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The Answer

Author’s Note: No scientific evidence or cold hard statistics here folks, just an answer based on my experience. 

What Happened? 

I suddenly became a widow at an age society considers to be “young.”

I did not see Joe’s death coming. The night before he was vibrant, energetic, and having fun figuring out which TV and TV cart to use for the DVD player I brought his and his roommate. He was looking forward to getting through rehab and coming home so he could walk Rommie.

The next morning he was gone.

What My Doctor Said

The odds of my becoming ill and dying within two years were great.

She did not say how great and I was too shocked and chicken to ask. Try living with that thought in the back of your head. Sometimes it makes its way to the front of your head and you have to work on pushing it back.

An example of this is me not finding a job and thinking:

“Well, guess the reason I am not getting interview or job offers is because I will be dead by the second anniversary.”

Grief messes with your mind.

Year One

The First Year:

  • I wandered aimlessly without desire or motivation. I sat on the couch or laid in bed on weekends to “store up” energy to drag my sorry behind into work the next week.
  • I knew who Michele and Joe were but now it was just Michele. Who was I no that I was single again?
  • The only reason I got out of bed each morning was to let Rommie (golden retriever daughter) outside as I did not want to lie in bed smelling pee and poo.
  • Ther was a fair amount of paperwork I had to do in order to get everything transferred into my name and get debts paid off or reduced so I could handle the monthly bills.
  • Just because I made it through the first year, did not mean I had made it 100% through lmy grief journey and was completely whole again.

Year Two

The Second Year:

  • My Mind became clouded with grief from losing my job.
  • My mind was still somewhat foggy from losing Joe.
  • I had to figure out who I was as a person and a professional.
  • I had some desire and motivation but not the amount I wanted or needed.
  • Had another 12 months to deal with the fact odds were against my making it to the second anniversary.

The Answer

Based on what I went through, the answer to how long do you wait before telling a grieving employee –

“I’m sorry, but we need you to perform at the level this job requires or we’ll have to let you go.

is Two (2) years. 

Undoubtedly you have either choked on your cinnamon roll or spit coffee out your nose at the thought of dealing with a grieving widow for two years.

The Next Step

Now that you know my answer, work with her in developing a plan to bring her back up to speed. If you work with her I doubt it will take 2 years for her performance to be at the level you need.

Coming tomorrow – Ideas for developing a plan. 

Bio: Michele Kearns is the founder and HUG© (Hope Unites Globally) Award-Winner of JoyReturns. She shares her widowhood adventures hoping to inspire widows to move through grief and rebuild their lives. A graduate of Kent State University with a Bachelor’s degree in communications, she’s currently using those skills as a virtual logistics contact center representative for a Fortune 100 company. She’s also managed call center teams, co-facilitated a grief support group, and helped small businesses with various writing assignments. Michele is a bookworm, and a lover of history, music, chocolate, red roses, and golden retrievers. She is also the amateur photographer behind the blog OgleOhio.com

Reflecting on my Words for 2020

Welcome to the end of 2020!

A year that even author Stephen King could not dream up.

There were four words I used as a guide this year were believe, abide, stand and bloom. They were appropriate given all the fecal matter the oscillating unit threw on us. (polite way of saying “$hit hits the fan”)

Here is how believe, abide and stand impacted my life this year.

Believe

Believe played the biggest role this year in my prayer life. My belief in the power of prayer grew stronger than ever this year. Mostly because I prayed more often and with great passion.

I prayed for the Holy Spirit to whip through this country like a white tornado, the health and well-being of my friends (includes co-workers and church members) family, and wisdom and safety for the President, Vice-President, The House, The Senate and The Supreme Court, among other things.

I believe, no I know God will answer my prayers in His time and in His way.

Abide

Abide comes from John 15 where Jesus states He is the true vine.

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

John 15:4-5

Devotionals, books, sermons and prayer were what I did in order to remain attached to the vine. Abiding kept me grounded and in order to get through a year like 2020 you have to be grounded. John 15 kept popping up in newsletters and on social media through out the year. Guess that was God’s way of making sure I did not forget to abide.

Stand

Stand pertained to my foundation.These three things were the foundation for life this year:

The Bible, The Declaration of Independence, and The Constitution

and in that order.

