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Everything posted by enna

  1. Two books that may be added to our bibliographies: An excellent book on the power of awareness Dr. Daniel J. Siegel, MD’s book Aware: The Science and Practice of Presence – The Ground Breaking Meditation Practice helps us to become more aware of who we are and how we can become better at dealing with what life hands us. What we focus on can improve our immune systems and if ill we have the ability to heal our own selves. After a significant loss, we can fall into a downward health spin and it is good to know that we don’t have to stay there. Another book I would recommend is Jon Kabat Zinn’s book ~ Falling Awake: How to Practice Mindfulness in Everyday Life. The ideas in this book are just another ‘tool for healing’ as we make time to pause, breath, and allow ourselves to let whatever comes into our consciousness be okay. Mindfulness meditation has helped me as I walk this path of deep loss after my spouse died
  2. Sometimes there are no words to comfort a grieving person so sitting with that person is a way of saying I am here with you and I will listen. I am so sorry to hear about your husband’s tragic death. I have found that many people say things that they think are comforting to the griever but in reality, it isn’t. The truth is most of us don’t know what to say when someone dies. I think the comments made help the person making those comments rather than being of any help to the one grieving. You are fresh in your grief. It is around the sixth month that one starts to thaw from the numbness of the loss. You will never ‘get over’ this loss but you will be able to begin to focus on the good memories you have had with your husband. I am glad you found this place because it is a safe and caring place. There are no judgments here only people who are willing to sit with you as you walk the path of your own grief. For me, it was important to be able to talk with a good grief counselor. I was fortunate to have someone who knows about grief to help me through that first year. Some people find joining a grief group helps. What is important is finding one that has a moderator who is knowledgeable about loss. I tried a group but found that after two or three meetings it just wasn’t for me. Online grief support is also a very valuable resource for us. By finding this place you have found the best online grief support place. Sharing our stories and reading about what is ‘normal’ in grief helps us along the way. Anne
  3. Just beautiful, Katie. Praying for peace and comfort for you. ❤️
  4. Holding you in thought and prayer, dear Katie.
  5. Yes, Katie, your Gracie girl and I know how much you like this video... For those who knew Gracie Lee and to those who are here today giving loving support to Katie (Gracie's mom) enjoy the video. It's best to view it full screen ~ the focus was on precious memories of toys and clothes and life photographed by her grandpa, Butch:
  6. A good message for today...
  7. Another good one from Mark Liebenow ~ Widower's Grief Wednesday, August 22, 2018 Laughter and Grief For the most part, death isn’t funny. “Grief” and “humor” aren’t often used in the same sentence. There are moments in the beginning of grief when we’re laughing hysterically, but generally, that’s in the middle of the night and it’s not a happy sound. Or we’re laughing while standing by ourselves in the woods holding on to a tree. Or we’re in the shower staring at the soap for five minutes. These moments are more about trying not to cry than anything funny. We know that we laughed before death smacked us so hard in the chest that we couldn’t breathe, and we expect to laugh sometime in the future, but how do we get from here to there? 
