Tag Archives: Grief

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Book Review: A Widow’s Awakening by Maryanne Pope

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I was honored to be asked by author Maryanne Pope to review her book A Widow’s Awakening. Maryanne is an author, playwright, screenwriter, blogger, public speaker, workplace safety advocate, environmental educator and professional Auntie – started Pink Gazelle Productions in 2002, two years after the on-duty death of her police officer husband, Cst John Petropoulos of the Calgary Police Service.

BOOK DESCRIPTION

Discover the true meaning of love…

Do you believe in soul mates? What if the death of your soul mate meant the birth of your life-long dream?

A Widow’s Awakening is a fictional account based on the true story of a young woman’s struggle to come to terms with the death of her police officer husband who died while investigating a breaking and entering complaint.

Engaging, powerful, heart-wrenching, and at times humorous, this honest look at the first year of a widow’s grief captures the immense difficulty of learning how to accept the unacceptable while transforming loss into positive change—and is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit.

A Widow's Awakening

MY REVIEW

“Based on a true story, A Widow’s Awakening, is a hauntingly beautiful story of enduring love, overwhelming heartache and discovering resiliency. After the tragic death of her police officer husband Sam, Adri struggles to breathe let alone move forward in her life. With descriptions that are heartfelt, painful and often humorous, author Maryanne Pope artfully paints a picture of what it is like to have your entire world pulled out from under you. Having lost my own loved one tragically, I could so relate to everything Adri was feeling, experiencing and describing. I cried, I laughed, and found compassion for this woman who was courageously trying to navigate through what seemed like a terrible dream. This book is a must-read for anyone who has lost someone they loved and struggled to find their way in the aftermath of tragedy. Thank you to Maryanne for so bravely and honestly sharing her remarkable story of love and hope.”

OTHER REVIEWS

– “I started reading A Widow’s Awakening on Sunday and finished it Monday. The first third of your book touched me in ways I hadn’t anticipated. I cried so hard, my eyes became swollen; the pain was so real. I haven’t cried that hard in a long, long time. The grief you expressed was so real to me, as I experienced my own grief in a similar way. Reading your book has been healing for me.”  Cristy

– “I bought your book yesterday and meant to wait until the next day to read it. I crawled into bed and tried to sleep but something kept at me. So I crawled out of bed and read your book from start to finish. It was amazing. I couldn’t put it down.” Darcy

– “My heart is beating harder and my breathing shorter. I am hugging my husband tighter and kissing him longer. I have burnt supper while reading! I have read books until wee hours of the night but I have not felt this much about a book before. You are an incredibly gifted writer…I feel like I am right beside you and that I am getting to know John and your relationship together. I love how he loved you. I love your writing style, how brilliantly you tie everything together and how you authentically share your soul.” Kim

HOW TO ORDER

A Widow’s Awakening is available at BHC Press and all major book retailers including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, etc.

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Sending you love, comfort and peace!


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Missing A Loved One on Valentine’s Day

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Valentine’s Day can be one of the toughest days of the year when you are grieving. It is another reminder the people you love or once loved are no longer around.  The loss could be the result of a death, break-up or divorce. Often you anticipate it weeks or even months in advance giving you a sense of dread. Although it is actually healthier for you to cherish these days as a way of honoring your loved ones than avoid them, it all depends on where you are in your journey. Sometimes avoiding Valentine’s Day can be just as healthy.

WAYS TO APPROACH VALENTINE’S DAY

Be Prepared. Anticipating the grief associated with these events is normal. Knowing ahead of time may be tough can help you to decide how you want to spend that day. It could be celebrating with family and friends or being alone in your grief. Being prepared will help you to honor what works best for you.

Plan a Celebration. There is nothing that says you can’t celebrate on Valentine’s Day. It’s perfectly okay to throw a party. It’s perfectly okay to actually have some fun in memory of your loved one. If you do, they will be there celebrating with you.

Get Out of Town. If it is too much for you to be home alone during these reminder days, plan a trip away or go visit family or friends. It is perfectly okay to not be around if being in familiar surroundings with reminders everywhere is too much to handle. Just get the heck out of town.

Share Memories. Consider inviting friends over so you can share memories of your loved one. Ask them to share their own memories. Pull out old photographs or home movies. Tell stories. Laugh until you cry. Cry until you laugh. Memories are the best way to remember your loved one. There is no better way to honor them.

