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Grief What does money have to do with it?

April 26th, 2014 by judytalks

The grief that engulfs a survivor pushes all thought of practical issues away. Nothing matters but the loss of the loved one. It’s unthinkable that one has to handle the budget, pay the bills, and buy the groceries. But unless one has no responsibilities in the practical side of everyday life, those issues have to be faced.

It isn’t fair that time and energy must be siphoned off from the important task of mourning. The grief process takes every ounce of energy you can muster. And when you just can’t think straight anymore, focusing on your cash flow and wondering how far the insurance will go seems trivial. But those who have lost someone can attest to the fact that money problems become apparent, sooner rather than later.

I have spoken with widows who thought there would be security “if anything happened”. Men have a habit of saying, “If anything happens to me, you’ll be fine.” Unfortunately, that usually isn’t true. When there are minor children involved, it can become especially frightening. Unless you know where the paperwork is, and what the circumstances are, you may find yourself making critical, but hasty decisions without knowing all your options.

In my own situation, I found myself scrambling to put my affairs in order. Because my husband didn’t have a will, and I had minor children at home, I had to go to probate court. I had no idea what resources were available, and the financial world, though helpful, has its own set of rules and methods for handling death benefits.

I began to write about grief a few years after my husband died. Along with the emotional and personal aspects of loss and bereavement, I also addressed the practical issues. I believed that if these were problems to me, they probably were to many others in the same circumstances. Knowing the simple facts of your situation can give you peace of mind, and also a sense of security that you need, whether you are alone or have children to care for.

My first book, No Time to Grieve A Survivor’s Guide to Loss and Healing, has chapters that explain the financial and legal issues you may face. Resource pages give you added information to guide your decision-making, as you move through the mourning process and gain your sense of independence. Two e-books on these subjects may be found on Kindle E-books. Getting Your Affairs In Order is a short outline that explains the procedure you may take before something happens, or after. It’s Your Money Take Charge of It is longer and clarifies some basic ideas about money and how to handle it wisely.

My books are found on my website, www.survive-strong.com.  The paperback books and the e-books can be accessed on my Amazon author’s page, www.amazon.com/author/judystrong along with my biography. Best of all, the paperback books, No time to Grieve and A Child’s Grief are often on sale. Understanding what you may need to do in the event of death and loss helps you to devote your time and energy to the essential task of grieving your loved one, while managing the practical issues that will keep you and your family afloat.

I’m so glad you are reading my blog. It’s designed to give comfort when you need it most, and information that will help you keep your feet on solid ground. There is a place for comments on my website. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you.

Judy

Death Education and the School of Hard Knocks

March 18th, 2014 by judytalks

As I look through my blogs and articles material, I realize I’ve covered many aspects of grief and loss. I began writing about grief following the death of my husband. My first book, No Time to Grieve A Survivor’s Guide to Loss and Healing, was taken from my journal, and documented the struggle I experienced finding answers and support. A Child’s Grief Surviving the Death of a Parent, resulted from personal experience – my own and others – and general research. I began giving seminars, writing articles, and doing radio interviews shortly after, and have gathered considerable information on this important aspect of life.
In our society, death education usually comes after the fact. Though there are classes on various topics concerning dying and bereavement, most of us learn how to help ourselves and others the hard way – through personal experience, when emotions are out of bounds and cognitive abilities are diminished. It doesn’t have to be that way.
It’s safe to say nearly everyone will face the death of a loved one and need comfort and support. We also find ourselves in a position of wanting and needing to help someone else to cope with a loss. As a writer and educator, I love to teach. My website displays my books with a synopsis you may read. My blog appears there and on Authors Den and Good Reads. My articles may be read on the website and also on www.ezinearticles.com and www.scribd.com. If you haven’t checked them out, please be my guest.
My current writing project is in full swing. Longer articles and little e-books are in the making and will appear on Kindle. More informative, these additions to my teaching tools will give you the knowledge you need when you want to reach out with comfort and support to a grieving friend. You don’t need a Kindle to read them. For $0.99, they can be downloaded and read on your computer, or printed out.
My work as a grief facilitator with children and the Flying Solo group I started for adults has taught me the importance of giving clear, honest, reliable tools for everyday use. Death knocks on every door, and when it does, a solid foundation for healing begins with confidence and knowledge. Whether you need comfort for yourself or for a friend, your death education can begin now.
I wish you well,
Judy

The Year In Review

January 11th, 2012 by judytalks

I looked back over my posts of the past year and realized I set some important goals, particularly about learning and giving more. I have certainly learned much in 2011, not just about the grieving community, but about managing loss in whatever size and shape it appears.

Loss and change are household words for almost everyone. They characterized America, challenged problem-solving skills, and drove fear into the hearts of all ages.

My family was certainly not spared, but we have not only survived, but begun to thrive in some important areas of life. No, no one’s making a lot of money, but we supported, commiserated, and advised one another as the economic axe fell a few times.