 When is it appropriate to laugh again after a death? Is there a code of conduct that specifies when smiles are okay, then when jokes are permitted, and finally when guffaws are kosher? My own trip back to the land of levity started about two months after Evelyn died when I smiled briefly after someone told a joke. Then my face went blank, and my thoughts slipped back into its dark pool of sorrow. In my head, I knew what he was saying was funny. I just couldn’t feel the humor. A month or so later, I began making my own witty observations to others, along the lines of Dick Cavett’s dry humor. But this was head stuff — thoughts that were mostly ironic, some sardonic. It was noticing odd coincidences perched next to each other, like the line of turkeys that marched across my lawn in step the other day. Six months in, I began to enjoy simple, physical pleasures again — dark chocolate, sharp cheddar quesadillas, IPA beer, and the aromatic smells of pine forests. But my battered heart was still numb. It would take nine months for an actual laugh to escape, and that came out more like a burp. Belly laughs were at the far end of two years down the road. I don’t know if this is the typical schedule for most people. The first time we snicker or chortle, we feel guilty. It takes time to get over this. In general, laughter doesn’t get its due in everyday life. It’s not just a frivolous, lighthearted diversion. Laughing releases tension in the body. It helps us cope with serious illnesses. It’s also a barometer of our wellbeing and a healthy response to life’s ironies. At times, humor functions like a Zen koan or a New Testament parable. When we realize the illogic of a situation and catch the sudden insight into something profound, we laugh with astonishment. Norman Cousins watched old comedies when he was seriously ill and laughed himself back to health. Although we admire the skill of the acrobats and the bravery of the lion tamers, we love the clowns in the circus-like Emmett Kelly who used laughter to bring joy to those who hadn’t laughed in a long time. Every culture has its fools, clowns or tricksters who remind them that there is more going on in Life than the life they can see. Besides being a tribal leader of the Lakota Sioux, Black Elk was also a Heyoka, a holy fool, who comforted the grieving. Christianity has canonized a bunch of fools as saints, like St. Philip Neri. Buddhist fools include Pu-tai and Hanshan. Mulla Nasreddin Hoja was an Islamic Sufi fool. I went on a grief retreat with 25 others, and it wasn’t long before dark humor surfaced. We were crying and laughing as we talked about our journey through grief and shared the silly things we did to cope on the hard days when grief threatened to pull us down. Laughter released the pressure inside and helped us breathe. We found it cathartic to poke fun at death, and by doing so, we took back some control over our lives. Laughing together gave us the strength to continue on. Laughter opened our hearts to each other and let their compassion come in. When we can laugh in Death’s face, then Death doesn’t win. Posted by Mark Liebenow at 6:36 AM
  8. Sending love and hugs to you dear Katie. Our hearts hurt for you. We will always be here for you. I hope that the group you are meeting with are helpful to you. Anne
  9. This is not a place that any of us want to belong to but it is a caring and safe place for those of us who miss a loved one. As Katie said everyone is supportive and ready to listen without judgment. I believe the quote you added to your post belongs to Jamie Anderson. Here is a link I found: https://kathyparker.com.au/2017/01/02/grief-is-just-love-with-no-place-to-go/ I hope you find that coming here gives you some peace. Anne
  10. Widower's Grief ~ Mark Liebenow Wednesday, August 15, 2018 Standing In a Dark World, Waiting When death comes, we leave the world of light behind and enter a realm of shadows. Colors mute to gray. Sounds are all in the distance. Even if it’s sunny and in the eighties, the air feels cold and we wear a jacket. Food tastes like cardboard, so we don’t eat. Everything we pick up is rough to the touch, so we stay home. Our world shifts into slow gear. When death hits, the world becomes a noisy commuter train with flashing lights, clacking rails, and packed with people chatting too loudly. Then we’re standing alone on the platform after midnight in an empty station at the end of the line. The darkness and silence are a relief because the world has become too loud and too bright. Finally, we can breathe. At first, nothing seems to be here. Nothing is moving. But as our eyes adjust to the darkness, the stars begin to emerge. Their stillness brings presence to the long, empty hours. Each star seems alone, separated by light years, but as we watch we begin to see the thin, gossamer threads that connect each star to the others in its constellation. Tonight, as on every night, hundreds of new people are getting off trains in dark stations around the world, feeling alone as they watch the stars. We sense others who are grieving around us, even though we don’t know their names or where they live. Someone leans against a brick wall, waiting for the cab that will take him away from despair over his friend’s death. Someone lies in bed unable to sleep. She cannot touch the empty space beside her. The loss of his physical body is too stark, and she refuses to pretend that his love never was. Someone in his backyard watches for meteors, remembering when he used to watch with his wife, waiting for some sign to tell him it’s okay to let go and move on. Someone on a bus goes home after the closing shift, watching the streetlights flash by and seeing the dark houses where people are asleep with their families, wondering if she will ever be a mother if she will ever risk trying to give birth again. Someone can’t leave the loneliness of the beach after the sun goes down, a beach he used to walk with his father. The sounds of the restless ocean wash in, bringing the only presence he can feel, the only thing that calms his mind. It takes courage to stand and face your grief. Yet we are members of a community that gathers in the darkness. In the bonds that hold us together, we find strength and light. Posted by Mark Liebenow at 6:59 AM
