I Did Not Know What To Say Blog

Posts Tagged ‘books on grief’

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 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 »

Virtual Book Tour – Interview with Michael Corrigan, Author of A Year and a Day

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on June 4, 2011

Thank you for joining us on our Virtual Book Tour. 

Today we Welcome Michael Corrigan, the author of  “A Year and a Day”. Michael’s interview offers many insights and practical suggestions on how to assist a widower heal after the loss of a spouse.

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

“A Year and a Dayis featured on our Helpful Books page under Loss of a Spouse.

And now our interview with Michael Corrigan: 

1. What inspired you to write the book “A Year and a Day”?
My therapist knew I was a writer and thought keeping a journal would help put the grief in context. It helps to confront grief and take away its power.  I was surprised to find very few men who sought help for grief; in fact,  many considered it ‘unmanly.’ It’s the so called strong silent type that often commits suicide.

2. How did losing your wife change your life?
Karen was a lovely person, so deserving of more years, so it’s a devastating experience that darkens one’s world. It starts with a shock but then the reality sets in, and there’s a terrible emptiness and feeling of loss. I felt like I would serve a life sentence of grief. The passage of time meant little, and grief goes in cycles. With time, however, grief can lose its sting.

3. How is the death of a spouse different from divorce?
Divorce is often mutually agreed upon. Divorce indicates something is wrong with the relationship. Death is brutal and often A Year and a Dayunexpected, and can affect couples who are happy.

4. What are your top three suggestions to help people move forward in the grieving process after the loss of a spouse?
Use one’s friends, get involved in projects, even volunteer work, and always seek professional counseling.

5. Is there any one thing that your family or friends did for you that assisted you through the grieving process?
I had friends take me out to dinner or plays, and one friend came by once a week to play music. It did help. One needs distractions. Eventually, the counselor, Tanya Forsman, suggested I seek a partner and that included websites for dating. That was after a year and a half. Before that, dating would have been impossible. I believe there should be at least a year of facing the grieving process.

6. What do you wish your family or friends had done differently after you lost your wife?
I felt everyone acted appropriately. I had problems with some friends who pretended it never happened, but I wanted to talk about Karen. It’s a common misconception: don’t mention the lost loved one for fear of hurting someone’s feeling.

7. 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?
Offer your services and presence, and be willing to discuss the person lost to the bereaved. Some offered me grief books that did help.

8. What is one thing you would like your readers to take away from your book?
Some of the raw emotions in the journal disturb me now, because I have moved beyond that point, but I hope it is a tribute to Karen and it also teaches the reader they are not alone. We will all go through the grief process if we live along enough. Joan Didion discusses that in her book.

9. What would you like our readers to know about you and your book?
The book was written as a way to communicate with and remember Karen and to face the daily grind of grief and loss. I hope my book celebrates Karen Lea Smith Corrigan.

10. Have you written any other books? Do you plan to write any other books in the future?
I am a writer and I have written and published six books and many articles. I have written two books about the Irish American experience. Four of my books, including the grief journal, are on Kindle. I certainly will continue writing. It is what I do.
You can find me on Amazon and at Author’s Den.

Posted in Grief Resources, Loss of a Spouse, Virtual Book Tour, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Virtual Book Tour – Interview with Chelsea Hanson, Author of the Sympathy Matters Collection

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on May 23, 2011

Thank you for joining us on our Virtual Book Tour.

Today we Welcome Chelsea Hanson, the author of the Sympathy Matters Collection. Chelsea’s interview offers many insights and practical suggestions on how to assist a grieving loved one.

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

1. What inspired you to write the Sympathy Matters Collection?

The Sympathy Matters Collection started as a simple poem of comfort. When my mother, Donna, passed away unexpectedly right before Christmas in 1996, I knew that my family and the holidays would never be the same. To help with my grief, I wrote a poem, Hello from Heaven, to express what I thought my mother would want to say to us after she arrived in heaven.

Over time, I would enclose the poem in sympathy gifts for others. The response was overwhelmingly positive, and after many requests, I decided to publicly share this message, so I published my first gift book, Hello from Heaven.

As time passed, I was inspired to create more gift books to comfort others in their time of need, including Forever in My Heart, Merry  Christmas from Heaven Above, If Only I Knew and Choose Hope.

The collection of gift books from http://www.Sympathymatters.com has comforted people across the country and has been used by grief support groups, hospice and funeral home professionals.

But the gift books were just the beginning. As I continued to recognize the need for support at time of loss, With Sympathy Gifts and Keepsakes was founded. This is a site that provides gifts to express your sympathy with care as well as provide keepsakes to honor your precious loved one.

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

Just this last Christmas, my mother-in-law, LaVon, sent me a floral holiday bouquet that said, “Thinking about you at this time of the year,” to express her care. My mother, Donna, passed away over 14 years ago right before Christmas. Thus, it meant so much that LaVon acknowledged the anniversary of my mother’s death and provided support at Christmas time, which is typically a difficult time of the year for those who have lost someone.

As evidenced by this example, grieving people still need messages of sympathy for years to come after a death, especially on holidays, birthdays and anniversaries. You are not reminding them of their loss when you send a card or do something extra on these days. Instead, you are offering comfort and support that may still be needed. Remember, you can express your support at anytime to the bereaved.

It is also important to acknowledge the anniversary of the death. This is a hard day for anyone who is grieving, so your extra support on this day can be helpful. Communicate that you remember the date by calling, sending flowers, writing a note or what feels right to you.

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

1. Reminisce. Continue to reminisce with your friend about his or her loved one’s life. Sharing fond memories is a wonderful way to provide comfort. Remember, talking about the deceased will not hurt or upset the person grieving. In fact, it is just the opposite, your friend will appreciate that you are talking about their loved one. Please know that it is okay to talk about someone who passed away, and it is helpful to use the deceased’s name in conversations.

2. Be yourself. Speak in a way and behave in a way that is natural for you. Continue the same relationship you had before: close friend, acquaintance, friendly neighbor, or work buddy. Offer help only if you are able to follow through, and in a way that makes sense in your life. Can you drive the carpool? Offer to drop off a meal? Mow the lawn once a week without even knocking on the door? Take the kids on a play date for the afternoon?

3. Learn about and understand grief. To understand what you friend is going through, do your best to learn about grieving. Everyone grieves differently, and there is no timetable on grief. By having an understanding of the process, you will have more compassion and be able to support your friend. Being a friend to the grieving will not always be easy. Your friend has changed and will continue to change as he or she journeys through grief. Your gift of support, however, will always be remembered and cherished by your friend.

4. You have a series of books (Hello from Heaven, Forever in My Heart, Merry Christmas from Heaven Above, If Only I Knew, and Choose Hope), do you suggest that readers read them in a certain order or do they individually stand alone.

Each book provides a separate message of healing and comfort to those traveling through grief.
Hello from Heaven can be given at any time during the healing process, but it is particularly helpful at time of loss.
Merry Christmas from Heaven Above can be used for the first Christmas after loss or any subsequent Christmas.
Forever in My Heart is especially beneficial on the first anniversary of loss, but can be given at other times during the grief journey too.
If Only I Knew is an inspirational book that reminds us to cherish our loved ones each and every day.
Choose Hope is for families who have been affected by cancer, and provides words of hope and encouragement when facing cancer.

5. What is one thing you would like your readers to take away from your books?
The main theme in my writing is that your loved one is always loving you, watching you and guiding you from heaven. The book excerpts below illustrate this message:

“Though my life is over, I am closer to you now than I was ever before.
There are rocky roads ahead of you and many hills to climb,
but together we can do it taking one day at a time.”

Excerpt from Hello from Heaven

“Let your faith be strong, for I’m home where I belong.
Please don’t be unhappy because I’m not in your sight.
I’m by your side every morning, noon and night”

Excerpt from Forever in My Heart

6. What do you want our readers to know about you and your books?My purpose is simple:

To ensure that the bereaved receive the sympathy and comfort they need in a caring and helpful manner. When you are not sure of what to say or do at time of loss, the Sympathy Matters collection can help you. Whatever book you may choose to give, be assured that you will express your sympathy thoughtfully and provide great comfort to the recipient.

My long term vision: Working together with grief support groups and educators, we can teach society more about loss, dying and grief. By increasing society’s knowledge and comfort level surrounding death, dying can become accepted as a normal part of life, just like being born. In turn, our world will become better equipped to support and interact with people that are grieving.

7. Do you plan to write any additional books in the future?

Yes, I am currently working on a pet loss book, entitled “Wags and Whiskers from Heaven.” The purpose of the book is to provide sympathy and comfort to pet owners who have lost a beloved pet. I recently lost three long-time family members (pets Owen, Emma and Fiver). Thus, this book is to honor them and to help others who have lost a four-legged family member.

About Chelsea Hanson
Author Chelsea Hanson has the special gift of finding the right words when they are needed most. Her reassuring words provide hope that you too will be able to journey through grief and find a new appreciation of life. For information on Chelsea’s books, please visit: www.SympathyMatters.com 

As an entrepreneur, Chelsea is passionate about providing grief support. She is the founder of With Sympathy Gifts and Keepsakes, which was developed to help you express your sympathy remember your loved with a special keepsake or simply find additional support from those who have been there. For more information, please visit: www.WithSympathyGifts.com or www.Facebook.com/WithSympathyGifts.

Posted in Grief Support & Holidays, Loss of a Mother, Loss of a Parent, Virtual Book Tour, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments »

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

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on January 22, 2011

Thank you for joining us on our Virtual Book Tour. 

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

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

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

And now our interview with Pat Nowak:

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

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

2. How did losing your husband change your life?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About Pat Nowak

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on December 29, 2010

Thank you for joining us on our Virtual Book Tour.

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

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

And now our interview with Ellen Gerst:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let me digress for a moment …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on June 28, 2010

Thank you for joining us on our Virtual Book Tour. 

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

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

And here is our interview with Lori A. Moore… 

What inspired you to write the book Missing Andy?

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

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

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

book-cover-missing-andy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About Lori A. Moore

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

Twitter @Lori_A_Moore

http://loriamoore.tatepublishing.net

 

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

Thoughtful Memorial Gift Ideas for Mother’s Day & Memorial Day!

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on April 16, 2010

 Be sure to visit our Thoughtful Sympathy & Memorial Gifts page on our website at www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/gifts.html for special discounts for Mother’s Day!

Special Mother’s Day Memorial Gift Ideas
Memorial Quilts & Throws
Military Memorial Gifts
Special Keepsake Gifts for a Miscarriage

Design You Own Gift Baskets
Personalized Memorial Frames
Personalized gift items
Pet Memorials
KindNotes to leave throughout the year

Christian Sympathy Cards & Gifts
Unique Gift Items
Inspirational Movies & Books

And More…

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 Loss of a Child, Loss of a Mother, Military Loss, Miscarriage, Thoughtful Sympathy Gifts, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

We are open for Article & Interview Submissions

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on January 9, 2010

We are open for article submission for our 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
  • Inspirational stories on living your best life
  • Featured stories on inspirational adventures
  • 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)

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 2010 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

 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

Posted in Grief Resources, Grief Resources - Newsletter, Inspiration, Planning For A Future Without You | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Virtual Book Tour – From Sorrow to Dancing by Marcy Kelly

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on December 1, 2009

Thank you for joining us on our Virtual Book Tour.

Today we Welcome Marcy Kelly, the author of From Sorrow to Dancing.  We are delighted that Marcy has been able to provide us with her insights and suggestions on how to assist a loved that has lost their spouse.  Please feel free to comment or share your own experiences with grief and the healing process in the comment section below.

From Sorrow to Dancing is featured on our Helpful Books page under Grief Support.

And here is our interview with Marcy Kelly… 

What inspired you to write the book From Sorrow to Dancing?

I wrote my book because becoming widow tears out your heart and can seem to make you into half the person you were before being thrust into this terrible situation.  Being widowed is certainly not something anyone would aspire to be in life but it is a fact of life for many, many women and men.  As a result of having to go through this situation twice, and actually becoming a whole person who has hope again, I thought I had something to say that might help others.

You lost both of your husbands at an early age, how did losing your husbands change your life?

I lost my first husband after 15 years of marriage when I was 35 years of age.  When he died, I had a nine year old son, a high school education with a few college credits, and a lot of fear about the future.  After I emerged from the cloud of trauma which sets in after a death, I felt the responsibility to continue living because my son needed a mom.  So, I got back into life the best I could.

I remarried 13 months later, and started what I hoped would be a great marriage with a secure life for my son.  The marriage was great, and my son bonded well with his step-dad.  We had been married for 15 years when he also died of cancer.  When I was widowed the second time, my son was grown with a job and a new wife.  I thought this time that there was no reason for me to go on in life.  My son didn’t need me, my husband was gone, I had no real career that I cared about.  I was depressed and sad.  All I wanted to do was to curl up in bed and never get up.  It took me a few years to get back into life and into feeling that life was worth living.

How is the death of a spouse different from divorce?

Although I have never been divorced, I have spoken with many people who have been divorced and my answer comes from those discussions.  I am certainly not an expert on this question.  However, one thing I realize is that when someone dies, all hope is gone.  There is no chance that reconciliation can happen when the person is dead.  I was fortunate to have good marriages so the anger that goes with betrayal, rejection, and other parts of divorce was not something I experienced.  Loss is loss, regardless of the reason.  It needs to be grieved.

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

I think losing a spouse is different from losing a parent because, hopefully, when one gets married and starts her own family, she moves away from her parents and bonds to her husband.  If the family of origin is a close family, the pain of losing a parent will be greatly felt and needs to be recognized and grieved.  That being said, when the husband is gone, a big part of the wife goes away as well.  Grief over losing a anyone is very horrendous and not to be minimized.  All grieving is difficult.

I understand that losing a child is very different, and since I have never experienced that type of grief, I am not qualified to speak about it.  I have also never lost a sibling so I cannot comment on that pain.

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

In my book, From Sorrow to Dancing, I recount several things that people did for me after each of my husbands died.  An example would be a woman named Victoria who asked what she could do for me immediately after my first husband died.  I really couldn’t think of anything at that time so I suggested she might want to call me in three months to see if I needed anything.  To my amazement, she called three months later.  I still didn’t need anything but I have never forgotten her kindness in remembering me.

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

My family and friends were extremely supportive and helpful after the death of each husband so I can’t think of anything they should have done differently.  In my book I recount the story of Jean whose husband committed suicide while they were separated due to marriage problems.  Jean’s in-laws blamed her for the suicide and were harsh as they isolated Jean from the rest of the family during the funeral.  Jean had a very difficult time getting over the pain of the way she had been treated.

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

I want people to realize that life for the widow does not have to end when her husband dies.  Yes, her life will greatly change and it will be painful and hard for awhile.  However, the choices the widow makes are what determine whether she also dies (literally or figuratively) or whether she moves through the grief into the rest of her life.  There is hope and joy in the future if she chooses to move toward it.

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

  1. Do a personal check concerning your attitude.  Are you bitter?  If so, learn to forgive.
  2. Give yourself and others grace to make mistakes during the grieving process.
  3. Put off making big decisions for at least a year.
  4. Be around caring people and allow them to help you.

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

I want the readers to know that I am a regular mom and wife who has lived through some very difficult times.  I have made many mistakes and don’t know everything there is to know about grieving but I do know that when my husbands died, I made a choice to act in a way that would make people want to be around me.  I didn’t want to be bitter or angry (that would be the easy way to react to my pain).  I wanted to leave “sunshine in my tracks” so that when people had been in my presence they would come away feeling better than before.  I worked hard to change my attitude and in doing so, I moved into a new, good life.

I also want people to know that I believe one of the biggest reasons I got through the grieving so completely was because of my faith in God.  Prayer and faith are truly healing.

Do you plan to write any other books?

At this time, I don’t have any plans for another book but we never know what the future will bring.

From Sorrow to Dancing is featured on ourHelpful Bookspage under Grief Support.

 

Posted in Grief Resources, Loss of a Spouse, Virtual Book Tour, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »