Posts

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Grieving is a Fundamental Process of Life

We do not choose it.  It rather chooses us.

It’s not a one-time event.  It’s a road we must travel on.

It doesn’t follow clock time. It adheres to deeper rhythms.

Regrets are common, thought of incompletion and unfinished business, struggles unresolved.

These are illusory, clingy thoughts, but you can’t wrestle them to the ground and stamp them out.

As they emerge, you can see them, and let them go

And do that each time they come back to visit.

Each of us has our light, what makes us loving and loveable. Each of us has our dark places, how we grapple with fear and pain-what makes us unbearable, at times even to ourselves.

Each of us has our dark places, how we grapple with fear and pain-what makes us unbearable, at times even to ourselves. We have our griminess and our glory.

We have our griminess and our glory.  But what are we, really?  We are neither.

But what are we, really?  We are neither.

We are not any of those parts.  We are all of those parts.

So, when you think of the loved one who has passed, embrace the whole person.

Frank Ostaseski of Metta Institute as reported by Barry Boyce, Mindful Magazine, August 2016, pg 10.

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There Are Many Kinds of Friends to a Widow

Be a sensitive friend… Understand the new context of your friendship.  Don’t disappear because she isn’t anxious to connect.   Be mindful that you might have to adjust your actions to help her adjust to her changed world.  There’s a different way at looking at almost everything.  It requires a lot of effort to address the new and emotional pain of dealing with loss.

New friends who don’t know your partner.  They help you move on with new interests, new attachments and personal growth.

Couple friends with social history…These folks can be comforting and reassuring.  It can also be hard to watch two people live and grow together in ways you never will.

Married friends who aren’t getting along well.  It’s painful to see their conflict when you experience loss.

Divorced friends who share the sense of loss but who deal with negative dynamics.

Well meaning family solutions:  “Hey Mom, Here’s an idea!  Spend more time with the grandchildren!”  Caring for kids requires an outflow of energy and stamina. Babysitting is work!  Brief visits with children can be good reminders of life worth living.

“If There’s Anything I Can Do…How to Help Someone Who has been Bereaved” by Caroline Doughty, White Ladder Press, Britain, 2007  (insight and suggestions for helping widows with young children)

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Resting vs. Stuck

There are times when resting is healing.  There are times when resting becomes stuck.

Stuck is a control issue.  Stress causes a sense of powerlessness so our minds go into a heavy-duty control mode.  Holding tight to what is known feels safer.  To let go might feel like powerless chaos.  Our minds trick us into thinking that by holding on, we are in control of something we cannot control-the loss of a loved one. It takes conscious choice in dealing with reality.  Control is actually letting go.

Self awareness:

Has self preservation turned into self-absorption?

Who am I really?  Am I extremely intolerant of others response to me?

Do I demand sympathy? Do I have difficulty with anything new?

St Francis prayer:  “Accept the things you cannot change and have the courage to change the things you can.”

“If There’s Anything I Can Do…How to Help Someone who has been Bereaved” by Caroline Doughty, White Ladder Press, Britain, 2007 (insight and suggestions for helping widows with young children)

“The Art of Condolence, what to write, what to say, what to do at a time of loss” by Leonard Zunin, MD and Hilary Stanton Zunin, Harper Collins Publishers, 1991.

“When a Spouse Dies, What I didn’t Know about helping myself and others through grief,” by Barbara R Wheeler, DSW, Plain Sight Publishing, 2012.

“Transitions, Making sense of life’s changes” by William Bridges, Lifelong books, 2004.

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Restocking your “Cope Chest” with Your Own Lifelines

Attend to yourself; attending to others is possible but very difficult

Being kind and tolerant to yourself is more healing than self-criticism

Exercise lifts mood, releases stress but does not solve the issues.

Busy is a helpful distraction from the pain.  Balance the pain with a counterweight of quiet time to do the inner work.

Journaling…Write it out.  Get it out.  Look at your thinking.  It’s a physical method for the inner work.

Music can be comforting.  It can be warmth that nourishes the soul.

Accept help from others. Grief is a lonely place.  Allow others to learn, grow and prepare for their own grief by sharing your experience. Seek a support group .

There is no best way:  It’s our personal responsibility to manage our pain.  Each of us is ultimately in charge of our own healing.

“When a Spouse Dies, What I didn’t Know about helping myself and others through grief,” by Barbara R Wheeler, DSW, Plain Sight Publishing, 2012.

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Compassion for Your Grieving Self & Others

Intellectually knowing about grief might aid the process of healing. Knowledge and awareness can diminish some anxiety.  It can be useful to know something about the process of grief in anticipation of challenges of loss in life ahead.   It provides an understanding that fosters hope that the pain of loss will lead to transformation to a new way of being.  Researcher and author, Bill Bridges (Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes) note that a successful new beginning requires more than simply persevering.  It requires understanding external signs and internal signals that point the way to the future.As friends and family we can’t fix, change or hurry the grieving process. We can accompany, support and sincerely attempt to understand the difficult journey experienced.

As friends and family we can’t fix, change or hurry the grieving process. We can accompany, support and sincerely attempt to understand the difficult journey experienced.Loss, whatever its nature or degree, is impossible to escape in life.  And

Loss, whatever its nature or degree, is impossible to escape in life.  And the loss will most likely bring grief.Grief is a force, a gradual process of helping us accept a devastating loss. It is the way the psyche heals itself.  It is the healing of a wound to the fabric of our being.  It’s an impaired sense of self:  intellect, emotions, physical, social.

Grief is a force, a gradual process of helping us accept a devastating loss. It is the way the psyche heals itself.  It is the healing of a wound to the fabric of our being.  It’s an impaired sense of self:  intellect, emotions, physical, social.It is a

It is common and normal reaction for all of us, yet each person will have his or her own manner of responding.  We are all similar in different ways.Grief plays out over time.  It ebbs and flows at its own rhythm.  Saying goodbye takes time.  Perhaps the most consoling fact is that grief is “

Grief plays out over time.  It ebbs and flows at its own rhythm.  Saying goodbye takes time.  Perhaps the most consoling fact is that grief is “time-limited”.  The time is different for each of us.  It’s possible to survive and also grow through loss.  The impulse to grow is as strong as the impulse to survive.

“If There’s Anything I Can Do…How to Help Someone who has been Bereaved” by Caroline Doughty, White Ladder Press, Britain, 2007 (insight and suggestions for helping widows with young children)

“The Art of Condolence, what to write, what to say, what to do at a time of loss” by Leonard Zunin, MD and Hilary Stanton Zunin, Harper Collins Publishers, 1991.

“Transitions, Making sense of life’s changes” by William Bridges, Lifelong books, 2004.

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Beginnings, Endings, Loss

As social beings, our very existence depends on attachment to others. Every human relationship is destined to end in loss. Entrances and exits are an integral part of life. School friends move away. Colleagues come and go. Family and friends relocate from our immediate world. Even pets, large and small are a testing of these principles.

Endings are the price paid for having beginnings. Except for the loss of one’s own life, the death of a loved one is the ultimate loss. Growth and maturity happens as we learn from each experience of attachment and loss.

Grief is the price we pay for love” Queen Elizabeth II (2001)

“The Art of Condolence, what to write, what to say, what to do at a time of loss” by Leonard Zunin, MD and Hilary Stanton Zunin, Harper Collins Publishers, 1991.