Grief and Loss Blog

When Something’s Not Right No Comments

Grief bites. Seriously bites. I’m thinking right now about the year when Christmas was just not right. Something was missing. Actually someone was missing. Nobody saw it coming. It was the year my mom (aka Beazy) had died, just weeks before Christmas…

The Final Moments That Mean the Most No Comments

When it comes to your aging grandparents or parents, it’s important to spend as much time with them as possible and sincerely try not to have any regrets. Try and prepare yourself to say goodbye and be there, you may find that some of your most cherished moments happen in these times…

Aftermath No Comments

I lost my husband Sid ten years ago. I have remarried and I am happy again. It was a long, hard struggle. But I feel like I managed to cross the minefield of grief and emerge as a better person. I know I grew stronger by conquering my grief, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t bear the scars from the worst battle I have ever fought in my life. Grief is very hard work and even a decade after my loss, those emotional scars sometimes come to the surface and trigger an explosion of grief. For someone who has never experienced losing a spouse, it is difficult to explain. On the outside it appears that you have totally moved on and everything is fine. Those of us who have experienced losing a spouse—or anyone we loved– know that is not true. Yes, we have learned to live with our loss and over the years we have found a new life. But still–we sometimes suffer from what I call aftermath. Aftermath, in my opinion, is perfectly normal. But the pain is still very deep, particularly because it can often be unexpected. Grief, to me, is like a minefield that is full of painful explosions. At first they are everywhere and no matter where you step, you will hit one. As time goes on the grief bombs are fewer and farther apart, but they are still there. My husband Sid was a big NASCAR fan. He liked it when we snuggled on the couch and watched the race together. I have to admit I was bored to death seeing cars go in a circle, but he enjoyed telling me about each car and driver. I was glad he wanted to share that with me. One night many years after his death I was at a dance club having a great time. The sound was down on a large television screen above the bar but I noticed a NASCAR race was being aired. Suddenly without warning I felt my self losing it. I ran to the bathroom and cried harder than I had in a long time. Out of the blue it hit me. Sid and I would never watch another NASCAR race together again. Of course I knew that–and had for years. Still that unexpected grief aftermath hurt so much. I have come to understand that aftermath is going to occur from time to time and there is nothing I can do about it. But it helps to know that it is okay–even after ten years. I think I prefer to look at it this way: Sid feels like every once in a while he has to reach out and let me know that he is still with me and always will be. Updated:

Embracing the Holidays No Comments

Yikes! The holiday season is upon us – how did that happen and where did the year go? Just when you began to enjoy the cooler nights and beauty of the leaves changing colors, the reality of the pending season kicks in. Your hair gets grayer with the anticipation of the stress associated with the season, your calendar begins to burst with obligations and you are literally walking in circles in the kitchen trying to figure out what to tackle next on your never-ending “to do” list. At this moment, how decadent would it be to put all of that behind you and climb into a warm bath with beautiful fragrances, soothing bubbles and truly have the ability to turn off your brain from thinking and your heart from hurting? Or better yet, erase the emotional strain of the past year associated with losing a loved one, learning of yet another friend or family member diagnosed with an illness or the financial constraints causing greater anxiety of the pending season. What if you vow for this year’s holiday season to be different? What if you welcome the holiday season on your terms and embrace the season for you? Whether you are in the tub or sitting on a chair, close your eyes, sit back and envision the holidays ahead – how would you define the next few months? Who would you spend time with? What is best for you and your family? To embrace the holidays means to look at the season in an atypical fashion. For every stressor that keeps you awake at night, think of how the situation can be recalculated or rearranged to eliminate the anxiety: If traveling to family members is stressful because of the time commitment, large crowds and added expense of the season, travel at a different time of the year. If you are known for bringing homemade cookies to an event and you just can’t find time to bake them this year, purchase cookies from your favorite store and arrange them with love on your special serving tray. If holiday gift exchange is out of your comfort zone for whatever reason, you can still attend the event yet opt out of the gift giving. If attending a party alone makes you feel uncomfortable, skip the party and suggest a time when you can spend quieter, one-on-one time with the host. If decorating your house with holiday adornments is taxing on your time or you are just not in the mood, omit them for this year and attend a tree lighting ceremony in your community. If you feel the void of a loved one who has passed or is ill, create a new tradition with friends and family to help avoid the emptiness. If you don’t want to send holiday cards to friends and family, opt out this year – its okay. Changing your outlook on the season is the best way to embrace the joys that are often overlooked. Gather those around you

Accepting What We Cannot Change No Comments

There is no question about it – accepting the loss of loved one can be one of our most difficult challenges, and yet acceptance is part of the answer we are looking for. As long as we resist what has happened, we cannot move beyond it. It is only when we can accept our loss that we are able to move on with our life. This doesn’t happen all at once, but if we are patient, if we are compassionate with ourself and our need to grieve, eventually – step by cautious step, piece by little piece, we begin to accept what we cannot change. Grief and loss are two of life’s most important teachers. It is only in letting go that we discover what we never lost at all. The love is still there, and it connects us in ways that only love can. That discovery makes it possible to accept what has been so difficult to face. Letting go is key. I find great lessons in the example of the butterfly. It allows the changes to happen. It surrenders to the process. Ultimately, so must we. Then all these elements – all these changes – will be free to mix together and create a new outlook on life. Grief, then, can be the chrysalis in which our metamorphosis occurs. In due time we find ourselves moving into a greater understanding both of ourselves, of our purpose, and of our destiny. Along the way, the innate wisdom that has always been within us is guiding us through the labyrinth of life so we can emerge victorious and triumphant. Thus it is that challenge can be our stepping stone, a means by which our destiny is embraced, our potential is explored, and our victory is won. Updated:

Worst Case Scenario No Comments

What’s the worst possible thing you can imagine happening? You probably don’t have to think very hard. Most of us have something in mind that would be the unimaginable, impossible-to-survive scenario. Is it a terrorist attack? Something catastrophic happening to someone you love? An IRS audit? A frightening medical…

Trying to Fill That Emptiness No Comments

I am certainly not an expert on grief, but after losing my own husband ten years ago and observing the actions of other widows and widowers, I have noticed some similarities. Many of us desperately try to replace our grief with someone or something else. I guess we feel that if we can fill that void, the loss of…

Please Don’t Try to Fix Me No Comments

Several months after the sudden death of my 32-year-old husband, the subtle hints from my friends, family and co-workers appeared – suggesting the time had come for me to get out more socially, begin sorting through his personal belongings and find the smile I once had. The more they pressed the more I distanced…