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Thank you, Marty. The path is not always an easy one. I am receiving so much help from others and I like being a part of this discussion group. I know I am where I am at because of the help from others here. We are indeed blessed to have a place that is safe and caring. :wub:

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This is outstanding, Anne. I missed hearing him when he spoke nearby not too long ago. A man of wisdom.....this will help everyone here....a reminder to all including me.

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Thank you, Anne. I love Lou LaGrand, and I love the positive message he conveys in this article:

You can get through your great loss. Yes, you will have some failures but learn from them. Get up and go at it again. Keep seeking knowledge and wisdom from others who have dealt with your type of loss. Take what you hear that seems right for you and let go of the rest. You will overcome.

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As I was re-reading the Lou LaGrand article, I got an email listing several articles by La Grand. Here is the link to the links.


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Uma Girish

6 Things that Helped Me When I was Grieving


Healing from grief doesn't come with a generic prescription. It's not 2 Advil for pain relief.

We each have to find our own route toward healing. I'd like to share what helped me through those raw weeks and months of intense grief.

Crying. Tears have always been healing for me. When I lost my mother, I cried gallons of tears. Each time, my soul was rinsed clean and I felt lighter. The weight of grief lessened.


I didn't care about calories or miles. Walking at my own pace always felt good. My sore, achy muscles limbered up. My eyes landed on a flower or a painted sky--and my heart lifted for a brief moment.

Reading. Inspirational literature whetted my appetite. Words were the perfect balm for my wounds. I found solace in the meaning behind pain, grief and loss. Books became my best friends at a time when no one else could.

Sleeping. Grief used up so much energy. I'd fall asleep as soon as my head touched the pillow. For those precious hours, I could lay my burdens down. Refueling helped me find the energy to move through another day.

Support. Finding a support group felt like finding my tribe after wandering through a scary forest, alone and bewildered. I felt held and nurtured. The women in my group listened to my stories. They gave me hugs. They helped me piece together my broken heart.

Service. Nothing helped me heal faster than serving a group of seniors in a retirement community. In sharing stories of loss and grief, in acts of kindness and compassion, my perspective of loss shifted. I felt connected to humanity and was making a difference. Most importantly, it made me realize that's why we're here.

My list of 6 may not be yours. We all grieve and heal differently.

I encourage you to make a list of your own. In recognizing what helps, you'll have a chance to bring more of that into your life.

And if you want to read the story of how I moved from grief to gratitude, check out my memoir "Losing Amma, Finding Home" on Amazon or my website.

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Some good points in the article above, Mary. I don't understand why so many people think we are ill when we are only grieving!

I found this article in my email this morning and wanted to share it ~


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10 Things about the first year of grief...and more....keeping in mind it is different for everyone over all.


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This just in: the Fall 2014 Newsletter from Wings: A Grief Education Ministry

Contents of this ELetter:

• Feature: Tricks Your Brain Plays on You During Grief by Bob Baugher
• Editor’s Journal: It Takes a Celebrity’s Death to Invite Us to Discuss Suicide by Nan Zastrow
• What’s on the Calendar
• Inspirational Story: Can Good Come from Death? by Arla Luetschwager
Life Is... from Mother Teresa of Calcutta
• Reader Feedback:What Do You Think?

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Such good information in the article you posted, Marty. It is filled with so many good points.

One of the sections of the article talked about rituals and routines others shared and I found them to be very inspiring.

A few of my own rituals in those early days were to:

· Play videos that Jim and I enjoyed together

· I made iBooks (using an Apple software program) that I filled with pictures of Jim and the kids and grandkids and sent the finished book to each child

· I made PowerPoint slide shows using different themes (flowers, dance, nature, etc.) and turned the ppt into iMovies ~ this helped to fill my days ~ I burned the iMovies onto discs so I can watch them

· Because our patio was a place that we spent many hours on I found that I could not go out and sit because of all the memories ~ it took me a few months before I could go out and have coffee and sit without the gush of tears flooding my eyes and sending me back into the house ~ thank goodness for my grief counselor because when she came for her visits she would gently ask me if I wanted to sit outdoors ~ after awhile we did and I found that once again I could sit on the patio without falling apart. This was a big deal for me.

