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How Friends Can Help During the First Holidays After A Loss

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on December 24, 2015

The first year of grief can be a roller coaster of emotions that are unpredictable.  Your friend has embarked on a journey they wished they never had to take, and at each turn they find that life has changed and they have to chart a new course.  The first year of holidays and family celebrations can bring a sense of uneasiness and displacement.  Everything is new for them and yet the rest of the world seems to have remained the same.

Many questions are probably going through their mind – Will I want to celebrate the holidays?  Will anyone remember my loss?  If I sleep through the holidays, will it make all the deep feelings of sadness go away?  And when will they stop showing all the happy commercials of families enjoying the holidays?

After my mother passed away, the first Thanksgiving and Christmas were a blur.  It felt like we were going through the motions but not really present.  Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and birthdays were always a celebration with many family and friends at my mom’s house.  After my mom passed away, I felt like I was lost and did not know where I fit in anymore.  It took many years, but my family found a way to combine new and old traditions and embrace my mom’s memory at the same time.

How friends can help during the holidays

Respect their decisions about the holidays.  Each person’s reaction to the holidays, after a loss, is unique.  Some may find comfort in continuing with family traditions, others may wish to start a new tradition, and still others may want to travel and be away from home during the holidays.  Respect their decision and understand that they are doing their best to make their way through the snowflake-cookiesmany emotions they are feeling.

Encourage Simplicity.  If the person grieving usually hosts the family festivities or has a long To Do List this time of year, offer your assistance.  Holiday dinners can take a lot of energy to prepare, offer to host the family dinner or help prepare the meal.  You may even want to suggest going to a restaurant for a stress free dinner.  Holiday shopping can also be stressful, offer to help them with the shopping or suggest that the family reduces the number of presents by drawing names.

Help them make a plan.  Although your friend may think they are up to putting together all the traditional family activities, they may find that they become overwhelmed in the process.  Assist them in creating a plan for the holidays that encourages self-care and helps them move through the holidays with a little more ease.  And if they choose to skip the holidays this year, be supportive.

Acknowledge the Loss.  Be sure to acknowledge your friend’s loss this time of year and don’t be afraid to use the name of the person that has passed away.  Send a card, make a phone call, stop by with a plate of their favorite holiday treat and remind them that you are thinking about them.

Share Your Memories.  Sharing memories and pictures can be very therapeutic. It allows everyone involved to share their memories and honor the person that has passed away.

Pamper the mind, body and spirit.  The depth of emotions that grieving can bring is exhausting – mentally and physically.  Encourage your friend to take care of themselves by eating nutritious meals, getting exercise and taking time to process the feelings they are going through.

Holiday Gifts – Should you or shouldn’t you?  If your friend decides that they want to exchange gifts, consider buying something for them like you normally would and also include a memorial gift in remembrance of their loved one.  A memorial ornament, a scrapbook with pictures of their loved one, a journal or a favorite holiday pastry, shows your friend that you acknowledge their loss.

Ask Questions.  If you are not sure what your friend needs, be sure to ask questions, listen and respect their decision.  If they want some time alone, allow them to have their space, but let them know you are there for them anytime.

Leave the front and back door open.  Feelings of grief throughout the holidays can be unpredictable.  Allow your friend the space to join-in at the last minute or back-out of holiday activities without feeling guilty.

The best present you can bring is your Love.  Deep feelings of grief can leave your friend feeling lifeless.  Pamper them, hug them, love them, and take special care of them. Remind them that although they have lost a loved one, they still have family and friends that love them.

The first year after a loss is a start of a new life.  Just like walking for the first time, your loved one may feel wobbly and may fall down many times as they find their way.  But have faith that they will work through the deep feelings that come with grief, and with the love and support of friends and family, they will find joy again – one tiny step at a time.

