I Did Not Know What To Say Blog

Archive for the ‘Share Your Story’ Category

Happy Easter!

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on April 16, 2017

HAPPY EASTER!

May you have…

The gladness of Easter which is HOPE

The promise of Easter which is PEACE

The spirit of Easter which is LOVE

Happy Easter from I Did Not Know What to Say

For Holiday Grief Support Resources, 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 Easter, Grief Support & Holidays, Holiday Grief Support, Share Your Story, Thoughtful Sympathy Gifts | Tagged: , , | Leave a 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 »

Virtual Book Tour – Interview with Uma Girish – Author of “LOSING AMMA, FINDING HOME: A MEMOIR ABOUT LOVE, LOSS AND LIFE’S DETOURS”

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on August 7, 2014

Thank you for joining us on our Virtual Book Tour.

Today we welcome UMA GIRISH, author of “LOSING AMMA, FINDING HOME: A MEMOIR ABOUT LOVE, LOSS AND LIFE’S DETOURS”. Uma’s interview offers many insights into life, death and losing a parent.

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

1. What inspired you to write the book LOSING AMMA, FINDING HOME: A MEMOIR ABOUT LOVE, LOSS AND LIFE’S DETOURS?
When a loved one dies, all hope dies with them. In picking up the pieces of my life, and finding a way to make meaning of my loss, I felt that this message needed to be shared to inspire everyone dealing with a devastating loss. That was the main reason why I felt compelled to write this memoir. Also, I have long since known that the gift of writing was given to me to serve the world. This was one of the ways I was called to do that.

2. How did your mom’s passing help you learn more about Love, Life and Life’s Detours?
Amma’s passing caused a deep existential ache within me. In trying to figure out my own purpose and what I was meantLosing Amma to do with this life, I discovered that love is all there is. Our biggest purpose in this life is to love one another. Life is all about the soul’s evolution and the wounds we are given are meant to be used as lessons. The only way we can use the pain of loss is by reaching out and helping someone who has lost a loved one. My life took a detour, both geographically and spiritually. That detour saved me. It opened me up. It taught me that when a path opens up for me, I am meant to walk down that road with trust and integrity.

3. How did finding your life purpose assist you in the healing process?
It taught me that my life was less about me and more about everyone I touched. And that was the only way to heal. It taught me that I could only heal when I connected with and served another who was in pain. I am only able to do that when I am willing to open my heart and share the truth of my story. When I share with honesty and vulnerability, I make the greatest of connections: the human connection. So finding out what I was meant to do with this wonderful life was key to not only how I healed, but how I helped others heal their pain.

4. What are some of the cultural differences in working through grief that you experienced between your home country of India and the US? What cultural differences should people be aware of?
In India, grief and mourning are communal and collective events. It I much more public than it is in the West. It is not uncommon to see funeral processions take over the main thoroughfares and inconvenience traffic, even during rush hour. The body is atop a decorated carriage which is then paraded through the streets, rose petals are showered through the journey to the crematorium and there’s dance and music to accompany the funeral party. I experienced isolation here because I didn’t know too many people or have friends. I was new. My mother had no context. It was very alienating. I longed for the familiar: my family, my environment, my cultural context where I knew what was appropriate to say and do.

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 parent?
• Don’t be impatient with their grief. People take as much time as they need to, to mourn and grieve a loss. If you’re unable to bear witness to their pain, don’t. If you are, then be patient with their recovery process.
• Share stories. Tell them stories they don’t know about their loved one, about your interactions with them or an act of kindness you received from them. Don’t make the dead person invisible by not mentioning their name.
• Allow them to lead. A lot of times we feel the need to tell the griever what they need. Ask them to voice what they need and serve that need if you’re able to.
• Avoid clichés like “You had her all these years” or “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle” or “Time heals everything.” If you don’t have words, say nothing. Just listen. Hug. Show up. That’s all we need to do when there’s nothing to fix.

6. What do you wish your family or friends had done differently after you lost your mom?
I wish they hadn’t buried my mother all over again—by not mentioning her name for fear that it would make me cry. I wish they had been more patient with my grief instead of telling me that I’d cried enough and that it was time to move on. I wish I hadn’t heard the words “So many orphans don’t know what it is to have a parent. At least, you had her all these years.” I wish they’d been more interested in stories about my mother, the only way I had of keeping her alive.