The Bible is the cornerstone of life. It is the foundation on which the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were based. The founding fathers knew Biblical principles would be easy for citizens to abide by. No seminary degree is necessary to understand

17 Thou shalt not kill.

18 Neither shalt thou commit adultery.

19 Neither shalt thou steal.

20 Neither shalt thou bear false witness against thy neighbour.

Deuteronomy 5:17-20 (KJV)

The Bible is the how-to-manual for living life. The Declaration and The Constitution are the documents for living life in America.

These three will be the foundation I stand on for the rest of my life.

Bloom

Bloom was the biggest challenge. During this year of shutdowns and mask mandates I found it hard to personally bloom because I was associating bloom with my career. While I am thankfully still employed, I did not make any decision that would help my career take off. Wait a minute…faithfully showing up for work every day helps me bloom because management knows there are no attendance issues with me.

And now that I think about it, believe, abide and stand all helped me bloom in my faith. Hmmm…guess I really did bloom this year after all.

JoyReturns also bloomed this year.

I posted 156 blogs posts this year. More than the past 2 years, ever since March of 2018 when I was working on the series – 10 Years A Widow. It was then that I felt someone stick a straw in my right shoulder and suck the life out of me. That is when I decided to quit but one very loyal and caring reader suggested I pop in every now and then to let everyone know how I was doing. Posting quarterly updates seemed reasonable.

Then late last year, I noticed there would not be 1,550 posts total at the end of 2019. I developed a plan for not only reaching 1,550 posts but reaching 1,700 posts total by 2020’s end. Well I surpassed by goal of 1,700 posts. Today’s post is number 1,710 since JoyReturns’ January 2011inception.

Now add in 4 5 more countries discovering JoyReturns and the total is 165 166 countries (as of yesterday) so I can say without a doubt, this blog bloomed.

And it was all thanks to God. I wrote the words and the Holy Spirit spread them far and wide. The most recent country JoyReturns reached was Armenia. Welcome!

I just show up and write what is on my mind and hit publish. God does the rest, always has and always will.

Headed For The Future

So hit the road 2020! Take your murder hornets (and everything else you dished out this year) and SCRAM!

Now it is on to 2021! I pray this will be the year all Americans bloom both personally and professionally.

I have chosen my word for 2021 and if you read the gospel of Luke in the New Living Translation Bible, you will find my word. You will know it when you find it and you will agree with my choice.

My word will be revealed in the January 4th post.

See you then!

Have a safe and fun New Year’s Eve and God Bless You!

Bio: Michele Kearns is the founder and HUG© (Hope Unites Globally) Award-Winner of JoyReturns. She shares her widowhood adventures hoping to inspire widows to move through grief and rebuild their lives. A graduate of Kent State University with a Bachelor’s degree in communications, she’s currently using those skills as a virtual logistics contact center representative for a Fortune 100 company. She’s also managed call center teams, co-facilitated a grief support group, and helped small businesses with various writing assignments. Michele is a bookworm, and a lover of history, music, chocolate, red roses, and golden retrievers. She is also the amateur photographer behind the blog OgleOhio.com.

A JoyFul Verse

Am I the only one praying at least twice a day for my friends and family, my career, my city, state, county, and country?

It seems as though a lot of people are forgetting about this verse when facing mountains in their life.

I know that we humans are not able to accomplish anything on our own. We need God. We need to bring our requests to Him. If they are His will, then our requests will be answered in His time.

So go ahead and bring your hopes, dreams and long-shot ideas to God.

You just never know how or when He will answer your prayers.

Let the the knowledge that all the requests you bring to God are possible, bring you joy today and always.

Bio: Michele Kearns is the founder and HUG© (Hope Unites Globally) Award-Winner of JoyReturns. She shares her widowhood adventures hoping to inspire widows to move through grief and rebuild their lives. A graduate of Kent State University with a Bachelor’s degree in communications, she’s currently using those skills as a virtual logistics contact center representative for a Fortune 100 company. She’s also managed call center teams, co-facilitated a grief support group, and helped small businesses with various writing assignments. Michele is a bookworm, and a lover of history, music, chocolate, red roses, and golden retrievers. She is also the amateur photographer behind the blog OgleOhio.com.

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