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Intangible Gifts

November 29th, 2015 by judytalks

Free gifts Are Especially Nice At Christmas

The brain-wracking task of what to get people at Christmas puts everyone in a bad mood.

Something practical or something pretty. What did they get last year? How about a gift card?

Maybe a fantastic dinner and a show.

There’s a way out of this dilemma.

There are some gifts that can be given any time for any reason. They’re free and are generally appreciated by everyone who receives them. They are the intangible gifts, the giving of those things that have no price tag, and can be given anytime.

These gifts are appreciated whenever they are given, but are especially nice to give to someone who is grieving and in deep need of heartfelt and loving consideration.

Holidays aren’t happy, exciting affairs when you’re mourning. There’s no feeling of joy, no urge to celebrate with friends or family. There’s often lingering pain and a sense of isolation that accompanies mourning, especially when all around you are celebrating and you feel sad. It’s just a period of time to get through and move on.

When someone you care about is in bereavement, here are 5 intangible gifts that may be given over and over, any time of the year, and are always joyfully received.

  1. Give your time
  2. Give your energy
  3. Give your ideas
  4. Give your support
  5. Give your love

How can these precious gifts be given?

First, stay close-by. Grievers feel isolated and unsociable. Drop by, phone, email or text regularly, just to say hi.

Be a good listener. Often, well-meaning friends want to give advice. But careful listening gives the other person a chance to say what’s really on their mind.

Extend invitations to gatherings and offer to pick them up.

Run errands together. Trips to the grocery store, library, dry cleaners, pharmacy or bank can include a quick stop for lunch or coffee.

Plan an afternoon for baking, wrapping gifts, or doing some decorating together.

Talk about the person who died. If you knew and miss that person, say so.

Suggest a small memory item for the holiday they celebrate, such as a tree ornament or a donation in the deceased person’s name.

Again, stay close and in touch. All the intangible gifts can be given over and over again.

 

For more tips and ideas about grief at holiday time, or just in general, click on the Articles tab.

Stay well,

Judy

Remembrances

October 24th, 2015 by judytalks

Remembrances

The death of a loved one is accompanied by deep emotional pain, pain that can’t be dismissed. The longing to hold on to that irreplaceable person is profound, and letting go is unthinkable.

Amidst all of the practical things that must be done – notifying people, planning services, going over finances and legal issues – there is a desire to create a remembrance, a legacy that says this person’s life mattered.

A memorial or legacy can be accomplished in different ways, and you can have several if you wish. Often, a legacy is included in the settling of the estate. Honoring the life of the loved one may be done by giving a gift of money to an organization, college or university. Other means include the gift of a special collection, scholarship, garden, or a wing on a building. There may also be a monetary gift that is designated for a specific purpose, such as a charity for medical, educational, or civic projects.

Personal memorials are commonly done by individuals who send a donation to a foundation that researches an illness or disability associated with the deceased. All in all, remembering a person whose life touched yours in a deep and personal way helps the process of letting go.

It’s important for grievers to acknowledge the difficulty of the mourning period. It’s a time to actively assess the relationship that has ended, and determine how you wish to make a part or parts of your life rich and meaningful, despite your loss.

A remembrance may be a place of peace or an active, ongoing celebration that you can return to when you wish to renew your connection to that irreplaceable person.

Healing takes place by remembering, not forgetting.

Judy

 

Where Has All The Comfort Gone?

March 20th, 2015 by judytalks

Time has passed. The Holidays are over, and everyone else’s life seems to go on with all the daily and ordinary things they do. Yours seems to stand still. People you talk to just assume that you feel better, that you are nearly “over it” and your brand new life lies ahead, clear and straight.

What’s wrong with this picture?

Is there a disconnect somewhere?

The answer is yes. The disconnect occurs because comfort comes in rushes at first, everyone wanting to help and console you. The sadness and shock of losing this most necessary person has you in its grip.  You still can’t imagine how life can go on.