7. What is one thing you would like readers to take away from your book?
That pain and grief are not given to us by some avenging God. They are part of our soul’s growth and when we turn our pain into purpose, we heal and we use our pain to serve from a bigger platform and help others heal.

8. What would you like our readers to know about you?
I am passionate about helping women who are grieving a loss turn their pain into purpose so that they can find new meaning and joy in their lives. As a Certified Dream Coach, I also help women who feel lost, or those who are in transition, to get clear about their passion and purpose using a 10-step program.

9. Have you written any other books? Do you plan to write any other books in the future?
Yes to both! My eBook is called “Understanding Death: 10 Ways to Inner Peace for the Grieving” and is available as a Kindle and Nook version, and also on iTunes. Writing, speaking and teaching are as integral to me as breathing. I’m halfway through my next book and also plan to teach writing workshops soon.

UGirish 2

 

ABOUT UMA GIRISH

Uma Girish is a Grief Guide, Certified Dream Coach, and award-winning author whose work has been published in 7 countries. She hosts a weekly radio show “The Grammar of Grief.” For archived shows, visit http://uma.creatingcalmnetwork.com to buy a copy of her memoir “Losing Amma, Finding Home” please visit http://www.umagirish.com. You can also stay updated on her events by subscribing to her newsletter via her website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Virtual Book Tourhttp://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/griefbooks-virtualbooktour.html

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

Posted in Loss of a Mother, Loss of a Parent, Mother's Day, Share Your Story, Virtual Book Tour | 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 »

We are accepting Article & Interview Submission for 2014

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on January 25, 2014

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 2014 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 Children Grief Support, Grief Resources, Grief Resources - Newsletter, Grief Support & Holidays, Grief Support Discussion Topics, Holiday Grief Support, 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, Men & Grief, Military Loss, Miscarriage, Planning For A Future Without You, Share Your Story, Stillborn, Suicide Survivors, Thoughtful Sympathy Gifts, Virtual Book Tour, What Not To Say, What Not to Say to a Grieving Loved One, What to do for someone that is grieving | Leave a Comment »

I Did Not Know What To Say Newsletter Archive

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on July 18, 2013

I Did Not Know What To Say Newsletter Archive

Over the last several years we have provided articles and interviews on a variety of topics on how to assist a loved one through the journey of restoring balance in their life after a loss. I have put together a resource list below for you to explore and/or pass on to a loved one that might benefit from these tools. 

If there is a specific topic that you would like us to include in one of our upcoming newsletters, please email us.
 

Understanding Grief 

Are Grief & Depression the Same Thing? 
by Mark D. Miller M.D.
Dr. Miller explores the differences between Grief and Depression.
 

Helping Dispel 5 Common Myths About Grief
by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.,
Alan D. Wolfelt’s article describes five of the most common myths about grief. Through understanding and overcoming these myths we can find positive ways to help ourselves and others heal. 

Anticipating Grief
by Cheryline Lawson
Cheryline’s article gives an overview of how anticipating the loss of a loved one that is terminally ill can affect family, friends and the person who is dying.  
 

How to Support and Care for a Grieving Loved One

What To Say… When You Don’t Know What To Say 
by Lori Pederson, Founder, I Did Not Know What To Say
Finding the words to support a loved one through the grieving process.
 
What Not to Say to a Grieving Loved One  
by Lori Pederson, Founder, I Did Not Know What To Say
Knowing what not to say can be just as important as finding the right words to comfort a  loved one when they are grieving.
 
SHOULD I OR SHOULDN’T I? 
by Ann Leach, President, Life Preservers: a global grief support community
Ann’s article will give you concrete ways to provide support in the simplest of ways to a     
grieving loved one.
 
by Lori Pederson, Founder, I Did Not Know What To Say
Helpful way to assist your love one find fun & adventure again. 
 
by Joan Hitchens, Storybooks for Healing
Tips on how writing about a loved one can be an effective tool for those grieving to process their feelings and help them restore balance in their life.
 
by Lori Pederson, Founder, I Did Not Know What To Say
After the loss of a loved one, there is nothing more important you can do for a friend than being a good listener.  The Gift of Listening offers 10 Tips on how to improve your listening skills.
 
by Jill Rheaume, Creator, Our Stressful Lives
Jill’s article will explore healthy ways to handle the little and big stressors in your life. 
 
by Tamar Fox
Tips to take into consideration if you’re called on to bring food to a family member or friend who’s ill, recovering from surgery, or dealing with a recent loss. 
 
by Lori Pederson, Founder, I Did Not Know What To Say
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? 
 
by Lori Pederson, Founder, I Did Not Know What To Say
Tips on how to choose a sympathy gift that expresses your deep concern.
 
by Lori Pederson, Founder, I Did Not Know What To Say
Sharing gratitude to those that have provided support during a loss.
 

