Suddenly Single: 6 Important Questions to Ask

By Ellen Gerst

Losing a mate from death is a press pause moment. You can compare it to pausing a recording on your television. Your life as you knew it gets derailed, and so you step off the platform and take a hiatus to figure out the new facts of your life. In order to do this, you can act like a reporter on assignment by asking the six basic questions of who, what, where, when, why and how.

In regard to each term, here are some sample questions you may ask yourself. [Read more…]

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Healing After the Loss of a Spouse

By Gloria Lintermans and Dr. Marilyn Stolzman

Loss is a fact of life. Yet, following loss, their needs to be a healthy healing, a healing that allows life not only to simply continue, but with joy and determination. What are the elements that make up healing? Whether suffering from a divorce, loss of a child, loss of a parent or loss of a spouse, we go through certain stages and reactions. Not only is it different for each person, it is different with each loss. Based on the nature of the relationship, we must take into consideration the history we had with that person, the strengths, the troubled aspects, our ego strengths, the intensity of the love and the unfinished fragments of the relationship.

There are many feelings in common that people go through in the stages of grief as well as an often overlap of these stages. The stages include [Read more…]

Conquer Fear to Reduce Stress

By Kristen K. Brown

Fear can control our thoughts and emotions more than we realize. It can paralyze us when we need to take action.  It can cloud our judgment when our personal or family livelihood is at stake.  It can even cause us stress without us knowing it. But why are we scared?  Why do we let this emotion control us even when we don’t want it to? Here are the most common reasons:

  • Not sure what will happen after change (fear of future)
  • Not confident in skills/abilities to handle new responsibilities (fear of failure) [Read more…]

If Ever I Should Leave You

By Pat Nowak

One morning you get a call… your husband has been killed walking across the street, by an uninsured motorist.  You are instantly alone, saddled with debt, bombarded with questions, required to make decisions, and completely clueless about most of what it takes to manage your affairs. And if that wasn’t enough, eighteen days later you lose your home to a devastating fire destroying the last remnant of your sacred sanctuary.

I woke up on the morning of January 31, 1995 full of hope and promise but within eighteen days, our lives were shattered.  [Read more…]

How to Experience Eat, Pray and Love After a Death or Divorce

By Pat Nowak

We are inundated by messages and thoughts from the book and movie Eat, Pray and Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. The story takes an accomplished woman on a one-year journey to find “something more” to soothe her troubled soul. 

After a death or a divorce, many women go through the same unsettling feelings and yearn for something to alleviate that nagging depression. Death or divorce triggers a crisis in the life of a woman as she feels empty and facing life alone. Often friends leave and a woman is left to find her own way through the adversity. “If only I can change my life” becomes a mantra.

This book and movie can be used as a means to convey inspirational messages which can be used to help a woman fulfill all of her dreams and aspirations. [Read more…]

Stop and See…and Become Aware

By Kristen K. Brown

Most human beings have an absolute and infinite capacity for taking things for granted.”  Aldous Huxley

I knew I was in a routine rut when my two-and-a-half year old daughter started pointing out landmarks and telling me which way to turn while driving this week.   “There’s McDonald’s.  Yellow light – slow down.  Turn left now.” She dictated as I drove on autopilot to “our grocery store”.  That got me to thinking about tunnel vision. 

“The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.”  Robertson Davies

How many times a week do we drive by the same landmarks, stop at the same place for coffee, shop at the same stores – all the while feeling like we are being productive and active citizens of the world by being out in it, yet never taking a moment to look around at what else surrounds us?  I’m not talking about the other retail stores we could shop at or alternate paths we could take to work, but the whole world that surrounds us – other people, animals, flowers, trees, soil, air, and sky.  And not just taking note of the new things we see but really being aware that those things also exist outside of our own tunnel of vision as well.  They exist for the person across the street.  They exist for celebrities in Hollywood.  And they exist for entire societies on the other side of the globe.  [Read more…]

Is Patience Really a Virtue?

By Kristen K. Brown

After a week of potty training, it got me to thinking about patience.  This virtue seems to be disguised as something more – a gentle characteristic posing as strength of will.  “How long can I take it?  How much time can I wait?”  But when a two and a half year old is testing your will – and your patience – it feels more like an internal battle.  Part of us want to be the kind and gentle person blessed with the fortitude to withstand that which seeks to break us (It’s OK to sit on your potty chair for half an hour trying to go.  It is really hard to do when you’re first learning.) while the other part wants to fight to get what we want – quickly and with as little resistance as possible.  (Do NOT pee on the floor or I will be really, really annoyed!)  So how can we balance out the two extremes of patient waiting and impatiently demanding?  I found a quote that perfectly sums up how to look at these opposing forces. [Read more…]

8 Ways to Harness the Winds of Change

By Kristen K. Brown

“Peace.  It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work.  It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.”  Unknown

In the car on the way to school, my toddler said, “It’s windy today.  Look – the trees are waving at me!”  As the wind swirled around us, the analytical yet simple mind of this two and a half year old immediately puts a profound spin on a common element of Mother Nature.  She doesn’t take the wind for granted and let it go unnoticed, but instead appreciates it and thinks the trees are waving at her – a cheery and universe-centric thought.  After I dropped her off at school, I drove home, thinking about the force of the wind.  [Read more…]

The Time Sequences of Grief…Moving Through Loss

By Gloria Lintermans and Dr. Marilyn Stolzman

The loss of a spouse is one of the most difficult loses we experience as your entire day-to-day life is turned upside-down. The grieving process following this loss is divided into five time sequences of grief. One to four months would be called SHOCK, five to eight months of mourning is DENIAL, nine to twelve months is ANGER, thirteen to seventeen months is DEPRESSION, eighteen to twenty four months is INTEGRATION, ADJUSTMENT and TRANSITION.

While everyone experiences grief and mourning in his or her own way and time, predictably there are time sequences and emotions common to all. You may find yourself going through each of the emotional stages of shock, denial, anger, depression, and finally, integration, adjustment and transition in the order listed, or you may find yourself jumping all over the place in a forward-and-backward movement.

You may even seem to skip one stage completely, only to [Read more…]

Turning Grief Into Growth

By Carole Brody Fleet

You’re too young to be a widow”.

Frankly, if I had a dime for every time I heard that phrase…I’d rattle a lot. However, and as nonsensical as that lament may sound, it was certainly true.  I was not “supposed” to be a widow at forty years of age. Like everyone else in the world, we too were supposed to live “happily-ever-after”. 

(…I’m not sure exactly how long “happily-ever-after” is, but at the time, I was fairly certain that it was supposed to take you into advanced years).

Widowed? You must be joking.  We were supposed to be raising a family and [Read more…]