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My thoughts on Finding Hope After the Death of a Sibling webinar sponsored by The Compassionate Friends: a dialog with Heidi Horsley, Alicia “Allie” Sims Franklin and Tracey Milne who have lost siblings.

“Hope is to remember first that they lived.” Darcie Sims, Mother of Allie.

I struggled with Who Am I Now after the death of three of my siblings. Two were younger siblings and one was my older sibling ~ all to cancer. I was older when my siblings died and I did not know how to answer the question of how many siblings do you have. My younger sister (by four years) died when she was in her thirties of ovarian cancer and my brother (five years younger) died of testicular cancer and complications from a head injury he suffered while in the Navy. I remember how everyone expressed condolences to my parents when my younger siblings died, but I do not remember anyone asking me how I was doing.

To this day, I miss my older sister more than my younger siblings. Sometimes I feel guilty for not missing them as much as my sister. My sister took on the role of our Mother who died of metastatic breast disease and I think that is why I felt closer to her. We stayed close during our adult life until she died from small cell carcinoma after being diagnosed. Her death happened only two weeks after she entered the hospital so our good-byes took place over the phone due to the harsh winter weather in South Dakota that year. Flights were canceled and roads were iced for weeks. We did not have her memorial service until spring.

It is so important to give recognition to all siblings and not just to those who have died. I love the idea that when you toast the ones who have died you should also toast to the ones who are still here. For years, our Thanksgiving dinner prayer had always been to honor both those loved ones who were no longer with us and at the same time toasting those around the table. I have carried this tradition on to this day. I have come to know many people who have lost a sibling and the thing I hear over and over again is that those of us who survived feel guilty.

I love talking about my younger siblings. I like remembering all the things we did when they were alive. However, I find that people really don’t want to hear about those who have died.

Both Allie and Tracey spoke of living in the shadow of their deceased siblings and asking, “Who am I now?” Recognizing that their loss reflects decisions that they’ll make in the future, the importance of recognizing milestones in their own sibling’s lives, and not shying away from mentioning those who have died. Acknowledging the milestones – the first beer, a driver’s license, graduations, marriages, and adult accomplishments.

Tell one story that mom and dad didn’t know ~ I like this one.

We learn to live without them, but it doesn’t mean that we don’t miss them. Sharing their stories helps to keep them alive in our hearts.

We can have empathy for others who have lost a sibling, but we cannot know what it is like just as we can’t understand what it is like to lose a spouse unless you have been there.

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I have four sisters and a brother. It is natural that we are closer to some more than others but that doesn't mean we don't love them all, ever so much! My brother, Mick, is busy with his life in Eugene, five kids, three jobs, and up until a couple of years ago, helping my mom around her place, mowing the lawn, chopping firewood, fixing a light, etc. He doesn't have the time or inclination to mingle with us older girls. My oldest sister, Donna, is quadriplegic and unable to participate in so much, so we take her out once a month (except winter) to eat, shop, just be with us girls. My next oldest sister, Peggy, lives here in town with me, and we talk on the phone most days and I drop in on her with Arlie now and then. She no longer drives, so it's me, her husband, or her friend that drive her out of town when she needs to go somewhere. The next one, Polly, lives in Beaverton, about 3 1/2 hours from here. She has complicated eye issues that prohibit her driving much and complicates her life. We stay in touch by phone and when we have "sister get togethers". My younger sister, Julie, also in Beaverton, is the only one of us still working full time. We also stay in touch by phone and get togethers, but she isn't able to make as many of them due to working, and we try to get together during the summer when she's off (she works for a school). All of them are important to me. It was Polly that acted motherly when I was growing up, even though only 6 1/2 years older than me...she still tries. :) To lose any one of them is unfathomable to me, and yet I know it's coming...around the corner, someday. Peggy doesn't take care of herself and that scares me. Donna is on oxygen and still smokes. I know their days are numbered, and I don't want that next phase in which I start losing them. I want life to go on like it is, us all getting together now and then, all together. I am lucky that we all live in the same state and are within driving distance.

Siblings are those who have known you all your life and love you anyway. They know your history, what you were called when you were little. They know all the funny stories, and some not so funny ones. They were there when you were divorced, there when you were widowed. They know your strong points and also the things about you that need worked on. They know who you inherited what from. They have the same abilities you do, some of the same quirks. They can drive you nuts but that in no way lessens how you feel about them. You know you can drive them nuts too. They remember when you smashed their first lipstick, how ornery you were when you were little, yet somehow find it in their hearts to love you. You share the same parentage, and no one else in the world but them can quite get how you came to be the way you are.

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http://www.synchcast.net/#!grief-and-joy-in-a-flatline-culture/c1d28

This is a two session workshop on line hosted by Framcis Weller. I believe it will be very worth while having read his book and having had personal co tact with him. There is a fee..I think $63. His book Entering the healing Ground is outstanding. His website is also http://www.wisdombridge.net

Peace to all

Mary

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Dear Mary,

Thank you for links to these wonderful resources

Your generous, kindhearted caring and sharing continue to touch us all. Much of what you share seems to touch me personally, and I thank you for continuing to be a loving resource and a well of wisdom for me especially. I hope your healing and 'reconfiguration' are going well. Love to Bentley, and to you as well of course.

Peace to your dear heart, and

namaste,

fae

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Fae, I just signed up for Francis Well's two session webinar. I really respect his work. I do think you might enjoy it. He goes beyond but includes our personal losses and includes and addresses cultural issues. He is from Wisconsin and for a while I was thinking of bringing him here to lead one of his three day rituals as he co see to visit family nearby. But my energy to do all that organizing has fled for parts unknown.

I will be taking a ten week class this summer at the UW in Minfulness. It is the program started many years ago by Jon Cabot Zinn.

I am glad you enjoy what I post.

Bentley is having some bad days and I worry about him. He has been stable but recently I see changes. Today's is a particularly tough day for him. And that means tough for me.

I hope this finds you well.

Peace,

Mary

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This recording comes to us (at no cost) from our friend and colleague, Peggy Haymes. She describes the various life losses that can plunge us into a state of grief and explains why it can be so hard to deal with them. It is well worth the half-hour or so it takes to listen!
My webinar, Is My Grief Weird?, has just posted online. I'm giving access to this one to everyone for an unlimited time. This webinar is for you if
  • Someone told you it was time to have closure
  • You feel like you're grieving but wondering why since no one died
  • You wonder if your grief is legitimate
  • You want to learn more about dimensions of grief.
You can access it here. I hope you'll enjoy it, find it useful and share it with others.

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I really enjoyed listening to this webinar, Marty. I am glad you posted it for us.

Many points were familiar yet some were not. It’s good to know that we are not “flunking” grief when the waves come. We all know about the waves now. It is also good to know that there is no closure in grief ~ that there is not something wrong with us when we fall apart when we hear a certain song or go down the cookie isle in a grocery store. I liked the quote Peggy Haymes used from Anne Lamott that “grief is like a spinning wheel. “Grief, as I read somewhere once, is a lazy Susan. One day it is heavy and underwater, and the next day it spins and stops at loud and rageful, and the next day at wounded keening, and the next day numbness, silence.”

Those of us who have been on this journey for a while know that we cannot ignore our grief. It will wait for us until we deal with it.

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This recording comes to us (at no cost) from our friend and colleague, Peggy Haymes. She describes the various life losses that can plunge us into a state of grief and explains why it can be so hard to deal with them. It is well worth the half-hour or so it takes to listen!
My webinar, Is My Grief Weird?, has just posted online. I'm giving access to this one to everyone for an unlimited time. This webinar is for you if
  • Someone told you it was time to have closure
  • You feel like you're grieving but wondering why since no one died
  • You wonder if your grief is legitimate
  • You want to learn more about dimensions of grief.
You can access it here. I hope you'll enjoy it, find it useful and share it with others.

Thank you so much --- I came across your post on this webinar while wandering this website.........I love how she talks

about the loss of companion animals. I say "Amen!" to everything she has to say! Every single thing she says I could be saying; I am feeling.

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I'm so glad you listened, Marj. I think Peggy Haymes is wonderful, and this recording is so filled with her compassion and understanding . . .

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August 3, 2015 - sharing

I watched an excellent webinar today:

Grieving Children: How Can We Help Them?

Impaired Driving: Healing After the Death of a Child

Dr. Heidi Horsley, Alan Petersen, and Dr. Gloria Horsley with Carl McDonald, a National Law Enforcement Initiatives Manager for MADD

Carl lost a child, Carlie (5 yrs old), to a drunk driver, his x-wife who had visiting privileges, rear-ended a semi while under the influence. Carlie was in the front seat. She died at the scene. X-wife survived the crash – she could have received only five years of probation from the state they lived in – she did 18 months in prison – it’s an individual state thing

How does one deal with this?

Recognize that this was

· An unnatural event – death isn’t suppose to happen this way

· We fearlessly protect our children – Carl filed for divorce and got custody with his x-wife having visiting rights

· Helplessness and confusion – not much one can do if the states don’t see it as important – Carl left the front drapes open for two years – waiting for Carlie to return home.

· Recognize that there is NO closure – how do you deal with your grief when in law enforcement – he had to get over the immediate hurdles like the funeral, the criminal justice system, civil court, etc. and then attend to his own grief – it is hard work – he read, did research, went to therapy both one-on-one and in a group – he recognized and accepted that he was not the same person

· Breathing is an achievement

· Forgive – not for the person but for you – never tell the person you have forgiven them – if you have other children take care of them – sacrifice for the children

· If you have Anger –get over it – it doesn’t serve you – you can’t do anything about it

Always remain in survival mode - Do not give up - Lean into your grief - when you can, find an activity to get involved in

The organization Carl works for now:

MADD and Child Endangerment

Services are for the survivors of the drunk driver who dies also - Even if a child who drives drunk dies services are for those who survive

Possible things to help those who get into a car drunk: put an ignition interlock on the car – get manufacturers to install a device that wouldn’t start if driver is impaired

There are materials (videos, books, brochures, etc. for – parents, adults, and children

MADD serves all victims

There is a crossover between MADD and The Compassionate Friends

This webinar was informative and helpful.

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I have registered for this. It sounds very good. 

safe_image.php?d=AQB4Q7LGodAKHHN8&w=470&
Join the #MindfulnessSummit, a not for profit, FREE 31-day online event with over 30 of the world's leading experts on meditation & mindfulness giving you the tools...
THEMINDFULNESSSUMMIT.COM
 
 

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From our friend and colleague Karen Wyatt, MD:

If you're not already registered for End-of-Life University, you can sign up here. It's FREE and you will receive notification each time a new interview is scheduled. Register now!


End-of-Life University 2015:


Join this conversation about transformation through illness, loss and grief on Thursday September 10th.

a64bc127-f465-4666-90ab-46ea6be9da98.jpgThis Thursday I will interview Carol Jones, a minister and author who has written about her husband Kenny's journey through illness, death and the afterlife in the book "Through Kenny's Eyes: A Magnificent Journey from Illness to Ecstasy."

This will be a LIVE interview and you will be able to join the conversation with your comments and questions!

In this interview you will learn:

  • an inside look at the patient and caregiver journey through terminal illness
  • how Ken managed to find joy and excitement within the dying process
  • why grief can be a transformational experience when embraced as an act of sacred service
  • how Carol continues to be inspired by Ken's love and messages to her

Learn more about the interview at this link.


Here's how to attend: 
Date: Thursday, September 10, 2015
Time: 10 am Pacific/1 pm Eastern

Dial in #(425) 440-5100 
PIN code882570#  

Attend by Web by clicking on this link:

http://iTeleseminar.com/73703604
 
Don't worry you will receive all of this information again on Thursday morning - I just wanted you to be able to plan ahead for this interesting interview!

If you are interested in receiving text message reminders before each EOLU interview, go to this page and sign up on the form:

http://www.eoluniversity.com/reminder

Don't miss this interview! Mark your calendar NOW for Thursday September 10th! And, as always, there will be a REPLAY available for a limited time if you can't tune in on Thursday.

Love,
Karen
Karen_M._Wyatt_M.D._Signature.jpg
PS: Help me grow End-of-Life University by inviting your friends! Either FORWARD this email to them or tell them to go to www.eoluniversity.com to register for the series! 

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Be Our Guest
Free webinar: Taking Care of Your Health While Grieving
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Please register for Free Webinar: Taking care of your health while grieving on Sep 14, 2015 5:00 PM PDT at:  

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/9064741465354661633

Join Alan Pedersen, Executive Director of The Compassionate Friends and Dr. Gloria Horsley, President of the Open to Hope Foundation, and special guest Dr. Coralease Ruff. Dr. Ruff is a Bereavement Facilitator, A Registered Nurse, a University Professor and an International Nursing Consultant and bereaved parent.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Brought to you by GoToWebinar®
Webinars Made Easy®
  
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Thank you for the Mindfulness link, Anne, I've signed up also and am glad it will be in October as I don't have plans to go away during that month.

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I have to be gone tonight, but maybe you'll share what you gleaned from this?

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I apologize. I wrote to this group to find out the local time for the event and was told it was an in person event but will be available as a podcast soon. Watch the site (tns.commonweal.org) to find out when and when I do find out, I will post in this category. So sorry. But worth the wait.

I am sure many of you do not know who I am. I have been a member here since 2010. I lost my husband that year and in 2012 was also a moderator here for a year. For those who do know me....Bentley my Golden is still with me, hanging in and doing fairly well. Lymphoma has not won yet. I light a candle every day for each of you as I meditate and as we all walk this path together.

The following is a link to an interview/chat with Francis Weller. Francis is the author of The Wild Edge of Sorrow. He is close to the top of my top ten list of favorite authors on grief. He is a psychotherapist, poet, author and speaker and leads grief ritual weekends around the country. I will be attending one of these next April and I know I can only benefit from the weekend. This free on line interview is a great opportunity to get a chance to meet him and hear what he has to say.

http://tns.commonweal.org/events/francis-weller-2/#.VkDtUL9klNj

Edited by mfh

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So good to see you back here, Mary. I am glad Bentley is doing fairly well. I will be watching for the podcast. The Francis Weller interview was so good. These interviews help me to understand Weller's book The Wild Edge of Sorrow more clearly. 

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Update from Peggy Haymes, Wednesday, November 25: 

Thanks to those of you who could join us live. For everyone, here's the replay.
http://ccst.io/e/peggyhaymes1

Please feel free to email me with comments or questions. I know of at least one person who had difficulty accessing the live stream through a mobile device. Please let me know if you had any technical difficulties so that I can address them with the hosting company.

For many years we held a workshops for adult survivors of child abuse at a retreat center that was led by a wonderful Franciscan nun. Each workshop she'd come in to welcome us, telling the participants that she'd been praying that they would receive whatever blessing they needed.

So that's my wish for you, that in this and other resources that you receive whatever you yourself need in this season.

Peggy

 

 

This from our friend and colleague Peggy Haymes:

I'll admit it.

I'm in the Christmas spirit a bit early this year. As I write this email I'm playing Vince Guaraldi's wonderful "Charlie Brown Christmas" soundtrack.

Maybe I'm so eager because I had a string of hard holidays for a while - the first without my mom (who lived and breathed Christmas spirit), then watching my dad go downhill until we faced the first without him.

The holidays can be tough days.

  • Maybe because you've lost a family member or friend who brought Christmas delight to you.
  • Or it's the first one since your marriage busted up and you won't see the kids on Christmas morning.
  • Or you've moved away and won't be able to get home to see family this year and you feel lost.
  • You've lost your job and are suddenly aware of how much those treasured Christmas traditions cost.

Whatever the reasons, you feel more dread than anticipation, more heaviness than ho ho ho.

I'm doing a free webinar next Tuesday on how to navigate the holidays when they are tough days. You can sign up here. Also, if you have questions you'd like to see addressed you can post them after you've signed up.

Please feel free to pass this email along to anyone who might benefit from this webinar.

Peggy

ps I know Thanksgiving week can be crazy for some folks so this webinar will be recorded. Go ahead and sign up, and I'll make sure you get a link to the replay after we're done. You can watch it on your time.

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I checked Peggy's site, Marty, and could not find the webinar. What am I missing? ;)

Also, just above, the link symbol and the one to the left of it are turned around! I guess I'm not the only one having trouble this morning. It must be the new software update. :P 

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I checked the link just now, Anne, and it is working for me. Once you click on the link, be sure to scroll down to the wide orange bar that says "Yes Save My Spot!" If you click on that, it should produce a pop-up registration window . . .

As for the icons, I know they've been switched around ~ for that, I have no explanation. And yes, it is a result of the software update ~ which is totally beyond my control. Like you, I'm trying my best to figure out all the (weird? irrational? totally unnecessary?) changes. I'm just glad the features the icons represent are still there!

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I like Peggy's words...

I may not be playing Charlie Brown's Christmas just yet, but perhaps I'll skip Thanksgiving and go straight through to Christmas, especially since we're expected to have below freezing temperatures and snows prohibiting my going away Thanksgiving.  Maybe I'll use the time to get out the Christmas tree and decorate it!  Maybe I can pretend it's festive, whether it is or not!  Me and Arlie and Kitty and Miss Mocha will enjoy ourselves...

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Anne, I am able to go to her site but I don't see anything about a webinar on it...

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Yes, Kay, at first I click on Peggy's name because I did not see a link to go to so I went back to Marty's post and clicked on the link 'here' and found the webinar. I was able to register. Software updates are so confusing! 

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