Walk Beside Me and Be My Friend
by Nan Zastrow 
Explores how relationships can change after the event of grief. Some relationships will strengthen, some relationships will end and new relationships will begin.
 
Please Cut the Grieving Some Slack
by Maribeth Coye Decker, Sacred Grove Bodywork
This article reminds us that we are all human and that we need to let kindness and forgiveness guide us when we encounter strange behaviors from those that are grieving.

Reaching out to the bereaved and getting no response
by Robbie Miller Kaplan, Author How to Say It, When You Don’t Know What to Say
Explores the reasons why someone may not respond when they are grieving and how to not take it personally.

How to Talk to Someone Who is Grieving
by Rachel Walton, MSN, CRNP
Rachel’s article offers many valuable suggestions on how to talk to and more importantly listen to someone who is grieving.

Effective Communication Skills During Grief and Mourning Following a Family or Relationship Death
by Rick Goodfriend
Rick Goodfriend’s article offers several useful suggestions on how to communicate effectively with a loved one that is grieving. 
 
Interview with Robbie Miller Kaplan – How to Say It, When You Don’t Know What to Say


How to Support a Grieving Loved One during the Holidays
 
 
The First Holidays After a Loss – How You Can Offer Your Support
by Lori Pederson, Founder, I Did Not Know What To Say
Tips on how to support a grieving friend or family member as they experience the holidays for the first time without their loved one.
 
 
Helping Children Grieve during the Holidays
by Miri Rossitto founder of Valley of Life memorial website & author of
 
A Guide to Children and Grief
Useful suggestions on how to assist a grieving child express their feelings of sadness as well as honor the memory of the loved one that passed away.
 
by Lori Pederson, Founder, I Did Not Know What To Say
Having the support of friends and family during the holidays can make all the difference. Sometimes support and love are the best gifts you can give a friend that is grieving.
 
by Lori Pederson, Founder, I Did Not Know What To SaySometimes the perfect gift is not perfect at all. It is your willingness to look awkward and not know what to say, and yet still show up and be there for a friend that is grieving that matters most.
 
by Lori Pederson, Founder, I Did Not Know What To Say
Holidays can be a difficult time for those that are grieving. We have compiled a list of 12 simple and meaningful ways to support your grieving friends this holiday season.
 

Thanksgiving Memories: Love, Loss and Good Eats
by Gloria Arenson, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist 
A wonderful reminder of the simple ways to remember a loved one during the holidays.

How to Support a Grieving Window/Widower

by Marcy Kelly, Author of From Sorrow to Dancing
Marcy has provided us with her insights and suggestions on how to assist a grieving widow.
 
by Carole Brody Fleet, Author of Widows Wear Stilettos
Carol offers several fun filled suggestions on how to get through – and even enjoy Valentine’s Day when you are a widow or on your own.
 
by Taryn Davis, Founder, The American Widow Project
Writings & Tips for those who know someone who has lost their hero in the military.
 

How To Date/Marry A Widow or Widower
by Ellen Gerst
Grief and Relationship Coach, Ellen Gerst, offers several practical suggestions on how to be sensitive to your partner’s loss and at the same time grow your relationship.

Interview with Pat Nowak – ABC’s of Widowhood 

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

Interview with Carole Brody Fleet – Widows Wear Stilettos 

Interview Marcy Kelly – From Sorrow to Dancing 

Interview with Lori A. Moore – Missing Andy 

Interview with Michael Corrigan – A Year and a Day

Interview with Jennifer Hawkins – The Gift Giver


Suicide Survivors

Helping a Suicide Survivor Heal
by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.
Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D. article provides many useful strategies on how to support your friends and family dealing with this type of loss.

The Myths Surrounding Suicide
by Catherine Greenleaf
Catherine Greenleaf offers insightful information on how to assist a loved one that is a suicide survivor.

