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Everything posted by enna

  1. Significant Quotes

    "Confidence is knowing who you are and not changing it a bit because of someone’s version of your reality is not their reality." ― Shannon L. Alder
  2. Articles Worth Reading

  3. What a perfect webinar tonight. I love the ten tips that were talked about. For me, ‘Self Compassion’ is so important. I think we all forget to think of ourselves during this time. We are so conscious of thinking about all that has to be done that we don’t allow ourselves some self-love. Hugs are good too. The webinar focuses on sibling loss but it really is about any loss. Many of us are without our significant others or our parents or our special pets that will not be with us for the first time. It’s so important to do what’s right for each of us. There is no right way to do things during the holidays. This season I’ll be missing my granddog, Fred, who was always a center of any celebrations. He was the absolute most perfect Beagle. Both my Jim and I spent many days, and weeks over the thirteen years of Fred’s life when the kids had to travel. He was such a part of our family. I will so miss him.
  4. I am so sorry for the loss of your wife. I am glad that you have found this place. And we know that it does not matter how long our loss has been for we will always miss our beloved ones. Here you do not wallow for we know and understand what you are going through. Thank you for your story and know that those who are here listen. I am glad you are able to tell your story. Anne
  5. e. e. cummings ~ a favorite of mine
  6. Good news. Butch is home from the hospital. Little Man is very happy to see him. I'm so glad you are home. Go slow and know we are with you. Anne
  7. Thanks, Gwen, I think most of us know that special days are mostly not so special for those of us who have lost a significant other. I now do for myself when these days come around. It is good to focus on being ‘worth it’ when I indulge in self-care. Those first years are so hard to see beyond our loss. Today it is somewhat better for me but it has been over five years since my Jim died. I love all the sweets especially when there is chocolate involved! Wine and chocolate go so good together. Marty knows my weakness for chocolate but to be honest about it she is the leader in chocolate addiction! That is how she finds the perfect cakes for us. Anne
  8. Oh, Kay, Thank you. I am so full of all the cake I've been sent. I love these special days. We are so blessed to have this safe place to come and share our thoughts and pain. Those who come here understand. Nothing is or will be the same but we find ways to move through our now lives. Anne
  9. How nice of you to remember me on my special day. It was a wonderful day. Dinner with friends. Tomorrow lunch with a few girlfriends and then I'll treat myself to a pedicure/manicure. Anne
  10. Music That Soothes Me

    Some songs just have special meaning...this one is a favorite one of mine.
  11. 1/21/2014 When my heart is broken I turn to music. Today my heart is truly broken. My home is quiet. Benji is no longer under foot. Benji no longer gives his almost inaudible bark when he wants in from the patio. There is no nudge on my knee to remind me it’s treat time or I want to play tug-of-war with this squeaky toy I have in my mouth. No more reminders that it’s time for dinner (usually an hour before it’s time). These are a few of my comfort/reflection pieces. Please add yours to this thread if you wish. Anne Music that soothes me: Brian’s Song – Henry Mancini http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w26pW2Uz2-Y Songbird – Eva Cassady http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFFo1pu4q7Q The Promise – Tracy Chapman http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r67RjdVKSrY Hallelujah – Leonard Cohen http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YrLk4vdY28Q Amazing Grace – ll Divo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45lC97l9zBc Pope Francis – Make me a channel of your peace http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jdl1ajNpWjQ Holy Holy – Neil Diamond http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQwqQwD6OOw I Am I Said – Neil Diamond The Best of Tchaikovsky http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_WWz2DSnT8 Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rJoB7y6Ncs The Three Tenors in Concert 1994 in LA http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_9OGUPDamQ
  12. Grief Bibliography

    One Mindful Day at a Time: 365 meditations for living in the now by Alan Wolfelt, Ph.D A perfect book to have for the New Year and one can’t go wrong with the writings of Alan Wolfelt, Ph.D. How perfect to have a book that will guide us on a daily journey to live in the now. Mine is on the way.
  13. Signed up. I'm always looking for ways to simplify things in my life. I really like what Dr. Gloria and Dr. Heldi Horsley do with their webinars. Always something to take away.
  14. Significant Quotes