· I still journal today ~ I find it therapeutic to do so

The brain really does play tricks on us. I thought that I would never be happy again. I went through many of the “guilt” thoughts. I was sure that Jim would have been around longer if only I’d attended to him closer. It’s easy to blame ourselves and find fault but in reality we do the best we can because of the love we have for them.

I liked what Nan Zastrow said about the discussion of suicide and how it takes the death of a celebrity to talk about it. So many of us have the ‘old thinking’ of suicide being a selfish act ~ how could someone take their own life, don’t they know how much pain that causes others who are left behind? I am glad that it is not such a taboo topic today.

This article is filled with good information. I downloaded the pdf to my desktop so I can reread it.

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Photo by Tom Woodward
Memo to Myself: Avoid Domesticating Our Prophets
by Parker J. Palmer (@parkerjpalmer), weekly columnist

I once heard a politician who calls himself a Christian say, in effect, "While Jesus encouraged personal acts of compassion for the poor, it doesn't follow that he wants us to use other people's money [i.e., tax revenues] to put an economic safety net under the poor. That's compassion on the cheap."

I disagree with that politician on so many counts I can't enumerate them right now. Instead, I'll put a slight spin on a line from Anne Lamott:

"You can safely assume you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God agrees with your tax policy."

But the politician in question is not alone in making this kind of intellectual and spiritual mistake. So here's a Memo to Myself:

"Avoid the bad habit of domesticating the prophet of your choice, turning him into a cheerleader for your way of thinking and way of life. Remember that all the great prophets were courageous and outrageous folks who railed against the powers-that-be, challenged self-satisfied piosity, threatened the prevailing social order, and would find you falling short in some significant ways."

I can't speak for Jesus, but I'd bet the farm that he'd be very unhappy with certain features of American life, not least its gross economic inequities and its calloused culture of violence. I'm also pretty sure that many of my fellow Christians would be extremely uncomfortable with Jesus were he to show up in their churches.

That's why I love this remarkable but little-known poem by Mary Oliver, who reminds us that Jesus was "frightening," "demanding," and full of "melancholy madness," among other things. The poem is wake-call for anyone who assumes that the prophet of his or her choice would be all comfort and no cutting edge.

And for Mary Oliver fans who know only her soothing, uplifting pastoral voice, this poem reminds us that it's as big a mistake to domesticate a great poet as it is to make a household pet out of great prophet!


by Mary Oliver, from

Sweet Jesus, talking

his melancholy madness,

stood up in the boat

and the sea lay down,

silky and sorry.

So everybody was saved

that night.

But you know how it is

when something

different crosses

the threshold — the uncles

mutter together,

the women walk away,

the young brother begins

to sharpen his knife.

Nobody knows what the soul is.

It comes and goes

like the wind over the water —

sometimes, for days,

you don't think of it.

Maybe, after the sermon,

after the multitude was fed,

one or two of them felt

the soul slip forth

like a tremor of pure sunlight

before exhaustion,

that wants to swallow everything,

gripped their bones and left them

miserable and sleepy,

as they are now, forgetting

how the wind tore at the sails

before he rose and talked to it —

tender and luminous and demanding

as he always was —

a thousand times more frightening

than the killer storm

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Battling “What If” and “If Only”

By Gary Roe


Guilt is a relentless, soul-sucking monster. Hearts groan under “What if…” and “If only…” To say that we want things to be different is a gross understatement.

Two decades had passed since my father’s sudden death. I was sitting in a counselor’s office, agitated, panicky. It was clear I hadn’t really grieved my dad’s passing.

The counselor looked at me and asked, “So, do you feel responsible for your dad’s death?”

I snickered, and opened my mouth to say, “No!” but nothing came. I sat there in stunned silence.

I did feel responsible.

