October 27, 2021
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Losing Your Independence

March 30th, 2020 by judytalks

The world wide pandemic that hit our planet has threatened our very lives, and sent us into confinement. Our health,  jobs and social life have been thrown into chaos, and it’s hard to determine, from day to day, which is worse:  What we know or what we don’t know. We know leaders everywhere are struggling to cope with it, and citizens are trying to adapt to new rules about staying home indefinitely.  We also know there is an abundance of information that can change in a matter of hours.

What Is Happening?

What do we call the situation we’re in?  We’re experiencing a deep and confusing sense of loss. When you lose something you love or need for your well being, you suffer that loss. Combined with fear and anxiety, our emotions are taking a beating.

Those initial feelings are compounded with incessant questions about our preparedness for dealing with this monster.

How is it spread? What are the symptoms? Have I touched something that’s contaminated? Did I wash my hands long enough?

What exactly have we lost? Essentially we’ve lost that sense of independence, of feeling secure wherever we go and who we’re with. Routine, everyday habits, social gatherings, and job-related issues for those who work away from home, are now jeopardized or completely gone.

The immediate effects of loss are uncertainty and confusion. Whatever was in place in our daily lives has been wiped out. It’s like going down a long, narrow flight of stairs without a railing. If it’s also dark and you’re carrying something, it’s even more distressing.

You can no longer take things for granted. Those positive, dependable measures are no longer in place. Though “home” may be your favorite place in the world, being confined 24/7 for an indefinite time creates a brand new situation.

Trying to re-adjust and manage under the circumstances becomes difficult and usually annoying. Add to that, there’s a sense of  abandonment, and you begin to feel angry. Everything was going well, your routine was in place, and you felt secure.

What Can We Do?

I know how important it is to take charge of your life when you’ve been dealt a crushing blow. I’m a grief facilitator, writer and survivor. One of the most difficult tasks, when you are in a state of grief or loss, is to be assertive, and take back your  life. Putting the ball in your court is necessary and effective. Doing it is another matter. It requires making a complete turnaround from wondering what’s going on, to deciding what is actually happening in YOUR life, not the entire world’s.

What’s Happening In My World

I am in Calgary, Alberta, Canada with my daughter and son-in-law. Through I have lived in Arizona most of the last 18 years, I came here from Texas. Eventually, I’ll be returning to Arizona. Right n0w, the three of us are staying put as much as possible. Daughter Jennifer is a substitute teacher. Her job stopped when the schools closed. Son-in-law Jim brought work and supplies home yesterday, and he’ll be home bound until further notice. I’ve been here since December 17, 2019, when I came for Christmas and was invited to “stay as long as you like”. I may be here for quite awhile.

Though we’re aware that the numbers keep going up for those infected and at home, those hospitalized and for fatalities, we are relatively safe. Our job is to avoid contact, shop prudently and wash hands, wash hands, wash hands. We also are disinfecting anything that comes into the house – newspapers, grocery bags, boxes, shoes – ANYTHING.

It’s critical now that all of us find ways to stay optimistic and focused. Take an online class (Jennifer is learning French), do home maintenance or repairs that you can manage, stay in touch with friends and loved ones through apps or face time, and read some good books. And while you’re at it, project over the next few weeks and months what you’ll do when this is slowing down and it’s safe to venture out. Now that we know what it’s like to be really cooped up, plan a way to celebrate freedom. Losing your independence is beyond a learning experience; it can be a motivating factor to cherish the times when you’re in control of your life.

What Are You Doing?

Sharing stories is a great way to connect. It’s also a way for offering ideas and solutions to problems you’ve solved.

Have an interesting incident you’d like to share? Got a funny story? An innovative way to stay sane? Please feel free to leave comments, ask questions or share a story.

Thank you for reading my blog.


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?


A Time to Tweak

June 29th, 2011 by judytalks

Awhile ago I wrote about developing a marketing plan for my latest book. (see The Year of Magical Planning). For the most part, that plan has given me opportunities for reaching the grieving community with comfort and support. Recently, though, I’ve tweaked it to give myself larger chunks of time for covering the ongoing aspects of bereavement. Mourning doesn’t start and stop at fixed points. The papers I’m writing are posted on www.scribd.com under judywriting and will be continued in a series. These papers help you to manage the difficulties of grief, while taking care of your inner self. Many thanks to you who have already checked them out.

Taking joy in your work has to allow times for tweaking. A fresh approach, a new idea, or a newly discovered avenue for reaching your audience renews your spirit and keeps you on your toes.

Please visit my website, www. survive-strong.com for resources that offer you comfort and hope. I wish you well.


A Jog in the Road

June 10th, 2011 by judytalks

I’m slow to change and not a big risk taker. My habit is to take an idea through a rigorous test run of study, research, thought, and discussion with friends and family before embarking on projects. I used this strategy to forage into the world of epublishing. Not long after the publication of my first book, I submitted an article to EzineArticles to see what would happen. I wanted to present information on my subjects – grief and loss- in smaller, more focused pieces. I continued to write articles, submitting also to Article_Niche, but did so very gradually. Occasionally, I would check the stats to see how I was doing. Awhile ago I realized that I was getting a lot of hits.