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


How to Support a Grieving Mom

What Grieving Moms Want for Mother’s Day: The Comfort Company Offers 10 Simple Ways to help Moms Cope When Mother’s Day Hurts
Survey conducted by the Comfort Company – What Grieving Moms Want for Mother’s Day is a compilation of over 200 survey responses on how you can help the grieving moms in your life cope with Mother’s Day.

Broken Angel
by Janet Kohn, Co-Founder The Broken Angels Grief Support Group
Janet offers a simple, yet profound way to explain to friends how grief changes parents who have lost a child to substance abuse.

Am I a Mother – Tips for Handling Mother’s Day After Miscarriage
by Lisa Church of HopeXchange
Lisa Church’s article explores how to ease the pain of the loss of a pregnancy and how to find hope and healing.  For friends and family, Lisa’s article is a great resource on how to offer your support on Mother’s Day.

Loss from a Miscarriage and Stillborn 

Interview with Veronica Janus – Abundantly More  

Interview with Laura Smith – In All Things Giving Thanks When Hope Seems Lost 


How to Support a Grieving Dad
 

by Kelly Farley, Founder of the Grieving Dad’s Project
Many men feel alone in their grief after the loss of a child. Kelly Farley, Founder of the Grieving Dad’s Project, offers many ways to support grieving dads by sharing his personal story.

Interview with Kelly Farley – Grieving Dads: To The Brink and Back


Loss of a Parent
 

Mother’s Day Remembrance
by Lori Pederson, Founder, I Did Not Know What To Say
Tips on how to support a loved one who is grieving the loss of their mom on Mother’s Day.
 
by Janell Vasquez of Memories are Forever
Janell’s article offers many suggestions on how to create a lasting tribute by designing a personalized memory book to honor your father’s memory. 
 
What to Do on Father’s Day When Dad is Deceased
by Laurie Mueller, RTC, ID, AED, Med
Laurie Mueller offers practical tips to honor the important men in your life that have passed away.

Interview with Chelsea Hanson – Sympathy Matters Collection

Loss of a Pet  

Loss of a Pet – How to Bring Comfort to a Grieving Friend
 by Lori Pederson, Founder, I Did Not Know What To Say
Lori’s article offers several suggestions on how to support a friend that is grieving the loss of their beloved pet.

Support & Resources for Traumatic Loss and Natural Disasters

Natural Disaster Recovery Guide
by Dwight Bain
Dwight Bain’s article is an insightful look at the emotional side of disaster recovery.

Resources for Traumatic Loss 
Resources and helpful tips on ways to support those that are grieving in the wake of a tragedy. If you have a resource to share, please email us at info@ididnotknowwhattosay.com

How to Support a Grieving Child

Interview with Lynn S. Combes – A Garden Full of Butterflies

Posted in Children Grief Support, Father's Day, Gratitude, Grief Resources, Grief Resources - Newsletter, Grief Support & Holidays, Grief Support Discussion Topics, Holiday Grief Support, Loss due to Suicide, Loss of a Child, Loss of a Father, Loss of a Mother, Loss of a Parent, Loss of a Pet, Loss of a Sibling, Loss of a Spouse, Men & Grief, Military Loss, Miscarriage, Mother's Day, Share Your Story, Thanksgiving, 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: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting® – Sunday, December 9, 2012

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on December 8, 2012

Guest Post from Compassionate Friends

Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting®
http://www.compassionatefriends.org/News_Events/Special-Events/Worldwide_Candle_Lighting.aspx

Letter from TCF Executive Director on Worldwide Candle Lighting in Annie’s Mailbox December 2, 2012

The Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting unites family and friends around the globe in lighting candles for one hour to honor and remember children who have died at any age from any cause. As candles are lit at 7 p.m. local time, hundreds of thousands of persons commemorate and honor the memory of all children gone too soon.

This year’s event will be the 16th Worldwide Candle Lighting. The event grows larger every year thanks to the many people who see the need for services where none have existed. And as the word continues to spread to more of the bereaved who wish to celebrate lives gone too soon by lighting candles in their home, quietly, perhaps just with friends and family.

Now believed to be the largest mass candle lighting on the globe, the Worldwide Candle Lighting, a gift to the bereavement community from 146249_WCL12-322x322pixelCompassionate Friends, creates a virtual 24-hour wave of light as it moves from time zone to time zone. Hundreds of formal candle lighting events are held and thousands of informal candle lightings are conducted in homes as families gather in quiet remembrance of children who have died, but will never be forgotten.