 

® 2011-2015 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 loved 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 loved one, please visit our website at www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com

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How to Support a Grieving Loved One this Holiday Season

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on December 8, 2015

How to Support a Grieving Loved one During the Holidays

Thoughtful Holiday Gift Ideas

Holiday Grief Support  Groups, Articles & Resources

Thoughtful Sympathy Gift Ideas for the Holidays

Be sure to visit our Thoughtful Sympathy Gifts page on our website at www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/gifts.html for special offers!

Christian Memorial Gifts
Gift Baskets & Food Gifts
Kindnotes
Memorial Ornaments
Memorial Quilts & Throws
Memorial Trees & Flowers
Military Memorials Gifts
Miscarriage/Stillbirth Memorial Gifts
Personalized Memorial Frames
Personalized gift items Pet Memorials
Remembrance Candles
Unique Gift Items And More…

For Holiday Grief Support Resouces, please visit our website at http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/Holiday_Grief_Support.html

Don’t Forget to Sign Up for our Free 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 Children Grief Support, Grief Resources - Newsletter, Grief Support & Holidays, Holiday Grief Support, Thoughtful Sympathy Gifts | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

10 Important Things I Would Tell My Younger Self About Grief and Loss

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on February 25, 2015

Expert Author Lori Pederson

I was only 25 years old when my mom passed away and at that point I had only experienced a few losses in my life. But that would quickly change. In a matter of a month, I lost my mom and one of my mentors to ovarian cancer and my aunt was killed in a car accident. To say I was devastated would be an understatement. As I reflect on the many lessons I have learned over the years about healing after a loss, I wish I could go back and give my 25-year-old self some reassuring words to help me get through the many rough days ahead. So here are a few important things I would share with my younger self:

1. LOVE IS NEVER ENDING. Your mom’s presence and love will ALWAYS be with you. Her loving spirit will comfort you throughout your life.

2. YOU WILL SURVIVE. Although the pain right now is unimaginable, each day it will get easier and you will find your way through the grief and create a new normal in your life.

3. BE GRATEFUL. Wonderful people will show up to support you and help you work through your grief; be grateful for them every day.

4. FORGIVE. Some people will not be there for you, realize it is not their journey to travel down this new road with you. Even though it will be difficult, forgive them and let it go. It does not serve you to hold on to the anger.

5. LIFE IS SHORT. Life is truly short, don’t let it pass you by. My mom was 50 years old when she passed away and now that I have just turned 48 years old I can truly see how quickly time passes. As the famous line from the movie The Shawshank Redemption goes “It comes down to a simple choice, get busy living or get busy dying.” Embrace life and live each day for you and your mom.

6. SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH OTHERS. The pain you are experiencing now will help others who are going through a loss. Be willing to share your experience and be open to allowing others to share their stories. Through sharing our stories we all heal.

7. EACH LOSS IS UNIQUE. I am sorry to tell you, but you will experience many more losses in your life. Each one will be unique in its own way, but the lessons you have learned today will help you work through the grief you will experience in the future.

8. LET THE TEARS FLOW. Let the tears come and allow all the feelings you are experiencing to flow. Holding back your emotions will only delay the healing process. The only way to heal is to go through the pain, not around it.

9. YOU WILL NEVER BE THE SAME AND THAT IS OK! Losing your mother will forever change who you are and how you see the world. Embrace this change, it will open you up in ways you never could imagine.

10. LET JOY IN. Remember to have a sense of humor and let the joy in. It is OK to laugh even when you are grieving. Embrace the fun times you had with your mom and be open to exploring life again. Laughter will help breathe life back into your world.

If you have experienced the loss of a loved one, what would you like to tell your younger self?

©2014 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 loved one through the grieving process. If you would like our free newsletter on how to assist your friends and family through the journey of restoring balance in their life after the death of a loved one, please visit our website at http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com.

Posted in Grief Resources, Grief Resources - Newsletter, Grief Support Discussion Topics, Loss of a Aunt/Uncle, Loss of a Mother, Loss of a Parent, Share Your Story, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

We are accepting Article & Interview Submissions for 2015

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on February 19, 2015

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.