My mind raced back to a meeting with doctors in the hospital. They explained the situation and then lookedat my brother and myself. “We need your permission to turn off the machines,” they said.

I glanced sideways at my brother, who was almost 30. He looked down briefly, and nodded his head. I looked back around, and nodded my head. I was fifteen. For twenty years, I felt I had ended my father’s life. Some of us live with crushing guilt. We trudge around with this ball and chain, unaware. We feel responsible. It was our fault somehow.

If only…”

“What if…?”

We wake up in the morning, and Guilt is right there with us. It says, “Good morning, friend. It’s another day.We’ll begin again with the past - what you did wrong and what you didn’t do right. Then I’ll brief you on your agenda for the day. Just think about all the mistakes that are out there waiting for you!”

As we go through the day, Guilt says, “You’re responsible for what went wrong. Let’s go over those regrets again? Yep, it’s your fault.”

We put our head on the pillow at night, and Guilt says, “How many more mistakes did you make today? Not to worry. I’ll remind you of them tomorrow.”

For some of us, Guilt’s voice is so familiar that we’ve mistaken it for our own. Guilt isn’t content with merely coming and going. It’s greedy by nature. It thirsts for control. It wants to be the atmosphere in which we do life.

In order to heal and grow, we must begin to unmask this soul-crushing villain. Here are four key things to remember about guilt:

Guilt is a monster that will never be satisfied. Left undetected, it will damage our hearts and ravage our souls. Like an infection, if not properly treated, it tends to grow and spread.

Guilt promises but never delivers. It tells us that things will be better if we feel bad about what we did or didn’t do. Guilt keeps us from taking appropriate action, like asking forgiveness and making amends. Guilt keeps us stuck.

Guilt lies to us. Guilt wants to make us responsible for everything. We mustn’t let it. Let’s take responsibility only for what’s ours. Instead of dwelling on what happened, we can focus on what to do next.

Guilt is misplaced grief. Feeling responsible keeps us from feeling the full pain of the loss, but in the end only lengthens the process. We must let guilt go. It’s time to release ourselves.

It’s time to kick the Guilt Monster to the curb. We’ll be glad we did.

About the Author: Gary Roe is an author, speaker, and chaplain with Hospice Brazos Valley. He is the author of Surviving the Holidays without You (2013) and the co-author (with New York Times Bestseller Cecil Murphey) of Saying Goodbye: Facing the Loss of a Loved One (2013). Visit him at www.garyroe.com.

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I really liked the article, Jan. Thank you for posting it. I will need to read it again.

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Great piece. Thank you. Need to read again,

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A Welsh writer and poet, Dannie Abse, died this week. His beloved wife, Joan, died in a car accident in 2005 and he wrote a book called The Presence, published in 2008, about their life and her loss. I'm reading it. I find that reading about other people' s loss and sadness somehow acknowledges my own. Strange really, but I think that this is others' experiences who write here. His book is interspersed with poetry as you would expect. He was a medical doctor as well as being a poet. I think I will empathise with this book.

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“Will I Grieve or Will I Mourn” by Alan d. Wolfelt, Ph.D is an excellent article about the difference between “grieving” and “mourning.” I didn’t really think about the difference until I started to read about grief ~ I thought that my grief over the death of my Jim was enough. I did not know that part of the healing process was to express my thoughts and feelings through different mediums.

I find that to write my thoughts down is helping me, I have used art as an expression of my grief, I share my feelings with others, music is an important part of my healing, learning about “the process” by seeking help from a grief counselor has helped me, reading and learning how to meditate continues to be a comfort to me, talking about my feelings about Jim’s death has given me permission to be sad or cry or ask for help. My healing is taking place partly because I am learning from others who have gone before me ~ I do not have to do this alone ~ comfort comes from sharing what’s going on with me. I am grateful for this forum. My “mourning” is allowing me to freely express so many of the negative emotions I’ve had and I hope that I’ll come to a place where I’ll be able to weave Jim into this different life I’m now living.

It’s a good article and cleared some things up for me.


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