Using Grief to Grow No Comments

I remember the first time my grief counselor told me that one day I might find a way to grow from my grief. I think I blurted out something like, “Grow from my grief? Are you crazy?” My husband’s loss had devastated me and I couldn’t imagine taking my experiences and actually growing from all the horrible things I had been through since his death…

You Are Never Lost No Comments

A little over twenty years ago, my life changed dramatically. I lost my husband, my father, and my mother in less than seven years. I didn’t know it at the time, but I had entered a very intense school. The lessons were the hardest I’ve ever had to work through. Many times I thought I was lost. I wasn’t lost, but that’s how I felt. I was really struggling. I wanted to go back to how it was, but we can’t go back. We have to learn to accept what we cannot change. Acceptance allows us to use our pain as a means of growth. I had no idea at the time that so much pain could be so rich with promise, but it is. One thing that helped was my belief that all things come bearing a gift. This was a principle I had gleaned from my many years as a Unity student, and I clung to it tenaciously. The necessity of finding that gift was what got me out of bed in the morning. I had to know why this had happened. There had to be a reason. There had to be a purpose.  Since I didn’t know what else to do, I started asking, “What do you want me to do now, Lord?” which led to “How can I help? How can I serve?” I didn’t know it then, but that is exactly what we’re supposed to do when we don’t know how to proceed. About a year after my husband died, I found out about Dr. Deepak Chopra, and an entirely new path opened up before me. They say when the student is ready, the teacher appears. Well, the teacher had definitely appeared. So without my realizing it, I’d been set on a path which not only would help me heal, it would answer my questions about how I could help and how I could serve. One of the things I’ve learned is that you have to let go of how you think things should be so you can be open to God’s plan for you. Learning to let go was a really big lesson for me. You see, I always thought I was in control of my life! Actually, we’re never in control. I just didn’t know that then. Always there is a higher wisdom at work in our lives, and it knows where we need to go, what we need to do, and how to get us there. Eventually you begin to understand that everything is exactly the way it should be at that particular moment. True, you may be hurting like crazy – emotionally, physically or some other way, but at that particular moment, this is exactly the way things need to be so you can learn what you need to learn, so you can grow in the way you need to grow. Needless to say, it helps enormously if we can find our spiritual anchor. For me, that anchor was meditation. Why?

Should I Start Dating and When No Comments

As a widow offering comfort to other widows and widowers, I am often asked the question, “Should I start dating?” and if so, “When?” My advice about almost every aspect concerning spousal grief is the same. The answer to these questions is–again–a very individual thing…

Love Does Not Die No Comments

“As I am sure you already know, the sense of separation when loved ones die can be very painful. What we may not yet have realized is that just because you can’t see your loved ones doesn’t mean they aren’t with you. You are always connected in your heart. Love does not die. In love, there is no separation. One love, one heart. Just thinking of someone consciously connects you to them. Yes, the parting is hard, but always at some deep level we are all very much connected. And if there are times when you feel as though you’re “stuck” in your grief, be gentle with yourself.  Just let the grief be what it needs to be. There is no wrong way to grieve. It’s different for everyone. But while you’re grieving, please do remember to nurture yourself any way you can. Every part of your system is asking for comfort, and now is the best time to answer that call. So be patient with yourself. It does get easier, and it will. Sometimes circumstances are such that you don’t get to say “Goodbye.” Whatever the circumstances, we can find great comfort in the knowledge that God is working His purposes out. Trust in that Wisdom and know that all is as it should be, whether it seems like it or not. Losing a loved one – and even our own passing – will be different for all of us, but no matter how it comes, always and in all ways the Divine Plan is for us to continue to grow and evolve and wake up to the magnificent Being that lives eternally in our heart.” Updated:

Aftermath No Comments

I lost my husband Sid ten years ago. I have remarried and I am happy again. It was a long, hard struggle. But I feel like I managed to cross the minefield of grief and emerge as a better person. I know I grew stronger by conquering my grief, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t bear the scars from the worst battle I have ever fought in my life. Grief is very hard work and even a decade after my loss, those emotional scars sometimes come to the surface and trigger an explosion of grief. For someone who has never experienced losing a spouse, it is difficult to explain. On the outside it appears that you have totally moved on and everything is fine. Those of us who have experienced losing a spouse—or anyone we loved– know that is not true. Yes, we have learned to live with our loss and over the years we have found a new life. But still–we sometimes suffer from what I call aftermath. Aftermath, in my opinion, is perfectly normal. But the pain is still very deep, particularly because it can often be unexpected. Grief, to me, is like a minefield that is full of painful explosions. At first they are everywhere and no matter where you step, you will hit one. As time goes on the grief bombs are fewer and farther apart, but they are still there. My husband Sid was a big NASCAR fan. He liked it when we snuggled on the couch and watched the race together. I have to admit I was bored to death seeing cars go in a circle, but he enjoyed telling me about each car and driver. I was glad he wanted to share that with me. One night many years after his death I was at a dance club having a great time. The sound was down on a large television screen above the bar but I noticed a NASCAR race was being aired. Suddenly without warning I felt my self losing it. I ran to the bathroom and cried harder than I had in a long time. Out of the blue it hit me. Sid and I would never watch another NASCAR race together again. Of course I knew that–and had for years. Still that unexpected grief aftermath hurt so much. I have come to understand that aftermath is going to occur from time to time and there is nothing I can do about it. But it helps to know that it is okay–even after ten years. I think I prefer to look at it this way: Sid feels like every once in a while he has to reach out and let me know that he is still with me and always will be. Updated:

Accepting What We Cannot Change No Comments

There is no question about it – accepting the loss of loved one can be one of our most difficult challenges, and yet acceptance is part of the answer we are looking for. As long as we resist what has happened, we cannot move beyond it. It is only when we can accept our loss that we are able to move on with our life. This doesn’t happen all at once, but if we are patient, if we are compassionate with ourself and our need to grieve, eventually – step by cautious step, piece by little piece, we begin to accept what we cannot change. Grief and loss are two of life’s most important teachers. It is only in letting go that we discover what we never lost at all. The love is still there, and it connects us in ways that only love can. That discovery makes it possible to accept what has been so difficult to face. Letting go is key. I find great lessons in the example of the butterfly. It allows the changes to happen. It surrenders to the process. Ultimately, so must we. Then all these elements – all these changes – will be free to mix together and create a new outlook on life. Grief, then, can be the chrysalis in which our metamorphosis occurs. In due time we find ourselves moving into a greater understanding both of ourselves, of our purpose, and of our destiny. Along the way, the innate wisdom that has always been within us is guiding us through the labyrinth of life so we can emerge victorious and triumphant. Thus it is that challenge can be our stepping stone, a means by which our destiny is embraced, our potential is explored, and our victory is won. Updated:

Please Don’t Try to Fix Me No Comments

Several months after the sudden death of my 32-year-old husband, the subtle hints from my friends, family and co-workers appeared – suggesting the time had come for me to get out more socially, begin sorting through his personal belongings and find the smile I once had. The more they pressed the more I distanced…