From Our SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER  2020 Newsletter
 
 

Become aware of your feelings and acknowledge them

What those feelings are “today”, sadness, anger, confusion, guilt. Remember it’s easier to do something to address that feeling if you know what you’re feeling

lovingly lifted from Bereaved Parents Support Group

 

The pain is a part of the love. We can't love someone and lose them without feeling pain. Not only do we have a need to feel the pain, we also need to have it witnessed by others, not pushed away.

excerpt from Finding Meaning ~David Kessler

 
 
From Our JULY/AUGUST 2020 Newsletter 
 
 


PRACTICE BREATHING IN AND OUT

SOMETIME WHAT WE NEED MOST IS JUST TO “BE”. IN OUR GOAL ORIENTED SOCIETY, MANY OF US HAVE LOST THE KNACK FOR SIMPLY LIVING. JUST “BEING” MAYBE ALL YOU FEEL UP TO RIGHT NOW.         THAT’S OKAY.

❥ SIT DOWN,

FOCUS ON SOMETHING 20 - 30 FEET AWAY

AND TAKE 10 DEEP BREATHS

 
 
 From Our May/June 2020 Newsletter
 
 
Dear Mom,
You dreamed of me last night
And what I said was true..
I may not be with you here on earth,
but I am still with you.
You took my hand and asked me if
I was truly gone.
I smiled at you and said, no Mom,
You are not alone.
I am always right there with you
Through all you pain and grief.
My prayer for you each day is
To somehow find relief.
I know how much you love me Mom
and you think of me all the time.
Just know that I am okay
And I will see
You again one day.
Remember with each new dawn
I am not gone.
I love you Mom
~Shirley Tripp Johnson
 
 
 
Men Do Cry
I heard quite often “men don’t cry”
Though no one ever told me why
When I fell and skinned a knee
No one came to comfort me.
And when some bully boy at school
Would pull a prank so mean or cruel
I”d quickly learn to turn and quip
“It doesn’t hurt” and bite my lip.
So as I grew to seasoned years
I learned to stifle any tears.
Though “Be a big boy” it began
Quite soon I learned to “Be a man”.
And I could play that stoic role
While storm and tempest wracked my soul.
No pain nor setback could there be
Could wrest one single tear from me.
Then one long night I stood nearby
And helplessly watched my child die
And quickly found to my surprise
That all that tearless talk was lies.
And still I cry and have no shame
I cannot play that “big boy” game.
And only without remorse
I let my sorrow take its course.
So those of you who can’t abide
A man you’ve seen who’s often cried
Reach out to him with all your heart
As one whose life’s been torn apart.
For men do cry when they can see
Their loss of immortality.
And tears will come in endless streams
When mindless fate destroys their dreams.
Ken Falk
TCF WN Connecticut Chapter
 
 
 From Our March/April 2020 Newsletter
 
 
Some Days Are Just More Difficult
 

Remember your Grief Buddy 

They can prove to be a BIG part of your support system.  Someone that you can call when you’re having a particularly tough time.  In fact, why not enlist a few Grief Buddies?

 
Write in Your Journal   
Sometimes putting your thoughts and feelings on paper helps to ease some of the heaviness.
 
 Go for a Walk  
Even a short walk can change your outlook. Even if it’s temporary.
 
 
 
 
I am a griever.
That doesn’t mean I have a disease.
It means that I miss and love someone who has died.
Let me grieve at my own pace.
My reality is forever changed.
Do not judge me nor feel it is your obligation to tell me to “move on,”
or “get over it,”
Getting over it is not an option.
With time, I will do my best to move forward one step in front of the other.
They might be baby steps, but it is better than none at all.
When I need you . . . Just be there.
 
Author Unknown
 
 
 
 
 From Our January/February 2020 Newsletter
 
 
                                                                  Resolutions
Every time the holiday season comes to a close,
I feel as if I can hear a collective sigh of relief.
This year was no different except that the sigh seemed
louder and longer than in past years. Some years are like that for us.
                             This one was certainly like that for me.
                No matter how difficult I thought the holidays would be
                                   to get through I was wrong.
               In some ways they were more difficult and in other ways,
                             surprisingly, they were less difficult.
     The reality is that you and I, no matter how we anticipated the holidays,
                                       did get through them.
We did survive the holidays and though it may be
                             difficult for you to believe this now,
there is no reason that this new year shouldn’t be better.
Which brings me to a favorite topic for this time of year,
                                      New Year’s resolutions.
Resolutions that I think are most helpful
are those that concern our well-being.
Above all else, resolve to take better care of yourself.
                          Try to eat right and exercise. Find ways to
nurture yourself—both your body and your mind.
Remember all things in moderation.
Seek advice from others when you need it and above all,
ask for help when you need it.
You won’t always get the help when you ask for it, but remember, 
if you don’t ask for it, you surely won’t get it.
Another thing you can do to have a happier new year
is to become more involved in our chapter of
The Compassionate Friends.
If you’ve not come to any meetings, or if it’s been a while,
                give it a try. Commit to attending at least three meetings.
                                   If you were to attend only one,
                 you would not necessarily get a very good idea of what  
                                          our meetings are like.
Join us and make your needs known to us.
This newsletter is another way you can become more involved in our chapter. Let us know what works for you and what doesn’t.
                                  Consider becoming a contributor.
                 Tell us howwe might be able to better serve your needs.
 
Have a happier New Year!
Pat Akery
TCF, Medford, OR
 
 
 
Journaling to Heal
Each time I look back over my grief journey, I remember the important role that journaling played in my first and second years of grief. Handwritten entries, some sentences, sometimes just a few words describing my emotions, helped me to define where I was in my daily life. As I review the tear-stained pages, I am reminded of the deep, deep pain and the catharsis of the journal. Whether I was angry, in pain,
deeply depressed or just too exhausted to think,          
I wrote a few words,
maybe even a few lines each day.
                               I saw it as my connection to my son.
As time progressed, my journaling became writing and eventually I returned to the computer and began forming coherent thoughts and sentences, with subjects and messages to my child, myself and to others. But the process started with the healing of the journal. I learned to be very honest with myself in my journal because I never shared it with anyone. I didn’t put on a mask or rationalize in my journal, as no one else would be reading it.
           I was completely candid, and I soon recognized my weaknesses,
                                 regrets, strengths and successes.                        
                       Pure honesty and great insight were achieved in
                             my journal’s conversation with myself.
Grief therapists recommend journaling to bereaved parents quite frequently. Some people are able to find an outlet for their daily roller coaster of emotions through journaling.
Some seek answers and others seek questions.          
Many parents feel they are connecting with their child through their journal.
There are as many reasons to journal as there are types of journals.
While journaling may not be for everyone, we encourage each of you to at least attempt it for a week. Give it your best effort. If, as some have found, it offers you nothing and is a chore, not a treasured time, then stop and seek other forms of outlet. But if, as many have found, it offers you a place for your thoughts, your messages, your self-revelation and self-evaluation as well as a refuge from the world, then by all means, continue to journal.
Annette Mennen Baldwin
In memory of my son, Todd Mennen
TCF, Katy, TX
 
 
We may feel we have nothing to write, or wouldn’t know where to start.  
Here are a few suggestions to get us started:
I’m grieving the loss of ….
The most difficult time of day is ….
I especially miss ….
My favorite memory is ….
My support system includes
I wish my friends would say or do ….
It is hurtful when people ….
It is helpful when people …..
The things that help me most right now are ….
When I’m alone, I ….
I will lean on ….
 
 
 
From Our November/December 2019 Newsletter
 
 
Suggestions For Handling The Holidays 
 
 
It’s Okay to:
Do what feels okay
Not send cards
Not decorate the house, car, desk or work
Change old traditions 
Create new traditions 
Celebrate another time of year
Go away
Cry
Feel sad
Change your mind
Not reciprocate on invitations
Not cook
Go out to eat 
Have a good time 
Talk about your child 
Laugh
 
- TCF Kitsap County, WA
 
 
 
From Our September/October 2019 Newsletter
 
 
WHAT TO DO WITH ANGER
 
Anger is one of the most difficult emotions for me to express. Reared as a “proper" young lady, I was taught that anger was not becoming. Many of the women I have spoken to were similarly taught.
 
I found, however, I did not have the tools to deal with the deep anger that came shortly after the death of my daughter. My anger was spilling over to people who did not deserve it, or I vented excess anger by overreacting to some situations.
 
With the loving care and patience of several people, I developed some tools that helped me to express my anger. Rather than trying to suppress my angry feelings, I learned to release them in constructive ways. Hopefully, some of these coping techniques will be helpful to others.
 
EXERCISE - This is a great way to release anger, plus get into shape! I joined the YMCA, swam twice a week, did "Y's Ways to Fitness" three times a week, and walked three to five miles each day. At first, I was concerned about doing so much exercise because I have a very bad back, so I took it easy and worked my way up to my present routine. I always feel much better after a good workout, and I had the extra benefit of getting out of our home and back into society.  After my daughter's death, my life felt so out of control; but as I became more fit, I regained some control. This renewed strength aided in my recovery.  Exercise decreases stress levels and aids in controlling depression. Since grief can also make us more vulnerable to physical illness, exercising and taking care of our health is important. Even daily walking is good therapy.
 
WRITING - When the anger bubbled up in me, I would write. Many times I didn't know where to begin, so I just started by writing, "I am angry because. . . “Soon, my thoughts were coming faster than I could write them down. After I had expressed my anger in writing, I often discovered that the sources of my anger were different than I had imagined. It usually sifted down to just being angry about my daughter's death. The technique of writing about your feelings is especially nice because you can just throw away or bum your words and the anger with them.
 
PAINTING - There is nothing like taking bright oils or acrylics and stroking them over an open canvass. I had not painted in over fifteen years, but I went up into the attic and got down the easel, brushes, and paints. I always felt better after a good painting session. Those times were very private for me and no one ever saw my creations, but they were helpful in expressing my anger.
 
TALKING - Sometimes I would call a good friend and just rant and rave. My friend was a very good and non-judgmental listener. She realized that most of what I said in anger I did not mean. She never gave advice or held me to my "anger" statements. She just lovingly listened.
This technique calls for a careful choice of friends who can maintain confidentiality and are not afraid of anger. It is even more helpful if the friend has had a similar loss.
 
ENERGY - Convert anger into energy and use that energy to change the world. Angry with the limited support that mothers of children with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) had in their communities, I converted that anger into action. I joined several nationwide support groups and helped to bring their support into our community.  My anger was further converted into energy which I used to raise money for SMA research. I baked over 700 loaves of bread (a lot of anger there!) for a fundraiser. My friends saw my energies and joined in to help. Together, our efforts raised over $6,000 in under six weeks! This kind of energy can be contagious.
Reaching out to others can help in healing. If something good can come from our tragedies, it can add meaning to their deaths.
 
EGGS - Yes, eggs! When I just could not resolve my anger with any of the above techniques, I would take a dozen eggs and a black felt-tipped pen and go into the back yard. Writing the reason I was angry on the egg, I threw it at the back fence. At first, I thought this was a little crazy, but after throwing the first egg and watching it shatter, I felt so much better!
I always used just one word to describe my anger. It might be: Death, SMA (the disease my daughter died of), Husband, A friend's name, God. No one need know what you write on that egg! Afterward, the birds would have a treat eating the eggs; and listening to their happy noises while having their treat, eased my anger.
 
These are some of the techniques I used to express my anger. It is OK to be angry, and it is important to express, not suppress, anger. Suppressed anger can result in deep depression.
 
Penny A. Blaze
New Canaan, CT