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Posts Tagged ‘Widow’

Virtual Book Tour – Interview with Maryann Hartzell-Curran – Author of “From We to Me: My First Year of Being a Widow Shared in Letters to a Friend”

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on February 13, 2014

Thank you for joining us on our Virtual Book Tour.

Today we welcome Maryann Hartzell-Curran author of From We to Me: My First Year of Being a Widow Shared in Letters to a Friend.  Maryann’s interview offers many insights and practical suggestions on how to support a widow during the first year after the loss of their spouse.

Please feel free to comment or share your own experiences on how your friends and family have assisted you in restoring balance in your life after the loss of a loved one in the comment section below.

What inspired you to write the book From We to Me?

My inspiration for From We To Me came from my friend Eddie’s appreciation of the letters I sent to her weekly as she experienced frommetowesmher first year as a widow. As the months passed, she continued to share how helpful she found the stories of my experiences following my husband’s passing. We both decided that others might be comforted by them, too.

How do you feel losing a spouse differs from losing a parent, a sibling or another immediate family member?

This question is especially poignant because Eddie lost her son the year before Chuck died. When we talked about her grief, she made it clear that the difference was real. When her son died, she leaned on her husband. When he died, she no longer had the comfort of his special partnership and support, which is a key difference between the loss of a spouse and other losses. Knowing that children should not die before their parents, Eddie’s grief was aided by Chuck’s presence and love. When he passed, truly the reality of loss hit her.

How did celebrations and holidays change after your husband passed away?

The first year after my husband died, I just got through holidays and special celebrations. The sadness was real, and my family and I respected that in each other. Traditions were not as important, especially the first year. I learned not to have a lot of expectations and was comfortable in accepting the lonely feelings I experienced. As time passed, I implemented things we had done in the past, but placed less importance on them. I learned to accept the void left in my family.

Your book offers many suggestions to your friend on how to face and move forward in her grief. What are your top three suggestions to help a window/widower move forward in the grieving process after the loss of a spouse?

My first suggestion is to allow yourself to feel the loss and pain. I believe this is essential in order to move on. Let others comfort you, but remember their grief is theirs and yours is yours. The sharp pain in your heart does subside with time.

Second, keep active, exercise and eat right. You will know when the time is right for new experiences. I suggest that the best activities, invitations, etc., with which to start include close friends and family. Their support is important because the wave of grief can wash over you at any time. I also suggest you drive your own car to functions, especially in the beginning, so you can leave if you need to.

I also believe a healthy recovery from grief entails accepting that what was in the past is over. The future will offer new opportunities, and that is what they should be. New! You cannot have what you had before, but you will go on. I think you must remember this loss has made you a different person who is learning things about yourself. As scary as this sounds, it is important. Do not spend your life comparing the past and the present.

Our website focuses on providing tips to friends and family members on how to support a loved one through the grieving process. What would be your suggestions on how friends and family can support a loved one that has lost a spouse?

Number one: accept where the person is in his/her grief. There will be many emotions including anger, and the people around the grieving person must not personalize a lot of what happens. As long as everyone stays safe, just let the emotions flow. And provide lots of tissues!

Bring coffee, lunch or maybe a favorite dessert when you visit. Even when I was not hungry, these treats still made me feel loved and cared for. Appetites always return, and the memory of small kindnesses is lasting. My friend constantly brought me raisin biscotti hoping I would eventually like raisins.

Have few expectations of the grieving person. Perhaps rearrange appointments to relieve stress especially on the bad days. Driving to needed appointments, running an errand, or making an excuse on their behalf helps ease the pain of change.

Do discuss the deceased, and do not be afraid to mention events in conversation. I think it takes a long time to talk in the “past tense” so stories of the past will make the present time seem real. Talking about the person who has died helps them remain alive in memory.

Is there any one thing that your family or friends did for you that assisted you through the grieving process?

My family called and emailed me regularly, and sent wonderful cards. My friends did the same, and I felt blessed. Still do. One night my son and his wife just stopped by to kiss me on the cheek while I was watering my garden and sobbing over the hose. That moment still makes me smile. Several of my girlfriends dropped by that same week to take me out for dinner, complete with wine. Another special gift of caring that I appreciated.

What do you wish your family or friends had done differently after you lost your husband?

Nothing! I just want to be there when I can return the favor of their caring at their time of sadness. That is why the letters to Eddie said “thank you” in a special way. Her love and support at my time of loss was a great gift to me and my family.

What is one thing you would like readers to take away from your book?

The most important thing is to feel the feelings of grief. My first year alone was a rollercoaster of emotions. Feeling the feelings is of utmost importance if you want to be healthy. Keeping anger, sadness, or self-pity inside is not good. It’s okay to feel sorry  for yourself, even hopeless. That is normal! When someone says they tear up reading the letters in my book, I’m glad because feeling the loss, emptiness and loneliness is essential if you are going to be happy again.

What would you like our readers to know about you?

That the stories in my book truly are the window to my heart. It is very satisfying to me to help comfort others by sharing how the loss of my husband affected me and being open and honest about my feelings. Eddie said she felt less alone because I, too, had felt the same way she did, and that is my wish for others.

Have you written any other books? Do you plan to write any other books in the future?

At almost seventy, the clock is ticking, but I would like to write a sequel about moving on and stepping out into the singles’ social world. I think readers would enjoy my experiences and realize that going on is possible after a long-term marriage. I had many poignant—and humorous–moments. Presently, I am writing a blog on my webpage, www.maryanncurran.com.  I enjoy continuing to write and sharing my many experiences with readers. The new stories contribute to who I am today after my transition From We To Me.

As a retired educator and therapist, Maryann Hartzell-Curran has always worked in fields where she could best satisfy her desire to connect with and help others. When a close friend lost her husband, Maryann put pen to paper, relating her own experiences as a widow in weekly letters of support. These letters led to the publication of “From We to Me: My First Year of Being a Widow Shared in Letters to a Friend,” a book designed to help anyone who is grieving.  From We To Me is available at Amazon and Barnes And Noble. You can visit with Maryann at her website, www.MaryannCurran.com, and read more at her Overcoming Grief blog, http://maryanncurran.com/blog.

