Showing posts with label Retelling. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Retelling. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Panel Discussion for Widows and Other Singles

My Lifeboat friend, Leslie, is part of this group and was kind enough to share their website with us. Pastor Kluth has great empathy and way of explaining how to define your status as "single again." Coming to terms with your marital status and having a good word to use for it -- that's a healing step on this journey. Visit this Q and A Panel discussion ( You'll be glad you did!
Christian Singles In Denver

There are such great questions discussed here:
  • Can a man meet a woman's needs?
  • How long should I wait before dating again?
  • Aren't Bible standards way out-dated for today?
  • Should a woman ever initiate a friendship with a man?
  • Why can't I have sex?
  • Common relationship issues
  • When should I introduce my dates to my kids?
  • Should I look for certain qualities in a potential new husband?
  • Do I have to date only Christians?
  • and more!

Are you involved in a widows or singles group, too? Spread the word and talk about how it's helped you here on the WCP. If you know of websites for Christian singles that include widows, you are welcome to post the link in the comment box.


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Listen to Your Own Words

When you tell your story, a very important person is listening to it. That person is YOU!

Listen carefully to the words you use. Do they envision hope? Or do you hear destructive vows and paths coming out of your mouth? How about dishonest words?

Woman On The Phone by Vera Kratochvil
Watch out for negative words that entrap and destroy your future. Words like never . . . can't . . .  and always ---Life will never be normal . . . I'll never be happy again . . . I'll never love again . . . I can't live without him . . . I can't do this . . . I'll always be broken . . .
If you are following Christ, such sentences are dishonest; they do not picture the future God has in store for you. They are simply not true---unless you choose to make them true by repeating them to others and yourself. Do you really want to choose such a miserable existence?

But it doesn't work to simply stop saying them. That's like trying to not think. Telling yourself, I have to stop saying I can't do this, simply reinforces the thought.

I'm not saying you can't be honest with God and tell Him exactly how you feel. Tell Him all the pain and trouble you're in. The Bible is full of rants and raves against God and circumstances His people face. You will not be the first to complain! (He heard it from me too!). Telling about your pain though, uses different words than predicting your future with never, can't and always. See how the widow Naomi complained against God in Ruth 1:20-21. Or Job, in Job 16:12-14. Or even Jesus! Matthew 27:46.

So be honest about your pain, but evaluate the words you use to refer to your future. Instead of saying negative forms of never, can't and always, use words that agree with God's intention for your future. Here are some words we can use from various places in Philippians:
  • I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
  • I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. 
  • He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
What are some other good words you choose to hear yourself say?  


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Facing Horror in the Headlines

When we're in grief, we can empathize with others on a  level so deep that their pain knocks us to our knees. If that's what happened to you yesterday when the news flashes about the Boston Marathon bombs exploded in the media--and in our hearts--let's talk about it amongst ourselves and to our Heavenly Father.

Add your reaction or prayer by clicking Post a Comment at the bottom of today's blog.
  • Type your feelings about the marathon bombing in the box
  • Choose your identity (Anonymous is the easiest choice if you don't have a google account)
  • If you receive this post by email please participate too. Click on the title and you'll arrive at this blog and will be able to access the comments.  
I'll start us out and I hope you'll join in.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

His Belongings Belong to You Now... What's A Widow to Do?

Deciding what to do with your husband's clothes, tools, toys, books, vehicles, shoes, jackets, toothbrush, aftershave, on and on, etc., etc., is a daunting task for most new widows!

Let me "un-daunt" it with three little tips and technique that simplifies decision-making.

Three Tiny Tips

1. Don't fret. What's the rush? Unless you're moving and can't take it with you, you don't have to do this in a day---Do it at your own pace no matter what anyone says. Take your time. If you're moving, see the technique below.

2. Be choosy about who helps you. Don't let your Obsessive Compulsive or greedy friend or relative come in and "help" you with this the day after the funeral, or ever. Practice saying these three words: No.Thank.You. Only good and actually helpful people allowed.