Start a New Tradition. If facing your usual traditions are too difficult, start a new one. Make a donation to a charitable organization, volunteer or plant a tree in your loved one’s name on Valentine’s Day.

Honor Your Grief. It’s normal to be both sad and joyful on these days. Expressing both kinds of emotions makes us human. Honor these emotions. Don’t avoid them. Worse, don’t pretend. Just feel.

No Fanfare. It’s also okay to let these days just be ordinary days. No celebration. Just another day.

It is completely healthy to either acknowledge or not acknowledge Valentine’s Day. Do what is right for you.

Surround yourself with people who understand what you need – not what they think you should or shouldn’t be doing.

Let this days come and go. Even if this means choosing to do nothing.

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Meditation: Honoring You on Valentine’s Day

Today is Valentine’s Day.

Although I miss you terribly, I remember all the Valentine’s Days we shared together with a smile.

I remember the laughter but most importantly I remember the love.

I am celebrating you and our love today.

Even though you can’t be here with me, I know you are smiling too.

And so it is.

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Sending you love, comfort and peace!


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Over 40 Different Grieving Events

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In the late 1960s, psychiatrists Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe conducted research that resulted in the Social Readjustment Rating Scale (SRRS), more commonly known as the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale. This scale lists over 43 different life events that can cause stress. Each event, called a Life Change Unit (LCU), had a different “weight” for stress. The more events, the higher the score. The higher the score, the more likely the patient was to experience illness. Unfortunately the SRRS did not take individual differences into consideration by assuming that each stressor affects people the same way. Regardless it became an important study for better understanding how certain life events increased the chances of stress-related illnesses and health-related issues.

 

Holmes-Rahe Stress Scale

The Grief Recovery Institute® (GRI) has leveraged the Holmes-Rahe Stress Scale for the events that can produce the range of emotions we call grief.  Since GRI founders John James and Russell Friedman feel that all grief is experienced at 100%, they have chosen to omit the mean value/scoring system. Since everyone is unique not all of the stressors listed might be viewed as grieving or loss events. As a result, they have added “intangible” events such as loss of trust, loss of safety, loss of faith, etc. which can also produce feelings of grief.

Their list of grieving events include:

  1. Death of a spouse
  2. Divorce
  3. Marital separation
  4. Imprisonment
  5. Death of a close family member
  6. Personal injury or illness
  7. Marriage
  8. Dismissal from work
  9. Marital reconciliation
  10. Retirement
  11. Change in health of family member
  12. Pregnancy
  13. Sexual difficulties
  14. Gain a new family member
  15. Business readjustment
  16. Change in financial state
  17. Death of a close friend
  18. Change to different line of work
  19. Change in frequency of arguments
  20. Major mortgage
  21. Foreclosure of mortgage or loan
  22. Change in responsibilities at work
  23. Child leaving home
  24. Trouble with in-laws
  25. Outstanding personal achievement
  26. Spouse starts or stops work
  27. Begin or end school
  28. Change in living conditions
  29. Revision of personal habits
  30. Trouble with boss
  31. Change in working hours or conditions
  32. Change in residence
  33. Change in schools
  34. Change in recreation
  35. Change in church activities
  36. Change in social activities
  37. Minor mortgage or loan
  38. Change in sleeping habits
  39. Change in number of family reunions
  40. Change in eating habits
  41. Vacation
  42. Holidays – Christmas, Thanksgiving
  43. Minor violation of law
  44. Loss of Trust, Loss of Approval, Loss of Safety and Loss of Faith, etc.

Since grief is defined as “the conflicting feelings caused by the end of or change in a familiar pattern of behavior”, it is understandable why these events can produce the range of emotions we refer to as grief. It’s also important that we understand if we go through one of these events in our lives, it is normal and natural to have these feelings. For example, although moving is on the list how many of us have treated it as a grieving event? Probably not very many. Understanding moving can cause feelings of grief can help us to have a plan-of-action in advance for how to address it.

The same is true for all the events listed. If we recognize these events can cause feelings related to grief, we can address them honestly when they happen. We can also change the way that society has traditional viewed grief, as only the result of the death of a loved one. Knowing the scope and breadth of grief, can help future generations deal with grief more effectively.

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Sending you love, comfort and peace!


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