Two things, in particular, struck me: People are looking for information on these subjects in greater numbers than I thought, and I could reach people with just what they needed to know in a short, concise article.

I have seen the jog in the road, and decided to take it. Whereas I intended to devote most of my time to writing books and publishing with my excellent publisher, I have begun to split that time to include larger chunks for writing articles and short papers that deliver answers and content that meet specific, immediate needs.

I discovered Scribd through a handout at a Book Fair and have posted two free pieces. I also plan to give Kindle a good look. Sometimes the jog in the road turns out to have remarkable potential.

Happy weekend.

Reaching Your Audience Writing and Speaking

October 30th, 2010 by judytalks

Writers are told to show, don’t tell when developing plot in a fictional piece. The same rule applies to non-fiction writing. My books and articles on grief, loss, and healing are filled with real-life experiences, including my own. I interview people who have survived the death of a loved one, researched studies that include many such instances, and talk with professionals about the general aspects of bereavement.
I love the writing process. Knowing someone can read and re-read my words of comfort, support, and practical information defines my purpose. But the most personal way to connect is in live talks, face to face, book in hand, and sharing what I know with those in need.
The subject of grief is scary and unpleasant to many people. But the fact of loss and pain is very real. The more we know going in, the better we hopefully will come out at the end of our mourning process.
As I begin to strike out and connect with people “live and in person” I plan to make these subjects palatable, relaxed, and filled with positive resources for my audience. Managing pain and moving forward doesn’t mean leaving your loved one behind; it means putting that person to rest so you can sustain a purposeful life. Survivors help others to heal and to grow.

I wish you well,

What did you do on your summer vacation?

June 12th, 2010 by judytalks

So far, mine has been quite busy. Juggling and organizing travel and events for work and play makes me think I should just stay home. But how boring…

A short trip for a graduation I wouldn’t miss, an anticipated time with family in the midwest, opportunities for connecting with book stores and groups that work with grief and/or kids are all must items.

I’m lucky to be able to enjoy all this variety. It’s cool today in AZ., we’re going to a play this evening, and everyone’s well. Hope you are too.


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.


Here come the Holidays!

November 13th, 2009 by judytalks

My favorite time of year is approaching. Holiday time means family time. It’s busy, noisy, and thoroughly satisfying. Since my children were small, I start early with baking, decorating and making homemade gifts and ornaments. Some things changed as my family grew and moved away, grandchildren have been added, and my energy level peaked and began to wane years ago. But I still get excited when I take the boxes of treasured holiday items out and begin the celebration.  It’s more than just dried arrangements and colored gourds for Thanksgiving or ornaments and candles for Christmas. It’s memories. The real treasures of life. Dinners with the extended family, Christmas with a sick baby when we just stayed home, handmade quilted ornaments being batted around the room by the cat – our pets had good taste.

My grown kids are already making plans to come to AZ for Christmas. My place isn’t large, but they bunk all over the house. Staying elsewhere is out of the question. They like being together. We talk about the Christmas when their dad was ill and then we move on to other stuff. We all grocery shop, cook, clean up, sight-see and sprawl on the living room floor and watch movies. I also put up a tree. It’s artificial now, but many of the ornaments were made by them when they were very young.

Since I have a book coming out in early Jan., I have a busy time ahead of me. I thrive on “busy” but savor the down times when I can relax and enjoy family time. It’s more than tradition; it’s therapeutic.  Stay connected. It’s good medicine.


Twas the Week Before Christmas

December 19th, 2008 by judytalks

I have friends who finish all their shopping by Thanksgiving, write cards, plan menus and parties early in December and seem to sail through the Holidays.
I’m not one of those people. Last minute rushes seem more “festive” to me. We’re leaving tomorrow for Minnesota amidst forecasts of blizzards and very cold weather.
I’ve talked recently about grief and the Holidays and want to touch base on that subject. Anyone who has faced celebrations following the loss of a loved one knows how painful and difficult it is. Seek solace and comfort from friends and family members,s even if they don’t understand and say the wrong things. they truly care about you. Please make a point to celebrate at least one tradition that brings you joy and a sense of continuity in your life.
The wonder of Christmas belongs to wide-eyed children who refuse to believe that reindeer can’t fly. Science tells us that bumblebees can’t either. I leave it up to you!
While in the Twin Cities, I will meet with my editor to discuss the manuscript for my next book. The subject is about how the death of a parent affects children, and I’m anxious to get it polished and out to the public. We don’t deal well in our society with the reality of loss. As an educator, I hope to make some changes in our thinking.
Try to spend time this season with kids. They really know how to celebrate.
I wish everyone a joyous Holiday.

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