Posts filed under ‘Grief’

Kindness is Going to the Funeral

But I don’t like going to funerals. I feel awkward, don’t know what to say, and I didn’t even know Julie’s dad,” I said to an elderly mentor.

“Is Julie your friend? Is she hurting?”

I answered both questions with a “Yes.”

“Often times,” my mentor said, “we go to a funeral to support our grieving friend. It has nothing to do with us. It makes a difference that we attend.”

I found out at the funerals of my parents, that it did make a difference. Some people who attended didn’t even know my parents. I felt supported, loved, and understood because these friends were with me during a HARD time.

Besides going to the funeral, send a card. And find the most meaningful card you can. My grandpa Carol, a very unsentimental dude, told me about a card he received after his wife, Ruby, died. “It was the prettiest card and the words were so comforting. I put it on the TV for months.” This card was a little gesture, a kind gesture, that meant so much.

Kindness notices the needs of others. It meets those needs. Kindness is going to the funeral. It is sending a card.

Your Turn . . . Do you attend funerals or do you skip them whenever you can? . . . Have you ever thought about how significant a card can be? . . . What is something else we can do to support a grieving friend?

You can practice being kind by leaving me a comment. 

Want to know what other acts of Kindness are on the list? Go to my Landing Page . . Scattering Kindness: A 31 Day Adventure of Intentional & Random Acts of Service.  

Please leave me an idea or two that I can add to my acts of kindness list. The idea can be intentional or random.

This post is part of #Write31Days where bloggers write every day in October on one topic. I am writing about Acts of Kindness, random and otherwise. It will be interesting to note how I am different and/or how my community is different


Go here for yesterday’s post: Kindness is Putting Away Shopping Carts

Related Posts . . . 

Previous #Write31Days Topics

Thanks go to Elizabeth Symington for making my #Write31Days button and basic graphic for the kindness quotes. Elizabeth is writing a 31 days series on Summer of Service in Yosemite.

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Does the Sadness from Grief Ever Go Away?

There’s a distinction between grief and sadness. For most of us grief fades over time. But sadness? I don’t know if that ever goes away. Or if it should.”  Army Wives episode,  grief counselor

Do you think this is true?

Do you think this is true?

  • Definition of Grief : deep and poignant distress caused by or as if by bereavement; a cause of such suffering
  • Definition of sadness: feeling associated with sorrow or unhappiness; somber;

I know after I’ve worked through profound periods of grief (divorce, death of my parents, working through abuse, parenting issues) a deep sadness has taken its place.

And from time-to-time that sadness grips me deeply and unannounced.

  • I am sad because of the unwanted long-term changes that resulted.
  • I am sad because I am different – and sometimes I don’t like that difference.
  • I am sad, unhappy, and somber because life didn’t work out the way I thought.

When I start thinking these types of thoughts too much, I start to spiral emotionally. So there are things I do to stop this spiral of unhappiness.

I don’t know if sadness will always be with me (from the losses I’ve had). But I do know I will make it because I have the support of God, others, and even myself. And that I will be a better person because of this process.

Your Turn . . . 

  • What’s your experience? Does the sadness from grief ever go away?
  • How do you handle this sadness when it seems to overwhelm you?

Related Posts . . .  Grief Table of Contents

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Four Ways to Help a Woman Who is Grieving


“The biggest help is probably validation without judgment,” (Connie).

Ministering to a grieving woman is a hard task. The emotions are intense. The situation which prompted the emotions is often traumatic. There is no quick “fix.” There are no easy answers. But you can be a resource.

Here are 4 ways to come alongside a grieving woman.

My first action is to show I care. I can do this by listening. Listening well is important for two reasons.

  1. Women (all people really) give up when they feel consistently unheard.
  2. Emotional pain increases when others don’t listen, understand, and act with compassion.

Read What it Means to LISTEN Intentionally.

Listening well doesn’t mean using Scripture to lecture or prove a point. In fact, listen to her story before giving Scripture or adding any other input.