    Oh, I really like the quote above, Marty.
  15. Videos Worth Watching

    Great discussion. I was in college studying theology before I started to change my image of God as a protector and loving Father. It took me years to realize that God does not let bad things happen. It is rather a part of life. It is up to me to accept that when something bad happens it is not God’s fault. I was first introduced to Terri Daniels when my dog Benji died. I kept asking why and even gave God a piece of my mind for taking him away so soon after I adopted him after my beloved Jim died. For a while, I thought it was God punishing me until I remember that God does not allow bad things to happen. Thanks for finding this video, Marty.
  16. Things I Like Instead of those blank faces, I like the Letters of Different Colors for those members who choose not to use their own picture or avatar. Showing who reacted to a post is okay. I don’t really like the heart button indicating who liked a post. I preferred the hands up sign myself. It does help to know that someone read your post. Clicking a like/heart button only takes a nano-second. Things I Don’t Like The Leaderboard ~ everything about it ~ I just believe all content is worthy of recognition not only what someone thinks is popular and this is not a popularity contest so the idea of “Top Members” doesn’t sit well with me. In my opinion, the trophy idea is juvenile ~ 1st, 2nd, 3rd place! Really! Whose idea is this? I did not think this discussion site was about points and content count. This disappoints me. I am glad that we have as many members as we do. My hope is that everyone who comes here feels heard and finds this a caring place to share our grief. Anne
  17. Long suppressed grief.

    As I was typing this I see that Marty, a wise teacher, responded to your post Janka. Her responses are what has kept many of us continue to find value in coming here. Dear Janka and others who are going through a tough time, I am so sorry that you have once again had a day that was so upsetting to you. I understand and know how much some days can hurt so badly. I am sure that you have heard about how our grief can be likened to a rollercoaster ride or how some days we seem to be caught up in ocean waves that never let us come up for air. It is how grief is. It is said by so many wise teachers that when we have loved deeply we will grieve deeply. I have learned over these past 5 years and 6 months that the rollercoaster ride does stop at some point and the waves in the ocean are sometimes calm. This life after the loss of our significant others will always be an ‘ebb and flow’ process that will test our endurance. I have gotten a little better at riding the waves understanding that sometime down the line they will go through a calm stage. It is at the calm stage that I talk to myself and tell myself that once again I made it and will continue to make it because I am a strong, wise woman. In my early grief I spent quite a bit of time in a deep hole thinking that I’d never be able to climb out but I did and I know that I made the climb out because I had dear friends who sat at the top of the hole just allowing me to do what I had to do. Grief friends understand and will sit with you for as long as it takes. I find that I don’t need to explain my grief to those who do not understand. Grief people here on this site understand and they are the friends who will sit with you ~ no judgments, no telling you it’s time to ‘get over it,’ no trying to ‘fix’ you because they know that you are not ‘broken’ rather you are grieving and grief takes as long as it takes. These thoughts are not my own rather they come from those wise teachers who understand that with ‘grief work’ we will make it. Anne
  18. Significant Quotes

    Being out in nature is very relaxing. Do something good for yourself ~ take a walk.
  19. Music That Soothes Me

    Janka. I like the music you select. I hope you are well. I keep you in thought as you go through your grief journey. I'm glad to see you here at Tools for Healing. Anne
  20. Articles Worth Reading

