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Book Learnin’

July 13th, 2015 by judytalks

Book Learnin’

To learn how to survive, ask a survivor. That’s pretty much true. Someone who’s been there knows the situation inside and out, has “felt” it, shared the emotions, and understands the process. At least a survivor understands their own experience of it.

When you’re going through a difficult time, finding a book that helps you, really “speaks” to you may take a while. In fact, I’ve found that I glean nuggets of valuable information, and some comfort, from a variety of sources. Books written by individuals who are not survivors, but have extensive knowledge of a subject, may be very beneficial. They may touch on aspects long forgotten by the people who endured deep pain.

When you’re looking through the book shelves in a library or bookstore, or on the Internet, consider choosing a couple of copies for a peek at the content, writing style, and background of the author.

My first book, No Time To Grieve, was written to help solve the practical problems experienced by mourners. When I hear from someone that it has done just that, as I did recently, I am happy.

I have read quite a few books on the subject of loss and bereavement, and from time to time, I pull them out and reread portions that were especially helpful or meaningful. When you or someone you know are in need of a grief survival book, take your time as you browse through the selections.

When I was widowed – nearly 25 year ago, there were very few books available. The shelves have filled up nicely.

Please check out my Resources page on my website and my publications on Amazon. Something might be just what you’re looking for.

Website: www.survive-strong.com

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/author/judystrong

Judy

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

Where Do I Go For Help?

November 2nd, 2012 by judytalks

Crisis and loss come in all sizes, shapes, and colors. The devastation that results from natural disasters is enormous, counting loss of life, property, and your sense of security.

Today it’s the East Coast, with the aftermath of Sandy. Tomorrow it may be in another part of the world. Regardless of location, this planet is mourning its losses every day. With or without warning, the human race takes a back seat to every kind of destructive act of nature.

Finding comfort when you need it most is difficult. In a disaster, numerous organizations rally to preserve life and property. When it’s safe to return, assessing your damage can be heart-rending. Personal property, those sentimental items so dear to you and to family, may lie amongst the debris, damaged beyond repair.

The job of the work crews is to get things up and running. When businessess, transportation, utilities, hospitals and the like get going again, it brings back a sense of normalcy. But no one is assigned to retrieving the lost personal items. Though these things seem irreplaceable, other family members, friends, or neighbors often have copies of pictures and memorabilia like those you lost. When you get yourself settled, contact everyone you can think of and ask for help. As items begin to surface, you can restore your memories in your treasure chest. It’s the beginning of healing.

Emotions are not usually reliable in a crisis, but contact with others and having them share memories with you is the beginning of hope, and pushes the fear and sadness away.

If you are grieving for any reason, stay in touch with those who love you and let them give comfort. Mourning takes time and energy. Take care of yourself.

Judy

Recovery – Acknowledgement

June 9th, 2012 by judytalks

Whenever I Google the word Recovery I get websites about ships at the bottom of the ocean or addiction programs for rehab. The kind of recovery I write and talk about has to do with the loss of someone or something dear to you. It’s something irreplaceable that causes you deep grief and sadness.
When you lose something that can’t be replaced, there’s more than sadness. The range of emotions runs from anger and confusion to a sense that you’ve lost yourself. Nothing is the same, nor will it ever be.
Recovery takes time and it requires a choice on your part. The beginning of healing is the acknowledgement that life can and must go on. Until you reach that point, you may remain in a state of isolation from other things and people who were dear to you. Reconnecting is also painful, because it seems that you must let go of the person or thing you have lost. But, in reality, you take it with you, forever a keepsake you may revisit any time.

I wish you well,

Judy

Season of Holidays

November 8th, 2011 by judytalks

Summer blazed out of Arizona in a day, and brisk autumn was upon us the next. The cold, crisp air is refreshing to me, a native midwesterner, but I prefer to have the seasons merge more slowly, so I can get used to different temperatures.

With autumn comes the Season of  Holidays, celebrations of a wide variety, and all having their respective traditions, from costumes and candy to the spiritual traditions from different faiths.

A common tradition of most holidays is gift giving. In the purest sense, this is a sincere offering to someone important in your life, as a gesture of love and friendship. As we all know, however, the giving of gifts can become a mad rush to buy things for everyone and anyone, often the only real expression of the keeping of the holiday.

The difficult economic problems may actually have a positive influence this holiday season. Handmade gifts, or better yet, the gift of yourself in time spent with or for another can be a blessing, and may even become a tradition. The possibilities are endless for helping someone, and exchanging gifts of helpfulness can start or deepen a friendship.

The origin of most gift giving traditions for celebrating a holiday was about simplicity and goodwill. Our whole country needs large doses of goodwill right now. Let’s all make this the most joyous Season of Holidays ever.

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

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

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.
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

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