I Did Not Know What To Say Blog

Archive for April, 2011

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

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on April 28, 2011

Guest Post from  

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 »

What Not to Say to a Grieving Loved One

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on April 26, 2011

Knowing what not to say can be just as important as finding the right words to comfort a loved one when they are grieving.  Many of the following sayings might seem on the surface to be the “right” thing to say; after all you have probably heard them said at a funeral.  However, to a person grieving these common “words of support” encourage them to deny their true emotions and can be hurtful.

Here are a few sayings to try to avoid:

  1. The I’ll be there For You…But Not Really Response.
    Call me if you need to talk! (but the person is always too busy to talk to you).

    When you are feeling extremely vulnerable, you want to be able to count on friends and family to be there for you.  One of the most common stories I have heard from those that are grieving, are that friends and even family often avoid them when they need them the most.  Try to do your best to return phone calls and stop by and listen.  It may seem difficult at times but it can be truly healing to a friend in need.
  2. The Look on the Bright Side Response
    Your loss is nothing compared to what I heard in the news the other day, you should be thankful.  You are young; you can always have another child.  Don’t worry, you can always get remarried.  Don’t be sad, they are in a better place now.  Your mother lived a long life; you shouldn’t be upset that she passed away.  

    Grief is unique to each individual.  Just because someone else’s life may be more dramatic does not make your friend’s pain any less important to them.  Allow your loved one to freely share their personal story. 
  3. The Overly Negative Response
    You must feel so lost.  Things are really going to be awful for you for awhile.  You poor thing, life will never be the same. You must have a dark cloud over you.  How do you think your loved one would feel if they saw you like this?  If you were more religious these things would not be happening to you.

    Someone who is grieving is already feeling overwhelmed and sad.  These negative comments have a way of making someone feel even worse.  If you are really trying to sympathize with their feelings, try asking them how they are feeling and allow them to express what they are going through.
  4. The Just Get Over It Response
    Are you better now?  Your loved one passed away so long ago, why are you still upset?  Crying and being depressed will not bring your loved one back.  Oh it’s just an animal, you can get another one.

    Grief is not a disease or a psychological condition you can take a pill for and be cured.  You don’t “just get over it”. When you have experienced a loss, you learn day by day to live your life without your loved one but the loss is not erased from your memory.  Allow your friend to heal at their own pace.

Wow, so is there anything you can say? 

Most people do not consciously say things to be hurtful.  They have either heard them said a hundred times so they don’t understand how they might affect someone or they become so nervous about saying the “right” thing that the words come out awkward.

One of the most important things to remember when you are trying to comfort a grieving friend is to not diminish their feelings.   Grief is normal.  You may become uncomfortable when watching someone go through the deep emotional pain that can occur when someone is grieving, that is normal too.  If you desire to be a supportive friend, allow the person to feel the full range of emotions they are feeling – both the celebration of the person’s life and the deep feelings of loss and loneliness.   By allowing grief to take its natural progression you will assist your friend reach a sense of balance in their life. 

The best thing you can do is keep it simple and heartfelt.   Not sure what to say… why not start with asking yourself this simple question… What would you like someone to say to you if you lost a loved one?  

Remember to…Hug them, Love them, Show up and Listen.  You will do more for your friend by showing up and listening than any words can ever say. 

© 2011 Lori Pederson
WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Lori Pederson, Founder of I Did Not Know What To Say, a website created to inspire and to provide you with tools to assist a love one through the grieving process. If you would like our free newsletter 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, please visit our website at www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com.

Posted in What Not To Say, What Not to Say to a Grieving Loved One, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Happy Easter

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on April 24, 2011

“Paint My world in colors,

Till every ‘blue’ bird sings;

Shout the joy of Easter:

That life My Spirit brings…

“For from a bleak, stark winter

I call life forth from earth;

To show from death’s dark stronghold,

How I can bring new birth.

“For that’s the Song of Easter:

That all who trust My Son

Will find when death has done its worst

That life is just begun!

So join the song this Easter,

As nature bows her head;

For Easter is God’s promise

To raise you from the dead!


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The Note Project – Pledge to Send a Note

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on April 13, 2011

We wanted to take a minute to spread the word about The Note Project created by Mike O’Mary.  A wonderful and yet simple way to spread appreciation and love to those that have made an impact on your life.  Send a note of gratitude…that is all you need to do.  That simple jester may just make a BIG difference in the life of someone you love.

What is the Note Project?

The Note Project is about sharing appreciation. There is no cost to participate. Just “Pledge to Send a Note”. Your pledge will count toward our goal of sending 1 million notes. You’ll also receive a free copy of the Note Project newsletter with helpful tips and inspiring stories about appreciation. Pledge to send a note today! For more information, please visit  the Note Project website: http://noteproject.com/

Coming April 18, 19 & 20, the Note Project Telesummit will explore all aspects of making appreciation a part of your life. Each session will include practical information you can apply in your daily life. And best of all, all three sessions are FREE! You’ll hear best-selling authors and experts on appreciation, including Nia Peeples, Dan Millman, Chester Elton, Brenda Adelman, Michael McMillan, John Kralik, Lynn Serafinn, Gail Goodwin, Florence Isaacs, and Note Project founder Mike O’Mary.

For more details and to sign-up for the Telesummit, click HERE.

We are grateful that you have visited our site today!

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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
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

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