About Me

My wonderful husband died when I was 44 years old. Being widowed this young happens to less than 3% of married people. Writing through this loss one word at time helps me understand what I've lost and helps me continue to grow. It is how I have gradually recovered from such a severe loss. Research shows that you can benefit from taking just 15 minutes a day to write out your deepest feelings as a way of healing. On the right side of this blog, you'll see a tag for Exercises to Try. If you need some help knowing how to use writing to help heal yourself, I suggest you start there.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Death Lesson #682

Perhaps it's those 15 years I spent adapting the works of America's best-selling self-help authors, new age gurus, and business speakers to sell on audiotape (oh how publishing has changed...), but I just can't help trying to find the lessons learned from my husband's untimely death. Yes, I spent 15 years of my working life filling my mind with personal growth lessons from Deepak Chopra who told me there is consciousness in every cell in my body and so my gut feelings are actually a strong form of intelligence, Wayne Dyer who insisted that our intentions create our reality, Tom Peters, who encouraged each one of us to become our own brand within a preferably flat-as-a-pancake organization, and psychic darling Sonia Choquette who insists there is no such thing as a psychic, just psychic potential within each one of us waiting to be tapped.

So here I am: with my own brand of advice giving.  I am death lesson girl, following my highly intelligent gut, still churning out the lessons, six years after my husband's death.

Death Lesson #682

I am all alone and I am surrounded by as much support as I need.

Nothing has ever made me feel as alone on this earth as losing my husband when my kids were little. The raw, crushing sorrow was mine, all mine. The problems, the family responsibilities, the pain belonged to me. It was mine to deal with as I wished. It was no one's problem as much as it was mine. Today, I'm through the pain. But, you know what? On a Friday night when my kids are busy and I don't have plans, I feel that aloneness of the empty house. Only now, I just let it be instead of frantically making plans. I embrace the aloneness. I look forward to it. I think it's important to be OK just being alone in this world, to recognize this bit of truth.

And, never have so many people stood up to help me, as they did when Ken was sick and after he died. I don't think I'll ever feel again as if there is not support for me if I make my need known. We are alone in a world of unlimited potential support.

Stayed tuned for future dispatches from death lesson girl. I can't stop myself, obviously.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

One Good Cry

I had the best cry today. Truly.

While registering my son for another session of swimming I bumped into a former colleague of Ken's. They had worked for 18 years together at the same child welfare organization. She is one of the kindest-hearted people I have ever met.

Today she told me that after 24 years, she's retired from the organization. She told me that at her retirement party, she spoke of all the people who had come and gone from the organization during that time, and about Ken, one of her mentors, who is gone for good.

 At that point she teared up. And so did I. Can I tell you how wonderful it was to have a good cry with someone who was missing Ken, someone who knew how wonderful he was, someone he had touched with his good nature and wisdom, someone who had lost a friend who was my husband?

Six years after you lose your spouse, you really shouldn't be spending too many days crying about your loss. But today it felt so good to remember him with someone else who loved him, who misses him, and who knows what a good man the world lost six years ago. Sometimes I miss my tears.

That was one good cry.

Monday, March 05, 2012

What Will You Do Without Your Grief?

I am a firm believer that writing out your feelings about grief is a wonderful tool for developing self-awareness, for expressing emotions, and for cultivating emotional health. Think of writing down your feelings as exercising your emotions. Just like a body will get stiff from inactivity, your feelings can get stuck together until they are formless and unrecognizable to you. By writing them down, you sort them out. You see them for what they are: feelings that arise and come and go and change. The Heartbreak Diary isn't a sob story. It's simply a place to bring feelings out in the open.

Here's a simple sentence completion exercise for anyone who is ready to move to a different place in regard to grief or anyone who wants to imagine what it would be like being in a different place.


Take 3 minutes to write down a series of answers to the following question. Don't think too hard about what you're writing down. Just go with it.


I will be happy without guilt.
I will feel more gratitude for life than I ever have previously.
I will be less afraid to take risks.
I will be more compassionate to others who are in pain.
I will let it come visit me sometimes.
I will have a lot of empathy for others with grief that is fresh and new.
I will know that when things are going well, when there is no crisis, life is especially good.
I will treasure my good health and do what I can to be well.
I will know the difference between what matters to me and what does not matter to me.
I will be lighter.
I will not want to suffer again; but I will be prepared to go there.
I will try things I haven't tried before.
I will feel sad about my loss still.