We are open for article submission for our I Did Not Know What to SayTM newsletter on the following topics:

• Tips on how to assist a loved one through the grieving process • Inspirational stories on recovering after the loss of a loved one • Special ways to remember a loved one during the holidays • Featured stories on individuals and organizations that are making a difference in the grief recovery field • How to articles on planning for a future without you (i.e. Life Insurance, Estate Planning, and Funeral Planning) Visit our Newsletter archives: http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/mailinglist.html

We are also looking for authors to be interviewed as part of our Virtual Book Tour.

If you are an author of one of the following types of books, please contact us to be included in our 2015 Virtual Book Tour: • Recovering from the loss of a loved one (child, spouse, sibling, significant other, parent, grandparent, friend, and pet) • Inspirational stories on recovering from the loss of a loved one • Inspirational books on living your best life Visit our Virtual Book Tour: http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/griefbooks-virtualbooktour.html

We are looking for the following types of professionals to interview as part of our Planning for a Life Without You™ series: • Funeral Planner/Director • Estate Planning Attorneys • Life Insurance Providers

Have an idea for an article? Want to be interviewed? We would love to hear from you. Please submit your idea or article to us at info@ididnotknowwhattosay.com

Sponsorships 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

Posted in Grief Resources - Newsletter, Grief Support Discussion Topics, Grief Support Workshops, Planning For A Future Without You, Share Your Story, Virtual Book Tour, What Not To Say, What Not to Say to a Grieving Loved One, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Holiday Grief Support Resources

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on December 13, 2014

How to Support a Loved one During the Holidays

The First Holidays After a Loss – How You Can Offer Your Support by Lori Pederson

12 Simple Ways to Support a Grieving Friend this Holiday Season by Lori Pederson

Be the Gift of Comfort, Joy and Love this Holiday Season by Lori Pederson

Less than Perfect by Lori Pederson

Eight Tips to Help Families Survive the Holidays After a Child Has Died – The Compassionate Friends

Eight Things Not to Say to Bereaved Parents During the Holidays – The Compassionate Friends

How to Choose a Thoughtful Sympathy Gift by Lori Pederson

How can you help me this holiday seasonGrief Tool Box

 

Thoughtful Holiday Gift Ideas

Thoughtful Sympathy Gift Ideas – Holiday Discounts Now Available

Memorial Ornaments – Holiday Discounts Now Available

Christian Sympathy Gift Ideas for Christmas

Tips on How to Choose a Thoughtful Sympathy Gift by Lori Pederson

 

Holiday Grief Support  Groups, Articles & Resources

 It’s not Happy Holidays for All by Uma Girish

 Stop Sending Cheery Christmas Cards by Kay Warrensnowflake-cookies

HANDLING HOLIDAY GRIEF #1: Holidays? Yeah, Right. by Gary Roe

 Thanksgiving Day Can Be Painful by Mary Jane Hurley Brant

Not-So-Happy Holidays?: 8 Tips For Enjoying Your Holiday Season by Carole Brody Fleet

10 Ways to Help a Grieving Teen by Amy Morin

The Holidays, How We Survived – Healing Improv

GriefShare – Surviving the Holidays events & resources – http://www.griefshare.org/holidays

Good Grief CenterGrief and the Holidays – Survival Guide

Grief & the Holidays: a Survival GuideGood Grief Center for Bereavement Support

 The Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting –    December 14, 2014 Click Here for Services in your area.

 Surviving the HolidaysThe Compassionate Friends

 How to Survive Your GriefHoliday Grief Support Teleconference

 Surviving the Holidays – Thoughts on Coping. . . – GriefNet.org

 Coping with Grief during the HolidaysFuneralplan.com

 Getting through the Holidays When You are Grieving by Maureen Hunter

 Coping with Holiday GriefSutter Care at Home

 Grief and the HolidaysHospice Foundation of America

 Children and Loss: When Holidays Trigger GriefPsychology Today

 Finding Holiday Joy Amid the Grief WedMD

 Meaningful Remembrance Ideas for Holiday GriefBeliefnet.net

 7 Ways to Deal with Holiday GriefWorld of Psychology

 The First Christmas After a Death by Susan Dunn

Helping Yourself Through the Holidays by Dr. Lee Drake, Ph.D. – The Compassionate Friends