    Grief at Thanksgiving: Gratitude with a grain of salt I’ll go ahead an acknowledge the giant turkey in the room, Thanksgiving can be the pits for people who are grieving. Many of the values, traditions, and messages associated with the day, like warmth, comfort, gratitude, and family togetherness, can feel in direct conflict with a grieving person’s actual reality. If you are grieving, you probably know what I mean by this. Although you may be hesitant to admit it in the face of all the festivities, the ’30-Days of Thankfulness’ challenges on Facebook, and Charlie Brown and his dang pumpkin. But you’re amongst grief-friends here, and it’s okay to admit that you’re feeling just a little (or a lot) less grateful than you’ve felt in years past. After a death, it’s common for grieving people to feel apathy towards the experiences and activities that used to bring them joy. This is not a deliberate choice anyone makes, grief just changes the way life looks and feels. Sadly, this loss of joy may seem like a secondary loss, especially if you feel out of touch with things you previously cherished, like holidays and special days. What you wouldn’t give to feel those old familiar and enthusiastic holidays feelings, but instead, it feels like you’re standing out in the cold, watching through a window while everyone else enjoys the warmth and togetherness of the holiday season. With all the uplifting and nostalgic holiday messaging, no one would blame you for feeling left out. Many people feel like the holidays are only for happy people and so those who are sad either need to shape up or ship out. However, I’m here to refute this notion. Your invitation to the holidays isn’t revoked simply because you don’t embody holiday cheer. As I write this, Thanksgiving is only a few days away, and I know many of you experiencing the heavy thoughts and distressing emotions of grief may be thinking about scraping Thanksgiving altogether. Maybe you’re dreading grief triggers, maybe your loved one seemed so central to the day that you wouldn’t know how to carry it off without them, or maybe you’re just feeling anything but grateful. If it’s the latter (a sense of gratitude) that’s making you feel cut-off from Thanksgiving, I want to offer one simple suggestion. Just as the holidays aren’t only for happy people, neither is gratitude. You don’t have to choose between grief or feeling grateful. As we’ve said in the past, you can feel two things at once. In fact, grief is fertile ground for experiencing conflicting emotions. So here’s our not at all groundbreaking advice: Try to have a balanced outlook towards gratitude this Thanksgiving. Why is this suggestion important? Because, frankly, it sucks to feel alienated, isolated, left out, and disconnected, especially during the holidays. Okay, there are two parts to this, so get ready. Part One: Remember, it’s okay to feel not grateful I know that other people may be like, “Rah, Rah. Fun holiday office party. Carolers, how precious. Let’s go shopping. Whee!”, which may leave you feeling like the Grinch. But your not a holiday villain, you’re simply a person who had a difficult year. It’s okay to acknowledge this and to recognize your grief, apathy, and sadness. You don’t need to stuff your feelings for the benefit of other people. You are not responsible for any other adult’s happiness. Now obviously there will be times when you feel like you have to put on a front, like at work or child-related celebrations, and that’s okay. But the bottom-line here is that it’s okay to acknowledge all the reasons why you are anything but grateful. Part Two: For every gripe, find a gratitude Look, we know the world has robbed you of something so incredibly precious, and so it is beyond annoying for us to come along and tell you to be grateful. Also, we just got through telling you it’s okay to not feel grateful. We don’t offer this suggestion lightly because we know finding gratitude may feel like a stretch. Just hear us out, we’ve actually put some thought into this. As we acknowledged, finding something to be grateful for doesn’t minimize or erase the difficult thoughts, memories, and emotions you are experiencing. It may simply help to balance your outlook a little. Balancing your outlook is important. Have you ever read our post about the grief lens and its impact on outlook? If not, I can summarize. Basically, grief can make people feel cheated, angry, self-focused, bitter, lonely, isolated, resentful, guilty, sad, anxious, worried, or depressed. What many people fail to realize is that, over time, negativity can have a large impact on their overall worldview. People with a negative outlook may be more likely to find depressing, cynical, and suspicious explanations for events. They may feel as though their lives are globally awful, people are globally awful, they themselves are globally awful, and believe that these realities will never change. Gratitude has been shown to help. In 2003, Michael McCullough and Robert Emmons conducted a study where participants were asked to keep a weekly journal for nine weeks. The participants were randomly placed into three different diary groups; in the first group participants were asked to record up to five things they were grateful or thankful for, in the second group participants were asked to think back on the day and record at least five hassles that occurred in their lives, finally the third group was asked to just record the days events. Despite journaling only once a week, participants in the grateful group reported increased well-being, better health, they exercised more, felt life was better and had increased optimism. Even though Thanksgiving will feel different this year, actively seeking gratitude can be an empowering way to reclaim a part of the holiday for yourself. Finding gratitude doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s simple, actually. All you have to do is pay attention to your thoughts and when you catch yourself feeling really negative and pessimistic, think to yourself, “Yes, AND I also have X to be grateful for.” I have confidence that you can find something to be grateful for, like a hot cup of coffee, a happy memory, a song you like, your dog, your cat, green bean casserole – you get the picture. Even if you don’t want to make a habit of this whole gratitude thing, just give it a try through Thanksgiving. Because let’s be honest, you don’t want to be caught off guard when some yahoo suggests everyone share one thing they are grateful for at your Thanksgiving dinner.
  21. Music That Soothes Me

    To all my friends in the states, I send Thanksgiving Blessings. To those who are not in the states Thanksgiving is an important holiday for us and I hope you like this song of Thanksgiving. It is a favorite of mine.
  22. I love your memory, Marg. My paternal grandmother was raised in the south and always said surp. Thanks for this memory.
  23. Articles Worth Reading