3. Don't launder his clothes or pillowcase if you don't want to. And you have permission to use his old shirt like your very own blankie snuggler. We won't tell.

One Terrific Technique

Start with the following:
  • one (1) closet, workshop, man cave or garage 
  • three (3) boxes. Mark the boxes with a fat black crayon or marker as--- Save. Give Away. Throw away.
Enter the closet, workshop, man cave or garage. Memories might hit you with a big sweep, but that's ok. Take along some Kleenex for crying. Then take some deep breaths in and let them out slowly. Start at one side of the room and work your way around for as long as you want. Five minutes? Five hours? Either time is fine. You're doing what you can do and it's good and it's enough. You don't have to do it all today. Anything is better than nothing and will put you one step further.

Pick up the first item you come to. Put it in one of the three boxes.

Throw Away Box
Eeew, you say? Throw it away in the "Throw Away" box. Don't worry about recycling right now. You have plenty of years ahead of you to save the planet.

Hmmm, an old sock? You're doubtful you want to part with it. That's ok, this is not a time for argument. Put it in the "Save" box. All questionable things go in this box. You can decide for sure later on. Other things you'll instantly know you want to keep. Put them in the "Save" box too. 

Give Away
Or is it something you've always hated but it's in perfectly good condition? Put it in the "Give Away" box. Or you might know the item means nothing to you but it will make someone else happy. Guess what? Giving it away will help make you a little happier. Put it in the "Give Away" box.

Continue with the next item, and so on.

So that's it. You have three boxes. They will fill at varying rates of speed. When one is full, close it up, and put it in it's designated area. Some go out with the trash, some go in the car so you can take them to the thrift store, some go back in the closet/workshop/man cave/garage.

Work at your own pace. Eventually his important stuff will be in boxes marked "Save." And eventually, months or years from now you may choose to go through those belongings again. Simply repeat the techinique. The beauty is that this is a simple way to sort through tough decisions and you can take it at your own pace.

Deciding what you want to keep is your own business. You're the one who knows the stories behind these items. You know what's meaningful, what's not. Relax and don't worry about this part of your journey, you've got it boxed up.


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Other Half of Me

Have you tried telling your story with poetry? This was written by a Lifeboat friend from New Zealand, on August 18, 2012, six months on in her widowhood. I'm so glad she shared it with us. I think many of you will relate to the "missing part" feelings of a widow. Poetry captures images and emotions and this one captures some godly truth too.

The Other Half of Me
by Gail Alderson

You were the salt and I the pepper
You were the hero and I the sidekick
We were each others helpmate, complementing the other
We... made a unit from two separate parts.

It took me too long to realize
I wish we could go back and start all over
But you are gone, and I am here alone
Searching for the missing part of me
Looking for the sense of belonging
Wondering if I will ever find an oasis of security.

Maybe you were here to show me
That security is not in man alone
It was just a mirror, a pale reflection
Of a greater Reality.

And the Lord comes to me,
Beckoning me to follow
He draws near and calls me
To become the other part of Him.

© 2012 by Gail Alderson

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Choosing Our Words

Proverbs 12:25 says, “An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.”

This verse shows me two piles of words in front of me: anxious words and kind words. When I wake up in the morning I select the pile I wish to carry today: anxious words or kind words.

You’d think my choice would be easy! Take the kind words and be cheered up!

But the anxious words are so familiar. I’m used to them. Some would say I have a right to them. Here they are: Poor me . . .
              It’s not fair . . .
              If only . . .
              What if . . .

About a year after Bruce died, my wedding ring began sending me words that discouraged me and weighed me down. It seemed like every time I looked at it, instead of arousing memories of the good marriage I had enjoyed, it would bitterly say, “You’re not married any more.” Of course that was true, but it wasn’t being said in a healthy and encouraging and kind way.

I had my recently been given my grandmother’s diamond ring. So when the wedding ring started sassing me, I took it off and put Grandma's on in it’s place. The new ring sparkled and seemed to say “good things can still happen.”

In the same way I now take off the anxious words and choose kind words.

Instead of “Poor me” I pick up on Eph. 1:3 which says that God has “. . . blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ . . .”

Instead of “It’s not fair” I remind myself that God is in control. I think of Joseph and his words, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Gen. 50:20

Instead of “If only” I replace it with “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made . . .” Psalm 139:14.

Instead of “What if” I fill in the blank with “. . . whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8

In fact, read all of Phillipians 4:4-9. It’s a pile of kind words. When I pick it up I don't carry it too long. It carries me!
What good words have carried you? Feel free to click the comment line below to share the helpful words you've found.


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The things that can happen when you tell your story! . . .

Sharon VanderWaal was surprised enough when I asked to interview her and ran her story last October. Can you imagine her feelings when a blog writer from the New York Times did the same???

The Times writer featured Sharon and two others in an article about caregiving and how to deal with after the caregiving ends. Click the link to read it and you'll find Sharon mentioned in the middle part.

If you'd like to catch up on my interview with Sharon, please click here for part 1 

and here for part 2. /2012/10/widows-story-sharon-vander-waal-part-2.html

I think you'll appreciate getting to know Sharon, I know I have! ferree

Sharon and Wayne a few months before his death

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Obituary & Death Notice

The obituary and death notice are the very first written facts about the death of your husband that you'll most likely deal with.

They both appear in the local newspaper, but did you know they are not the same?

The Death Notice looks sort of like a classified ad. It's in small print, and you must pay for it, usually by the inch of space. It can cost hundreds of dollars. Its for the public record, legalities, geneologies, and stuff like that. It's part of the cost of dying and there's no way around it except to make it as short as possible. The funeral home might include this in their services. Funeral homes might also issue a separate death notice to announce time of calling hours, the funeral or memorial service and the burial, but that's separate from the public death notice.

An obituary might or might not cost any money. It's a newspaper article highlighting a person's accomplishments and contributions to society. An obituary is more like "news," and a newspaper prints these as space allows. Sometimes the funeral plans and a photo are included, sometimes not. Small town newspapers are usually more apt to print everyone's obituary. The front page headlines and the obituaries are (believe it or not) the first things people read most often.

Obituaries and death notices are often a source of confusion, regret, guilt and emotional baggage! Names get spelled wrong, important family members are not mentioned, accomplishments are overlooked . . . . Obituaries and death notices should start with a capital T for Trouble! Next week we'll look at some ways to get over the hurtful missteps of these written documents.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

What Does "Re-telling Your Story" Mean?

"Oh, I don't mean to be talking over and over about me," worried the widow sitting next to me. "I don't know why I find myself telling you all this."

I assured her she was fine. "It's what I do. I let people talk to me. I loved hearing your story."

"I don't want to bore anyone. And sometimes when I mention my husband I see the alarm on their face," she continued. "But we made so many memories together, and I still can't believe he's gone."

"Yes, I know. Tell me more . . ."

Re-telling your story is something most grieving people do whether they want to or not. I smile now when I remember how one of Bruce's friends called me a month after the funeral. After he asked the innocent question---"So, how are you?"---he got a 45 minute earful!

Have you told your story to anyone yet?

You'll probably have to tell it again. And again and again. That's just the way the healing works. A hundred years ago when many people lived with generations of family under one roof, telling your story came a little more naturally. At least maybe you could tell it to the baby while rocking her to sleep. But living alone in this day and age it takes a bit more effort to find a listening ear.

In the next couple weeks we'll talk about the variety of places where you may tell your story, and the different people who will be able to listen to you. Let's face it, if you tell your story to the same person over and over again, pretty soon they'll be hard to find!

You don't have to be a teacher or public speaker
to tell your story. And you don't have to sit in a circle!
But does telling your story mean you have to talk it out over and over again? No, it doesn't.

On Tuesdays we'll talk about different ways to tell your story too. It's not just talk. Handmade items, letters, coffee mugs, clothing, jewelry, shoes, tools, photos, home movies, music and many other items "tell" your story too. That's part of the reason we don't want other people coming in to clean out our closets!

Creative art, crafts, and other media also open a world of possibile ways to tell your story.

I'm looking forward to exploring these thoughts and ideas with you every Tuesday. I think you might discover a number of ways that work for you!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Watch Out for Wolves!

Did someone say 'Wolf?'
Tweeting on Twitter, blogging a blog, posting on Facebook and the array of other social media works therapuetic wonders for widows as they "tell their story" and discover networks of new friend who "get it."

BUT dangers lurk in the delights, thorns are in the roses, and wolves are in the sheep pen!

Read this great alert before proceeding any further!
Digital Sheep Get Slaughtered–Being Safe On Social Media

Did you know those cutesy little angel emails---the ones that threaten something bad will happen if you don't send it to at least 5 jillion people in the next 5 minutes---those are often used by scammers to collect email address!!!!

Read it quick! It also talks about games and apps on Facebook. Beware!


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Do You Have Valentines Memories?

Was Valentine's Day special for you and your husband? Please feel free to share your stories and pictures! Telling your story is an important part of working through grief. I always love to hear from you and its very helpful to others who can read your story too. It helps them know they're not alone, and gives them hope.

Click on the comment line below and enter it into the comment box. Don't try leaving a comment with your smartphone, though. People tell me it won't work. You can always send me a message on Facebook, or send your story to [email protected]. Either way I'll copy it and paste it into the comment box for you.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Widows and Poetry

On Tuesdays I want to encourage you to tell your story---talk about your husband and your life with him. Talk about his death, the funeral, your losses. Talking helps. There are other ways to tell your story too. Have you ever tried poetry?

You're not scared, are you? I didn't just hear you say, "I could never write a poem!" did I? Let me reassure you. Poetry doesn't need to rhyme. Your personal poems don't need any rules at all. They can be as long, or as short, as you want. Sometimes five words might be all you need. Other times you might write pages. Poetry captures thoughts, lays them down in lines, and works them to sparkle like a jeweler polishes a diamond. After you've written a poem, you not only have quite an accomplishment, you also have something to share with others or quietly treasure for yourself.

When a widow named Tammy sent me her tribute for the Memorial Wall here on this blog, she included a poem that she'd adapted from an anonymous poem. I couldn't include it on our Memorial Wall, but I'm honored to share it with you today. I hope it'll inspire you to try writing your own poetry too. Chris would have been 57 on Saturday, Feb. 2, so Tammy thought this would be an appropriate and meaningful week to post this. Let's all be remembering her and the family in prayer. I've copied her memorial at the end of the poem for you. ferree

A man among men
We lost One May night
Feeling such peace
As he followed the light

The love in his eye
And the sound of his laughter
Remains in our hearts
Forever and after

Through all of his loved ones
He'll never be gone
Through each one of us
His spirit lives on

We all have a purpose
And something to give
With each breath
That we take
For as long as we live

Chris can rest easy
With Angels above
As we share his gift
Of laughter and love

It always has been
And always will be true
He's the King among friends
We love you Chris

May 12, 2011 * Tammy * Husband Chris, Pancreatic Cancer * Jennifer 28, Brian 27, Paul 25, Joseph 23, Katlin 21 * Chris passed 4 days before our 30th anniversary. He lived 5 yrs with Glioblastoma Multiforme Brain Cancer and then got a 2nd primary cancer which is the one he died from.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Widows and Journaling

Talking about your grief and all the changes and challenges you're going through is a good way to sort things out and find some direction. And journaling is a great way to "talk." Think about it---a journal is a great listener, it never argues with you, it's always waiting for you to pour your heart out, you don't have to dress up and look presentable when you want to "talk" to your journal, and it costs less than "shopping therapy!"
photo by Sparrow Scrolls. To find out what it says, click
the link and visit today. :)

The best thing about a journal though, is it helps you understand how far you've come. I could go on and on about the benefits of journalling. Instead, let's see for ourselves by taking a peek at a widows' journal from last year compared to this year. Click here to visit Linda's journal at Sparrow Scrolls as she writes about "A Cry for Help . . . "

I know she'd love to see your comments, and please let her know you found her through the WCP.
Blessings on your day, and on your journalling!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Retelling Your Story Safely

If you hate spam as much as I do you'll know how I felt yesterday when I found out that someone used the WCplace at gmail dot com address to make it look like their spam was from WCplace! Grrrrgh!

But it illustrates something I've been meaning to address anyway---my policies on how I use your information and a few little tips on protecting your information if you blog or do Facebook.

First, I rarely send mass emailings. So unless you have emailed me or subscribed to this blog, your inbox shouldn't receive anything from WCplace. If you get email from WCplace gmail in the next few days---it's just a spammer who has copied my email address. Don't open it; throw it out.

On the otherhand, most people are surprised that I actually do reply to personal emails. So if you've sent me a note, I will reply in a day or two at most. Please do open it!

Here are some of my promises to you:
  • I will never sell your information. The less $ I have to keep track of and pay taxes on, the better. Notice I have no ads here? I'm not out for your money.
  • I won't share your information either---not with Elvis or anyone! Not even the world's most eligible bachelor! If you hear from some hunky guy saying I told him it's God's will to meet you---I did not send him. He's a jerk who should be arrested and doesn't look anything like his picture.
  • I will not ever ask you for a donation. If I ask for a donation---don't give me one! Even if I say I'm stranded at the airport in a foreign country and I've lost my passport and all my money and my little children are crying! Be heartless, it's an imposter. I won't ask you for money. 
  • I would like you to buy my book, but that's for your own benefit and so that I can print more copies and more widows can benefit.     
Now let's talk about you and how you share your information.

I'm going to encourage you to tell and retell your story during grief. It's so theraupeutic. But if you tell your story on the Internet, here are a few things I want you to do so I don't worry about you so much, okay?
  • Remember phone books and city directories? They're still around. So don't mention your full name or location in such a way that creeps can look you up.
  • Be careful about the pictures you post. What you wear and how you wear it matters. Pictures of you and the kids can say a lot. Be aware of the backgrounds in your pictures. Don't post a picture of your house. Don't post directions or maps of your location.
  • Talk about your vacation or trip AFTER you get back home. No need to complicate your life by announcing your house will be empty for days or weeks.
These are just a few things that I see over and over again. If you're guilty of any, for the most part they're harmless slips. Don't worry about them, just fix them right away. Google some searches on home safety and Internet safety because there are a lot more tips to be aware of than just these few.

If you compile a list of other safety tips for widows, please spread the word to your friends and widows groups, and I'd love to share it here for you too! Please contact me at WCplace @ gmail dot com. But don't bother if you're a spammer. lol   

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Retelling Your Story

This week we're looking at how to make 2013 the year to turn GO-ing through grief to GROW-ing through grief by following this blog and implementing R Roadmap.

This year I'm setting up the blog so that each day of the week will help you locate where you are in your grief journey and pinpoint a step you can take.

Yesterday I gave a brief summary of what Mondays will hold:
Mondays: READ, listen, watch and learn about grief.

Today we'll look at Tuesdays: RETELL your own story.

Retelling helps grieving people grasp the reality of the the death of a loved one. But its not just collaring everyone you meet. There are artforms you can use, or journaling. There are times when it's not appropriate, even detrimental, to tell your story. We'll talk about support groups, finding a good counsellor, and comforting others. You'll discover how retelling your story can bring some healing,  open some doors and ultimately help you say good-bye.

Tomorrow we'll look at finding a ROLEMODEL. Although our husband is gone, God did not put us here to go through life alone. He has key people to help you along this road. Please check back tomorrow to see how we will discover some surprising saints!