Tag: griefshare

Meditating With Mozart

Saturday was a cold, snowy day which turned into an even snowier evening, with tiny flakes falling as steady as a spring rain.

After supper Rommie and I retired to bed.  It is the one piece of furniture we can both comfortably stretch out on together. Instead of jumping on the bed she might decide it is time to play ball, other times she will lie down on her bed or the hardwood floor. We do not go to sleep but just relax.  I will write, read a book, or watch a movie on my Kindle.

While reading or writing I will usually play “Mozart: The Complete Piano Sonatas” by Carmen Piazzini. Keeping the volume is just loud enough to provide some background noise.

Saturday night, after doing some reading, I closed my eyes and focused on Mozart. I concentrated on the lovely, delicate, well-played pieces, letting the sound take over my whole body. I felt lousy but just relaxing and emptying my cluttered mind helped me feel better. At some point I did fall asleep but did not for long.

I started doing meditation a couple weeks ago to keep my brain calm, centered and focused. Like most introverts, it runs a million miles an hour in a million different directions and if my mind is emptied of all thoughts it is better able to hear God’s voice.

If you are grieving or have a chaotic life,  try spending at least a few minutes meditating with Mozart or even just in silence. Do it a few minutes a day and I bet you will eventually hear God speaking to you.

You never know what you will hear God say after you empty your cluttered mind. 

How To Handle Christmas Parties

Sing hey!  Sing hey!
For Christmas Day;
Twine mistletoe and holly.
For a friendship glows
In winter snows,
And so let’s all be jolly!

Author Unknown

If you are grieving this holiday season, you are probably not feeling very jolly. Now you find yourself inundated with party invites from friends and business acquaintances. What do you do?

You do what you have the strength to do.

Here are some suggestions for handling party invites, some of which I learned in GriefShare.

Party Invites From Friends 

Option 1 – The Party Animal – If  you feel up to going to all the parties, then do it.  God bless you for having a party animal spirit this year.

Option 2 – Private Party – Arrange a time to stop by your host’s house and spend about 30 minutes having coffee, cocoa or tea.  You might even bring a box of your favorite drink as a thank you gift.  Let your host know you enjoyed past parties and want an invite next year. Inform her it is just going to take some time to enjoy the season’s festivities again.

Option 3 – Be Picky – Pick and choose which parties to attend.  For those invitations you decline let the host know you appreciate their hospitality but can not handle the number of parties as in year’s past.

Company Parties

Client Is The Host – Talk with your boss to see if you have to attend. If you do then let your boss know how long you think you can handle being in a festive environment.

Company Sponsored – If your company’s Christmas party is a catered lunch, then fix yourself a plate and go back to your desk and eat if you do not feel up to being around jolly co-workers. If your company is having a party at a restaurant, then make an appearance and stay for a short time.

In all circumstances DO NOT DRINK ALCOHOL!

It is a depressant and the last thing you need.

Final Thoughts

You will enjoy attending parties again but it is going to take some time.

Remember your loved one wants you to move forward with life and isolating yourself from parties year after year is not moving forward.

Life is to be lived – so live it to the fullest even in tough times. 

Holiday Gift – “God’s Healing For Life’s Losses” – Robert W. Kellemen PH. D.

Know anyone suffering from broken engagement, divorce or loss of a spouse?  Then “God’s Healing for Life’s Losses, How to Find Hope When You’re Hurting” is for them.

The book is by Robert W. Kellemen, PH.D.  (Link to RPM Ministries) and is written so a person grieving a broken engagement can benefit from it, as well as a woman grieving her husband’s move to heaven.  He is honest about the pain suffering causes and also admits we need to be honest with God in our grief.

Dr. Kelleman introduces the reader to a comparison of the typical grief and acceptance responses versus Biblical grief and growth responses.

Through the use of his and a client’s story along with Biblical stories and scriptures, Dr. Kellemen guides the reader from grief to growth.

What I Did Differently The 2nd Time

I read it several months ago but since life has been crazy lately and my anxiety level up over my under-employment situation, I got the book out and this time not only read it but answered the questions at the end of each chapter.  Doing this greatly helped my mood over the couple of weeks I took to work through the book.

Not A Quick Read

This book is not one to be read in a day or two but one to be read a chapter at a time and some serious thought given to the questions.  I recommend writing in a notebook so you have plenty of room to answer the questions in detail.

I also took notes and wrote scripture that spoke to my heart.  In fact, I wrote scripture over and over again in order to help me remember it.  For example:

“Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.”

Psalm 62:8

As an under-employed person, trusting God to provide for my needs is crucial but very tough to do.  So far God has not failed me and will not fail me because He is God and He is unable to fail.  Working through this book has strengthened my hope and faith.

Definition of Suffering

“Suffering is so dreadful because suffering is death.  All suffering is the dying, separating, and severing of relationships.”

