October 27, 2021
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A Moving Experience

February 10th, 2014 by judytalks

A few weeks ago, I could look out my patio door and see beautiful, sweet, juicy oranges in abundance on my orange tree. Today I see tall evergreen trees and mounds of snow on the ground and piled on my balcony. A different view; a different part of the country.

I moved to Edina, MN on January 18, 2014. Yes, it’s cold. but the sun is shining, and the sky is a pale shade of blue. I’m adjusting to the changes while planning on buying more sweaters.

Leaving the Valley of the Sun was not without some pain. In eleven years, I made wonderful friends, participated in fun and informative trips all over Arizona and beyond, and devoted time and energy to worthwhile activities. AZ Blankets 4 Kids, the Choraliers, and my Flying Solo group leave memories that warm me from head to toe.

Coming back to the Midwest also has its perks. Family is here. The change of scenery is invigorating, and the city offers possibilities for personal and professional growth I’ve needed.

Plans for this move have been in the making for a couple of years. Thoughts and prayers have been abundant, as I considered how and exactly where I wanted to live. I must say that I’m happy and contented in my little apartment, even though I’ve been a little house bound because of the severe cold. Never mind. I had plenty to keep me busy. At eight o’clock the morning after I arrived, the moving van delivered 52 boxes, 1 plain chair, 2 tables, a card table and chairs, and my bicycle. Unpacking was my main occupation for over a week, and I’m still not completely settled. I did finally get the bicycle out of the dining room and down to the garage. Since I also sold my car before I moved, I’m learning the Metro Transit system, and working my way up to getting on a bus. Who says change is scary? I feel great!

Just Do It

Count Your Blessings

November 20th, 2012 by judytalks

The turkey is defrosting in the fridge, the house is almost cleaned, and one more trip to the stored should wrap it up. My guests this year are from our Flying Solo group, all missing loved ones and all anticipating sharing a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

This is the beginning of the holiday season, a time when those who have had a disaster, a death, or are far away from loved ones may find it difficult to count their blessings. Perhaps just being alive is all you can name.

It’s been said that traditions keep a society stable and secure. That’s a tall order for a turkey to deliver, but I believe it’s true. Remembering the celebrations from your childhood can give one a sense of belonging and peace. Yours may have been a quiet family that enjoyed the food with little conversation, or it may have been a yearly opportunity to hold noisy conversations. Regardless, connecting with family and friends maintains ties that are hard to break, especially in the wake of tragedy.

There will be many this Thanksgiving who are bereaved and may want to be alone. Invite them anyway, for coffee and dessert, if not a whole meal. Ot call them sometime during the day and just chat. It’s hard to celebrate without that irreplaceable person in your life. You can always invite them for dinner the next day for turkey sandwiches and leftover pie.

Count your blessings, even if it’s only one or two.

Happy Thanksgiving


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,

Comfort When You Need It Most

May 10th, 2011 by judytalks

Mother’s Day was last Sunday, a holiday I used to share with the opening day of fishing when I lived in Minnesota. My late husband was an avid fisherman and, as we had a cabin on a lake, itched to start fishing every year. Whoever declared Opening Day of Fishing to fall on the same day as Mother’s Day is beyond me, but I usually told him to “just go, have fun, and bring home dinner.”

He’s been gone for twenty years, but I still have a hard time thinking of how to celebrate being a mother on the first Saturday in May, so this year we spent the day putting on our solar screens. I live in Arizona now and it seemed like the right time.

Sometimes things just present themselves at an opportune time and it seems wise to go along with it. My last post mentioned my endeavor to maintain balance in my work and my life. It’s slowly taking shape and I’m relaxing with a more focused view and more realistic approach to what is truly meaningful and how to best help others with their grief and loss needs.

I discovered a good website for posting short papers (and other writings) and have begun a series of papers that address the troublesome aspects of loss and healing. If you are in need today, or know someone who is, please check out my first paper on www.scribd.com and look for The Deep Impact of Loss. It’s a simple, clear guide, written from experience.

I wish you well.


Summertime Means Vacation.

July 8th, 2010 by judytalks

The 4th of July always means that summer is half over. Usually I’m just getting into the swing of things, and it’s no different this year. My plans have changed 4 or 5 times since late winter when we decided to spend 3 months in MN. visiting family, doing some book business, and just seeing the wonderful sights, indoors and out, in beautiful Minnesota.
I’ll be flying to MN on July 27th while my husband stays here to hold down the fort. My plans for book talks about A Child’s Grief are being finalized, with some open spots for contacts with interested groups. Most importantly, I’ll be catching up with family, people I only see a few times a year – not nearly enough.
Years ago, families took one 2-week vacation a year, went someplace interesting, usually by car, and brought home rolls and rolls of pictures. Family events were often frequent throughout the year because they stayed close to home after growing up. And even though flying today takes far less time and probably costs less than driving, we simply don’t make it a point to spend time with folks – family or friends – who really matter to us. I’m determined to change that in my life. I’m going to vacate my premises several times throughout the year, hassle through security, pack light and pop in regularly.
Real hugs are good for the soul.
Happy rest of the summer.

Is it time to ornament the tree?

December 2nd, 2009 by judytalks

 I keep my Christmas tree assembled and covered with a sheet all year, alongside the 4 large boxes that hold the rest of the Christmas stuff. My assortment includes items I’ve made myself, gifts from others, and a box of ornaments, many of them made by my children when they were small. All of them are put on the tree every year, where guests and family alike can ooh and aah or just wonder “what in the world is that?” We have ice skates made with paper clips, reindeer fashioned from clothespins – you get the idea. There also are beautiful glass balls, feathery birds, and the whole array of images that grace a tree. The act of decorating my tree each year is the beginning of the Christmas celebration. My memory bank brings to mind the giver or maker of the ornament, its age, if it has suffered any calamities – a little Elmer’s Glue- and how many years I’ve been decorating a home for the Holidays.

Many years ago, I took my youngest son, then about 8, upstairs to the closet where my boxes were kept and said, “Guess what we’re going to do?” Of course, he knew what time of year it was and said, “Is it time to ornament the tree?” I’ve thought of it that way ever since.

When I lived in Minnesota, I appreciated snow on the tree branches and a nip in the air. Now that I live in sunny Arizona, I still keep up all my traditions and have resisted the temptation to decorate a cactus, as some here do.

Fun and festivities are for everyone, but they are especially magical for children. The wonder of stories, sparkly stars and brightly decorated trees light up their lives and make troubles disappear.

That’s true for grownups too. Psychology tells us that when people have something to look forward to, it eases the burden of loss, sadness, calamity, or just a really down day. So keep your cherished keepsakes close at hand. It doesn’t have to be Christmas to ornament your tree.

Here’s to angels with string hair.


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.


Back to the frozen North

December 22nd, 2008 by judytalks

I moved from Minneapolis, MN. to Mesa AZ. in Oct. 2002. For 6 Christmases, I entertained family members who loved coming to the Valley of the Sun to swim, sightsee in summer clothes or light jackets and not have to shovel snow to get out of the driveway.
This year we flew to the Twin Cities for the Holidays. We were warned that we might be flying into a blizzard, or an ice storm, it would be impossible to land, we’d be stuck in the middle of nowhere, and other interesting possibilities. The trip was uneventful and we landed just fine. But in 6 years, you forget the biting cold, the wind that sucks the breath out of you, and the leg and arm shaking movements you once did automatically to ward off the cold.
Weather conditions are a small matter compared to the fun and excitement of spending Christmas with family in their homes. Grandchildren are relaxed and love to show you their rooms, toys, books, and hamsters. Moms cook best in their own kitchens, and grandparents shine when they can sit comfortably in the living room with kids, cats, dogs, cookies, and storybooks on their laps.
The Holidays are a time for memories – good and bad. Remembering with others who share the same joys and sorrows with you help eneryone stay connected.
Even though I haven’t acclimated to the cold and wind, I wouldn’t miss this Christmas for the world.
Stay warm and well.

Grief and the Holidays

December 17th, 2008 by judytalks

The Holidays are approaching and your best friend is in mourning. Or perhaps you are. No amount of comfort seems adequate, and the very idea of celebrating is diminished by the sense of sadness over your loss.
How can you help yourself, or someone else?
Staying close, listening, and choosing the traditions that mean the most are a good beginning.
I lost my husband nearly 18 years ago. He went into the hospital the Friday after Thanksgiving and died January 8, 1991. Those five and a half weeks were filled with crises that left him paralyzed and brain damaged. When he died, my family and I were mentally and emotionally devastated.
The sadness of loss never goes away. We don’t “get over it”. We come to terms with it. Today we remember and continue to celebrate those things we hold dear, and remember loved ones who are gone.
Let family and friends comfort and include you. Know that you won’t feel like being joyous, but traditions can bring solace and a sense of continuity to our lives.
I write about grief, loss, and healing because they touch every life. Take heart and surround yourself with those who love and care about you.
I wish you well. Judy

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