February 26, 2021
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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

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

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

Be My Valentine

February 14th, 2010 by judytalks

Valentine’s Day is when you tell those you love how much they mean to you. Cards, flowers, candy, dinners, special gifts, and quiet times together speak from one heart to another. My favorite valentine gift would be a large potted pink azalea that would last for months. But the best valentine ever is the one expressed on any given day that says I love you just the way you are. This is a valentine everyone needs to hear, especially children.
My book, A Child’s Grief, came out in January, so I have children on my mind as I work out a plan to communicate the importance of helping grieving children who suffer loss. Their need for comfort and security is boundless. Daily verbal valentines and kind gestures do wonders on their path to healing.

The rest of my day will be spent with my valentine. I wish you a happy day.

Judy

The Midwest Connection

September 14th, 2009 by judytalks

A four-day road trip is more tiring than I remembered, but we made it in one piece. Our accomodations are comfortable, weather considerably cooler than AZ and family is nearby.
I will be working with my publisher and publicity group to get out the word that my book, A Child’s Grief Surviving the Death of a Parent, is coming soon! Comforting others through loss and adversity is difficult and sad. With some knowledge and inormation, we can ease the pain of healing, and help those in mourning toward new life.
Plans are in the making for visits and outings with family while we’re here. Grandchildren manage to grow even while we’re away, and time spent together enriches all around. There’s much to see and do in the Twin Cities, indoors and out. Lakes, parks, science museums, art galleries, and big back yards for sitting and playing.
Leaves are starting to turn-something I’ve missed since moving to AZ. Have a great fall season wherever you are.
Please check out my website, www.judystrong.com for news about my book and other ideas for Living By Design.
Judy

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