Grief takes no holidays by by Karen S. Sibert, MD – KevinMD.com

What’s Under Your Tree? by Nan Zastrow

Pre-Planning for the Holidays in BradentonSenior Care Bradenton

The Gift that Keeps on Giving by Carla Blowey – Open to Hope

Grief and the HolidaysHeart2Soul.com

 

Thoughtful Sympathy Gift Ideas for the Holidays

Be sure to visit our Thoughtful Sympathy Gifts page on our website at www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/gifts.html for special offers!

Christian Memorial Gifts
Gift Baskets & Food Gifts
Kindnotes
Memorial Ornaments
Memorial Quilts & Throws
Memorial Trees & Flowers
Military Memorials Gifts
Miscarriage/Stillbirth Memorial Gifts
Personalized Memorial Frames
Personalized gift items Pet Memorials
Remembrance Candles
Unique Gift Items And More…

For Holiday Grief Support Resouces, please visit our website at http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/Holiday_Grief_Support.html

Don’t Forget to Sign Up for our Free 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, Grief Resources - Newsletter, Grief Support & Holidays, Grief Support Discussion Topics, Holiday Grief Support, Thoughtful Sympathy Gifts, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

What Will You Choose?

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on April 6, 2014

What Will You Choose?
by Lori Pederson, Founder of I Did Not Know What To Say.com

You just received a phone call letting you know that your friend has lost a loved one. You now have a decision to make…What kind of supporter do you want to be?

There are many ways to support a loved one after a loss. As a friend you have the right to choose the most appropriate path for you in the moment. There are times that you may choose to be the best supporter you can be, and other times you may shy away from the responsibility due to personal circumstances or your own emotional pain.

Here are a few common ways people respond when they are called upon to support a grieving loved one:

1. The Listener – The person that allows you to talk about your feelings without telling you how you should feel.

2. The Doer – The person that jumps right in and takes care of everyday tasks. They bring970993_682410778492836_1861968560_n groceries, pick up your kids from school, they make sure people are notified about funeral arrangements and generally take care of those daily tasks that you are not up to doing.

3. The Cheerleader – The person that lifts your spirits when you can barely get out of bed. They are there to get you out of the house and will take you on an adventure to brighten your day.

4. The Brief Encounter – The person that comes to the funeral, sends you a card or flowers, but generally believes that grief ends at the funeral and there is not much more that they can do for you. Their support is brief but sincere.

5. The No Show – The person that is not able to be supportive for their own personal reason. They may be uncomfortable with talking about death and loss or there may be life circumstances that make them unavailable.

As you travel through the grief recovery journey with a friend, you may find that you are all of these types of supporters and a whole lot more. Grief is not a linear process; it has many peaks and valleys. As your grieving friend’s needs change, so to will the type of support they need.

When choosing how you will support a grieving loved one, consider the following:

  • Lead with your strength. We all have our strengths that come out when a difficult situation arises. If you are a great listener, be a great listener. If you are a doer, help your friend with daily tasks.
  • Stretch yourself a little to learn more about yourself and how you feel about grief and death. You may find a blessing for yourself hidden inside the journey.
  • Know your limits. We all have our limitations and we can’t be all things to all people. Do the best you can in the moment.
  • Ask for help if you are over your head. A grieving friend may require more assistance than a lay person can handle. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your local grief support group or a grief counselor.

After losing many friends and family over the years, the one thing I have learned is that the right people show up at the right time. Often it is not the person we thought it would be. I have to admit that it took me awhile to forgive those friends that were not there for me after my mother passed away. But I have come to realize that it is more important to be grateful for those that were there and understand that those that were not had their reasons.

The choice is yours…what will you choose?

© 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 http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com.

Posted in Grief Resources, Grief Resources - Newsletter, Grief Support Discussion Topics, What Not To Say, What Not to Say to a Grieving Loved One, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Sign-Up Today for the FREE Grief Healing Telesummit: March 10 -18, 2014

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on March 5, 2014

Grief Healing Telesummit:

Enjoy free access to 17 amazing speakers who share their best information to
help you transform grief into healing and living again!

  Free Registration at http://griefhealingtelesummit.com/lpederson
March 10 -18, 2014
Please share with those with a grieving heart!

1601140_789620637718793_1186739137_n

Look at this amazing line up of experts!
I Did Not Know What To Say – Wed. March 12 at 1pm EST
The Grief Toolbox Toolbox
What’s Your Grief
Peace & Wellness Centere
Embrace Your Inner Self
Simply Kerryy
Dorothy Fitzer
Global Association of Holistic Psychotherapy
With Sympathy Gifts & Keepsakes,
Tina Games, Michael Mapes, Margaret Paul, Maggie Chula, Uma Girish, Tabitha Jayne and
Transcending Loss: Understanding the lifelong impact of grief

Free Registration at http://griefhealingtelesummit.com/lpederson
March 10 -18, 2014
Please share with those with a grieving heart!

Posted in Caregiver, Children Grief Support, Gratitude, Grief Resources, Grief Resources - Newsletter, Grief Support & Holidays, Grief Support Discussion Topics, Grief Support Workshops, Holiday Grief Support, Hospice/Palliative Care, Inspiration, Loss due to Suicide, Loss of a Aunt/Uncle, Loss of a Child, Loss of a Father, Loss of a Friend, Loss of a Grandparent, Loss of a Mother, Loss of a Parent, Loss of a Pet, Loss of a Sibling, Loss of a Spouse, Memorial Day, Men & Grief, Stillborn, Suicide Survivors, Thoughtful Sympathy Gifts, What Not To Say, What Not to Say to a Grieving Loved One, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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 »

Grief Healing Telesummit – March 10 -18, 2014

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on February 11, 2014

Grief Healing Telesummit:
Enjoy free access to 17 amazing speakers who share their best information to help you transform grief into healing and living again!

Free Registration at www.griefhealingtelesummit.com 
March 10 -18, 2014
Please share with those with a grieving heart!

1601140_789620637718793_1186739137_n

Look at this amazing line up of experts!
I Did Not Know What To Say
The Grief Toolbox Toolbox
What’s Your Grief
Peace & Wellness Centere
Embrace Your Inner Self
Simply Kerryy
Dorothy Fitzer
Global Association of Holistic Psychotherapy
With Sympathy Gifts & Keepsakes,
Tina Games, Michael Mapes, Margaret Paul, Maggie Chula, Uma Girish, Tabitha Jayne and
Transcending Loss: Understanding the lifelong impact of grief

Posted in Grief Resources, Grief Resources - Newsletter, Grief Support Discussion Topics, Grief Support Workshops, What Not to Say to a Grieving Loved One, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Virtual Book Tour – Interview with Annie Mitchell – Author of “HOLDING BACK THE TEARS”

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on January 26, 2014

Thank you for joining us on our Virtual Book Tour.

Today we welcome Annie Mitchell author of Holding Back the Tears. Annie’s interview offers many insights and practical suggestions on how to support a parent that is grieving the loss of their child from suicide.

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 Holding Back the Tears?

The loss of my son to suicide on 6th February 2000 age 26yrs born 1st June 1973 the hottest day of the year.41zzqnU-RmL__SL210_

How did losing your son to suicide change your life?

It affected my health mentally and physically.
Mentally, I became a recluse, I was frightened to face people in fear of what they would say to me or not say to me.

I felt at the time I had to justify myself as to why my son took his own life as I felt I was to blame somehow. I was also frightened as I did not know what to say to them so I hid myself away from the world for 6yrs the only contact I had was with people on the internet and medical staff and my husband. I lost all contact with all family members who could not accept me for the person I had become. I felt low self-esteem and did not like myself for a long time, with having to cope with depression and anxiety on top of my grief it all became too overwhelming to cope on my own so I went and asked for help and accepted I needed it. I can be forgetful and very nervous in a social group but I can cope with these feelings by using self-help methods which again I learned through my journey.

Physically I tire very quickly and get stressed very quickly now. My energy is low so I have had to learn to pace myself out more over a day time. I can only take on small tasks and when I do, it takes me longer to complete these. This made me very frustrated indeed, but now I accept this is me now.

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

In my own opinion, it differs as it is very unexpected if you expect a death of a loved one you prepare yourself for the worse to happen when this happens, it is unexpected and out of the blue and the last thing on your mind. So you are unprepared and in a state of shock.

Is there any one thing that your family or friends did for you that assisted you through the grieving process?
Yes, they did not focus all of my attention all on my grief, I was given space to for some me time to deal with my grief with a little guidance from them when I needed it also a lot of reassurance telling me it was normal to feel how I did at the time.

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 the loss of a child due to suicide?

Have patience and understanding and do not put a time limit on their loved ones grief recovery as for me, I did not really start to grieve until around two years later, even then I was still not believing my son was not coming back I did not want to accept that I would never see him again. I feel also for family and friends to accept you for who you are and not look for the person you once were as I felt I lost me after the very first contact of receiving the news of my son’s death. Something inside me broke and I knew then it could never mend. A bit like someone telling you shall never be able to stand up and walk the way you did ever again.

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

I wish they had, had a better way of communicating with me and did not pussyfoot around the fact my son was not coming back. For when they did this it only led to me feeling more and more confused and holding onto my belief that one day he would once again walk through my door.

Learning to cope with Grief is bad enough for the mother or father, etc. Who has been affected by their loss, but it is just as difficult for others around us as they too have to learn how to cope with you too. For some, especially those around me they would sometimes change the subject quickly or pretend you had not spoken or ignored the fact you were in the same room as them. Anything rather than cope with your pain. It was horrible for them and also for myself.

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

Do not rush into anything, no matter what it is; going back to work or moving houses or even writing a book about your loss. Take time out to enjoy what you have in your life and what is going on around you at that moment in time.

Appreciate that you do have a future ahead of you to spend with your loved ones all around you.

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

To realize their loss was an important milestone in their life, one in which no parent ought to have had to face but to accept they did face it and that they can and shall come through it and go on to give themselves and others around them a stronger family bond, not take what they have for granted and to love and cherish every moment of every day they spend together which in return shall give their own life a purpose and a meaning.

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

Annie Mitchell (D.O.B 1953 – born in Scotland, to Scottish parents, a true Scottish Lassie grew up in Scotland and still lives in Scotland.

A Highly skilled ARTIST/WRITER/POET/MUSICIAN/THAI-CHI/POET/DANCER
Has sold many Art pieces throughout her life from miniature to full wall murals /pet portraits /Scottish landscapes to 3D textured sea scenery.  Master in all mediums.

I now put all my energy and time into devoting myself to my writing and promoting books my aim is to help others who have lost a loved one.   “HOLDING BACK THE TEARS”.

You can sit back and do absolutely nothing to help your bereavement grief loss situation and continue to feel the pain for longer with choosing not to try to help yourself.
Or you can choose to learn new ways of coping and accepting your loss and pain by using trial and error coping skills.

Have you written any other books? Do you plan to write any other books in the future?
Yes, I have a poetry book coming out soon with mothers in mind and others if they so wish. Available pocket size, I felt if I had had some little support which I could carry around with me in my pocket I could bring it out and read it whenever I felt the need for an emotional link to be once again with my child in thought and spirit it would give me great comfort on the darkest of my days.

BOOK IS AVAILABLE
http://www.rosegardenbooks.co.uk
HOLDING BACK THE TEARS 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 Gratitude, Grief Resources, Grief Resources - Newsletter, Loss of a Child, Suicide Survivors, Virtual Book Tour, What Not To Say, What Not to Say to a Grieving Loved One, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »