"A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling."
This is a blog about widows,
mothers and daughters,
facing change and challenges
and receiving ordinary, everyday blessings that don't seem quite so ordinary anymore.
It chronicles the journey from grief into the restoration of what has been lost.
*** I am no longer actively posting to this site, so please come visit me at my new site ***
http://www.jrrmblog.com/ - "Starting Over ... Again"
Thursday, November 7, 2013
Here is a blog post that I stumbled across on Pinterest. I can't wait to share it with you, because it is a great post about what to say and what NOT to say to someone who is grieving.
So many people struggle with this. I know that so many of our friends and family didn't know what to say or do after my husband's death a few years ago. It's hard to know what is the "right" thing to say - something that will comfort in some way, and not add to the burden or sadness.
This post says it clearly and concisely. It's what I have tried to convey, both in speaking to friends/family and in this blog.
Here is the blog post, from the "I Think We Could Be Friends" blog.
I hope this helps someone to better understand how to help someone who is grieving, and relieves some of the awkwardness that might be felt when we simply don't know what to say.
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Last year my youngest daughter had a hard time in school. Her first year following her father's death was difficult, but nowhere near as difficult as the year that was to follow. That second year she "hit a wall" in many ways, and the biggest obstacle was her grief. What made it so hard on my daughter was her teacher's inability to understand my daughter's grief, and to recognize it for what it was.
I feel strongly that teachers need to be better educated about grief in children; how to recognize it, and how to help the child deal with those feelings.
Here is a great PDF for teachers about that very thing.
It's from the New York Life Foundation website, and that site is packed with lots of resources for teachers and parents.
Brookes Publishing has a link on that site to a book called "The Grieving Student - A Teacher's Guide." I am considering buying a copy (or two) for the teachers at my daughter's school.
It's not difficult for teacher's to learn more about grief in children, and the signs and symptoms exhibited by grieving children. I know that most of our teachers put in a great deal of time and effort to be equipped to help our kids. I am not trying to add to their pile of work.
But a little time to become educated about grief in children, its signs and symptoms, and how to assist a child through this most difficult of times is time well spent. Children need a strong support system, and the more caring adults they have to turn to - the better. :)
Monday, November 4, 2013
We are very fortunate to have a family doctor that is very helpful in this respect. He is very careful to look out for ALL of us in our emotional health, as well as our physical health. He knows that there are physical aspects to grieving, and there are emotional aspects - and the two can overlap at times. A physical reaction or symptom may well have an emotional cause.
So here is the link to the article.
"This presentation is important for 2 reasons: first, parents often look to pediatricians for guidance, and, second, children's physical symptoms can be manifestations of grief."
Friday, November 1, 2013
New Book Gives Readers ‘A CRASH COURSE IN Grief Recovery’
Author Tom Lord offers a guide to dealing with tragedy and loss and inner healing.I just wanted to share with you a new book that I saw advertised. It can be found at Barnes and Noble, or on Amazon.com.
I may have to read this myself, just to check out what he has to say. It's written by a man who has spent his whole life helping families during their season of grief.
Click on this link to learn more about the book.
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
I came across an article today that I felt said a great deal about what it's like to be the caregiver for a family member that is faced with a brain tumor. Even though it was written about Alzheimer patients and their caregivers, it very clearly expresses what the caregivers of brain tumor (especially GBM, or glioblastoma multiforme) patients experience as well.
"Family caregivers assisting a person with deteriorating brain functions experience several common emotions during the middle to later stages of this disease. The person closest to the ill person may feel guilt for past misunderstandings that can not be resolved now, sadness as he no longer sees his loved one showing the recognition of his presence that accompanied their earlier relationship, sadness as each ability to care for themselves is diminished.
The family caregiver moves through stages of denial, anger at the "roll of the dice" that made their loved one vulnerable to this disease, questioning of their faith, anxiety about his future and his ability to deal with the challenges ahead, fear of the financial burden caused by long term care and embarrassment over changing behaviors of the ill person.
Support group meetings offer families an opportunity to express these concerns in a safe environment where other caregivers will understand and perhaps offer hope for the future...a changed family dynamic where people make adjustments in their roles, find sources of strength, accept the physical and mental losses that accompany this disease and know that they are not alone."
Here's the link to the story.
There is such a storm of emotions that you experience on a daily basis. So many changes in daily routines that need to be addressed, doctor appointments, medications that need to be administered, prescriptions that need to be filled, medical forms and releases to be filled out, insurance statements to organize and medical bills to pay ... and then the added stress of taking care of the needs of children and other family members. Keeping extended family and friends updated on the condition of your loved one, maintaining a presence at your job (since you are now the breadwinner of the family, and disability payments don't kick in for 6 months after the diagnosis), etc. It's overwhelming, to say the least.
I can only look back, from the vantage point of 3+ years later, and say that I could not have done what I had to do without God's help. The sensation of being "carried" through that period of time is one that lives in my memory. Not that I and my family weren't experiencing all that was happening to us and around us - we most certainly felt the heartbreak and confusion of dealing with all that GBM's can dish out as they tear through the brain - but even when things seemed the worst, there was the sense of unseen support.
If you are struggling with issues as a caregiver, make sure that you surround yourself with a support team for yourself. You will need to have people that you can call on; whether that's to talk to over a cup of coffee, come and stay with your loved one while you run to the story or the pharmacy, pick your child up from school or take them to soccer, etc. Sometimes it difficult to talk openly to people about what is happening in your family and in your life at this time. But it's very important that you take advantage of your resources, in order to keep yourself from burning out.
You owe it to your loved one to be the best caregiver that you can be for them. You are stronger than you realize, but remember that you don't have to go it alone!
Thursday, September 26, 2013
My youngest daughter had a rough time last year in school. It was a combination of several things, but the underlying reason was that she was still dealing with grief ... even though it was hard to tell that from how she looked or acted.
Her teacher said she always seemed happy enough to be at school, so she had a hard time accepting the fact that my daughter was actually suffering from some depression during the year. The teacher's request - have her tested for ADHD. Why do so many teachers just naturally go THERE?!?! Sure, my daughter was having trouble focusing at times in school, but her physician and two therapists both confirmed that this was NOT a child who was ADHD. It was grief. But the school and the school's Special Ed "specialist" didn't really buy into that. So last year was a little discouraging and stressful for both of us.
This year? Things seem to be on a totally different track. She's in 5th grade, with a more experienced teacher, who is disciplined yet makes it fun to learn. The change in my daughter has been great! I am sure her teacher is not the ONLY reason for the change; I know that my daughter has worked through much of her grief issues, and seeing a therapist a couple times a month has helped a great deal. But it's been great to see her begin to blossom again, and be encouraged about school again - instead of being beaten down each day, and come home with her shoulders slumped and a discouraged look on her face.
I guess my point in writing this post is this: kids you are grieving have different needs in the classroom, and teachers need to be able to understand the grieving process in kids and facilitate their learning during this time. It's not uncommon for kids who are grieving to be distracted; anyone who has grieved can tell you that it's hard work! It takes a tremendous amount of emotional and mental energy to cope with grieving the loss of a loved one AND to function as a normal person on a day to day basis. Add into that the stress of a classroom filled with kids and teachers who don't "get" what you're going through - and no wonder grieving kids seem "spacey" and "out of it" at times.
And the worst part was being told that, "It's been a year. She should be over it by now."
Grief is not experienced on a timetable. There is no fixed time limit for grief - we all grieve differently, and at our own pace.
If you are the parent of a grieving child, you may be called upon to be their advocate when it comes to the school system. Many schools are very helpful (and most try to be helpful) but you may need to educate a few teachers and administrators (and yes, even the occasional special education specialist) about how a child grieves, what is normal, etc.
Stand up for your child, and make sure that they aren't being unfairly labeled. Make sure that their needs are being met in the classroom. Don't be afraid to speak up!
And let me assure you - it does get better!
Oh, and just a side note: neither last year's teacher nor the Special Ed "specialist" are employed at my daughter's school this year. Both have moved on to other schools. I HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS! But I know God did ... I have prayed that anyone who did not have my child's best interests in mind would be removed from her life. So ... prayer works, and now my daughter doesn't have to deal with either one of them this year. :)
(9/30/2013 - this post has been shared with :
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Thursday, September 5, 2013
Yes, I started a new blog as part of moving on with my life.
While this blog has focused mainly on my grief for the past two years, along with some of the changes my daughters and I have gone through, I feel like it has run its course.
The new blog is called "Starting Over ... Again" and I feel like that is what I have begun to do this summer.
This summer marked the two year anniversary of my husband's death.
While I know that there is still healing to be done, I feel that my daughters and I have made huge strides in that area.
So to make a clean break, I started a new blog.
Here it is:
Starting Over ... Again.
I hope you will join me there.
You can also follow me on Twitter:
Or you can check out and "Like" my new blog's Facebook page.
I hope to see you there, or around, soon! :)
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
― Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
― Anne Lamott
Here is a great place to find quotes about grief and loss: Goodreads - Grief Quotes