I’m old enough to know that life’s a bumpy road, so you better have a strong stomach. What inspires me is the growth of neighborliness, the determination to reinvent the wheel, and the charm of people laughing at what is clearly a headache in their daily lives.

I wrote a great deal in 2011, including Kindle downloads, articles, blog posts, and outlines for more of the same. The grieving community is looking for information to understand and ease the pain of losses of all kinds. I hope to continue meeting those needs.

Learn More Write More Give More
It connects and fulfills.

To a satisfying New Year,
Judy

Who Moved My Money?

August 11th, 2011 by judytalks

Have you planted your vegetable garden yet? Cancelled everything you don’t absolutely need? How are you coping with this roller coaster economy?

The subjects I write about are grief, loss, and recovery, but my focus is usually loss of a loved one, not financial disaster. Our money resources represent hard work, diligence in spending/saving, and security for the future. How dare someone take that away?

I realize this situation didn’t happen overnight. Nevertheless, it leaves me fearful, angry, and shaking my head.

What’s the best way to mourn the loss of a secure future? All loss has to be acknowledged, thought out in terms of exactly what is gone, and managed day by day as healing takes place. Putting things in place to alleviate fear is sensible and workable. Putting things in perspective is also good for a balanced view.

Most of us, myself included, have had money worries before and we’ll have them again. Coping with any loss takes action, courage, and, at best, support from others. Now’s the time to reach out to others and see who’s reaching out to you. I plan to re-establish a secure financial future for myself. I may even grow vegetables.

Happy digging,
Judy

Fresh Air

July 12th, 2011 by judytalks

A breath of fresh air is always welcome. It’s said to clear the head, stimulate different ideas, and open up new perspectives on difficult problems.

I’m breathing fresh air right now because I’m in the Twin Cities, enjoying family and friends and the beautiful MN. scenery.

I also have acquired a fresh approach to grief and loss issues. I’ve been writing on these subjects for several years now, volunteering as a grief facilitator, and talking with people of all ages about mourning and the healing process. As I looked over my accumulated material, gathered from my and other’s experiences, I recognized a theme.

When you begin to acknowledge and celebrate all the wonderful things about your loved one, places you’ve been, and the closeness you shared, you begin to breathe deeply again, taking in the fresh air around you. To embrace that irreplaceable time gives a boost to the healing process. Some of the sadness is replaced with joy and confidence. By putting your loved one to rest, you can rest, and clear your head for facing the future. Those treasured memories are a foundation that sustains you as you breathe new life into your world.

Wherever you are in your healing process, take a big gulp of air, clear your mind, and refresh your soul. Love never dies; people do. Survivors walk hand in hand with their treasured  keepsakes.

I wish you well,

Judy

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.

Judy

Making the Hard Choices

May 23rd, 2011 by judytalks

Changes in life can be by choice or by accident. The accidental ones are the hardest because there is no time for prior thought or preparation. Having to shift gears suddenly catches you unawares, and leaves you without some of the basic necessities in your life – no job, no house, no finances, and shifting gears is the last thing you want to do.

The feeling of desperation that accompanies loss makes it difficult to even think straight. The good news is that loss really is a new beginning.

In the past few years, I’ve seen friends and family members start over with amazing results. Dreaming new dreams, realizing creative efforts and nurturing those dreams has brought about a new lease on life, sometimes replacing what was lost with something so much better.

Yes, it’s hard to see opportunity when you are devastated, fearful, and emotionally drained. The first hurdle is accepting that you are your own best support system. A new business or career usually means you have to change your life stlye, often for a long time, maybe permanently. But seeing dreams materialize more than compensates.

As I said in my last post, loss has become a household word. It’s time we took the bull by the horns and made gain our word of choice. No more tears, no more defeat.

My best,
Judy

The Lessons of Loss

May 18th, 2011 by judytalks

The past few years have made loss a household word. The pain of losing homes, jobs, funds, along with our self esteem and sense of place in the world is grievous. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been a victim. When everyone is struggling just to maintain basic necessities, it’s hard to find anyone who can help.

The truth is, though, that when everyone is experiencing the same calamity, there is support that yields hope and a sense of connecting.

It’s pointless to ask who did this to us. The real question is, “What will rise out of the ashes?”

Within my own family, friends and neighbors I see despair, anger, sadness, but also a determined drive not to be defeated. A new set of values is emerging, a fresh look at the word “career”, and a relaxed attitude toward self concept and who decides what and where our place is in the world.

I have a renewed sense of confidence that younger people will reinvent this socioeconomic construct in which we live, and it will be inclusive, open ended, and fluid. Though I’m a grandmother, I have every intention of sticking around to see it happen, if it takes a hundred years.

As always,
Judy

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.

Judy

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,
Judy

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