“The biggest help is probably validation without judgment.”  Connie

The worst thing I can do is to not respond. It’s okay for me to say, “I don’t know what to say or what to do.”

I can also show I care by my actions. 

  • I might coordinate a helpful action (meals, cleaning, babysitting, gardening).
  • I might do something myself (send her a note, do an activity together, pray with her).

I must not do anything that would make the woman feel inferior, inadequate, or unneeded. I need to be mindful that what is helpful or not helpful varies from woman to woman. So, I need to ask her.

Second, I’ll encourage and support the women in her grieving process. My aim is to encourage her “to choose completion and recovery rather than isolation and avoidance” (John James).

  • I do this by assuring the woman that she is not going crazy. Grief is unpredictable and it hurts a lot. Emphasizing the normalcy of grief and the wide-range of ways grief can affect her is helpful even if she already knows this. In her present state of pain, this information can bring some relief and assurance that she isn’t crazy.
  • I won’t try to talk her out of her feelings or rush her unique process.
  • I remind her that she is not alone. There are people who want to help her (like me) though this process.
  • And most importantly, I remind her that God is here too. And because of that I am able to offer hope that a better day is coming.

“Above all remember God understands their pain & can help in ways you can’t.” BG

Grieving is a disorderly process, unpredictable in appearance and manifestations. It is hard work. The steps to healing differ in expression, intensity, and time. Because our society hasn’t (as a whole) taught us about the grief process, its wide array of feelings, its impact on our behaviors and body, and the fact that grieving is normal, many women struggle needlessly and far longer than necessary.

Often people are afraid of or uncomfortable with the intense feelings of others. So they change the subject, minimize the feelings and intellectualize the situation. This is done by saying something that appeals to the intellect. To grieve well, a woman in pain needs to acknowledge those losses.

Some of these losses could include:

  • The changed nature of relationships – roles (at home, work, social settings) are now different for the woman in pain. Sometimes friendships are lost.

“I think I alienated a lot of people at work … because I was out sick so much …. and others [had to] cover for me” (Lori).

  • Loss of present income and/or loss of future earning potential
  • Loss of youth, healthy body functions and physical abilities, including clear thinking and intellect
  • Spontaneity – Living with chronic pain is hard work and typically everything needs to be planned out in order to manage the symptoms.
  • Independence
  • Retirement dreams
  • Pleasure – Available time and effort are placed on coping so that fun is often neglected.
  • Satisfying Sexual life – Low energy level and interest contribute to this loss. Also the fear of pain can contribute to lack of sexual intimacy.
  • Positive future plans – often these are viewed with fear
  • Self esteem
  • Identity

“Without question [there have been losses associated with my chronic pain]. I am not the woman I once was, I lack the stamina & strength I once had….check that…it is a DIFFERENT strength & stamina.” Connie

Third, I’ll start wherever the woman is, I don’t attempt to fix her or her relationship with God.

  • When she needs to talk, I listen without judgment or interruption.
  • When she wants information, I have resources to suggest (books, websites, support groups, counselor).
  • When she wants me to pray and share Scripture, I am ready with personal Words applicable to her situation. Some I know from my own journey and some I learn from God as I am praying for this dear one.
  • When the time is right, I share the hope and insights I’ve gained (from God) from my own grief journey.

“Remember pain eats hope so encourage hope but don’t preach (good luck).” BG

Of course, I can and do pray when I am not with the woman. I believe that the best support I can give is through prayer.

And lastly, I know there are times when I need to and should refer a woman to a professional counselor. Some things are behind my capability. And to be fair to both if us, someone more skilled than I needs to take over.

“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand.

“The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not caring, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is the friend who cares.” Henri Nouwen

Your Turn . . .

  • What is your best way to help a grieving woman? 
  • What was the best help you received when going through a time of grief?

Related Internet Post . . . 10 Ways to Show Love to Someone With Depression

Related Fruitfulwords Posts . . .

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9 Types of People I Don’t Need When Life Stinks

Stay away from folks who try to alter or destroy your reality.  "You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think." Christopher Robin Photo credit: Rough & Ready Media

Stay away from people who would try to alter or destroy your reality.
“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” Christopher Robin
Photo credit: Rough & Ready Media

Sometimes life is very hard and sometimes it even stinks. It’s during this very hard, stinky time that I need to be especially careful about the kind of people I am around. Why do I say this?

Have you heard that each of us is a compilation of the 5 people we hang around most? That is how much influence our friends, co-workers, and family have upon us.

Their attitudes, words, and actions can help us transition through the traumas of life or they can help sink us under the waves.

We have a choice as to how and with whom we spend our time. Below are 9 types of people I avoid when life stinks.

I don’t need someone who will . . . 

  1. POUNCE and tell me I’ve grievously sinned.
  2. QUOTE Scripture as a blame tool.
  3. GLOAT that my life’s use is over because of the situation I am in.
  4. OVER-MEDICATE me with advise.
  5. URGE me to give up on God and/or people.
  6. GOSSIP about my situation.
  7. DESERT me in my time of need.
  8. PUSH substances as a way for me to cope. I.e.  alcohol, sex, shopping, gaming/TV, food, drugs,
  9. MINIMIZE my pain and/or circumstances.

However there are folks I do NEED. Go here to read People I NEED When Life Stinks

Your Turn . . . Please add to this list. What types of people don’t you need when your life stinks?


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G: Dealing With Disenfranchised GRIEF in a Healthy Way

I think that moving past my pain in this situation will largely depend on my


“No person has the right to condemn you on how you repair your heart or how long you … grieve, because no one knows how much you are hurting. Recovering takes time and everyone heals at his or her own pace.” (found on Facebook, couldn’t find an author)

ability to be real with myself and with others. Finding the right people—safe counselors, patient friends—who will listen and understand is going to help. The love was very real so the pain and the grief from the loss are very real too. 

  • I won’t hurry through it for the sake of someone else’s comfort level.
  • I won’t bury it just because someone else thinks it should be hid.
  • I won’t be quiet just because someone else doesn’t want to listen.
  • I won’t pretend it doesn’t matter, because to me, it does.”

The above quote comes from a blog post from Captain’s Blog.

This post is about disenfranchised grief. This is grief that is not acknowledged or legitimized by society or a group of people who are important to you. I like the four things he won’t do. Sounds healthy and like good boundary setting.

Your Turn . . .

  1. Are you taking the time you need in order to heal from your grief? People might give you a year or two, but it just might take longer, much longer. And that’s okay. Take the time you need. Some sources of grief will impact you the rest of your life. Your new normal will be unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before.
  2. Are you talking to those safe counselors and patient friends who will listen and listen and listen? And even if they don’t understand they continue to listen so that you don’t have to bury your despair, thoughts, confusion, and anger. Such people do exist, but you might have to be persistent in finding such a support system.
  3. Are you good to yourself by refusing to hush? When you come across people who don’t want to listen, or cannot listen, do you then go back to those safe counselors and patient friends? Don’t forget that God is also one of those safe counselors and patient friends. And I’ve found that a journal also qualifies.
  4. No matter what, don’t pretend your grief is unimportant or that the source of your grief is unimportant. If it’s important to you, it’s important. Take your time, bring your grief to the surface, talk, and don’t pretend. Do these things because how you think, feel and act are important. Do these things so that you can heal.
  5. If you’d like to share your story here, please do.
  6. Encourage someone by listening intently to them today. “We live by encouragement and we die without it, slowly, sadly, and angrily,” (Celeste Holme).

If you’d like prayer, I’d be honored to pray for you. I believe in the power of prayer and I believe in the Person who gives prayer that power, the tribune God.

Related Posts . . . 

NOTE: This post is written for the Blogging From A to Z Challenge. There are 22 categories and my category is MI = Miscellaneous.
During the month of April I will post 26 times finishing up posts that have been in my draft fie for at least a year. For a list of all the posts go to the A-Z button on my header.
Today’s letter is G. The topic is GRIEF.


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Memorable Posts from 2012 (Part 1)

last yearDo you ever look back at previous posts? I do for two reasons.

ONE. To remind myself of what happened in a certain year, month or week. 

TWO. To remind myself of what I learned.

Like me, are you ever surprised at what you wrote? Once in a while I say, who wrote that? That is some good writing!

Here are some posts from last year that tell a bit about my life or what I learned. I hope you are encouraged as you read.

January . . .

February . . . 

March . . . 

April . . . 

May – Nothing

June . . .

Part 2 (July-December) Coming Soon.

Your Turn . . .

  • Which of these posts are most meaningful to you?
  • If you have a blog, which post(s) are most meaningful to you? Share the title here and I will go read it at your blog and leave a comment.

Related Posts . . .

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Two Month Winter Bucket List Check Up

Here’s an update on my Winter Bucket List since December 22, 2012. This post will cover what I’ve done from January 22-February 21.To see what I specifically accomplished the first month, (December 22-January 21) go to this link. 

No frosting for these sit-on-the-rim cookies because I mistook chicken stock for almond milk. The cartons look similar and I didn’t read the label. And for some reason I didn’t want to put chicken-flavoured frosting on my cookies. 🙂

Baking. Made cookies that sit on the rim of a mug. Yesterday I saw these cookie cutters mentioned (regrettably I don’t remember which blog) and immediately asked on Facebook if anyone knew whether our local Cost Plus carried them.

One reply said “Yes” and another reply said, “Let’s go shopping.” So, we went shopping!

In the afternoon I made a batch of gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free ginger cookies and let them chill for several hours. Last night my daughter and I cut out and baked them. Very delicious.

Health. I’ve been drinking green smoothies every day. I have only missed two days of smoothie drinking. I haven’t lost any more weight, but I am sure that I am getting healthier. How could I not going from very few veggies and some fruits to 6ish veggies and fruits per day just at breakfast.

Movies.  I have watched 8/9 Oscar movies. I am hoping to watch The Artist this week.

Photos.  I have taken a weekly self-portrait. It is harder than I thought it would be to come up with a “subject” for each week. I like the journal aspect of it. I will put this on my Spring bucket list.

Spontaneous Trip. I’ve visited my daughter twice in this 4 week period.

UFP’s. Post family portrait. See last photo.

Volunteer. Teach craft class (with 1 student). I love to check out the blogs which have art projects for kiddos. I do this for the Sunday school and for my nieces. Okay, I do this for me, too.

I came across a post for making a clay owl. One of my nieces had her birthday this month and I knew that her youngest sister (Em) would like to make the owl as a pressie.

I gave my owl to my daughter. :)

Here is the original clay owl post from the 4 Crazy Kings blog.

Em and I had a blast. And I learned from my 10 year-old niece that it’s okay to go with your own creative touches.

Last family photo with our beloved dog, Chip (2012)

Writing. Blog. I posted 18 times on my blog. This does not count the advertising I did on my blog for small groups and women’s events. My goal was 25 times in the 3 month period.

Make 2012 resolutions. I actually wrote these in January, but have not posted them. There are only 3 resolutions, but they are complicated because they contain many steps. I might do a review post on them at the end of the year. Here is a helpful printable checklist for writing resolutions.

I have not accomplished so much this month. This is due to Chip’s ill health and then death (January 29, 2012). I have been grieving for my room-mate, cuddler, and precious fur-friend. I do have precious memories of him. And is probably typical, I have some regrets.

We will see how productive I can be this last month of winter.

Your Turn . . . 

  • Do you have a Winter Bucket List?
  • If yes, what have you done so far?
  • Or, what winter-related activities have you accomplished?
Related Posts
6 Ways to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions
One Month Winter Bucket List Check Up
Final Winter Bucket List Check Up
Winter Bucket List
 NOTE: I have the good fortune to partner with Fawnda from Fireflies and Jellybeans for a giveaway of her tote pattern to a Fruitfulwords reader. (I was one of her pattern testers.)  Go to this link for the details. The deadline to enter is February 26th, 2012.

