I Did Not Know What To Say Blog

Archive for January, 2011

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 »

Don’t Miss Our Monthly Newsletter

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on January 20, 2011

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

January 2011 – 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

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

Virtual Book Tour – Interview with Catherine Greenleaf – Author of Healing The Hurt Spirit: Daily Affirmations for People Who Have Lost a Loved One to Suicide

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on January 15, 2011

Thank you for joining us on our Virtual Book Tour.

Today we Welcome Catherine Greenleaf, the author of “Healing The Hurt Spirit: Daily Affirmations for People Who Have Lost a Loved One to Suicide”. Catherine’s interview offers many insights and practical suggestions on how to assist a loved one that is a suicide loss survivor.

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

“Healing The Hurt Spirit: Daily Affirmations for People Who Have Lost a Loved One to Suicide” is featured on our Helpful Books page under Healing after a Suicide.

And now our interview with Catherine Greenleaf:

1. What inspired you to write the book Healing The Hurt Spirit: Daily Affirmations for People Who Have Lost a Loved One to Suicide?

I wrote the book I wished I’d had when I was first going through suicide grief. My first suicide loss was in 1980. While there were many books written about suicide during the 1980s and 1990s, I found most of them to be published by academics writing for a professional audience of psychiatrists. I was yearning for a book in plain English I could understand, written by a suicide loss survivor like myself, so I could read about how to get through the grief. I wrote my book so survivors could identify the stages, or passages, of suicide grief and know they were not going crazy. I also wanted the book to help survivors know that things do get better and it is possible to hold that special person in your heart and still live a happy life. I finally published my book in 2006 – it took many years to write!

2. How did losing your friend to suicide change your life?

I was so young back then. I was in my mid-20s and I had never really experienced a sudden death before. I was devastated. He was one of my closest friends, and more like a brother to me than a friend. I felt like I had totally failed him as a human being, that I should have done something to somehow stop him. I can remember every night after coming home from work lying down in the bathroom on the cold tile floor and just weeping and sobbing. This went on for months. I ate a lot. I gained weight. I didn’t really take very good care of myself. I didn’t reach out for help. I just kept it all inside and didn’t talk to anybody. But you know, back then, Healing the Hurt Spirit: Daily Affirmations for People Who Have Lost a Loved One to Suicidethere weren’t really any support groups or therapists specializing in suicide loss. Things are a lot different today.

3. How does the death of a loved one by suicide differ from other losses?

Suicide is sudden and violent. It gives you no opportunity for closure. Your loved one is there one minute and gone the next. There’s no chance to even say good-bye. The self-inflicted violence of suicide is appalling, and often family and friends are diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, whether they witnessed the suicide or not. Just the news alone sometimes is enough to cause PTSD. Suicide is also considered a form of complicated disenfranchised grief, because there is so much shame and stigma attached to it, and society in general just does not offer support to grieving families. The irony of suicide grief is we are the ones who must reach out and ask for the help at a time when we are most in need of help from the community. I am happy to say that is finally beginning to change.

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

I have to say I am very fortunate that I have incredibly wonderful friends. After the suicide, I had several friends encouraging me to take care of myself and seek help. One of my friends drove me home from work after I got the news of the suicide by telephone. I was so shell-shocked I don’t even remember it, but apparently she drove me home and cooked me dinner! My friends are good listeners. They will let me rant and rave and they will just sit there and offer support. I should add here, however, that some friends will be unable to offer support and may even disappear from your life. This happened to me. Not everyone is cut out to handle the pervading stigma around suicide. It’s another loss, to be sure, but it does happen. Stick with the people who can support you and validate your loss.

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 that is grieving due to suicide?

Be a “first responder.” Since suicide loss survivors are very likely to pull down the shades and hide inside the house, you be the one who rings the doorbell or makes the phone call and offers unconditional love and support. You have to understand that suicide in the family makes you feel like the whole world thinks there is something abnormal about your family. That is not true, of course. Suicide can happen in any family. But you feel the heavy weight of shame nonetheless. The best things you could say would be: “I am so sorry,” and “Is there anything I can do?” Silence is the worst thing. So many people aren’t sure what to say, so they don’t say anything. To the suicide loss survivor, unfortunately, this could be interpreted as condemnation.

Ask them what they need. If they want to talk, then you can be a tremendous help by just listening. If they just want to sit silently and enjoy the closeness of your company, then that can be just as comforting as well. You’ll want to remember that at times they may not know their own minds. Suicide grief is a form of complicated grief because dying through violent self-infliction is extremely traumatizing to the loved ones left behind. Not only are they trying to work through the stages of suicide grief, they are also often diagnosed with PTSD and experiencing various symptoms like agitation and sleeplessness. They may also have to go on medication for anxiety and depression. There are going to be days where they have no idea what they want, so your patience will be key.

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

I wish my family had talked about it. There wasn’t even a discussion to not discuss it. It was like a silent, unwritten pact to pretend nothing happened. My family didn’t mention Bob’s name for 11 years. It was like he never existed. There was so much shame and stigma and confusion, the decision was made to sweep it all under the rug and pretend it never happened. I think my family’s reaction is pretty typical of many families today who experience suicide loss. Unfortunately, the trauma and repressed emotions don’t go away. They are buried alive and will come out unexpectedly during another loss or crisis like divorce or illness. I would suggest family and friends urge their loved ones to get help, and start talking about it.

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

1. Be sure to find yourself a sudden loss bereavement therapist. Just any grief therapist will not do. You really need someone well-versed in the trauma of sudden, complicated grief. I can tell you Kubler-Ross’ Five Stages of Grief do not apply to suicide loss. Kubler-Ross’ created those stages of grief in the 1950s for hospice patients. Unfortunately, since that time many therapists have used a cookie-cutter approach with those stages. I have documented 12 stages, or passages, through suicide grief in my book.

2. Don’t feel guilty if you feel relief after your loved one dies by suicide. Many of us have lost loved ones with brain disorders. Living with someone with a personality disorder, schizophrenia or bi-polar can be extremely stressful. From my own experience, you kind of walk on eggshells hoping they won’t go off their meds and have an “episode.” So when they do die, it’s not that you feel relief because they’re gone, it’s because you no longer have to tiptoe around hoping not to set them off.

3. Don’t isolate. Join a suicide loss survivor support group in your area. Make friends with these people. Go out for coffee and ice cream with them when you are feeling lonely or overwhelmed. Put yourself with friends who validate your loss and encourage your recovery.

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

That my book is strictly for them – for the suicide loss survivor. I don’t go on and on about what to do and what not to do to prevent the suicide of a loved one. My book does not focus on suicide prevention. There are plenty of organizations and books out there addressing that side of things. The big problem is there are not enough books addressing the needs of the loved ones left behind. That is why I wrote my book: to address the confusion, anger, hurt and despair. I want my readers to know they can survive their grief and go on to live happy lives.

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

I’ve lost three people, the first in 1980, the second in 1986 and the third in 1992. Since I had been through it three times, I naturally started to notice a pattern to my reactions, my grief and what I needed to do to get through it all. I started writing it all down and eventually my journaling turned into a book. I would suggest that any survivor keep a journal. It is a very powerful tool for healing. I tell my journal all my deepest, darkest secrets and fears.

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

I just came out of the recording studio! I have created a CD of healing music and positive affirmations called Today, I Am Healing. The affirmations are designed to help restore a person’s self-esteem and self-worth after a suicide loss. I found a wonderful New Age music composer to write the music. It should be out by May of 2011.

About Catherine Greenleaf

Catherine Greenleaf is a suicide loss survivor. She travels all over the United States to share her experiences with other survivors. Her website is: http://www.healingthehurtspirit.com. You can follow her on http://www.twitter.com/todayiamhealing. You can also read her articles on suicide loss at: http://www.healingfromsuicidegrief.blogspot.com.

Healing The Hurt Spirit: Daily Affirmations for People Who Have Lost a Loved One to Suicide is featured on our Helpful Books page – http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/helpfulbooks.html

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

Posted in Loss of a Friend, Suicide Survivors, Virtual Book Tour, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Are You Ready for a Dazzling, Love-Filled Life?

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on January 11, 2011

What if you could feel like you’re in love EVERY DAY of your life? And what if you could dissolve any heartache, pain, or emptiness and experience the ecstasy of an open heart? 

You can. . . by learning how to Love for No Reason. 

In her extraordinary new book Love For No Reason: 7 Steps to Creating a Life of Unconditional Love, my friend and colleague Marci Shimoff, #1 New York Times bestselling author, shows you how to experience a deep and lasting state of love that doesn’t depend on another person, situation, or romantic partner.  You’ll be able to: 

  • Open your heart and become a magnet for love 
  • Enjoy more fulfilling relationships with others AND yourself 
  • Turn off your body’s stress response and turn on your body’s love response for better health and well-being 
  • Experience more success and satisfaction  
  • Help your family, community, and the world 

Marci’s onto something BIG.  I’m heartily recommending this breakthrough book to everyone, giving it two VERY enthusiastic thumbs up! 

Get it TODAY, and you’ll also receive the exclusive “Love For No Reason Gift Package” as a BONUS.  Click here: http://www.thelovebook.com 

P.S.  If Marci’s name sounds familiar. . .it should!  She’s the author of the international bestseller Happy for No Reason, six top titles in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, and a teacher in the hit film The Secret.  Now, in Love for No Reason, Marci shares the most important life-changing message of all. I urge you to get a copy today! http://www.thelovebook.com

MARCI SHIMOFF books are also featured on our Helpful Books page – http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/helpfulbooks.html

Be sure to watch for our Upcoming Interview with MARCI SHIMOFF as part of our Virtual Book Tour!

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