What could be better than offering resources for everyone experiencing sorrow, and that includes all of us.
I’m putting myself out there to connect with the grieving community, prioritizing their need for comfort and support. In doing so, I intend to impart a sense of hope, the beginning of healing and growth.

Be well,
Judy

Back to Business on Children's Grief

September 14th, 2010 by judytalks

I never take a complete vacation from my work with grief, loss and recovery. However, summer is a time for family and relaxation. Summer is over, and my attention again turns to research studies on these important topics. I frequently use the online library resources because there is access to papers, studies, and documents not found in the physical library.
My most recent research turned up information concerning the sense of isolation children feel following the death of a parent. In a paper by Ribbons McCarthy 2006 the fact of isolation within family relationships was cited. Often, the surviving parent is unable to support their children because of their own grief.
A solution to this problem lies in our understanding as a society of what we can do to give genuine comfort while those in mourning deal with their situation. It takes a little time and a commitment to someone’s wellbeing, but the long term benefits are enormous. Happy, healthy children and stable, secure adults is a logical goal for an intelligent society. We can learn better methods for helping each other through one of life’s inevitable occurrences.
Judy

Vacation Time

July 26th, 2010 by judytalks

Tomorrow begins my much anticipated vacation in the Twin Cities where I’ll visit with family and talk with people about A Child’s Grief. I especially like to talk with people who work directly with children, as they seem to understand the need for better ways to help with loss issues.
My work in this area is beginning to bear fruit, I’m connecting with people who need information, and starting to develop products that teach healing and moving forward.
Enjoy the rest of your summer, and stay cool.
Judy

The Wonder Years

June 24th, 2010 by judytalks

I loved that show. I loved the characters and I appreciated the authenticity of its stories. Showing children the way they really are is a challenge, because its so easy to exaggerate.
When I taught preschool, I was continually amazed at the imaginations and adaptability of small children. They learn through all their senses, often simultaneously, exploring the world, their world, in order to live in it, not conquer it.
The one leveler in a child’s life is loss. A youngster simply can’t imagine something they love or need being gone. It’s an assault on their whole being. When it’s a parent, or anyone they love, the crying need – demand really- for answers is critical. Why and how the world works is their primary task and joy and it’s run amuck.
When there aren’t answers, or none that satisfy, the only consolation is consistent connecting and comfort that goes beyond mere “I’m sorry”. Restoring a positive world view will take time and effort. The child has an abundance of time and the adults around her must give an abundance of effort. True healing won’t take place until their world is again safe. Children who don’t completely heal may spend a lifetime trying to “make things right”.
If you know a bereaved child, simply connect. Friendly, interested, warm is more than sufficient. It gives their gray world view a bit of color – the color of love.

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