From We to Me: My First Year of Being a Widow Shared in Letters to a Friend is featured on our Helpful Books page – http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/helpfulbooks.html & Our Virtual Book Tour -
http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/griefbooks-virtualbooktour.html

Grief Support Resources: http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/grief_support_groups.html

Posted in Grief Resources, Grief Resources - Newsletter, Grief Support & Holidays, Grief Support Discussion Topics, Holiday Grief Support, Loss of a Spouse, Share Your Story, Valentine's Day | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Widow/Widower Valentine’s Day Grief Support Resources

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on February 5, 2012

If you are a widow or widower or a friend looking for ways to help a grieving friend this Valentine’s Day, here are a few resources to explore:

Virtual Book Tour

Interview with Jennifer Hawkins – The Gift Giver

Interview with Pat Nowak – ABC’s of Widowhood

Interview with Ellen Gerst – Love After Loss: Writing The Rest of Your Story

Interview with Michael Corrigan – A Year and a Day

Interview with Carole Brody Fleet – “Widows Wear Stilettos: A Practical and Emotional Guide for the Young Widow”

Interview with Lori A. Moore – Missing Andy

Interview with Marcy Kelly – From Sorrow to Dancing

ARTICLES

Operation: Heaven Writings & Tips for Those Who Know Someone Who Has Lost Their Hero in the Military
by Taryn Davis – Founder/President, The American Widow Project

Five Things You Can Do for a Grieving Widow
by Marcy Kelly, Author of From Sorrow to Dancing

HAVE A “SINGLE-Y SENSATIONAL” VALENTINE’S DAY
by Carole Brody Fleet, Author of Widows Wear Stilettos

How to Date/Marry A Widow or Widower
by Ellen Gerst, Relationship Coach & Author of Love After Loss: Writing The Rest of Your Story

Valentine’s Day for Widows = No Valentine, Just Pain
by Marcy Kelly, Author From Sorrow to Dancing

Widowhood: A Time for Reinvention
by Ellen Gerst, Relationship Coach & Author of Love After Loss: Writing The Rest of Your Story

A Single Woman’s Adventures in Ballroom Dancing
by Marcy Kelly, Author From Sorrow to Dancing

Love After Loss – Writing the Rest of Your Story
by Ellen Gerst, Relationship Coach & Author of Love After Loss: Writing The Rest of Your Story

Valentine’s Day: The Best Way To Acknowledge It…Is To Acknowledge Others
by Widow Chick

Sh*t People Say to Widows (Video)
by Fresh Widow

GRIEF SUPPORT GROUPS

American Widow Project The American Widow Project is a non-profit organization dedicated to the new generation of those who have lost the heroes of yesterday, today and tomorrow, with an emphasis on healing through sharing stories, tears and laughter………Military Widow to Military Widow.

Bubba’s Belly Run Bubba’s Run is a 5K run in honor and memory of Captain Brian “Bubba” Bunting’s race to grow his family and for the benefit of his children’s education. All proceeds generated from this race will be used to support Bubba’s children’s education, The Fisher House™, American Widow Project, and Flat Daddies.

Camp Widow is a weekend long gathering of widows from across the country, and around the world. We come together to create a community of people who understand the life altering experience of widowhood. Camp Widow™ provides practical tools, valuable resources, and peer-based encouragement for rebuilding your life in the aftermath of the death of a spouse.

Fresh Widow Young widowed Mom shares resources, ideas, humor, facts, perspective + energy for your path after loss.

Lost and Found Lighting the way to help you find renewal from personal loss
Ellen Gerst, Relationship Coach

Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation Welcome to the community at the Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation. We work hard to provide a national network of support for anyone grieving the loss of someone they love–with a special emphasis on those who have been widowed. SSLF offers a variety of programs intended to connect our members for the two-fold purpose of providing peer based support opportunities, and connecting the many wonderful organizations that provide services offering comfort for those traveling the difficult journey of grief.
Widows to Young Helping widows under 50 continue to live.

Widows Wear Stilettos We are pleased to announce that we have formed Widows Wear Stilettos in-person support groups throughout the United States. There are NO CHARGES, FEES OR MEMBERSHIP DUES REQUIRED in order to attend any Widows Wear Stilettos in-person support group.

Widows Wear Stilettos is delighted to announce the formation of the “First Month” Foundation; a non-profit foundation that will be dedicated to providing specific financial assistance to the widowed.

WIDOWS MINISTRY IN RESPONSE to our God-given assignment, Widows International is raising Kingdom awareness by teaching, training and transforming the Body of Christ and the widow. Ever advancing, we provide resources through seminars, conferences on widowhood, speaking engagements, counsel, written materials, along with a residential program. Globally, Widows International in a cooperative effort with international and local ministries provides evangelistic rallies to care for and empower the widows to take their nation for Christ.

theWiddahood.com A free social support network dedicated to anyone who has suffered the loss of a significant other.

WidowChick Grief management through humor and coping using the power of positive thinking.

Young Widow Our mission is to provide a forum for young widows and widowers to connect online. Through these connections, young widows and widowers find understanding and validation of their feelings so that they are able to recover their joy for life, reclaim their identities and rebuild their futures.

I Did Not Know What To Say – Helpful Books

I Did Not Know What To Say – Grief Support Groups

Do you have a resource to share? Please include your resource in the Comment Section below.

Posted in Grief Resources, Grief Resources - Newsletter, Grief Support & Holidays, Holiday Grief Support, Loss of a Spouse, Love, Valentine's Day, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

In Loving Memory of a Widow: Quiet Reflections…and Loud Actions

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on April 28, 2011

Guest Post from  
http://widowswearstilettos.blogspot.com/2011/04/in-loving-memory-of-widow-quiet.html

Today is a very quiet day.
 
Make no mistake – it’s still a typical Tuesday at work.  Lots to do, lots to write, lots of deadlines, emails, phone calls…
Lots of…stuff.
 
But it’s still a very quiet day.
 
It’s one of those rare times where I struggle for words – but not for tears.  Tears are coming easily.
 
Because we lost one of our own yesterday.
 
She was one of our own because she was a member of our widowed community.  She belonged to every single one of us.
 
Every single widow/er who knows the incredible pain and despair.
 
Every single organization who seeks to help and support the widowed community.
 
Every single organization who is dedicated to allaying suffering and bringing healing to those in pain.
 
She was one of us.
 
I did not know her personally – but that really doesn’t matter.  She was a part of our community.
 
She was one of us.
 
The question of what causes someone to take tragic measures always looms large.  And in the days to come, many will ask that question.  Many close to her will suffer from the guilt that such a tragedy leaves in its wake.  People will ask questions:
 
“Were there any signs?”
 
“Why didn’t she get help?”
 
“How could she do ‘this’ to her children?”
 
All questions for which there may never be any answers.  But I do know this.
 
Sometimes there are no “signs”.
 
Sometimes a person doesn’t know how to ask for help – or thinks that it makes them look weak or wimpy to look at another person and say, “I can’t deal with this”.
 
And she did nothing “to” her children.  For as I have said in the past, oftentimes a person who takes their own life isn’t necessarily “choosing” to leave…it is simply too painful for them to stay.
 
A horrifically permanent solution to what can be a temporary situation. 
 
I don’t know of any widow support organization who has not intervened at one time or another on behalf of a widow/er in despair.  Many of us have sought training to do so as effectively as possible.  Recalling the time years ago that I was on vacation and received a letter via email that mentioned suicide, I now travel with the telephone number of crisis hotlines at the ready…just in case. 
In the days to come, there will be pain of unbelievable measure.  There will be much speculation.  At some point in time, there may even be blame assessed.  And at least one person will say something that is unbelievably mind-numbingly stupid…
 
But not from our community.  Never from the widowed.
 
Because we’ve been there.
 
We know that pain.  We know the despair. 
 
We’ve been startled by the sound of feral wailing that came from within ourselves because the pain in the pit of our stomachs and the breaking of our hearts was almost too much to bear.
 
We’ve suffered the lonely nights laying awake in the dark and praying for an uneasy sleep.
 
We’ve endured the ridiculous comments (and worse) from those around us.
 
We’ve fought for financial benefits to which we were rightfully entitled; only to have doors slammed in our faces.
 
We have been betrayed (and worse) by those who were supposed to have our backs. 
 
We know.
 
And so, while today is admittedly a quiet day – it nonetheless calls for very loud action.  And I’m really good at being really loud.
 
Please….PLEASE…if or when that day comes that you feel that you just can’t go another step on your own journey…REACH OUT!  Reach out to another widow/er – it doesn’t matter who they are; just the fact that they are widowed will bring you comfort in the immediate and love and friendship for the long haul.  REACH OUT to any one or ALL of the wonderful organizations that you know are out there.  That’s why we’re here…to help YOU.  We WANT to help.  We WANT to get you through the pain to a place of peace.  That is our entire purpose for existing.  Support.  Comfort.  Community.  Strength.  And if we can’t help you, we’ll get you to someone who can…immediately and absolutely FREE of charge. 
 
And remember…it is not a sign of strength to try and go through this alone – nor is it a sign of weakness to say, “I need help”.
She was one of us.
 
As a sadly-large community of the widowed, let us all declare that her death will not be in vain.  Let us recommit every day to helping one another recover – and when we are able, reaching out to others who are in pain.
 
She was one of us.
 
She was not the first.
 
But please…Dear Lord…let her be the last.
 
And may she rest in peace.
 
Written in honor and memory of Nichole Haycock.
 
 

About Carole Brody Fleet

Carole Brody Fleet is the award-winning author of the critically-acclaimed, “Widows Wear Stilettos: A Practical and Emotional Guide for the Young Widow”  (New Horizon Press) and “I’m ‘Heeling’ One Day at a Time: The ULTIMATE, One-and-Only Question, Answer and Reference Guide to Life After Widowhood” (due in 2011); as well as the author and executive producer of the best-selling CD entitled, “Widows Wear Stilettos: What Now?”.   To learn more about Widows Wear Stilettos; including the newly formed “First Month” Foundation as well as Widows Wear Stilettos’ nationwide in-person support groups, visit www.widowswearstilettos.com.

 

Posted in Grief Resources, Grief Support Discussion Topics, Loss of a Spouse, Suicide Survivors, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

I Did Not Know What To Say Newsletter Archives

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on April 9, 2011

We invite you to join our free newsletter mailing list on how to assist your friends and family members through the journey of restoring balance in their life after the death of a love one.

Our past issues are listed below for you to explore and pass on to your friends or family members that may find the information helpful.

Are you an expert in the grief recovery field? Do you have a story about your own life experience dealing with the loss of a loved one that you would like to share? Do you have tips or suggestions on how to assist a loved one after a loss? We would love to hear from you. We are open to article and story submissions for our website, newsletter and Facebook page. Please email us at info@ididnotknowwhattosay.com.

If you have a product or service that you would like to advertise on our website or in one of our upcoming newsletters, please visit our website for more details on our advertising opportunities – http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/advertise.html

We invite you to explore our Newsletter Archive

WELCOME Newsletter
Featured Article: What To Say… When You Don’t Know What To Say
by Lori Pederson, Founder, I Did Not Know What To Say

AUGUST 2009 Newsletter
Featured Article: SHOULD I OR SHOULDN’T I?
by Ann Leach, President, Life Preservers: a global grief support community

SEPTEMBER 2009 Newsletter
Featured Article: Operation: Heaven
Writings & Tips for those who know someone who has lost their hero in the military.
by Taryn Davis – Founder/President, The American Widow Project

OCTOBER 2009 Newsletter
Featured Article: The Simple Ingredients for a Less Stressful Life
by Jill Rheaume

NOVEMBER 2009 Newsletter – Happy Thanksgiving
Featured Article: Be the Gift of Comfort, Joy and Love this Holiday Season
by Lori Pederson

DECEMBER 2009 Newsletter – Happy Holidays
Featured Article: Less Than Perfect
by Lori Pederson

JANUARY 2010 Newsletter – HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Where we have been… Where we are going… & How you can assist us reach our goals in 2010

FEBRUARY 2010 Newsletter
Featured Article: Are Grief & Depression the Same Thing?
by Mark D. Miller M.D.

MARCH 2010 Newsletter
Featured Article: Our Interview with Mary-Suzanne Peters on Reference Point Therapy

APRIL 2010 Newsletter
Featured Article: What Grieving Moms Want for Mother’s Day: The Comfort Company Offers 10 Simple Ways to help Moms Cope When Mother’s Day Hurts

MAY 2010 Newsletter
Featured Article: The Gift of Listening
by Lori Pederson

JUNE 2010 Newsletter
Featured Article: What to Do on Father’s Day When Dad is Deceased
by Laurie Mueller, RTC, ID, AED, MEd

JULY 2010 Newsletter
Featured Article: Tips for Feeding Grieving Friends
by Tamar Fox

AUGUST 2010 Newsletter
Featured Article: A Hug to Remember
by Lori Pederson

SEPTEMBER 2010 Newsletter
Featured Article: Helping a Suicide Survivor Heal
by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.

OCTOBER 2010 Newsletter
Featured Article: On Writing: Your Stories Can Heal Your Heart
by Joan Hitchens, Storybooks for Healing

NOVEMBER 2010 Newsletter – Happy Thanksgiving
Featured Article: Five Things You Can Do For a Grieving Widow
by Marcy Kelly, Author of From Sorrow to Dancing

DECEMBER 2010 Newsletter – Happy Holidays
Featured Article: 12 Simple Ways to Support a Grieving Friend this Holiday Season
by Lori Pederson

JANUARY 2011 Newsletter – Happy New Year!
Featured Article: The Art of the Inspirational Adventure -
Helping your Love One Find Fun & Adventure in the Grieving Process
by Lori Pederson, Founder I Did Not Know What To Say

FEBRUARY 2011 Newsletter – Happy Valentine’s Day
Featured Article: HAVE A “SINGLE-Y SENSATIONAL” VALENTINE’S DAY
by Carole Brody Fleet, Author of Widows Wear Stilettos

MARCH 2011 Newsletter
Featured Article: The Myths Surrounding Suicide
by Catherine Greenleaf

APRIL 2011 Newsletter
Featured Article: What Not to Say to a Grieving Loved One
by Lori Pederson

Posted in Grief Resources - Newsletter, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Happy Valentine’s Day

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on February 14, 2011

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I thought I would repost one of my favorite quotes for this time of year.

Sooner or later we begin to understand that love is more than verses on valentines and romance in the movies. We begin to know that love is here and now, real and true, the most important thing in our lives. For love is the creator of our favorite memories and the foundation of our fondest dreams. Love is a promise that is always kept, a fortune that can never be spent, a seed that can flourish in even the most unlikely of places. And this radiance that never fades, this mysterious and magical joy, is the greatest treasure of all – one known only by those who love….Unknown

If you are a widow or widower or a friend looking for ways to help a grieving friend this Valentine’s Day, here are a few resources to explore:

Dealing with Holiday Grief
http://blog.beliefnet.com/inspirationreport/2011/02/dealing-with-holiday-grief.html

Grief Healing: Remembering Our Loved Ones on Valentine’s Day
http://searchwarp.com/swa296061.htm

Valentine’s Day for Widows = No Valentine, Just Pain – Marcy Kelly
http://marcythecoach.com/blog/widow/valentines-day-for-widows-no-valentine-just-pain/

Widowhood: A Time for Reinvention by Ellen Gerst
http://www.scribd.com/doc/40913525/Widowhood-A-Time-for-Reinvention

A Single Woman’s Adventures in Ballroom Dancing by Marcy Kelly
http://marcythecoach.com/blog/widow/adventures-in-ballroom-dancing/

Love After Loss – Writing the Rest of Your Story by Ellen Gerst
http://www.scribd.com/doc/45803211/Love-After-Loss-Writing-the-Rest-of-Your-Story-Introduction-by-Ellen-Gerst

I Did Not Know What To Say Blog Interviews and Articles for Widows
http://ididnotknowwhattosay.wordpress.com/category/widow/

I Did Not Know What To Say – Helpful Books
http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/helpfulbooks.html

Please let us know if you have a resource to share.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Lori

Posted in Grief Support & Holidays, Valentine's Day, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Virtual Book Tour – – Interview with Pat Nowak – Author of the ABC’s of Widowhood

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on January 22, 2011

Thank you for joining us on our Virtual Book Tour. 

Today we Welcome Pat Nowak, the author of “The ABC’s of Widowhood”. Pat’s interview offers many insights and practical suggestions on how to assist a widow heal after the loss of her spouse.

Please feel free to comment or share your own experiences with grief and the healing process in the comment section below.

“The ABC’s of Widowhoodis featured on our Helpful Books page under Loss of a Spouse.

And now our interview with Pat Nowak:

1. What inspired you to write the book The ABC’s of Widowhood?

When my husband was killed walking across the street I was at a loss to find anything that was helpful to read. I was facing emotional upheaval as well as financial problems. Many books that I picked up addressed one or the other; not both. Additionally, a woman experiencing grief needs to have something succinct to read as her attention span is often very limited. My inspiration for the book came from wanting to help all of those women who would experience the death of a spouse and find themselves in the same predicament.

2. How did losing your husband change your life?

After the devastation of losing my husband and eighteen days later our home in a fire, I made the mistake of trying to do too much too soon and insisted on becoming the rock for my children to rely on. Instead of taking care of myself I did not want them to sufferThe ABC's of Widowhood so I overextended; sleeping very little and working non-stop. I learned that I am no good to anyone if I did not stop and listen to my needs. I have since learned the importance of taking time for myself.

I also learned that a woman MUST learn to be financially savvy for her survival. Even today too many women are not vigilant about finances. This spells disaster when there is a death; I learned the hard way but it need not happen.

3. How is the death of a spouse different from divorce?

Death and divorce are similar from an emotional standpoint as you grieve for a spouse that is no longer in the picture. Death, however, is final and many women, after a period of time, begin a new journey and achieve a complete life change. A divorce often means that compromise is necessary as you navigate through childcare, financial and living arrangements that will continue on for years. It is often difficult for a woman to move on after a divorce but in both cases there is a world of new opportunity if a woman listens to her heart and pushes aside the hurt. Once that happens, many women discover happiness that helps them regain their self-confidence and uncovers a wealth of prospects.

4. Is there any one thing that your family or friends did for you that assisted you through the grieving process?

My family and friends did not desert me. Often after a death or divorce female friends, who are still married, might feel that you are a competitor and couples begin to drift away. This is hurtful to the person grieving. The support my friends showed me during that time helped me through those times when I was overwhelmed.

5. Our website focuses on providing tips to friends and family members on how to support a loved one through the grieving process. What would be your suggestions on how friends and family can support a loved one that has lost a spouse?

Family and friends can make the difference in the life of someone who is grieving. Call, stop by and make it a point to be engaged with someone who has lost a loved one. Show up unexpectedly with a cup of coffee and just be there to listen.

6. What do you wish your family or friends had done differently after you lost your husband?

My friends often were over vigilant not wanting me to feel the hurt. Unfortunately everyone has to go through the grief process in their own way and time. Occasionally I had to push back in order to make my own decisions; right or wrong.

7. What are your top three suggestions to help people move forward in the grieving process after the loss of a spouse?

The first thing anyone dealing with grief needs is an attitude adjustment. It is necessary to revitalize and embrace a newfound self-confidence. Even though the prospect of striking out on a path, chosen only by you, is continually daunting you must make it a point to try new things daily. By getting out of the same routine you will see amazing activities and events just waiting to happen. As your self-esteem soars you will know that it is now up to you to plan for your happiness. When you embrace the new changes you are free to let go of the past and proceed easily on to your future.

The next is balance and that has to come from within. Mental and financial balance is essential if you are to meet the challenges of facing life. You need to learn, earn and stop the yearning for balance to work. Learning from professionals what you need to go forward can solve problems easily. An accountant, attorney, and financial experts can help you with any necessary decisions for your future well-being.

Your mental balance may take a bit longer to achieve. When you spend so much time with a significant other your personalities become fused. The slow and rigorous ritual of becoming whole again will take many tears, embracing family and friends for a support system and taking small steps back into life.

The last need is courage; the inner strength that allows you to wake up each morning and get out of bed, even with tears streaming from your eyes. It is the firm determination to get going when all you would like to do is crawl in a hole. Courage will be tested each day as you relearn to live as one in a society meant for two but it is also the tenacity that will make you succeed.

8. What is one thing you would like your readers to take away from your book?

It is a simple and sobering fact. Most are unprepared for death, divorce or a debilitating illness, yet this need not happen. Being prepared is the one thing all women can do early in their relationship to insure that plans for their financial destiny and emotional well-being are taken care of.

Additionally, after the death of a spouse there are many assets you will acquire on your life journey. You have the opportunity to choose the way you want to live, the activities that will excite you and the numerous avenues for exploration. Every day will be a new test of strength, fortitude and determination but most who lose a spouse can find their way if they embrace the changes with clarity and hopefulness.

9. What would you like our readers to know about you and your book?

My personal goal after healing was to write a book that everyone who loses a spouse could read before or after the death to help them through the transition. The ABC’s of Widowhood is my voice of experience and my new beginning to share what I discovered along the way. I realized the most important lesson is that all women must have faith to know that they have the free will to pursue a vision of freedom and spiritual awakening…and the journey can be astonishing if you let it.

10. Have you written any other books? Do you plan to write any other books in the future?

At the present time I am thinking about writing a book on generational assistance for women; condensing what I know with assistance from others.

About Pat Nowak

People who become suddenly single, whether through divorce or widowhood, can rely on Pat Nowak for comfort and assistance. A nationally renowned speaker and author, Pat Nowak is a life coach on overcoming the emotional trauma of divorce and widowhood, an expert in handling financial affairs, and a motivator to change your life one day at a time.

Connect to Pat Nowak, the author of The ABCs of Widowhood, at http://www.abcsofwidowhood.com. Books are available at http://www.amazon.com

Grief Support Resources: http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/grief_support_groups.html

Posted in Loss of a Spouse, Virtual Book Tour | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Virtual Book Tour – Interview with Ellen Gerst – Love After Loss: Writing The Rest of Your Story

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on December 29, 2010

Thank you for joining us on our Virtual Book Tour.

Today we Welcome Ellen Gerst, the author of “Love After Loss: Writing the Rest of Your Story”.   Ellen’s interview offers many insights and practical suggestions on how to assist a widow heal and find love again after the loss of her spouse.

Please feel free to comment or share your own experiences with grief and the healing process in the comment section below.

And now our interview with Ellen Gerst:

1. I understand you were quite young when your husband died. How did losing him at an early age change your life? 

I was 39 years old when he died, and we had been together for over half of our lives. On the fateful day that he took his own life, I lost more than my husband; I lost everything that I thought was true about life and my personal world. The laws of nature had been broken, and it took quite a while to steady my compass. This made by grief journey very complicated.

Although this sounds incongruous, my late husband was the most sane and rational man around. If he could commit this heart breaking act, then it was possible for anyone to reach such a crisis of faith. His death was truly a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

And so he became the wake-up call for many of our friends to take stock of their own lives. Although I disliked having to be the example, I took stock of my own life too. I knew that I had a choice to either spiral downward or use this moment as the jumping off point for a life led in gratitude for what I did have rather than bemoan what I was lacking. And, if I had to lose my husband, I was grateful that I was young enough to have many years in front of me where I could utilize the lessons I had internalized from this life changing event.

After many years of gut wrenching introspective thought and study, I was able to accept the duality of every circumstance man encounters. Consequently, I was able to look at my husband’s death as the very worst thing that happened to me, as well as the opportunity that allowed me to evolve and grow into the woman I am today.

I have chronicled my journey from grief to renewal in the Introduction of Thin Threads of Grief and Renewal, an anthology of life changing stories of which I served as co-editor.

2. What inspired you to write the book Love After Loss: Writing The Rest of Your Story?

Love After Loss: Writing The Rest of Your Story has been a continual work in progress. It actually started off as a blog (before blogs even existed!) of my Internet dating adventures.

Let me digress for a moment …

About two and a half years after my husband died, I started a relationship with a man I met on a blind date set up by mutual friends. And although it didn’t work out, I believe its greater purpose was to awaken my senses. I was so glad to feel SOMETHING – to know that my emotions had only gone on hiatus while I was healing from my loss.

At about six or seven years out, I decided I was ready to look for a new life partner. Now, I knew I was capable of having a relationship; I just had no idea how to find one! So, what did I do? I turned to the modern day matchmaker … match.com!

At first, I treated it as a science experiment. I wanted to have lots of different experiences, meet lots of different people, and mostly have some fun. As I progressed through the process, I started to hone my dating expertise and technique. Having only dated two people my entire life, I was pleasantly surprised at how well I performed this task!

With a professional background in English education, I was always drawn to writing. With every job I held and with every personal experience, I either wrote a manual or a book. Since I was so steeped in dating, I decided that I would record how to Internet date safely and successfully. And when I felt disappointed by an encounter, I would write a story about it to see if I could extract the lesson I was supposed to learn. The book continued to grow in content as I included my thoughts on the tenets of a successful relationship. I started to share it with my prospective dates who I thought had promise as a treatise on “how to date Ellen.” They welcomed reading it – after all, isn’t it easier to proceed when you have the instruction manual in hand?

After some time, I earned my coaching certification. Specializing in grief and relationships seemed an easy choice. I then revised Love After Loss to include a section that takes the reader through various coaching exercises to help him or her reach clarity about his/her situation. 

Looking for love after the death of a spouse is a bit more complicated than other types of dating. Contrary to a divorce or break-up, a marriage or partnership was not ended by choice and feelings of love and positive attachments are left intact. A widow/er must take an arduous journey towards personal renewal so he/she can find the place where welcoming new love does not feel like a negation or a dishonoring of the relationship experienced with a revered late spouse.

At the heart of the matter is that I strongly believe that if one has navigated difficult waters successfully then he/she must put a hand out to help the next person travelling along a similar road. Love After Loss is that outstretched helping hand.

You can read the first chapter of Love After Loss, “The Do-Over” on Scribd.

3.  How does losing a spouse differ from losing a parent, a sibling or another immediate family member?

Losing any close relative is devastating, so it is difficult to compare them. Moreover, since all losses are highly individual, it will affect each person differently.  That said, I do think the depth of your grief and the affect it has on your life is somewhat proportionate with the length of your spousal relationship and with how close and/or dependent you were on him/her or the family member.

Personally, I left home at age 17 when I started college. Upon graduation, I moved 3000 miles away from my parents. At most, I saw them twice a year for a couple of weeks. When my father passed away, I mourned him deeply, as well as the milestones he would be missing, especially since I was 8 months pregnant with my second child and my parents were scheduled to await the birth with us only two weeks before he died.

However, since I neither frequently saw my dad nor talked to him on the phone because he was hard of hearing, it took a long time for it to sink in that he was actually gone. And although I felt his death emotionally, my daily life was not impacted by his death.

What is tough about losing a family member is that you have a long shared history filled with memories that ‘outsiders’ can never appreciate. I think Erma Bombeck said it best.

“The family. We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another’s desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together.”

For me, I had this same bond with my late husband because we met before we were fully formed adults. We grew up together and, as you do with family members, we shared so many firsts. And as my siblings did, he saw me evolve from a teenager to a woman to a mother. Consequently, his death was a double whammy for me – the loss of a spouse and a close family member.

So to answer your question … to me, the emotional pain of losing a spouse or another family member is pretty consistent. However when a spouse dies, the logistics and rhythm of life are disrupted more so than when a mom, dad or sibling passes.

4. Is there any one thing that your family or friends did for you that assisted you through the grieving process?   

They allowed me to progress through my grief journey at the speed that was just right for me. Moreover, I was not pressured by their expectations of what they thought I should be doing.

Family and friends remained constant without hovering. I felt their love and support and knew they would swoop in to catch me if I were to fall, but, at the same time, they allowed me the space to try out my new wings.

5.  What do you wish your family or friends had done differently after you lost your husband? 

Actually, I was very lucky. I know some widow/ers are disappointed by the reactions of friends and family, but I did not encounter that situation, except for one instance. Of course, it was partially my attitude too. I ignored, or chose to remain oblivious to, negative or hurtful words and actions. I know that before I lost my husband I, too, felt awkward and didn’t know what to say to the bereaved. I know one day when loss is experienced, each person will realize his/her inappropriate or hurtful words/actions. After my late husband’s death, I chose not to expend unnecessary energy on this type of behavior by taking offense and learned to accept that life is just a learning process for us all.

The one disappointment I did have was that my husband’s two brothers deserted us. It’s been 15 years, and I still haven’t heard from them. However, I believe this is more about them than me. I imagine they still have not done their grief work, and they believe it would be painful to interact with me and their nephews. I simply feel sorry for them. They have given up a relationship with the two people who could have brought them the closest to the memory of their brother. It’s very sad, and I’m sure they will harbor regrets at the end of their days. 

