I Did Not Know What To Say Blog

Posts Tagged ‘widower’

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 »

Widow/Widower Valentine’s Day Grief Support Resources

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on February 5, 2012

If you are a widow or widower or a friend looking for ways to help a grieving friend this Valentine’s Day, here are a few resources to explore:

Virtual Book Tour

Interview with Jennifer Hawkins – The Gift Giver

Interview with Pat Nowak – ABC’s of Widowhood

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

Interview with Michael Corrigan – A Year and a Day

Interview with Carole Brody Fleet – “Widows Wear Stilettos: A Practical and Emotional Guide for the Young Widow”

Interview with Lori A. Moore – Missing Andy

Interview with Marcy Kelly – From Sorrow to Dancing

ARTICLES

Operation: Heaven Writings & Tips for Those Who Know Someone Who Has Lost Their Hero in the Military
by Taryn Davis – Founder/President, The American Widow Project

Five Things You Can Do for a Grieving Widow
by Marcy Kelly, Author of From Sorrow to Dancing

HAVE A “SINGLE-Y SENSATIONAL” VALENTINE’S DAY
by Carole Brody Fleet, Author of Widows Wear Stilettos

How to Date/Marry A Widow or Widower
by Ellen Gerst, Relationship Coach & Author of Love After Loss: Writing The Rest of Your Story

Valentine’s Day for Widows = No Valentine, Just Pain
by Marcy Kelly, Author From Sorrow to Dancing

Widowhood: A Time for Reinvention
by Ellen Gerst, Relationship Coach & Author of Love After Loss: Writing The Rest of Your Story

A Single Woman’s Adventures in Ballroom Dancing
by Marcy Kelly, Author From Sorrow to Dancing

Love After Loss – Writing the Rest of Your Story
by Ellen Gerst, Relationship Coach & Author of Love After Loss: Writing The Rest of Your Story

Valentine’s Day: The Best Way To Acknowledge It…Is To Acknowledge Others
by Widow Chick

Sh*t People Say to Widows (Video)
by Fresh Widow

GRIEF SUPPORT GROUPS

American Widow Project The American Widow Project is a non-profit organization dedicated to the new generation of those who have lost the heroes of yesterday, today and tomorrow, with an emphasis on healing through sharing stories, tears and laughter………Military Widow to Military Widow.

Bubba’s Belly Run Bubba’s Run is a 5K run in honor and memory of Captain Brian “Bubba” Bunting’s race to grow his family and for the benefit of his children’s education. All proceeds generated from this race will be used to support Bubba’s children’s education, The Fisher House™, American Widow Project, and Flat Daddies.

Camp Widow is a weekend long gathering of widows from across the country, and around the world. We come together to create a community of people who understand the life altering experience of widowhood. Camp Widow™ provides practical tools, valuable resources, and peer-based encouragement for rebuilding your life in the aftermath of the death of a spouse.

Fresh Widow Young widowed Mom shares resources, ideas, humor, facts, perspective + energy for your path after loss.

Lost and Found Lighting the way to help you find renewal from personal loss
Ellen Gerst, Relationship Coach

Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation Welcome to the community at the Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation. We work hard to provide a national network of support for anyone grieving the loss of someone they love–with a special emphasis on those who have been widowed. SSLF offers a variety of programs intended to connect our members for the two-fold purpose of providing peer based support opportunities, and connecting the many wonderful organizations that provide services offering comfort for those traveling the difficult journey of grief.
Widows to Young Helping widows under 50 continue to live.

Widows Wear Stilettos We are pleased to announce that we have formed Widows Wear Stilettos in-person support groups throughout the United States. There are NO CHARGES, FEES OR MEMBERSHIP DUES REQUIRED in order to attend any Widows Wear Stilettos in-person support group.

Widows Wear Stilettos is delighted to announce the formation of the “First Month” Foundation; a non-profit foundation that will be dedicated to providing specific financial assistance to the widowed.

WIDOWS MINISTRY IN RESPONSE to our God-given assignment, Widows International is raising Kingdom awareness by teaching, training and transforming the Body of Christ and the widow. Ever advancing, we provide resources through seminars, conferences on widowhood, speaking engagements, counsel, written materials, along with a residential program. Globally, Widows International in a cooperative effort with international and local ministries provides evangelistic rallies to care for and empower the widows to take their nation for Christ.

theWiddahood.com A free social support network dedicated to anyone who has suffered the loss of a significant other.

WidowChick Grief management through humor and coping using the power of positive thinking.

Young Widow Our mission is to provide a forum for young widows and widowers to connect online. Through these connections, young widows and widowers find understanding and validation of their feelings so that they are able to recover their joy for life, reclaim their identities and rebuild their futures.

I Did Not Know What To Say – Helpful Books

I Did Not Know What To Say – Grief Support Groups

Do you have a resource to share? Please include your resource in the Comment Section below.

Posted in Grief Resources, Grief Resources - Newsletter, Grief Support & Holidays, Holiday Grief Support, Loss of a Spouse, Love, Valentine's Day, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

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 »