Lessons in Grieving
Wednesday, November 24th, 2010
After all, the grieving process is all about learning to live your life, not without your loved one, but with your loved one in your memories; in the traditions and love you pass to your children; and especially through the love you still feel in your heart.
Take a look at the First 30 Days website to find out the different lessons in grieving the loss of a loved one to help you cope with the intial loss.
Bring Healing to Your Grief With Christmas Memories
Thursday, November 18th, 2010



Christmas and grieving don’t fit together. Christmas is supposed to be joyful, lively, cheery, warm, and filled with family and friends. Grief, on the other hand, is a painful, difficult and often lonely journey that can shake you to your core.


The reality is that when you have lost a loved one, grieving becomes an inseparable part of your Christmas celebration and remembrances. For the first year, the death of your loved one will affect your usual family traditions and celebration in many significant ways. Grief is an extended journey, and as you face a second Christmas, then a third, and later ones, too, you realize that the holiday has been changed forever by your loved one’s death. During what used to be among the happiest times of the year, you’re feeling a persistent ache in your heart.




The comforting and wonderful fact is that within Christmas itself lies a powerful way for you to move through your grief. Your memories of Christmases past can soothe your hurt, make the spirit of your loved one present and help you integrate your loss into your life. Here are some suggestions for using your Christmas memories to heal your grief:


•     Accept the memories as they come; your first impulse may be to avoid memories altogether. Thoughts of your loved one as part of past holiday festivities may seem nearly unbearable at first.

•     Memories point us forward as well as back. Through memory, you evoke the joy you once knew, and remembering helps you heal and travel a healthy grief journey.

•     Plan a remembrance ceremony or find a special way of honoring your loved one.

•     Share favorite holiday stories or memories with other family members.

•     Look at photos or videos from past holidays, do some reminiscing.

•     Serve that person’s favorite food or holiday dish.

•     Offer a toast; say a prayer or blessing at the start of a family meal.

•     Hang a stocking for your loved one; pin a picture on the outside and let family include notes of remembrance to be put in the stocking.

•     Hang a special ornament.

•     Light a candle at home or in church.

•     Adopt a needy family or donate to a favorite charity in your loved one’s memory.


Let your remembrances give you hope that someday you will move through your grieving and know joy once more. Be comforted by the Christmas message of life and grace, and know that your loved one’s spirit endures. Let Christmas be a gift for your grief.


Some content used from “How Christmas Memories Bring Healing to Your Grief” by Karen Katafiasz

Life After the Loss of a Spouse
Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

The death of a spouse may be the most heartbreaking experience an individual will ever face.  Shock and anguish, mixed with an uncertainty about the future, can understandably paralyze one’s ability to take control of their own life.  However, the only way to deal with death, no matter how painful it might be, is to accept it.   You must continue living your life with the realization that your spouse would have wanted you to be happy and productive, with or without them.

joysadness_sm blogPerhaps the most difficult aspect of life as a widow, is the newfound feeling of loneliness.  Indeed, the quiet in a home of two people is much different than the quiet found when you are left alone.  However, in addition to family and friends, there are a number of other resources available to help new widows deal with their grief.  Public libraries have entire sections of books and guides devoted to widows, many of which are aimed at answering the difficult questions and issues that arise from the burdens that often accompany such an unexpected life change.  Also, most churches and synagogues have outreach programs that help connect those in need to the very support groups that were created with them in mind.  Finally, you might consider joining a club or taking a class that interests you.  By becoming part of a group that holds the same interests and desires, you are taking one of the first steps in creating a new life on your own.


In reaching out to new people, you might find someone whose company you especially enjoy.  In that event, you might begin to wonder how long you should wait before dating again.  While there is no single answer that will work for everyone, the best strategy is simply to do what feels comfortable.  That could be several months, or it could be years, but only you can decide when you are ready to begin that new chapter in your life. 


Finally, for many people widowhood brings a number of new financial responsibilities.  Indeed, if your former spouse always handled the banking, taxes, and investments, then whether you like it or not, you have some important work to do.  Also, you might also have questions about your financial future.  How will the death of your spouse affect both your own lifestyle, and that of their loved ones?  If you were not the primary source of income for the family, will you need to take on a more demanding job?  These are all important questions, and finding the answers is a necessary step as you begin your new life.


Life cannot be the same again after you lose a spouse, but it can be enjoyed and treasured. With time and friendship, you may carve out a new and comforting path not only of contentment, but happiness as well.

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