    A good story from What's Your Grief Tell Two Jokes and Call me in the Morning: How Humor Helped my Family Grieve We are working on some projects over here at the WYG headquarters (otherwise known as ‘whatever coffee shop we wandered into this morning’) and were worried we’d fall behind on our blog posting schedule. We’re super lucky to have amazing grief-friends to help us out with a few guest posts so you don’t go into What’s Your Grief withdrawal. Today’s post comes to you from Stacy Beller Stryer. Stacy is a pediatrician, parenting expert, author, and lover of humor and the great outdoors. She lost her husband to cancer when her daughters were ages 7 and 9 and have recently written a book to help newly widowed parents through their journey and that of their children. We’re pretty excited to have her writing here, so I’ll get out of the way and let her get to it. Humor has always been a big part of my life. No, let me rephrase that. Humor has often been a necessary part of my life. Humor was a particularly good friend of mine several years ago when my husband was diagnosed with and eventually succumbed to glioblastoma, a brain tumor. You might wonder “why” or “how” I could even think about laughing during such a traumatic period, but this is when I needed it most. The year of my husband’s illness was so difficult and overwhelming that I welcomed any break from thinking about his treatment, our future, or his chances of survival. Humor provided a distraction, allowing me to think about something besides cancer, even if only for a few minutes. It gave me a reason to smile and laugh, and instantaneously decreased the stress level in our house. I didn’t actually sit around a table telling jokes or devise a stand-up comedy routine about my life, although others have done this to cope with their grief. I merely tried to find ways during my husband, Dan’s illness, to make my family feel normal. I frequently reminded all of us, particularly our 6 and 9-year-old daughters, that life consisted not just of sad times but happy ones too, sometimes simultaneously. I organized sleepovers and play dates with friends who I know would make Rachael and Becca laugh. We baked animal shaped cookies with outrageous decorations, slurped jello through a straw, and ate dessert for dinner and dinner for dessert. Fun with food was a favorite theme. Two specialties in our household were the whip cream escapade and the Singing in the Rain revival. The escapade involved buying cans of whip cream and squirting them into our children’s mouths and onto the tips of their noses. Of course, they then had to do the same to us. Even Dan, who wasn’t feeling well and rarely smiled those days, loved it! The Singing in the Rain revival included three willing family members, umbrellas, raincoats, rain boots and a shower, although an outdoor sprinkler on a hot day or even a mud puddle would work wonderfully, too. On this particular day we turned the water on, donned our gear, climbed into the shower together, fully clothed; and belted out the song, “Singing in the Rain.” Years later we still talk about that day in the shower and, believe it or not, it is a fun, happy memory that occurred during one of the worst times of our lives. The period after Dan’s death was so incredibly sad. Those who approached me were at a loss for what to say. Friends and family tried to help with words of support but, to be honest, it was the humorous, distracting stories that did the most good and provided a moment of relief from my grief. The benefit of laughter was apparent during a series of email exchanges I had with a friend of mine, Jennifer, whose husband died suddenly a few years after Dan. We began corresponding soon after his accident when just a few weeks after her husband’s death she asked me if I still dreamt about Dan. I responded, “Very rarely, but I never did a lot. I always ask for a sign from him to let me know he’s around – but I have strict conditions – make it obvious, don’t do it at night, and don’t make it scary! I think it’s too much for him!” She wrote, “Stacy, I am loving this exchange. You had me laughing so hard at your description of the conditions you placed on Dan for the sign! I laughed because I did the same thing, so the laughter was both from sheer hilarity (“not at night”) and from relief that I’m not the only crazy weirdo (oops, I meant to type widow).” We wrote more about dreams and life after death, where sorrow was mixed with humor. “Stacy, Hilarious! What do you think they serve in the after-life? Bonbons and triple cream cheese? (my heaven).” Humor continues to play an important role in my life, even years after Dan’s death. My younger daughter, Eva, grieved for a long time after her dad’s death (not that we ever stop grieving in one form or another). At first, she wouldn’t smile or laugh because she felt guilty and thought that if he couldn’t enjoy life anymore, she shouldn’t be allowed to either. She shut out her feelings toward him and others, both negative and positive, in order to avoid the pain. Over the years, however, she has learned how to compartmentalize his death and is no longer paralyzed when she thinks about him and the fact that he is no longer with us in body. I know she is better because of her humor. If I blame something, let’s just say her stubbornness, as being inherited from her dad, she may respond with, “Oh, way to blame the dead guy!” Dan would have absolutely loved this because she is sticking up for him, including him in our conversations, and comfortable enough to joke about a difficult aspect of her life.