Reclaiming Your Joy After Loss

Busy-ness

Uncategorized Jan 06, 2021

Do you go to bed with your mind sorting out all the things you have to do, then wake up with more things on your list? That’s been me lately.  I have been doing well for a long time with keeping things balanced and prioritizing but have found myself being somewhat overwhelmed and with getting ready to launch my book, Loving and Living Your Way Through Grief, on January 23. I am even starting to feel a bit stressed.

For most of my life I did so much that when I was asked if I was stressed, I would say “Stress is my life.” Now I know that doesn’t serve me, and I have been feeling great with my well-balanced life, but this incredible opportunity of getting my book out there is something I plan to do my very best at, so I am busy.  Realizing that January 23rd is coming soon is a blessing.  This high level of activity won’t last forever, so I am figuring out how to make the best use of my time while taking care of myself. These are a couple of...

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New Year, New You

Uncategorized Dec 30, 2020

My sister came home from rehearsal at the Barn Theatre for A Christmas Carol frustrated a week before the show was scheduled to open.  The little boy playing the part of Tim Tim’s big brother had dropped out of the show. Always one to come to the rescue, she suggested to the director that I could play the part.  I was about the same size as the little boy, so the costume would fit, and she could bring me to the theatre every night. So, I was cast in my first play when I was in third grade.  Little did I know at the time that this was the beginning of my love for theatre and the arts for my lifetime.  I felt at home on the stage and was fascinated by all aspects of the production.

Fast forward fifty something years, and I was standing in my theatre and school of arts that I had created in a beautiful 100-year-old building in downtown Bakersfield.  I had a lifetime of experience in every aspect of theatre and was ready to use it all. Our first show was...

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All I Need

Uncategorized Dec 17, 2020

Holidays can hit hard for those dealing with losing a loved one. This year seems to be even more challenging with all that’s happening with the pandemic.  I woke up thinking this morning about what I can do to keep my spirits up.

There is a commercial on TV right now that uses the old song by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrill song “You’re All I Need to Get By,” and it’s got that song sticking in my head.  Not the whole song, just the words “All I Need.” The words have me thinking, what do I need?

Need defined means something essential. As I look at my life right now, I already have all I need. Yet life can always be better.  We can always take steps to brighten our way.

I have healthy coping mechanisms.  I spend time outside each day. I eat good food to nourish me as much as I can from my garden. And I do occasionally indulge in a little treat just to enjoy.

I have regular exercise just by walking around where I live. My...

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Self Care Through Lots of Loss

Uncategorized Dec 02, 2020

When I heard my sister was in an ambulance again, I knew that she was dying. Even though she had health challenges for years, I didn’t want to be without her. And my knowing was true. She passed Monday.

Then more grief piled on through the rest of Thanksgiving week: a family member died in an accident, another family member is dealing with Covid, and I am supporting close friends dealing with the suicide and loss of their friends. And it isn’t just me. So many of us are being affected by Covid. We have to pay attention to this.

So what can we do? First, share your love and support of those you love and those you know are grieving. I wish we could hug each other, but instead we can make a phone call, send an email or text, or send a letter.

If you are the one grieving, take special care of yourself. I have been walking on the beach early before anyone is there. I been soaking in bubble baths and reading good books. I’ve also been having lovely discussions with...

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Grief This Time is Different

Uncategorized Nov 25, 2020

Monday morning my niece called to tell me that an ambulance was taking my sister to the hospital.  I knew immediately that this was it for her. She’s had health challenges over the years, but up until Monday Morning, I hadn’t felt it was her time yet. Now it was.  I wasn’t surprised when my niece called me to say that she died at the hospital. 

I work with grief and grieving people every day, I write about it in all my social media, and I even wrote my book about it which launches January 19. And I thought I had a handle on it, that I could keep everything in perspective, but I fell apart yesterday.

I was thinking about when a week ago someone told me her friend just died. I found myself struggling for the right thing to say. Immediately “I am sorry for your loss” popped into my head, but I stopped myself from saying that. The phrase seems empty to me, something I advise others not to say. It feels like the “Have a nice day”...

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Loving and Living Your Way Through Grief

Uncategorized Nov 18, 2020

This week I share with you the beautiful forward Michael Bernard Beckwith wrote for my book Loving and Living Your Way Through Grief: A Comprehensive Guide to Reclaiming and Cultivating Joy and Carrying On in the Face of Loss. The release date for the book is January 19, 2021, and it is available now for preorder on Amazon.

 

Forward for Loving and Living Your Way through Grief by Michael Bernard Beckwith

Oftentimes when a loved one dies, its sting can catch and hold us in a web of grief, loss, and even despair.  As we tend to feel emotionally, soulfully, and even physically connected to our loved ones, these relationships often provide us with a profound sense of intimacy, comfort, and stasis, and can become the very foundation of who we believe we are.  So when they die, it can feel like pieces of our very identity has been snatched away, and the sense of loss is felt at the core of our being.  Such feelings of loss often engender variations of the questions: ...

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Service

Uncategorized Nov 18, 2020

What do you think of when you hear the word service?  In the small town I lived in growing up, Veterans day was the biggest holiday of the year and was celebrated with different events all week long. This was all done to honor and respect people in “the service,” those who served our country in the military.  At that time, whenever I heard the word service, I thought of those people and what they did for all of us, offering their lives for people they didn’t even know. This kind of selfless service was my example of what service meant.  My Dad served in World War 2 and went on to serve veterans the rest of his life.  I knew that was the kind of person I wanted to be, one who serves others.

Throughout my life I have chosen careers and activities that were all service based, not military service, rather service to others who I didn’t necessarily know. Theatre became a place of service for me.  In all the different roles I played in...

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My Ohana

Uncategorized Nov 05, 2020

Ohana is the Hawaiian word for family, and it means so much more.  We refer to our Ohana as our chosen family, too. My son is my only blood family member who lives on Maui, but I am surrounded by chosen family members. Our feelings go deep. We truly support each other through life. My Ohana was there for me in Ron’s last weeks and after his transition. I felt so loved.

Shena came to Maui to live in the cottage on our property right after we got here.  Cottages like this in Hawaii are also called Ohanas because they are often used for extended family living together in a compound like atmosphere.  She has become my Ohana daughter and she calls me her Ohana Mama, a title I am delighted to have.  We celebrate holidays together and know we can always depend on each other for anything we need.

I have other neighbors who are Ohana, too. We are always bringing each other food, stopping by to visit, or meditating together. Whatever we grow in our gardens, we share,...

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Refreshing Gratitude

Uncategorized Oct 28, 2020

I was grieving when someone told me about the importance of gratitude. My reaction was, “Ya, right. What do I have to be thankful for since my husband died, and I am all alone?” I did think about it though.  Maybe there was something there?  I admit I had been pretty self-centered, feeling sorry for myself and my sorry life.  Yet the more I thought about it, I realized that attitude was not serving me.  I didn’t want to always live in the dark. I really did want to feel better.

I decided to figure out what I had to be grateful for. Initially, this was a difficult task.  I had no problem letting lots of negativity flow in. Since it was right there in front of me, I started looking at things I wasn’t grateful for, and there were lots. By looking at each thing that was bothering me, I realized that I had created many of them, like I was frustrated because friends weren’t calling me or asking me to do things. As I thought about...

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How is Your Day?

Uncategorized Oct 21, 2020

I woke up this morning feeling so good, and It made me think.  We all notice when we don’t feel good, and then we spend time and energy dealing with that. But I was thinking instead this morning of how wonderful it is to just feel good. I started looking at what was different in my life right now that is contributing to this elation.

Sunday my friend invited me to her house for dinner with a couple of other friends.  (We did social distance) After dinner, we played a card game named Uno Flip.  I had played Uno years ago, but I never played Flip.  We had so much fun that we all laughed for an hour.  I realized then that though I am happy, I hadn’t laughed that much in years.  My whole body felt good. Though that was 4 days go, I still feel great.  I am sure that was the start of this good feeling.

In addition to that, I have committed to going on a walk every day.  I have been listening to a book as I walk, but this morning, I...

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