6. What suggestions do you have for widows that are looking for ways to start over and find love again? 

In order to be successful at this task, it is imperative that you finish your grief work before looking for new love. I think it’s okay to try dating before you are completely done grieving – as long as you realize it is only practice and that you are not ready to enter a fully committed relationship.

The first step in the process of starting over is to discover and get to know the new you. In Love After Loss, I refer to this person as the “New Single You.” After having experienced such a momentous event in one’s life, it is virtually impossible to have remained the same. Consequently, one must spend time in introspective and explorative thought to find out who this person is and what he/she wants in life.

Attitude and perspective are also at the top of my list for those who are looking to enter the dating scene. A couple of tips to keep in mind include:

1. Dating is supposed to be fun, not a chore. Choose that mindset for the best result!

2. It is a numbers game. The more people you meet, the better your chance of finding someone to whom you can connect. Consequently, be open to meeting different types of people and ones that you might not have considered before your loss.

3. You must keep your expectations in check. Don’t approach each date with the idea that you are going to meet “the one.” Instead, look at each encounter as simply an interaction with another human being. Even if this person is not to your liking romance-wise, EVERYONE has something to offer …. even if it is only to reinforce what you don’t want in a new relationship.

7. What are your top three suggestions to help people move forward in the grieving process after the loss of a spouse?  

1. Don’t grieve on anyone else’s timetable. Mourning is very personal, and everyone moves through the process at different speeds. However, this does not give you a “free pass” forever. You must continuously move forward, even if it is only in baby steps.

2. Make a conscious decision that you will conquer the grief issues that confront you so you can reach a place of personal renewal. I believe in order to reach a goal, you have to articulate it first; it is also imperative to know why you are moving towards it. If you don’t have good reasons why you want something, it is very easy to come up with excuses for not taking action. In truth, this true for any endeavor and not just mourning.

3. If you want to move successfully through your grief, you must have a change in perspective. While in mourning you will experience a myriad of emotions and swing from high to low – sometimes in a matter of a few minutes! Allow all these emotions to surge through your body, although do not attempt to make important decisions during this time. Think of yourself as a pendulum which swings back and forth and eventually comes to rest in the middle. After your emotional swings, you too should come to rest at the midpoint, or what I call neutral.  At neutral, you can adjust your perspective and you are able to look in all directions to decide where you want to go next. Going forward with a positive attitude and one that allows you to be grateful for the things you do have instead of bemoaning what you don’t allows you to step into the renewal phase of your life. Awakening and throwing off the dark mantle of bereavement is a rebirth of sorts and allows you to see the world with clarity and to truly know what is important in life.

8. Our website focuses on providing tips to friends and family members on how to support a loved one through the grieving process.  What would be your suggestions on how friends and family can support a widow that is beginning to write the new story of her life?

In actuality, we all live our lives in stories, and they include many different aspects, including personal, professional, educational, charitable, familial and so on. Much of Love After Loss focuses on one avenue upon which to travel – that of romance.

To provide support to a widow/er, attempt to put aside your own ego and what you think should be done or at what stage you believe your friend or family member should be. In other words … there are no set “shoulds.” What is or would be right for you is not necessarily right for the widow/er. And it is very possible he or she might make a mistake in judgment. However, as adults we must all take responsibility for our own actions. Simply because someone lost a spouse, he or she does not turn into a child – so do not treat him/her as such by telling him/her what to do.

Additionally, be a good listener; support without judgment; offer an opinion only when asked; and don’t push or nag the widow/er to step into dating – only he or she will know the right time to start this process. And, if a relationship becomes serious and you do meet the prospective mate, take into consideration the pressure this person might feel about being “graded” to see if he/she is good enough. This might lead to awkward behavior, so be generous by giving him/her a chance to prove him/herself.

Here is a link to a YouTube video that outlines 10 ways I believe that family and friends can best support a mourner.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AavjQ-dd_o0

9. What is one thing you would like your readers to take away from your book?

I think there are many lessons to be learned about how to move forward, how to date, and how to have a successful relationship. However, the underlying theme is that there is no such thing as a free lunch!

Everything worth having is hard work and usually involves some sort of risk, with opening up your heart after loss being near the top of the list. You cannot wave a magic wand and wish that your grief would dissipate by itself and that your new prince or princess will gallop up and save you. Each individual must “save” him or herself with the hard work it takes to move from grief to renewal. And once renewed, love is the greatest gift to share with another.  

10. What would you like our readers to know about you and the books you have written?

I have always written from personal experience; it is how I figure things out. And when I do figure them out, I like to share!

When I was widowed 15.5 years ago, support for young widow/ers was practically non-existent. I finally found one support group, and I began to write a newsletter for it. Every month I would write about an issue with which I was grappling. What I learned was that everyone was having similar experiences and that I just happened to be living mine aloud and sharing it with the community. Now online support abounds, and there are many opportunities to connect with others who need support.

I believe I coped well with the hand I was dealt. Despite the loss of their father, I raised two sons who are happy and successful in their own lives. And I was able to reinvent myself and to find a new love of my life.

All my books were born from my innate need to help others to gracefully and successfully travel the roads of grief to renewal. I believe my personal and professional expertise can be that helping hand to change a mourner’s perspective from darkness to light.

Ellen Gerst is a grief and relationship coach, author and speaker. Her books, born from personal experience, include: 

101 Tips and Thoughts on Coping With Grief is an easy-to-read reference guide for every day suggestions on how to deal with the practical, emotional, physical and spiritual sides of grief.

Love After Loss: Writing The Rest of Your Story includes my own story, which can be read on Scribd.com. The book is a blueprint on how to use my successful method to find and welcome new love into your life after loss. 

 

 

In Order To Be Terrific, You Need To Be Specific! contains 150 specific actions that can be implemented for terrific results in dating and relationship development.

 

 

The Other Side of the Vail: Spiritual Guidance for Everyday Living was written with Melinda Vail, an intuitive therapist. It is a simple yet fascinating book that is perfect for one who is exploring the concept of spirituality and the possibility of being able to communicate with lost loved ones.

Thin Threads of Grief and Renewal, of which I am co-editor, is a small volume of uplifting stories written by authors who have experienced great loss and who went on to find great personal renewal. It makes a thoughtful sympathy card that can be re-read when inspiration is needed to go on.

To receive your free e-book, 25 Inspirational Tips and Thoughts on Coping with Grief, visit Ellen’s website at http;//www.LNGerst.com. Ellen is available for individualized coaching or workshop presentations for your group. Books are available for sale at the “Book Store” on her website.

Posted in Grief Resources, Loss of a Spouse, Virtual Book Tour, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Don’t Miss Our I Did Not Know What To Say Monthly Newsletter

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on November 14, 2010

Don’t miss our monthly newsletter featuring tips, articles and inspirational stories on how to assist a loved one through the journeycupofcomfort of restoring balance in their life after a loss.

November 2010 – Featured Article:

Six Things You Can Do for a Grieving Widow
by Marcy Kelly,  Author of From Sorrow to Dancing

To read more, Click on the link below to sign up for our Monthly Newsletter:
http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/mailinglist.html

Our Newsletter includes tips, articles and inspirational stories on how to assist your friends and family members through the journey of restoring balance in their life after the death of a love one.
Plus
You will receive my FREE Special Report, “Twenty-Five Supportive Things You Can Do For Someone That Has Lost a Loved One ~ Plus Ten Thoughtful Gift Ideas”

Posted in Loss of a Spouse, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Virtual Book Tour – Interview with Carole Brody Fleet – “Widows Wear Stilettos: A Practical and Emotional Guide for the Young Widow”

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on October 26, 2010

Thank you for joining us on our Virtual Book Tour. 

Today we Welcome Carole Brody Fleet, the author of “Widows Wear Stilettos: A Practical and Emotional Guide for the Young Widow”. Carole’s interview offers many insights and practical suggestions on how to assist a widow heal after the loss of her spouse.

Please feel free to comment or share your own experiences with grief and the healing process in the comment section below.

Widows Wear Stilettos: A Practical and Emotional Guide for the Young Widow” is featured on our Helpful Books page under Grief Support & Loss of a Spouse.

And here is our interview with Carole Brody Fleet… 

1.          What inspired you to write the book WIDOWS WEAR STILETTOS? 

       It was the glaring lack of support for widows (particularly those who are widowed at a chronologically younger age) that was the driving force behind the books, the CD and the founding of Widows Wear Stilettos, Inc.  At the time of my own loss, the only books that I could find seemed to focus exclusively on grief, which is fine for awhile – but I had also had a lot of questions that no one seemed to be answering. I had questions that I was afraid to even ask.  There were issues that needed to be addressed that weren’t being discussed.  All of these things (and more) became the “backbone” of the book.

2.          How did losing your husband at an early age change your life?

       From the time we were given our first Bridal Barbie™, we have been conditioned to think in terms of being Mr. & Mrs. One-Half-of-a-Happy-Couple and that we would one day have a home and children. We will eventually retire at a “ripe old age” and regale our families with tales of the “good old days”.  Nowhere in that scenario is there any mention that you could wind up as a single parent of a young or adolescent child as the result of losing your husband far too soon – which is exactly what happened to me and the millions of other women who have been affected by widowhood; regardless of age. I saw all of the plans for the future change dramatically; knowing that whatever the future held, it was not going to be the future that my late husband and I had planned together. It was without a doubt one of the scariest and most significantly life-changing seasons in my life.   

3.          How does losing a spouse differ from losing a parent, a sibling or another immediate family member?

       Four months after I lost my late husband to ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), I lost my father to pancreatic cancer.  Both losses were equally devastating; however, I was wife/partner to one and child to the other, making the loss “perspectives” entirely different and therefore individual. People tend to “lump” all loss experiences together, which is a common (and huge) error.  Losses must be treated individually as the loss perspectives differ greatly.  When I encounter people who have lost several loved ones and who are actually apologizing for grieving, I remind them that there are no limits as to how much grief we are entitled to feel and that since the loss perspectives were different, the losses are completely individual and should be treated as such…and without apology!

4.          Is there any one thing that your family or friends did for you that assisted you through the grieving process?       

Those nearest and dearest to us really did “close ranks” around my daughter and me in so many lovely and loving ways.  While my daughter and I were staying with my mother immediately after the funeral (as on top of everything else, we were both very ill with the flu), unbeknownst to me, one group of friends contacted our hospice and met them at my home to clean up the scene of my husband’s last hours, so that we would not have to return to that sight and that particularly painful memory.  Another group of friends and work colleagues formed a “Tupperware Brigade”; where meals were left on our doorstep every other day for over a month; along with cards, medicines and other necessities. My daughter’s friends made sure that schoolwork was delivered to her and returned to her teacher at school so that she would not fall behind in class. They also kept her entertained with cards, notes, “tween” magazines…anything to buoy her spirits. Most notably, I was allowed to grieve in the way(s) that I saw fit; which also allowed me to be there for my daughter as her own grief support. For all of these things and more, I will be forever grateful.   

5.          What do you wish your family or friends had done differently after you lost your husband? 

        I quickly found out the meaning of the words “friend” and “family” – and those who truly are the definition of those words absolutely got it right. There are things that I wish I had done differently – but our genuine friends and family were phenomenal in every way; before, during and since that terrible time. 

6.          What suggestions do you have for widows that are being criticized for not grieving the “right way” (whatever that may be)?

       This question made me smile as I have actually written an entire article on the subject (“What’s ‘Right’…What’s ‘Wrong’…and WTF??”). In short, I remind the many widows who encounter this situation that in each loss scenario, there is only one widow.  There is only one person with that particular loss perspective.  Therefore, she is the boss.  She is in the driver’s seat.  As long as she is not grieving in a destructive manner (i.e., alcohol or drug abuse, compulsive behaviors, etc.), whatever she chooses to do and however she chooses to do it…is the “right” way to grieve.  Comments such as, “You’re not grieving right” or “You don’t visit his grave? Didn’t you love him?” (excerpted from actual letters that I have received from widows) are uncalled for at best and inexcusably insensitive at worst.  The widow must “take charge” of her grief and send that message to those who surround her – and if at all possible, make sure that the people who surround her the majority of the time are those that are going to be part of the solution (healing); rather than part of the problem (criticizing). 

7.          What is one thing you would like your readers to take away from your book?      

While widowhood will definitely shape you, it does not have to define you.  You can honor your past, you can treasure your past, you can and should certainly love your past – but you do not have to LIVE in your past.  You are still here and while the loss of a spouse is among the most devastating and life-altering experiences that you will ever know, the fact that you are still here means that you have one very basic entitlement – that of a life of abundance and peace.  The book is just one tool that teaches how to move through the pain of loss into that place of peace that we all so richly deserve.
 

 8.         What are your top three suggestions to help people move forward in the grieving process after the loss of a spouse?

       1.  One of the most overused and inaccurate clichés that widows here is, “Time heals all wounds.”  The widow is then waking up every day thinking, “OK, time has passed and I’m hearing that time heals all wounds, but I don’t feel ‘healed’ – what’s wrong with me?“. You must understand that time ALONE does NOT heal all wounds.  Time plus TOOLS helps to heal your wounds and you need to get your hands on as many healing tools as possible. Arm yourself with knowledge, get proactive about your healing and start taking control of a situation where you likely feel as though you have had no control;
 
         2.  Your loss experience becomes a part of you from which you will move forward.  You will never get “over it”; experience “closure” or any of the other clichés that you are likely to hear.  Once you embrace this fact, you will immediately begin to feel so much better so much faster; 
 

        3.  Surround yourself with people who are going to support you in your healing process.  Limit your time with those expressing negative opinions, observations and insights – they will serve only to hold you back and cause you to doubt your own best judgment.  Most importantly, listen to that little voice inside you – it will rarely steer you wrong. 

9.  Our website focuses on providing tips to friends and family members on how to support a loved one through the grieving process.  What would be your top three suggestions on how to positively support a widow that is grieving?

       My top three “Do’s and Don’t’s” are:

       1.  DON’T say, “Call me if you need anything”…that call will never come. The widow is not in a clear frame of mind and she further does not want to be a “burden” to anyone by asking for help.   

        Instead, DO be proactive and take the initiative to be of help – bring over a heat-and-eat meal or two; put groceries in the house; ask her for a list of errands that need running; tell her that you are going to be taking care of getting kids to and from school or activities – these are just a few suggestions that will help a widow tremendously while she is trying to re-establish some sort of routine in the household. 

       2.  DON’T say, “I know how you feel”. First, you don’t know how she feels; even if you yourself are a widow. I will tell a widow that, “I get it” or “I’ve been there”, but even though I have lived the widow experience, I will never say, “I know how you feel” because I am not her.  Secondly, the moment you say, “I know how you feel”, you have not only just trivialized her feelings, you have now made the conversation about you.  At that moment in time, it is not about you; let the focus be on her. 

         DO say, “I’m so sorry, I cannot imagine what you must be going through right now and I am here for you”.  This is the most sincere and comforting thing you can possibly say at such a difficult time.  Most importantly, after you have told her that you will be there for her…

       3.  DON’T disappear! There is so much activity and hubbub surrounding a loss, the funeral, etc…and then poof! Everyone is “gone”.  Widows naturally understand that people need to go on with their lives and their day-to-day; however, one of the biggest complaints that I receive is that once the funeral is over, everyone seems to “disappear”. 

        DO check in periodically – email is OK; telephoning is even better. Volunteer to come over for coffee or better yet, see if she is up to getting out of the house for an hour or so for that coffee or for a meal (which will help her own healing processes immensely). 

10.      What do you want our readers to know about you and your book?

       I have always firmly believed that we gravitate toward what we focus on and my focus is and has always been on healing.  However, even though I have moved into a new life that is once again wonderful, I will never forget being that widow who could not get out of her penguin pajamas with the feet in them.  I will always relate to every part of a widow’s Healing Journey and the book reflects that.  Readers will find that some parts of the book will apply to them “right now today” and other parts of the book will apply later on in their Healing Journey – but the goal was to create a “roadmap” for widows to help them start out and / or continue along on their Healing Journey; rather than simply focus on grief and pain. I hope that I accomplished that goal. 

About Carole Brody Fleet

Carole Brody Fleet is the award-winning author of the critically-acclaimed, “Widows Wear Stilettos: A Practical and Emotional Guide for the Young Widow”  (New Horizon Press) and “I’m ‘Heeling’ One Day at a Time: The ULTIMATE, One-and-Only Question, Answer and Reference Guide to Life After Widowhood” (due in 2011); as well as the author and executive producer of the best-selling CD entitled, “Widows Wear Stilettos: What Now?”. Recipient of the Embrace Life Award from State Farm Insurance Companies and the Board of Directors Outstanding Service Award from the Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation, Carole has been featured on national, regional and local television and regularly appears as a guest expert on numerous radio programs nationally and internationally; as well as in national and international magazines, newspapers and websites.  To learn more about Widows Wear Stilettos; including the newly formed “First Month” Foundation as well as Widows Wear Stilettos’ nationwide in-person support groups, visit www.widowswearstilettos.com.

Posted in Grief Resources, Loss of a Spouse, Virtual Book Tour | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Virtual Book Tour – Interview with Lori A. Moore – Author Missing Andy

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on June 28, 2010

Thank you for joining us on our Virtual Book Tour. 

Today we Welcome Lori A. Moore, the author of Missing Andy.  We are delighted that Lori has been able to provide us with her insights and suggestions on how to assist a loved one that has lost her ex-husband and best friend.  Please feel free to comment or share your own experiences with grief and the healing process in the comment section below.

Missing Andy is featured on our Helpful Books page under Grief Support & Loss of a Spouse.

And here is our interview with Lori A. Moore… 

What inspired you to write the book Missing Andy?

My husband of 12 years died in 2008 at age 49. He threw a blood clot approximately 15 hours post-surgery for a hip replacement. We held his funeral on what should have been his 50th birthday. Even though we were divorced at the time of his death, he was my best friend and we talked to each other every single day and hung out a couple of times a week.  I started writing as a way to express my thoughts and my grief.

Is there any one thing that your family or friends did for you that assisted you through the grieving process?  (i.e. a special card someone sent you, a favorite place they took you, listened when you needed support, etc.)

My friends were very patient with my crying and my telling them frequently how much I  missed Andy.  My brother, who doesn’t say much, came through in a big way and was very supportive of me during my grief. Even now, almost two years later, almost 

book-cover-missing-andy

every conversation includes an “Andy” story and they are very understanding about why I talk about him so much even though he’s gone.

What do you wish your family or friends had done differently after Andy had passed away?

A couple of friends, within a month of two of Andy’s passing would say, “You need to get over it,” or “Aren’t you over that yet?”   That really hurt.  You don’t just “get over it.”  Others asked, “But he was your ex-husband, why would you be upset about him dying if you weren’t still married to him?”  They simply didn’t understand the relationship.  After Andy’s death, his family was upset that Andy had made me beneficiary of a larger sum of money than he left to them and they got a little ugly about it. Dealing with those issues on top of my grief was almost too much to handle.

What is one thing you would like your readers to take away from your book?

Grief is normal and it’s okay to grieve. You’re grieving for yourself because the loved one that you lost, if he/she was a Christian is in a perfect place that is so much better than here on earth.  They’re okay, even if you’re not okay for a while. 

What are your top three suggestions to help people move forward in the grieving process?

  • Talk to a grief counselor.
  • Give yourself time to grieve.
  • Find a creative outlet for your grief, such as scrapbooking, writing, journaling, etc. so that you can spend some happy time remembering the person that you’ve lost.

What do you want our readers to know about you and your book?

I wrote this book to deal with my grief, but also as a way to honor Andy for the wonderful man that he was.  The majority of the profits from this book go to Andy’s favorite charity, The WHAS Crusade for Children, an organization in Louisville, KY that benefits special-needs children.

Have you written any other books?  Do you plan to write any other books in the future?

My first book, written at the same time as Missing Andy, is titled From Zero to Christian in Just 35 Years which is a compilation of three stories making up my testimony of how I gave my life to Christ.  The title comes from the fact that I had never set foot inside of a church of heard of Jesus Christ until I was 35 years old.  

My next book is due out this Fall (2010) and is a children’s book titled Grady the Gray Cat. 

About Lori A. Moore

Lori A. Moore teaches college both online as well as in her hometown of Louisville, KY where she lives with her husband Michael and their three cats.  Lori has a passion for adults who haven’t yet experienced a relationship with Christ because everything they’ve heard is kind of formal and scary.  She tries to write with humor and on a down-to-earth level that people can relate to and understand. 

Twitter @Lori_A_Moore

http://loriamoore.tatepublishing.net

 

Posted in Grief Resources, Inspiration, Loss of a Friend, Loss of a Spouse, Virtual Book Tour, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

 
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