It is because of this sentence that Dr. Kellemen’s book applies to anyone suffering any loss and therefore makes a wonderful gift for those serious about getting through their grief, no matter what event caused the grief.

I am going to close with the following scripture I wrote in the front of my book.  Where I came across this verse from John, I do not know.

“The Father himself loves you dearly.”    John 16:27

Yes, God does love you dearly and his love comes shining through in Dr. Kellemen’s book.

Author’s Note:  Dr. Kellemen provides insightful thoughts about healing from grief on several GriefShare videos.

Updated: “Cliff Notes Version of Widowhood”

(Author’s Note:  I am on a 2 week vacation to purge some frustration and restore my spirit.  In the meantime, I dusted off and breathed a little bit of new life into some older posts.)

 

This post is a brief summary regarding what I learned during my grief journey.  It is by no means a complete list and is intended to educate both the widowed and those not experiencing grief about my adventures.   Some of which I still deal with today, 4 1/2 years later.   The list is not in any particular order.

What I Experienced – Sudden death of my husband Joe, March 2008, as a result of a stroke at the base of the brain.

~~Lesson’s Learned ~~

Widowhood does not hurt – it is excruciatingly painful. No amount of drugs will ease the pain.  Death ripped my heart out, put it in a mortar and used the pestle to grind it.  Despite all the grinding, my heart never got smaller.  However, God eased my pain over time.

Friends/Family will abandon you for one of the following reasons:

  • They did not know and/or nor did they want to know how to support me.
  • I have cooties.  If they hung around me long enough what happened to me will happen to them.
  • I am single – therefore I am a threat to their marriage.
  • They were only friends with me because of Joe.  Now that he is gone, there is no need to be friends with me.

Support group was a necessity. I needed to be around other people who were experiencing grief.  We learned from and comforted each other.  The program I choose was “Griefshare” by Church Initiative.  It was so helpful I now co-facilitate the group.

I needed to cry a lot – and that is ok and wonderful as tears are healing.  They help wash away the grief.   Remember – “Jesus wept.”  If he can, than I can.

Watch words/actions around other people – and still need to I learned to be aware of what I say and do around others, especially couples and single men.  I do not want to encourage the false notion I am gunning for another woman’s husband nor do I want to be viewed as being a stalker, groupie or coming on to single men.

Watching words/actions is hard, exhausting work.  Is it any wonder I prefer staying home?

Don’t even think about rushing through grief. However much I tried, God would not let me rush through it.   I had to trust him and learn take it one day at a time.

The small stuff is precious. Nobody told me the intensity of which I would miss the small stuff like the good-night kisses, the hand-holding, the hugs and other small things.   The cravings get so intense and physically debilitating I need to lie down.  It is those times I wrap up in an afghan I crocheted for our bed.  It is my way of being close to Joe.

Move forward. Moving forward means taking Joe with me into the future as he will be in my heart forever.  It does not mean leaving him behind, which is impossible but that is what the phrase “moving on” means – leaving someone or something behind. Life was moving forward and I needed to do so also, even if it was baby steps.  Baby steps involves taking it one day at a time.

Joy does return. I am unable to give you a date when my joy returned, but it did.  The closest I can come is the first time I felt as though I would make it through my grief journey.  The date was 4/17/2008 and I was reading my daily devotion from the book “Healing After Loss: Daily Devotions for Working Through Grief” by Martha Whitmore Hickman.  The devotion dealt with the flowers blooming on a warm spring day and each flower being like a conversation with my loved one.  I stepped outside as I headed to work and it was a warm spring day, with flowers blooming.  Just like the day described in the devotion.

I did not walk alone. God was there helping and supporting me even though sometimes it did not seem like it.  He was there via “Griefshare”, He was there via other people – after all you lean on God by leaning on other people.

He was there 24/7, all I had to do was cry out to him and he would listen and provide me with comfort.  After all, God is my ultimate provider and can take when I cry out in pain and anguish as He has very broad shoulders.

Michele Reinvents Herself By Taking These 3 Risks

I decided to follow up yesterday’s “No Guts, No Glory” post with one about a few risks I have taken since Joe passed.  This list is by no means all inclusive.

Blogging

I took a risk in January 2011 when I started this blog.  Did I know where blogging was going to lead when I started it? No.  I saw a need for uplifting support for widows and tried to fill that need.  Little did I know it would lead to a magazine article.

I took this risk because:

  • There is a need for positive support for widows.
  • Society needs educated about grief and what a grief journey entails.

Tastefully Simple

Starting my Tastefully Simple business was a risk because other professionals think we are the scum of the earth selling products at home parties.  When I tell people at different networking events I sell Tastefully Simple, their response is usually “Oh, you are one of those people.”  Yes, I am and damn proud of it.

Heck it is a different way to network and I never know who will be attending a party.  Then again, I might get this Tastefully Simple business to be so successful there will be no need for a “regular” full-time job, chained to a cubicle and waiting for management to install catheters.  That way people will not have a need to get up and use the bathroom so much.

I decided to sell Tastefully Simple because:

  • It is a different way to network.
  • There is always something in the pantry to take to the GriefShare support group I co-facilitate.
  • I love the products. Especially Lemonade Fruit Dip, Spinach & Herb dip mix and Bold Buffalo Blue Cheese dip mix. (Guess you can call me dippy.)

Haircut

I use to have longer hair in a bob that was a little bit past my chin.  I grew it that length because Joe challenged me.  Well in 2010 I got sick of working with it and decided it was time to do something different but did not know what.  Then Halle Berry appeared on the September cover of Vogue Magazine.  She had short hair similar to mine.

I took that magazine in to my hair stylist and she said I could pull it off but we needed to soften up the edges as Halle’s edges were very blunt.  So I followed my hair stylist’s advice and we cut it.   I love it as it requires less maintenance.

I took the risk in cutting my hair because:

  • Styling long hair was never my forte.
  • Now-a-days, everyone needs to freshen up their style so they do not look like they stepped out of the ’80’s.

The Tip Of The Iceberg

These are just 3 risks that I have taken to reinvent myself.  Just like an iceberg, there are more risks you do not see.

What risks are you taking? 

Nosy Links To New Places In My Blogroll

I just recently added new links to the blogroll. Scroll down and you will find it in the sidebar.

Nosy Parker – musings of a curious creative

is by my friend Gabriana.  I met her while attending career webinars on Careerealism.com and she is an

Event producer, writer/editor, creative designer & organizer, passionate foodie, world traveler and mint chocolate lover with a sweet, wee dog named Abby.

Gabriana is currently in the process of planning an event entitled “Screw Cancer, we are going to Venice, Italy. Buon Viaggio Celebration”  because her amazing mother Jude has a rare form of brain cancer.  I hope you will click on the link and read all about Jude.  Gabriana did a wonderful job writing the article.  Keep checking back because there will be posts coming from Venice, Italy.

It’s A Tough Job

It is a tough being a caregiver but Gabriana has done a wonderful job and is just as amazing as her mother.  I applaud her for sharing what the past 18 months have been like for her and her mom.  People need to know what it is like to be a full-time caregiver.  Everything Gabriana has been through as a caregiver has made her a better, stronger person.  One who knows how to deal with a tough situation.  Some company is going to be very lucky to get Gabriana as an employee when it is time for her to return to work.

Please keep Jude and Gabriana in your prayers.

Widow’s Christian Place

I started this blog because there were too many 3-D websites – dark, dreary and depressing.  That is not what widows or anyone grieving needs.  That is why you do not find links to other widows/widowers websites.

Well a couple weeks ago I was searching the web doing research about advice for widows and somehow stumbled upon Widowschristianplace.com by Ferree (rhymes with Marie).   I started looking around  the site and thought this had potential for being a good site for widows.  Then in checking out “Christian Websites for Widows” page, I saw one word that totally convinced me this is a good site.  The word:

GriefShare

Griefshare is a wonderful program from Church Initiative.  It is the program I went through and have co-facilitated for over 3 years.  Not enough websites have a link to Griefshare, so I was impressed when I saw a link on her site.

Ferree has put together a great website for widows.  One she wishes had been around when she was widowed.  May it “live long and prosper” while encouraging and providing resources for widows.

I Hope

I hope you will take the time to check out these sites, leave comments and refer them to others.

Snots About Kleenex

I know what you are thinking, there she goes again another post where she displays her wicked sense of humor.  Well…not today folks.  Today is an example of me telling it like it is and pulling no punches.

Expert

I heard a grief recovery expert recently explain the meaning behind handing someone a Kleenex.

Meaning

When you are in the presence of someone grieving a death, job loss, divorce or any other loss and they start crying, handing them a Kleenex means:

Stop crying because I am uncomfortable being around you while you are grieving.

Huh!  Really?  I was dazed, confused and speechless.  I had no idea that the simple act of handing someone a Kleenex had such a complex meaning.

It’s Not About You

That statement makes the grieving person’s painful situation about you, instead of them.

They are the one hurting, but you want them to stop crying because of your discomfort.

Courtesy

If you are with someone who starts to cry, it is just common courtesy to hand them a Kleenex if they do not have one.  Who wants to sit there and see a grieving person with lots of snot running out of their nose?

Do Unto Others

The #1 thing you can do for someone grieving any type of loss is to just be there and if they are crying, hand them Kleenex.  Do not let them sit there and cry without it.

Also, do not force them to stop crying because you are uncomfortable – just think how uncomfortable they are. 

 

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”

Matthew 5:4 (NIV)