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Grief Table of Contents

Actions to Take

Reactions to Grief
Understanding Grief

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Sending Thanks to Someone Going Through Grief – Gratitude Project

Letter Three: Grief (someone going through). Why in the world would I write a gratitude letter to someone experiencing grief?

Many grief-stricken people (myself included) have times of feeling badly for not doing more for the person/animal that died. We have bouts of the “if onlys.”  During a time of “if only I had done more” depression, a friend’s words helped me see the situation more clearly.

She thanked me for the good I had done in the relationship with the deceased person. My actions and words made a difference to the deceased. They made a difference to my friend as well because it was a good role model and it pleased her to see the love I gave to our mutual friend.

These words reminded me that I was a good friend (although not perfect). She further added that the deceased knew of my affections. These words helped me heal from the guilt that tinged my grief.

So today I wrote a gratitude letter to a friend who is experiencing grief. I told her the truth about her relationship with her decreased friend. I expressed my gratitude that she showed love by her words and actions. I also wrote that her example motivates me to do the same in my relationships.

I am writing at least 36 letters expressing my gratitude. And I want to pray for them on that day as well. Go here for the original post and list of recipients. I am writing about it here in hopes that it spurs someone on to write their own gratitude letters.

Your Turn . . .  Is there someone to whom you can write such a letter?

Related Posts . . .

  1. 5 Ways to Help a Grieving Friend
  2. Don’t Say These 13 Things to a Grieving Person
  3. Letter Writing Meme Take Two
  4. November Gratitude Project

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6 Powerful Keys 4 Not Giving Up

Often life is hard. Finances are tight. Health issues plague. Job satisfaction is at an all time low. Or maybe you don’t have a job. Relationships are unreliable. You could add many more examples I’m sure. Because of these events we get discouraged and want to quit.

However Hebrews 11:35-12:4 contains words of wisdom and help. Pastor Rick Warren preached a sermon (6/25/11) and gave the
following 6 keys to help ourselves not give up.

1. Remember heaven is watching me (Hebrews 12:1a). God sees everything I’ve done and am doing.  There is also a huge cloud of witnesses watching as well. Maybe even Abraham and Moses are watching me. Nothing is private in my life.

2. I need to eliminate what doesn’t matter (Hebrews 12:1b). Declutter my life of what’s slowing me down, of what’s causing me to be discouraged. This verse mentions 2 hindrances. (1) Weight – anything that slows me down. I.e. too many activities, memories, traditions, relationships, or unrealistic expectations. If something is not working, do something different.  (2) Sin. This one is obvious. What ongoing sin(s) do I need to eliminate from my life?

3. I run God’s race for me not other’s races (Hebrews 12:1c). Run the race He has custom designed for me, the one He has set for me. If I try to run someone else’s race I will fail and get discouraged. Stop trying to live for others.

4. I must focus on Jesus and not on my circumstances (Hebrews 12:2a).  Life is not a 50 yard dash but a marathon. By focusing on the Master I will not get distracted or discouraged and quit. My hope, strength, and endurance comes from focusing on God.

5. Minimize the pain and maximize the profit of doing what’s right (Hebrews 12:2b). Look at the long-term consequence versus the short-term hardness. Play it down and pray it up.

6. Remember what Jesus did for me (Hebrews 12: 3-4).  Think about the attacks, abuse, cruelty, and torturous death Christ endured for me. Let His actions on my behalf be an encouragement for me to keep on keeping on.

Action Step: What have I started in my life that I need to finish? Which commitments do I need to honour? Pastor Rick mentioned a few possibilities . . .