  11. Grief is a process...we cannot hurry it along.
  12. Widower's Grief Wednesday, August 8, 2018 The Public Face of Grief When death comes to someone we love, our world changes and we are forced to change with it. When we first go into public, we are numb and in shock, bearing the marks of grief, yet most of the world doesn’t seem to notice. We sense people staring at us, especially those who know us well because the face that they were used to seeing is gone. People also treat us differently because we are dealing with is something that scares them, and they don’t know how to handle it. In the weeks after my wife Evelyn died, I did not look at people. I stared at the sidewalk when I walked to work, unable to comprehend what had happened, and not wanting others to see how broken I was. I did not want to be seen. I wanted to be anonymous and did not want to stop and chat about everyday concerns that no longer mattered to me. Those who knew what had happened were cautious, not knowing how to reach through the veil of trauma and find me. In all honesty, I don’t think my face showed any emotions in those first weeks, but my eyes must have looked terribly sad and lost. Two months later, I threw a birthday party for Ev because I promised her I would before the unexpected happened. Now I wanted her friends to have a chance to celebrate her and share their stories. The memorial service had been rather somber, and I thought a party would be a good way to send her off on her journey across death’s sea, like the Irish did with their kin during the potato famine, putting them on ships to America, not knowing if they would ever see them again. The party was held in Tilden Park high in the Berkeley hills on a warm day of sunshine. Evelyn’s friends laughed and sang, danced to a fiddle and a Celtic drum, and there was cake with lots of frosting, which would have delighted Ev. Although it was hard for me to celebrate, I saw that other people were still happy, and I needed to know this. Yet, if they reminded me that joy still existed in the world, did I remind them of the presence of death? People want to believe that life is a happy affair. They don’t want to be reminded that death can come to any of us at any time, and it doesn’t matter how good, rich, or beautiful we are. Invitations to social gatherings slowed because most of our friends were couples, and I was now a single. This presented a problem for table seatings. If I was invited, I knew that another single person would also be there and we would be expected to interact with each other all night. The single people I knew at work were twenty years younger, and although they were caring and surprisingly curious about grief, we weren’t likely to hang out in the same places or listen to the same music. If anyone said something about grief, I moved closer and started asking questions, wanting to compare notes on our struggles. When this happened at large gatherings, I noticed that everyone else moved away, leaving the two of us to talk alone. When we’re no longer afraid of death, our appearance shifts. Our familiarity with the dark side of human existence brings us power because we have stood toe to toe with death. We have gathered our courage and walked the path of sorrow that sometimes made us shake with fear, and we have become warriors of grief. This is what you now see in our face. Posted by Mark Liebenow at 6:40 AM
  13. Dear Katie, You need not have any words for those of us here. It is alright for you to 'feel' selfish as long as you know you are not selfish. Right now you only have to take care of yourself and the boys and the little one you are carrying. That is enough. I remember when I first came to this forum I had the same cry about not having words for others. One of the forum members told me that we'll carry you now and later when you are able you will be here for others. I remembered that to this day. You are here because you know that we hear you and care for you. Many of us do not have words to comfort you but we are here and we are listening. Your love and hugs are appreciated and we send them right back to you. ❤️ Anne
  14. Oh, Kay, I am so sorry that Peggy is going through such a difficult time. I know how close you are to your siblings. You have such a kind heart. I keep you in my prayers and hope for Peggy's recovery. Sending hugs.
  15. Today I found myself rereading several chapters of this book today... “There is really only one way to restore a world that is dying and in disrepair: to make beauty where ugliness has set in. By beauty, I don’t mean a superficial attractiveness, though the word is commonly used in this way. Beauty is a loveliness admired in its entirety, not just at face value. The beauty I’m referring to is metabolized grief. It includes brokenness and fallibility, and in so doing, conveys for us something deliciously real. Like kintsukuroi, the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with powdered gold, what is normally seen as a fatal flaw is distinguished with value. When we come into contact with this kind of beauty, it serves as a medicine for the brokenness in ourselves, which then gives us the courage to live in greater intimacy with the world’s wounds.” ― Toko-pa Turner, Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home.
  16. I really like this quote...
  17. This really touched me...another article from Widower's Grief by Mark Liebenow. Wednesday, August 1, 2018 What We Grieve Our Astonishing Light We do not grieve the memories of our spouses who died. Surprised? Me, too. Sometimes we are so overwhelmed with a profound loneliness that we grieve everything. Meanwhile, the rest of the world goes on without noticing. What I realized today is that while the memories of our loved ones may pull us down into sorrow, the memories themselves remain what they were — happy if they were good memories, and sad if they were unpleasant. But we don’t grieve them. I’m not talking about the traumatic, visual memories we have of the day our loved ones died because those are different animals — they torment and pummel us. What I’m talking about are the memories of everyday life, the ordinary interactions on ordinary days. We do grieve the loss of our special person because everything they were — their personalities, humor, strength, tenderness, physical presence, and touch — are missing from this moment, this lonely, empty, cavernous moment when we desperately want them to be here, and would give anything if they could, if only for a moment. We also grieve our loss of vision for the future, because what we imagined our lives were going to be like with this person by our side has been snatched away. Even if we were sketchy on the details of what we’d be doing in ten, twenty and thirty years down the road, not having this to look forward to takes the wind out of our sails. We also grieve our loss of place, because we no longer know where we belong. Our home may feel like just a place where we eat, sleep, and shower before we go back to work. Our invitations to the gatherings of married friends or friends with children drop off. We grieve our loss of settledness because we had the life that we wanted. We hadn’t reached all of our dreams, and there were still some bugs to work out in our relationship, but we knew what to expect each week and month. Much of that has been taken away. One day we will celebrate our loved ones again with all of their strengths, limitations, and occasional wackiness that endeared them to us. But not yet. What we can celebrate today is the beauty of the evening’s sunset. We can celebrate friends who invite us over for dinner, who come over to drink coffee and see how we’re doing. We can celebrate because it’s their kindness that keeps us tethered to the earth, each other, and those we love. In this time of turmoil and uncertainty, we need to remember who we are and we need to celebrate this, even though it’s difficult because we feel so defeated, inadequate, and conspicuously sad that we wonder if we have enough left to risk loving other people again. Yet we are standing up and we are dealing with one of the hardest things we will ever have to face. This is to be celebrated. We are strong, compassionate, funny, and talented, and the one who died saw these things in us and they loved us because of them. Hafiz says this well: “I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in the darkness, the astonishing light of your own being.” Posted by Mark Liebenow at 6:09 AM
  18. Dear Katie, I do not think that anything someone does or doesn’t do has anything to do with someone ending his life. Suicide is an act that is personal. The person only wants to end their pain. This is what I believe. I do not believe that what your Allen did has anything to do with anything you did or didn’t do. You are a loving and caring person and I believe Allen knew that. We would like to blame ourselves but I don’t believe that is what is going on with suicide. I wrote an article after Allen ended his life on this earth that might help you. I will add it as an attachment so those who don’t want to read it will not see it unless they want to read it. It’s my personal opinion only. I know you loved him. I know he loved you and all his family. I wish I could take this unbelievable situation you are in and go back a few weeks but we both know that I can’t make it better for you. What I can do is be here to listen without judgment. That is what we do here on the forum. I believe what others are saying ~ you are doing a good job of caring for your family. "Wondering" is normal. Nourish your body right now. Breathe. Rest when you are able. Hold Caleb and Ryan tight. Anne When someone you know dies of suicide your world narrows and all your thought goes to that one act.docx
  19. Sometimes we just have to laugh.
  20. I listen to music when life just doesn't make sense...to watch it full screen is best.
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