Staying connected is difficult during bereavement. Family members are at different stages of mourning. Friends are busy with lives that haven’t been as disrupted as yours. Everyone wants you to feel comforted, but knowing what that takes, long-term- is far from their minds. Ours is a society that moves on.

It is up to you to maintain those close relationships. Stay in touch by phone, email, or in person. When someone invites you to an outing, meeting, or social gathering, go. Whether you feel like it or not isn’t the issue. Being with caring and relaxed people is the beginning of learning to live alone.

Comfort has all kinds of faces and isn’t well-defined. Just getting out there helps you to take a look at the world again and see possibilities. Old friends may bring new friends. New groups, hobbies, or interests develop while you’re testing the waters, surrounded by people you can trust. They are there to support you. Let them.

I wish you well,

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

To Market To Market

September 14th, 2013 by judytalks

That title, from a nursery rhyme, indicates that someone is going to the market. However, all authors know that it really refers to the need to market your book. First you write it, then you have to sell it.

I’ve been marketing since 2004, when my first book was published. It doesn’t get any easier, but the need to regularly review my strategy is the creative side of this job, the part I like best. I’m currently in that process, looking over my original notes and plans, checking results, and brainstorming brilliant ideas to give my marketing some pizazz. The bottom line, of course, is that it really takes daily attention and consistency. It’s about elbow grease.

What motivates me and keeps me on track is wanting to get the information out there to people who will benefit from good, solid, insight on grief. It doesn’t take the pain away; it helps you to bear it. Comfort when you need it most can’t be packaged and sold. It must be freely given. Share what you know, say what you feel, and listen.

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

Written By A Survivor

October 1st, 2012 by judytalks

When you search on the internet for information about a subject, what’s the most important thing you look for? If you’re like most people – and like me – you look for credibility. Experience is not only the best teacher; it also gives insightful, relevant, and solutions-oriented information that you can count on.

A study or a proven benefit can enhance the credibility of some inquiries. But if I want to know how something really works, I ask people who have personal experience. It’s the true test.

Whenever I write on the subjects of grief and loss, I am writing as a survivor. I’ve done considerable research, interviewed people, and worked with other survivors. Those who have been through it understand the emotional pain and mental confusion of grief. Though each situation is unique and no one knows exactly how someone else feels, having someone say “I’ve been where you are”, is immeasurably supportive. A survivor gives you comfort when you need it most.

Judy

Touching Base with Survivors

April 12th, 2012 by judytalks

I’ve been privileged recently to connect with some amazing people who have walked through life’s difficulties and come out stronger than ever. I meet them everywhere-my community, my volunteer work with grieving families, and through other acquaintances. Their stories are testaments to the hope and determination that gives new life to shattered individuals.

All of this inspired me to make an effort to do more deliberate connecting. I will be starting a group in my community called Flying Solo next week for anyone wishing to learn more, share more, and simply connect with other hardy souls. There’s comfort and support in groups, so I’m gathering resources and looking forward to the potential for growth.

Everyone has something to share that may help someone else see life from a different angle. Put connecting on your to-do list today and bring some sunshine into your and their day.

Happy April.

Judy

Joyful Anticipation

November 16th, 2011 by judytalks

The Holiday Season is truly upon us. Talk of plans are everywhere, concerts, decorating, baking, and seeing friends and family. But all is not cheery for those who are in mourning.

A loss is difficult to bear for a very long time. When special days (birthdays, anniversaries) come along, or the Holiday rush is in full swing, grieving people have an especially difficult time celebrating.

Being sad when all around you are filled with joy makes life difficult, for both the griever and their close friends. What to say? What to do? How to help ease the pain?

I wrote an article a couple years ago that still gets clicks this time of year. Please check it out for yourself or someone you know who is missing a loved one. The link is: http://article-niche.com/launch/Holiday-Grievers-Gifts-For-A-Friend.htm. It’s on article-niche and titled Holiday Grievers Gifts For A Friend.

Celebrating the holidays is a good time to connect with friends and family and begin to heal. The anticipation of painful memories can be managed, and the joy of the season can lift you up. Start your planning now and have a wonderful holiday season.

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

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