The Worldwide Candle Lighting started in the United States in 1997 as a small Internet observance but has since swelled in numbers as word has spread throughout the world of the remembrance.

In 2011, information was submitted to TCF’s national website on services in 18 countries outside the United States including 550 services, as this special day continues to grow. TCF has been joined in recent years by chapters of several organizations including MISS, MADD, Parents of Murdered Children, SIDS Network, Gilda’s Club, Boys and Girls Clubs, and BPUSA and for several years services have been held in all 50 states plus Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. There is no way to know how many hundreds of additional services open to the public are held in the U.S. and around the world each year without the information being sent to us.

The Compassionate Friends and allied organizations were joined in 2011 by local bereavement groups, churches, funeral homes, hospitals, hospices, children’s gardens, schools, cemeteries, and community centers. Services have ranged in size from just a few people to nearly a thousand.

Every year you are invited to post a message in the Remembrance Book which will be available, during the event, at TCF’s national website. In 2011 in that short one day span, more than five thousand messages of love were received and posted from every U.S. state and Washington D.C., every territory, as well as dozens of other countries, with some posts in foreign languages.

Here in the United States, publicity about the event is widespread, being featured over the years in Dear Abby, Annie’s Mailbox, Ann Landers column, Parade Magazine, Guidepostsmagazine, and literally hundreds of U.S. newspapers, dozens of television stations, and numerous websites and hundreds of personal blogs. Information on the Worldwide Candle Lighting and planned memorial candle lighting services (of which we are advised) is posted on TCF’s national website every year as the event nears.

View Dear Abby’s column from December 4, 2011 and read a letter from TCF’s Executive Director Pat Loder about what this event means to those who have suffered the tragic loss of a child.

If no Worldwide Candle Lighting service was held near you this year, please feel free to plan one open to the public this year or next year. You are welcome to use TCF’s “Suggestions to Help Plan a Memorial Service in Conjunction with The Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting©”to help in planning the service. All allied bereavement organizations, churches, funeral homes, hospices, and formal and informal bereavement groups are invited to join in the remembrance. When you firm up plans for your candle lighting, open to the public, please return to this site and submit the event information form so TCF can list your service with the many hundreds held in the United States and around the world. The Worldwide Candle Lighting gives bereaved families everywhere the opportunity to remember their child(ren) . . . that their light may always shine!

WCL Press Release 10-17-2012

National Media Stories and Videos from before and after the 2012 Worldwide Candle Lighting

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

Posted in Grief Resources - Newsletter, Grief Support & Holidays, Grief Support Discussion Topics, Loss of a Child, Share Your Story, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Share Your Story

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on March 30, 2012

We invite you to Share Your Story on how your friends and family assisted you in restoring balance in your life after a loss. Please submit your inspirational stories, letters/cards that have reached your heart, a favorite quote or poem, an unforgettable adventure/trip, a favorite song, an inspirational movie, a book that touched your life or a list of what you wished your friends had done for you.

We hope by sharing your story you will inspire others to give the gift of love and compassion to their loved ones that are grieving.

How To Submit Your Story

Stories may be submitted in writing or in video format.
Please email your story to us at:

By Email: info@ididnotknowwhattosay.com

Please include your Name, the name of the person who wrote the submission (if different) and your address, so we may contact you should we use your submission.

Your contact information will only be used to contact you should we wish to post your submission on our website or in our upcoming book “I Did Not Know What to Say”. We will never sell your information to any third party vendor.

If your submission is used on our website or in our upcoming book “I Did Not Know What to Say”, we will be sure that both you and the author are credited for your submission. If you wish to stay anonymous, please note that on your submission.

To view inspirational messages that others have contributed, please visit our Inspiration page for thoughts and ideas.

Thank you for your contribution!

Lori

Posted in Share Your Story, What to do for someone that is grieving | Leave a Comment »

Virtual Book Tour – Interview with Laura Smith – Author of “In All Things Giving Thanks When Hope Seems Lost”

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on February 9, 2012

Thank you for joining us on our Virtual Book Tour.

Today we welcome Laura Smith, author of In All Things Giving Thanks When Hope Seems Lost.  Laura’s interview offers many insights and practical suggestions on how to assist a loved one that has had a miscarriage.

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.

In All Things Giving Thanks When Hope Seems Lost is featured on our Helpful Books page under our Virtual Book Tour.

And now on to our interview with Laura Smith…

1. What inspired you to write the book In All Things Giving Thanks When Hope Seems Lost?

At first I was simply writing through the grief in order to try and understand all of what I had been through. It was a way for me to process the miscarriage and all that God had spoken to my broken heart during that time. Later as I began to expand into writing about all of the trials our family had gone through, I realized the pattern of God’s hand in all of it and saw the amazing grace I was living under because of His love for me. I didn’t intend to write a book that would ever be published in the beginning but when I had one person here or there read it, the feedback was almost an urgency that people needed to hear the message.

2. How did experiencing a miscarriage change your life?

Up until that point in my life, I thought that because I was a believer God protected me from the really hard stuff. I had been through losses of grandparents but that was all a natural part of life. Experiencing the miracle of pregnancy after being told we weren’t able to even get pregnant was a huge confirmation of God’s presence in my life. To lose that miracle was beyond devastating. It completely broke me. I questioned God’s love and his very existence. My husband at one point called God a hypocrite because if He hated abortion so much he wouldn’t have allowed our baby to die.

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

They just allowed me to grieve in my own way and on my own timing. I am a very private person and a silent griever. I would close myself in the bathroom and sit on the floor in the middle of the night with my face buried in a towel so no one could hear my sobs. One dear friend said to me when I was ready to hear it that sometimes God allows things like this to happen in order to protect us from something worse like perhaps there was a terrible problem with the baby and to spare us from that pain, he instead protected us from it. That’ was different than saying a blanket statement such as “everything happens for a reason”. I didn’t get the constant “how are you?” questions often asked by well-meaning family or friends. I think that would have driven me crazy.

4. Our website focuses on providing tips to friends and family members on how to support a loved one through the grieving process. What suggestions do you have for our readers on how they can support a loved one that is grieving?

Be very sensitive to the loved one’s personal grieving process. If they are typically a person to talk through everything then just sit and listen. If they are a private person then allow them to grieve privately and wait for them to come to you when they are ready. Let them know you are there for them when they are ready but you are not going to invade their space. In the case of a loss of spouse and children are involved, be there to do what needs to be done to take care of the children because during the grieving process we completely lose sight of the needs of those around us. Understand that the loved one may have a really great upbeat day one day and then fall on their face the next. If they are not a hugger type person, respect their space but gently touch them on the shoulder or squeeze their hand as often as the opportunity presents itself. Human touch is very healing. Pray for them!

5. How has your faith in God given you the strength to face the losses in your life?

After the vision the Lord gave me which I share in great detail in my book, I know that I know that I know that heaven is real and I will see my loved ones again. He has taught me to see beyond the current situations to look deeply into every situation and see His light shining in the midst. And most importantly I have learned that everything that we go through is an opportunity to learn and to grow in order to someday help someone else through something similar.

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

Healing. Anyone who has experienced miscarriage or been touched by abortion can find healing in the vision that the Lord gave me to share.

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

I am a real person who has experienced real life issues. I’m not pretentious or overtly religious; I’m a believer in Jesus who has always desired to write but had to wait for God to write my story. I hope through my book that others can learn some of the amazing life lessons and blessings from the Lord that I’ve had to learn the hard way. I thought this was just a message of healing through miscarriage and abortion however everyone who has read it has said they could not put it down and there was so much other good stuff they had to pause in order to soak it all in.

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

I am in the process of writing my second book about my father’s spiritual journey through cancer. He lost his battle here on earth but gained eternal life before he passed. This was a miracle in itself for anyone who knew my dad. The two year battle was packed full of evidence of God’s hand in the journey and taught me about the tremendous power we have in prayer and to never take that for granted.

About Laura Smith

Laura SmithLaura works as a medical coding and reimbursement specialist in Northern Minnesota. She spent her youth on a small dairy farm in Northeast Minnesota. She was married two weeks after her high school graduation. Three years and two children later, she was facing divorce and single parenthood. She moved to a college town in north central MN where she hoped to earn a degree and make a life for her and her two young daughters. There she met and married the love of her life. Together they embarked on a life together as a ready-made family facing all the challenges that comes with it. They had no idea that the life experiences they walked through early on and one life altering event would prepare them for the ultimate challenge, the possible death of their daughter.

https://www.facebook.com/InAllThings 
https://twitter.com/#!/LauraMStorrs

In All Things Giving Thanks When Hope Seems Lost 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 Grief Resources, Miscarriage, Share Your Story, Virtual Book Tour, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »