Tag Archives: Grief

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Book Review: Widowed & Widowed 2 by John Polo

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I was honored to be asked by author John Polo to review his books Widowed and Widowed 2. John, also known as the Better Not Bitter Widower is a widower, step-Dad, author, public speaker, and Hope & Empowerment Coach.

John met Michelle as a teenager, and they fell in love. Eight years after their high school romance, they reunited and planned to spend the rest of their lives together, alongside her amazing daughter. Two short years later, Michelle was diagnosed with an extremely rare cancer. She died at the the very young age of 30.

As John picked up the pieces of his broken heart and devastated soul, something amazing happened. He discovered a deep passion for writing and speaking about love, loss, grief, healing, empowerment and hope. His goal is to help others both honor their pain and see that a hopeful tomorrow can indeed exist.

His book Widowed. Rants, Raves and Randoms was released in 2017; a year after Michelle’s death. His second book, Widowed 2. Now I Live. was released in 2019.

BOOK DESCRIPTIONS

Widowed chronicles the immediate aftermath of John’s beloved wife Michelle’s death. He shares his thoughts, feelings, and as he calls it, his “rants, raves and randoms” about how her death impacted his life especially their future hopes and dreams. 

Widowed 2 chronicles what John is experiencing two years after Michelle’s death. Although he is still mourning, John writes about how he is moving through the pain to find a sense of hope again. It is this hope which has propelled him into helping others who are dealing with similar losses. 

Better Not Bitter WidowerMY REVIEW

Widowed and Widowed 2 are not your average grief and loss books. This is a good thing and is what makes them stand-out. Each book is a raw, soul-filled, and often humorous tribute by a deeply grieving husband to the love of his life. From the very first page, John Polo immediately draws you into the life he was living shortly after his wife’s death. Using a unique approach and diverse writing style, John shares his intimate thoughts and feelings through personal stories, anecdotes, poetry, quotes, diatribes and hashtags. You feel the love. You feel the pain. You feel the emptiness. You feel the descending darkness. But you also feel the joy. The laughter. The compassion. The hope. The light at the end of the tunnel. The promise of the future that is still to be. 

Some of my favorites quotes from Widowed include: 

“We CAN grieve as we move forward. We CAN move forward as we grieve. The two ideas are NOT mutually exclusive. They can walk hand and hand.” (Page 34)

“From this point on, every time someone asks you your emergency contact, you are going to want to cry.” (Page 53)

“PSA: Shut. Up. Everything happens for a reason.” (Page 120)

Some of my favorites quotes from Widowed 2 include: 

“I loved her my way. I will grieve her my way. My way.” (Page 43)

“Sometimes the grieving want company, And, sometimes, they want to be left alone. The truth is, we almost always want the invite. Where does everyone go?” (Page 67)

“I feel cheated. We were robbed of our 50 years together. I feel lucky. I got to call the love of my life ‘my wife.’ I feel cheated and I feel lucky. I feel both.” (Page 164)

After reading these wonderful books, all I can say to John is:

– #your #words #moved #me

– #you #are #not #weird #you #are #amazing

– #thank #you #for #sharing #Michelle #with #us

– #you #done #good #my #friend #you #done #good

OTHER REVIEWS

– “This book made me cry so hard, and then laugh even harder. Have Kleenex ready and go pee before you start. Because you won’t want to put it down.”  Amazon Review

– “This book is wonderful, and very different than other books out there on grief and the loss of a spouse. The writing is simply raw, visceral, direct, and very real. I found myself nodding my head as I read John’s words, with so many memories of my late husband flooding back into my mind. John’s reflections on the experience of being widowed are spot on. The font changes and random thoughts he included reminded me of the way so much of life felt so random in the early days, like how you could be knocked to the ground by a song or something else triggering a memory. This book is unique and very special. I know I will go back to it again & again. Well done, John Polo!” Amazon Review

– “I lost my husband and have read several grief books. This one is different. It is not full of just fluff words. It gets to the point in the first pages. It’s raw, painful, letting you know that you are not alone in those crazy, painful feelings that overtake you in such a loss. It’s profound. John Polo can say in two sentences what others take two chapters to say. It’s funny because yes, we widows/(ers) seem to find humor in some of the darkest places. This is my go-to book and now I’m eagerly awaiting is second book. His website also lets you know all the other things he does, seminars, life coaching, etc.” Amazon Review

HOW TO ORDER

Widower and Widower 2 are available on the Better Not Bitter Widower website and on Amazon.

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Sending you love, comfort and peace!


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How Grief Walking Saved Me

How “Grief Walking” Saved Me

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Walking, or “grief walking” as I call it, saved me when I was grieving. Somehow it opened up the door to my emotions. Every feeling I had tried to push down or avoid came rising to the surface. I found myself crying and walking. I didn’t care who saw me. I walked. Then I walked some more. Unknowingly I was walking myself towards healing. My grief journey had truly begun.

BENEFITS OF WALKING WHEN YOUR ARE GRIEVING

Since grief is an energy-depleting emotion, walking outside can help to replenish your energy. It can refresh and rejuvenate you. It doesn’t even have to be a long walk. Go around the block. Go to the end of your street. Stand in your driveway. Sit on your front porch. Every little bit of time you spend walking will help you to feel better. It can improve sleep, increase energy, and improve the overall quality of your life. The best thing about it is that you can walk anywhere and at anytime.

Promotes Feelings of Calmness – Grief can send your world into a tailspin. Studies have shown that walking helps to promote feelings of calmness by helping you to be more grounded. Being grounded fills you with a sense of stability which leads to feeling emotionally calm.

Decreases Health Risks – Grief can contribute to toxins lodging in your cells, soft tissues, and muscles, overwhelming your entire immune system. The impact of not eliminating these toxins can leave you more susceptible to illness. The American Diabetes Association says walking lowers your blood sugar levels and your overall risk for diabetes. Researchers at the University of Boulder Colorado and the University of Tennessee found that regular walking lowered blood pressure by as much as 11 points and may reduce the risk of stroke by 20% to 40%.

Improves Your Mood – Grief can overwhelm your mind in many ways. Research shows that regular walking releases natural pain­killing endorphins to the body – one of the emotional benefits of exercise. This actually modifies your nervous system so much that you’ll experience a decrease in anger which can be a side-effect of grief.

Increases Your Metabolism – You may feel like you are in a constant state of fatigue when you are grieving. Daily walking increases your metabolism by burning extra calories and by increasing your energy levels.

Strengthen Bones and Muscles – Walking strengthens your bones and muscles to improve your balance. This can be a real benefit when you are grieving. Having good balance helps you to avoid accidents. If you are like me, you may already have a hard enough time just walking or going up/down stairs when things are normal. Add the effects of grieving, and you can become an accident waiting to happen. Walking a few times a week can help you remain coordinated and avoid a nasty injury.

Improves Sleep – Disrupted sleep can be a huge issue when you are grieving. An easy-paced, late night stroll can relax your body and clear your mind so you can fall asleep.

Boosts Immune Functions – Grievers are more susceptible to illness. Walking can provide protection during cold and flu season. A study of over 1,000 men and women found that those who walked at least 20 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week, had 43% fewer sick days than those who exercised once a week or less. And if they did get sick, it was for a shorter duration, and their symptoms were milder.

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Sending you love, comfort and peace!


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Pet Loss

Why Pet Loss Is So Hard

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Words can’t describe how it feels to lose a pet. For many, a furry friend is a beloved member of their family. For others, their pet is the only family they have. These are a few reasons why pet loss can be so hard.

Often when a pet passes away, people resort to incorrect mechanisms to deal with the grief. Sometimes they even attempt to replace the pet immediately. Unfortunately, there is little effective guidance for grieving pet owners. As a result, many pet grievers either isolate themselves or pretend like “everything is fine” for fear of being judged or criticized – especially by non-pet owners.

HOW OTHERS REACT

Another problem is that friends and family don’t know what to say to someone who lost their pet. Oftentimes they resort to statements that are not helpful at all to the griever like:

“It was only a dog (cat, fish, lizard, etc).”

“Don’t feel bad you can always get another dog (cat, fish, lizard, etc).”

“Just give it time and you won’t remember your dog (cat, fish, lizard, etc) anymore.”

In fact these statements are not useful at all. They are almost cruel. They actually break a grieving pet owner’s heart into a million more pieces. This is why many grieving pet owners often choose not to share their pain with anyone. Non-pet owners just wouldn’t understand the special bond they shared with their pet. They wouldn’t understand the feeling of unconditional love they received on a daily basis. It’s just too hard to explain so pet grievers find it easier to just bottle it up inside.

THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND

Here are some things we need to keep in mind when losing a pet:

– In any household in which a pet has died, it is important to remember that each family member will have a different reaction to the loss. Each relationship to the pet was unique, so each person’s grief will be unique to them. This needs to be respected and honored. Never compare your reaction to that of another family member.

– Talk openly and honestly about the loss. Trying to hide your feelings will only make it confusing – especially if you have children.

– Don’t turn to short-term energy relieving behaviors (STERBs) – anger, alcohol, drugs, shopping, etc.- to deal with the loss. These only make you feel better for a little while and don’t help you to “complete” the relationship you had with your pet – i.e. face your grief.

– Remember that although your pet is no longer here physically, we continue to have an emotional and spiritual relationship with them.  These aspects of the relationship need to be “complete” so memories of your pet don’t turn painful.

– Being in pain over the death of your pet is not an expression of love. Completing what was left unfinished (especially if your pet died tragically – hit by a car, etc.), will get you out of the pain. You will still have sad and happy memories, but those memories will no longer turn painful.

– Never use the word “guilt” or say that you “feel guilty.” Guilt implies intent to harm, and most pet owners would never do anything maliciously to harm their pet. A better descriptor would be “unresolved grief” – things you wish you had or hadn’t done with your pet. Unresolved grief is very different from guilt.

– Think of those things you wish you could apologize for (“I am sorry I yelled at you when I got home from a bad day at work”), forgive (“I forgive you for ripping up my favorite pair of shoes”) or wished you had said to your pet (“I loved how you used to greet me when I came home. It was the best feeling in the world”).

If you are having a difficult time, you are not alone. The Grief Recovery Method®, through their Grief Recovery Handbook for Pet Loss, offers a structured action plan to help grieving pet owners discover and complete what was left emotionally unfinished and ultimately, have fond memories of your beloved pet not turn painful.

DEALING WITH PET LOSS WEBINAR

The WEBINAR from The Grief Reiki® Academy will:

– Discover how society treats grieving pet owners.

– Better understand why it is so hard to lose a pet.

– Learn what to say and do (and what not to say and do) for a grieving pet owner.

Bottom line, grieve for your furry friend. Be sad.

Remember the time you spent with them. Hold them in your heart forever.

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Sending you love, comfort and peace!


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