Tag Archives: widow

JoyReturns on WCTV in Wadsworth

My friend Katherine Miracle has a show on WCTV which serves Wadsworth, Ohio. It is called Your Miracle Resource. She is the founder and CEO of Miracle Resources, a marketing firm in Akron, Ohio.

In a recent episode of Your Miracle Resource she was seeking information about what not to say to grieving people during the holiday.

I reached out to her with some advice. She wanted me to appear on her show. Since my job is Virtual Logistics, I was already scheduled for overtime the day of filming.

Instead, I wrote this post to go into more detail about the holiday grief tips I shared with Katherine. Here is the link to her show.

Your Miracle Resource – Dealing With Grief

My Holiday Tips

Take a plate of cookies to a widow along with the recipe.

Easy Heath Bar Cookies – BEFORE I Took A Bite!

I rarely bake anymore. However, if someone was kind enough to bring me a few cookies they baked along with the recipe it might inspire me to get out the cookie sheet. Plus it would warm my heart that during this busy time of year someone thought of me.

It might only be baking but it gets you trying something new and life after the loss of a spouse is filled with doing new things, so you might as well start somewhere.

Currently, this will be the only thing I bake to take on Christmas Day. It’s quick and easy and was given to me by a dear friend.

Send a grieving person a Christmas card so they know you are thinking about them.

Christmas can be a lonely time for widows and other grieving people. The focus is on kids and their toys. There are lots of lonely, grieving people who feel invisible and getting a simple card in the snail mail will brighten their day.

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – Bah Humbug!

Keep the Christmas music low when a grieving person is around. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas takes on a whole new meaning after the passing of a loved one.

My first Christmas after Joe’s passing, I was in a locally owned grocery store and heard this song as I went down the chip aisle. Then as I am walking down the baking aisle, it came over the loud speaker again. Finally as I walked up the dish soap aisle and headed for the check out line, yet another dead singer was crooning it over the loudspeaker. Three times in the 30 – 45 minutes from the time I entered the store until I left. After barely making it home, I laid down on the couch and had a meltdown.

Let my heart be light? Nope! Troubles miles away? Nope!

So lower the music and let the grieving person and other guests can focus on and enjoy conversation.

Invite A Grieving Person To Your Holiday Party

But do not expect them to stay the whole time. There comes a point during the festivities where it is just too much merriment for the widow. The length of time they can handle the merriment will vary because each widow is unique. It is alright for the widow to leave early. Just appreciate the time and effort it took for her to step outside her comfort zone and attend.

Speak about their deceased loved one.

My favorite picture of Rommie and Joe

It is alright to speak about the deceased loved one. We want to know they are not forgotten. It comforts us to know that people remember him. Society wants widows and other grieving people to put there loved in the ground, walk away from the grave, and act like the deceased never even existed.

So think and speak fondly of the deceased.

Do Not Quote Any Bible Verse or Get Theological

This is simple. If you look in the mirror and see Billy Graham staring back at you, then go ahead and use Bible verses and theology to comfort someone. However, when you look in the mirror you will not see Billy or even Franklin Graham staring back at you -so zip it.

Do Not Say “If you need anything, let me know.”

Raking the bottom of the River Kearns in my backyard.

By saying this you are placing the burden on the widow or other grieving person to wrack there brain about how you can help them. They have enough on their plate.

You have a house and know what tasks need done everyday and the tasks associated with the different seasons so just call a grieving person up and ask “Who is shoveling your driveway this winter?” or “Who is raking your leaves this fall?”

Go to GriefShare.org

The GriefShare program helped me immensely after Joe’s passing. It is Christ-centered, Biblically based program by Church Initiative. I looked forward to Monday nights. Those nights were more important to me than church on Sunday. Those Monday meetings became my rock, my foundation for the week because I was with other people who were grieving.

While we all lost different loved ones and the causes of their passing were different, we all knew the pain of grief and supported one another. The conversations we had after viewing a different video every week for 13 weeks left us uplifted and encouraged that grief was survivable and our joy would return.

Final Thoughts

This is not the entire list of advice for helping grieving people but it is a good starting point. Below are links to additional blog pages where you will find links to books, websites, articles, music and recipes.

May all this information help you this Christmas season whether someone you know is grieving or you yourself are grieving.

Merry Christmas and God Bless you.

Additional Resources:

Holiday Helps

Joy-Filled Recipes

Contact: michele.kearns@joyreturns.com

Bio: Michele Kearns is the founder and HUG© (Hope Unites Globally) Award-Winner of JoyReturns. She shares her widowhood adventures hoping to encourage widows to move through grief and rebuild their lives. A graduate of Kent State University with a Bachelor’s degree in communications, she’s used those skills while managing call center teams, co-facilitating a grief support group, and helping small businesses with various writing and administrative assignments. Michele is a bookworm, and a lover of history, chocolate, red roses, and golden retrievers. She is also the amateur photographer behind the blog OgleOhio.com

Post #1,499 – 10 Years A Widow: Non Sum Qualis Eram

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Today is the 10th anniversary of becoming a new creation. Ten years ago this morning Joe suffered a stroke caused by a blood vessel rupturing at the base of his brain.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

2 Corinthians 5:17

I went kicking and screaming into this transformation. It is the day I came home from work, pressed the button on the answering machine and found out what Non Sum Qualis Eram truly means.

The History Behind Non 

My coworkers and I were sitting at our desks working crossword puzzles on a winter day when I worked for a savings and loan.  I do not remember the clue for the answer, but I looked up “Non Sum Qualis Eram” in the dictionary (this was BG – Before Google) and I discovered it meant

I am not what I used to be

I cracked up laughing. I told my coworker that is what I want on my tombstone – I am not what I used to be. It is true. When you die you are not what you used to be. You are a new creation.

Well, that is not what is on our marker out at the cemetery.

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Putting This Post Together

When I started putting this post together, I thought it would be how I summed up the last 10 years of being a widow instead of a wife.

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Instead, it begins a series of lessons, opinions, and observations based on my experiences during the past 10 years.  They are a mixture of good, bad, and ugly. They are intended to prepare you a teeny, tiny bit for what you may face if and when you become a widow. Because that is what I do best, educate, inspire, and train – just call me your Grief Cheerleader.

So come along with me on a journey of looking back and fondly remembering while moving forward with life as a new creation.

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Oh and if Non Sum Qualis Eram is not on our marker – what is? A line from Joe’s favorite song from The Phantom of the Opera:

Think of me, think of me fondly when we’ve said goodbye.

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Bio: Michele Kearns is the founder and HUG© (Hope Unites Globally) Award-Winner of JoyReturns. She shares her widowhood adventures hoping to encourage widows to move through grief and rebuild their lives. A graduate of Kent State University with a Bachelor’s degree in communications, she’s used those skills while managing call center teams, facilitating a grief support group and helping small businesses with various writing and administrative assignments. Michele is a bookworm, lover of chocolate, red roses and golden retrievers and is an amateur photographer.

Remarriage: An Eye Opening Perspective

One of the books I’ve given grieving people is Healing After Loss; Daily Meditations for Working Through Grief by Martha Whitmore Hickman. My copy was given to me by Joe’s Aunt at his wake. You read one page per day of this little book.

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The devotions are not geared towards any religion. There are quotes from authors, scriptures from the Bible and proverbs from other religions. After each quote, there are thoughts from the author and then at the end a one-sentence thought/prayer. I enjoyed reading this book and my copy is now in 2 pieces. It fell apart at April 17th, which is the day I started reading it.

Time For A Re-Read 

Since this year is the 10th anniversary of his passing and our 25th wedding anniversary, I decided to read this book again. Now for some reason January – March is much neglected. I do not know why and I’m kind of wishing I did not have this brilliant idea to read through it again because God showed me a different perspective on remarriage.

Today’s devotional is very brief but powerful and deals with the hole left behind by a loved one’s passing.

The quote is:

It is the nature of grace always to fill spaces that have been empty.

Goethe

Whitmore-Hickman’s thought is:

Not that we can’t tell the difference. Not that we are being disloyal. But if life gives us something else to do with all those impulses toward the one no longer with us, how can we not be grateful? It’s like an extra inheritance -a blessing even- from the one we have lost, going to someone else who needs what we have to give. So we are refreshed by the memory of the loved one, and at the same time offering a gift, creating a new relationship.

The thought/prayer is:

Keep me on the lookout for someone who needs me now. 

Ouch! God.

So the love and commitment I gave Joe in our marriage, needs to be given to someone else, a new relationship, with a new man. I never thought of remarriage that way until today.

Remarriage scares me. I am afraid I would get hitched to a Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde type of person. He is sweet and loving until we are pronounced husband and wife. Plus, blending two households is a lot of work. Houses would have to be sold and a new one bought. He would have to get along with Joe’s family as well as mine, then I would have to get along with his family.  UGH!  Too much work, too much stress.

Yes, I know if the right person came along, all the work would be worth it.

Other Relationships

This devotional can be applied to any relationship and not just the loss of a spouse. If you lost a daughter, as Whitmore-Hickman did, then you find an opportunity to “mother” another child. Whether it is through a mentoring program such as Kid’s Hope, teaching Sunday School, or spending more time with the single neighbor lady’s child.

But obviously, I see this from the perspective of a widow and remarriage.

Still Recommend? 

It’s almost 10 years since I first read this book. I loved it then and I still love it and still recommend it. My suggestion is when you give this to someone, keep a copy for yourself and read it together. You could email each other daily or meet weekly to discuss the devotions. I know the grieving person would appreciate having someone walk through the devotional journey with him/her.

 

red-rose_signatureBio: Michele Kearns is the founder and HUG© (Hope Unites Globally) Award-Winner of JoyReturns. She shares her widowhood adventures hoping to encourage widows to move through grief and rebuild their lives. A graduate of Kent State University with a Bachelor’s degree in communications, she’s used those skills managing call center teams, facilitating a grief support group and helping small businesses with various writing and administrative assignments. Michele is a bookworm, lover of red roses and golden retrievers and an amateur photographer.

 

 

Has It All Been In Vain? Questions After 9 Years of Widowhood

Was Joe’s passing all in vain?

Did people learn lesson’s from his passing?

Here today and gone tomorrow

What lessons if any have I learned?

I know marriages and family relationships are not perfect. Relationships are made up of humans, flawed imperfect humans. There will be bickering. but why do we resist spending time together?

Here today and gone tomorrow.

It was 9 years ago today Joe had a stroke at the base of the brain, it will be 9 years tomorrow that he was pronounced brain dead.

He was alive mentally and physically on the 27th. He was vibrant, full of life, love, laughter, joy. He frustrated me because I had to go get the other TV cart in the TV lounge in the rehab department. One TV cart is the same as the other –  right? No, not to Joe.

So full of life one evening and gone 11 hours later.

Knowing my heart aches for slow dances, hugs, cuddling while watching TV, or just aches in general. Is that not enough to get other couples of any age to appreciate one another?

Is my achy breaky heart not enough to get people in general to appreciate and love one another?

To take or make the time to spend together?

Here today and gone tomorrow.

When a spouse passes, your heart and soul ache in nooks and crannies you do  not know you have. The ache from grief can and will invade the same nooks and crannies when other family members move to heaven as well.

Questioning whether or not people learned lessons from Joe’s passing hurts and grieves me immensely. Fearing that there are people who did not learn lessons tears me up inside.

For your sake, love one another.

For your loved one’s sake, love one another.

Remember, here today and gone tomorrow.

Not them – you might be here today and gone tomorrow.

Leave no love unspoken or acted upon.

Don’t let yours or your loved one’s passing be in vain. Love one another – now.

 

 

The Hardest 287 Calories I’ve Ever Burned

Two years ago I joined Faithful Finish Lines fitness program when it was in Beta. I am still a member. This week is the last week in the most recent 7-week challenge. Seven weeks filled with making small changes on a different topic (e.g. more protein, less sugar) each week. The less sugar week is tough as I have a big sweet tooth.

At the end of each 7-week period we have a goal to do. It could be a 5k, 10k, a plank or push up challenge,  or any other fitness goal. It does not have to be an organized event.

I was schedule to do Michele’s Mile Mall Walk this week but cancelled it as when God blesses you with upper 60’s on a February day in Northeast Ohio, the last thing you do is walk the mall!                 😉

Instead I did the 1 mile Duck, Duck, Goose Waddle at one of the area parks. The waddling started when I got out of my car, then I did 2 laps around the pond and ended when I returned to my car huffing and puffing worse than the Big Bad Wolf.

I walked 1 mile. It is not a lot but when you have a sinus infection that morphs into a asthma event, it is a lot. (Yes, sinus infections can do that.)

When the weather permits I get out and walk because asthma needs to go bye-bye. When the weather interferes, you can find me doing a lap around the mall or several laps up and down my basement steps.

Marvelous!

As I sit here typing this post, I can tell you I feel marvelous! I have to keep this up as the 2017 Tour de Parks is coming up (walking one Northeast Ohio park every weekend). More on that later.

Now on to the good stuff.

Pictures

Here are pictures from the 1 mile Duck, Duck, Goose Waddle event. All photo’s taken with my Moto Z phone – Yes, still an Apple virgin.

Duck, Duck

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Goose

wp-1487892874193.jpg Selfie-on the bridge at the back of the pond.

Cattails and last years leaves.

Look who decided to walk with me after passing the 3/4 mile mark.

Final Stats

2,003 steps.  287 Calories. 42.28 minutes. 1 mile walked. 2 laps around North Park pond, picnic area and parking lot.

Want Community? 

Check out the Faithful Finish Lines program. Sara Borgstede from the Holy Mess is the founder. You will not find a better community of friendly, supportive women.

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Is Valentine’s Day Cheesy?

 

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A lot of people either don’t or reluctantly celebrate Valentine’s Day because to them it is a cheesy made up Hallmark day. It’s just another excuse for companies to get their grubby hands on your hard earned money.

Do I think Valentine’s Day is cheesy? No.

 

Life get’s busy and while we should celebrate Valentine’s Day every day, we don’t. So once a year we get a reminder to express love to our family and friends. Cherish Valentine’s Day because next year, some of the people you love may not be here.

You will wish they were here even on a day you consider cheesy.

Happy Valentine’s Day. 

Love Always, 

thinbutterfly

 

 

 

{ Day 31 } Finale of 31 Tricks to Scare Away the Grief Monster – GROW

Hallelujah! We’ve both made it through the Write31Days challenge. Thank you for sticking by me through thick and thin this month. It was an rough journey for me, one that I did not expect. Here we are crossing the finish line together.

Today’s Word is

GROW!

Scripture Meditation 

I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.

1 Corinthians  3:6

God uses your grief to grow you in your spiritual walk with Him.

You do the work, walking baby step by baby step and God uses those baby steps to grow you. You grow with every smile or wave you give someone. You grow by sitting with someone as they grieve. You grow by dreaming and crafting a new life. Every little step you take, God is using to mold you into the person He wants you to become.

That is His plan for everybody – growing your character. It is not about achievements as that is boasting. It is about who you are as a person that is important to God. He will use all sorts of life circumstances to grow you.

You can be a ditch digger but as long as you are serving God right where you are at, you are accomplishing His will for your life. If you are a motivational speaker but not helping others up to the next level in their career, you are not accomplishing His will for you.

So take baby steps every day in confidence knowing God is growing you and yes, growth is painful. But He is your comforter.

Quote Meditation 

Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.

Benjamin Franklin

Coming Tomorrow – Final Thoughts About This Series and How I Made It Through the First Halloween Without Rommie

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