  • Join or lead a small group
  • Get baptised
  • Tithe on a regular basis
  • Lose weight
  • Declutter (see #2)
  • Finish school
Don’t throw it all away now. You were sure of yourselves then. It’s still a sure thing! But you need to stick it out, staying with God’s plan so you’ll be there for the promised completion.” Hebrews 10:35-36 (The Message)

Your Turn . . . Which key is most powerful for you? . . . What action step will you do today? This week?  

I don’t want to be a quitter in the middle of this race. Do you? I am struck by the need to finish the bottom three in the above list.

Be sure to check out this page on the Saddkeback webpage for more internet resources.

 Related Posts . . . 

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When to Refer a Woman to a Professional Counselor

The ACA recommends professional counseling if the woman is unhappy 5 days out of seven

The ACA recommends professional counseling if someone is consistently unhappy 5 days out of 7.

Often a woman in pain, grief, or transition can highly benefit from professional help. There are two factors to consider.

The first factor involves the woman. It’s especially important to get a professional counselor involved when it looks like the woman has major depression, complicated grief, major anxiety, or post traumatic stress.

These are some symptoms to look out for:

  • A pattern of alcohol/drug abuse and/or dependence
  • Characteristics of mourning that do not appear to change at all over a period of months
  • Disciplines child(ren) or pet over harshly
  • Eating disorders: anorexia, bulimia, compulsive overeater
  • Engages in self-mutation or destructive/dangerous behaviours
  • Expressions of suicidal intent
  • Feels overwhelmed and unable to cope
  • Inability to be by themselves at any time
  • Lack of interest in caring for self or maintaining a good work/school ethic
  • Psychotic states (I.e. hearing/seeing things that aren’t there)
  • Severe depression
  • Sleep problems: sleeps too much or not enough
  • Thoughts of or actual actions of physical harm to self or others
  • Phobias that interfere with the quality of life
  • Uncontrollable crying/rage
  • Unreasonable paranoia
  • Victim mentality
The second factor involves the lay counselor or pastor. As a lay counselor in a church setting or a pastor, you may not have the expertise, time, personality, giftings, or resources to devote to certain types of counselling.
Here are 8 reasons why I’d refer a woman to a professional.

8. When I am "working harder" than the woman, it's time to refer her to someone else

  1. I don’t have the expertise to handle the situation.
  2. I don’t have the time to offer sessions that go on for months and months.
  3. I don’t have the emotional strength to deal with some issues.
  4. The woman does not do her homework.
  5. The woman doesn’t want spiritual help.
  6. The woman is not getting any better.
  7. We don’t connect.
You haven’t failed if a woman needs to go to a professional counselor. Nor has the woman. In fact it takes great strength to go to a counselor. And it takes humility to refer a woman for counseling.
Your Turn . . . What would you add to either list?
Related Posts . . .

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3 Grief/Pain Poems by Emily Dickinson

After Great Pain a Formal Feeling Comes by Emily Dickinson

After great pain a formal feeling comes–
The nerves sit ceremonious like tombs;
The stiff Heart questions–was it He that bore?
And yesterday–or centuries before?

The feet, mechanical, go round
A wooden way
Of ground, or air, or ought,
Regardless grown,
A quartz contentment, like a stone.

This is the hour of lead
Remembered if outlived,
As freezing persons recollect the snow–
First chill, then stupor, then the letting go.

Pain Has an Element of Blank by Emily Dickinson

Pain has an element of blank;
It cannot recollect
When it began, or if there was
A time when it was not.It has no future but itself,
Its infinite realms contain
Its past, enlightened to perceive
New periods of pain.

I Can Wade Grief by Emily Dickinson

I can wade Grief

Whole Pools of it—

I’m used to that—
But the least push of Joy
Breaks up my feet—
And I tip—drunken—
Let no Pebble—smile—
‘Twas the New Liquor—
That was all!

Power is only Pain—
Stranded, thro’ Discipline,
Till Weights—will hang—
Give Balm—to Giants—
And they’ll wilt, like Men—
Give Himmaleh—
They’ll Carry—Him!

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