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Grief Shared

May 15th, 2015 by judytalks

In the immediate aftermath of grief, friends and family may surround you with comfort and support. Everyone calls, many visit, and you walk the necessary steps through this awfulness that has happened. Cards and phone calls are sent to notify people, services are planned, legal issues are addressed for follow-up, and financial settlements have been discussed. A few weeks have gone by, and now is when most of those people begin to withdraw. There doesn’t seem to be much more for anyone to do, except to stay in touch and wish you well.

It’s at this point that grievers may wonder if sharing their grief with others in mourning would help ease the pain. Everyone’s heard about grief groups. Whereas years ago, they were few and far between, today they abound. They may be held in community centers, churches, offices, or even homes. Some are basically open-ended with a general plan and a facilitator, while others use a printed program that focuses on one specific issue each week. These issues may include emotions, such as fear, sadness, or anger, or they may include practical problems, such as handling the money, finding legal counsel, or getting your car fixed. The question is, “How will this really help me?”.

Looking for an appropriate group can be daunting. At a time when your emotions are unpredictable and you often feel fatigued, checking out numerous groups may seem overwhelming. Here’s where asking for help comes in. People who have been in a group can give you insight as to the format and also the benefits they derived. Plus any drawbacks. The funeral director, clergy, and community centers will probably also have pertinent information about several groups for you to consider.

If you wish to find a group, take a minute to jot down what you hope to gain from your relationship with others who gather regularly to express their loss. Decide what kind of openness and comfort would be acceptable, and what you would not like to experience. Then call the leader and ask questions. The leader should be non-intrusive and should maintain a non-judgmental atmosphere. Ground rules are discussed and agreed upon. Leaders may be psychologists, therapists, facilitators, or grief counselors. Some groups are led by non-professionals and can be very beneficial, but it’s important that confidentiality be enforced and trust understood.

What can you expect in the way of benefits from a grief group?

1.   First of all, you can say anything (within reason) without alarming anyone. Sometimes you can’t do this with friends and family.

2.  You will have a place to go and a specific time to meet on a regular basis. Looking forward to certain things helps to regulate your life.

3. The leader will be a resource person for you if you need to address other issues.

4. You will probably connect with 1 or 2 other people, maybe more, and have friends you can count on after your group work is finished.

5.  A person who has suffered a loss can go to a group anytime. It doesn’t have to be immediate. People have been known to seek a group months or years after losing someone.

It’s said that shared grief helps ease the pain and anguish of losing a loved one. For each person, their grief is unique and is borne individually. You may derive great comfort, learn something beneficial, or simply enjoy not being alone all the time. Give yourself every opportunity to explore the options available.

I wish you well,

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

 

Book Marketing Challenge

June 6th, 2014 by judytalks

Judy Strong  Learn Plan Act!

I’m here to say that this has been inspiring and motivating. The marketing tool I believe will be the most beneficial to me right now is teleseminars. As a grief facilitator, I like to work directly with people. Face to face or by phone gives me an opportunity to get to know them and for them to see who I am. Helping others with change and loss means building trust, and I think the teleseminars will work beautifully. I can deliver information, answer questions, clarify meaning, and generally relate and interact with people, as they share their individual needs and concerns. It was very encouraging to me to hear so many interviewees say that they were scared, had small lists, and began on a shoestring. I can relate to all of that. Just getting out there, I believe, is the way to start, and I think my audience will benefit from the experience of the teleseminar as we address their issues. The variety of ways to do teleseminars is also a huge advantage. By phone, by webcam, with slides, or whatever you choose, the follow-up options are exceptional. Being able to send a transcript or audio reinforces the whole experience, and I’m especially interested in doing e-reports and e-books to further my business and offer more to my audience. Grief work takes time, and it’s always my hope that people I meet or who read my books will stay in touch. Offering a chance to get together on the phone or webcam is a personal invitation to give comfort and support, throughout their bereavement and beyond. It’s establishing a sincere friendship.

I have published two print books. No Time to Grieve A Survivor’s Guide to Loss and Healing addresses both the emotional and practical issues associated with loss. It’s a primer that can be used by individuals, professionals, and groups.
My second book, A Child’s Grief Surviving the Death of a Parent, gives relevant information to those persons helping a child who has lost a parent. Seen through the eyes of 7-year old Johnnie and his mother, it emphasizes the need for comfort, truth-telling, and the consistency required for healing to take place.

My blog:  https://survive-strong.com/blog-2/?pg=blog
My website:  www.survive-strong.com
My e-books:  www.amazon.com/author/judystrong

More Tips – Being Consistent

June 26th, 2013 by judytalks

Kids live in the moment.They hardly ever think about tomorrow. That’s why parents learn to never tell kids about an upcoming summer vacation in March. They’ll ask every single day if it’s summer yet. Even as kids get older, they focus mostly on what’s happening right now, something we should learn to do.

 

Helping a child through mourning means spending time together, talking, going places they enjoy, and putting tangible memories in a treasure chest for safe keeping. Setting aside time to spend with a child is a promise to honor. The child will look forward to that day and time, will prepare, and eagerly await for your arrival. This helps the child to begin to move forward and build a new relationship and add new activities to a life that has seemed to stand still. Whether these “dates” are every week, or every other day, consistency is paramount. To disappoint a child is grievous to both. If you have to re-schedule, do so as soon as possible, and chat a little when you call.

 

Children await guidance and direction from us, the adults they trust to help them to learn and grow. They listen and they model after what they observe. If we’re too casual about our promises, they’ll feel abandoned and devalued. Especially at a time when  grief and loss accompany them all day, everyday, they’ll cherish the times you set aside just for them. And you’ll reap rewards galore, because you will become one of their heroes.

 

Enjoy,

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

Exposure – Is This Going To Hurt?

October 18th, 2010 by judytalks

Putting yourself out there just smacks of risk, pain, and embarrassment. It takes a thick skin to tell people who you are, what you care about, and why they should trust you.
As a survivor, writer, and teacher on subjects of grief and loss, I understand the vulnerability of those in the mourning process. I need to lead gently, but to elicit a response , I also need to persuade. Without a response, no one benefits.
In looking at the websites and magazine copy of those doing similar work as mine, I’m happy to see a variety of backgrounds and intentions, as well as many areas of loss being covered. These include trauma, early grief, understanding loss, moving forward, and healing. When I lost my husband 20 years ago, there was far less available. That’s what prompted my writing on the subject.
Today, there are workshops, articles, books, grief groups, and camps for children. What could be better than offering resources for everyone experiencing sorrow, and that includes all of us.
I’m putting myself out there to connect with the grieving community, prioritizing their need for comfort and support. In doing so, I intend to impart a sense of hope, the beginning of healing and growth.

Be well,
Judy

The Business Side of Writing

September 21st, 2010 by judytalks

I consider myself a writer and teacher who reaches people through books and workshops on grief related subjects. But it takes a business model to actually carry out my purpose to comfort and inform those in mourning. The business aspect is the part of my work that has taken time to understand and develop.
It’s often said that authors aren’t good at marketing their own books, and I know that to be true. However, a simple business plan isn’t the monumental task I always thought it to be.
I have availed myself of seminars, online classes, and personal business consultants and have come to terms with the hard, cold facts of life. Business is reaching people with what you have to offer them. Building their trust and confidence in your expertise takes exposure, consistency, and understanding their needs. I knew this at the start, but had no idea how to go about it. Thanks to the help from many people with business savvy, I can grow my business and reach more people. That means more comfort, better healing, real confidence, and the ability to build a new life for those who are bereaved. That’s the kind of growth I like to see.

Judy

Connecting for Comfort and Healing

April 29th, 2010 by judytalks

Connecting with another person, for any reason, is a considered choice. It requires a deep commitment and consistent interaction. When one chooses to connect with a grieving child, there is usually considerable soul searching before the choice is made.
A grieving child is fearful, feels abandoned, and has many unanswered questions. To accept the task of dealing with these issues, a caring adult will need to devote quantity, as well as quality time to this endeavor.
A distinction must be made between touching base and real connecting. Touching base is checking in occasionally, and it’s important. But connecting is deeper, more consistent, and involves ongoing dialogue.
True comfort will only take place when you are dependable and attentive. Regularly scheduled visits, outings, and talks will give a foundation of security and trust, two values that help allay the feeling of abandonment. Dialogue invites the child to express her fears and verbalize the questions and confusion that continually occupy her mind. For a connection to lead to real healing, there must be support and stability in the early stages of loss, followed by guidance and reassurance throughout the mourning period.
A wounded child will not heal until he feels safe. His shattered world view must be reconstructed before the pain and bewilderment goes away, and leaves him feeling rested and at peace. This will not happen in a matter of weeks or even months. But once a foundation of trust is established, and a brighter, happier view of the world is realized, this wounded child will relax and adopt a more optimistic outlook on life.
Can we make such a commitment to a child we know and love? It really isn’t complicated. It simply requires making that considered choice, based on the facts. Children are our most valuable citizens.
Healthy, happy children everywhere.
Judy

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