Tag Archives: loss

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Dealing with the Homicide of a Loved One

Real Perspectives LogoAs many of you may know, many years ago my former husband’s daughter was murdered at the age of 11. This brought us on an 18 year journey to find her killer and another two years to see him brought to justice.

Recently I was a guest on LaTonya Moore’s radio show, Real Perspectives, where the conversation moved into how to not only handle grief after a murder, but other advice for how to more effectively move through the grieving process regardless of how your loved one died.

If you are dealing with the homicide death of a loved one, you may wish to listen in here.

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Mother’s Day 2015

I was on my AskMaryMac Facebook page and found a friend who mentioned how distraught she was that Mother’s Day was approaching and how much she missed her Mom.

She specifically spoke about how she would send her orchids each year and could no longer send them to her.

I decided to comment on her post:

“I have an idea. What if you took the money you were going to spend on orchids and bring Mother’s Day balloons to several women in a retirement or nursing home who have no children to receive anything from. Perhaps their children have predeceased them and they feel the same pain you now feel. Can you imagine all the love you would share when you see the delight on their faces when someone as wonderful as you took the time to make their day. It’s one of the greatest experiences you will ever have. Promise.”

Every moment we have the chance to make someone feel good about themselves, even when we feel so badly. It might take a little research to find a local center, but walking into women’s rooms with a colorful balloon that they could look at for weeks to come will bring joy to them. I can’t think of anything more wonderful than to surprise a strange with such kindness.

Those ‘random acts of kindness’ bring life to others…and to you. Try it. And then comment below as to what happened and share it with all of us.

Happy Mother’s Day to those who are Moms, those whose Moms aren’t with us any longer, all those who were briefly Moms before the miscarriage, stillbirth or infant death of their child or children, those Moms whose adult children have died, and those who want so much to experience the joy of being called a Mom but are struggling to become pregnant.

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Gratefulness During Painful Times

In the United States today we celebrate Thanksgiving Day, a tradition that dates back to when the pilgrims shared a meal with the native indians when the first settlers came to this country from Europe.

Later, President Abraham Lincoln would declare this day as an annual opportunity to thank God for the blessings He has bestowed on our people and our great land. And, yes, in the politically correct environment we live in, he specifically asked all Americans to thank ‘God’.

But for my readers, who are often those who are grieving a loss of some kind on this day, it can feel difficult to really find anything that we could be grateful for when we are in such pain. And this is a place where I have been in the past, too.

But I’d like you to know that just because you are hurting so deeply from the death of someone close, or the divorce, or the financial loss, or whatever you are dealing with, it is acceptable to still feel times of happiness.

Sometimes we won’t allow ourselves to delve into the happy bucket for fear of how others might judge us (“How can she look so happy when her father just died?”). Or when we ourselves feel guilty because we’re not grieving properly.

Well I’m here to tell you that there is no ‘right’ way to grieve. There is no ‘right’ timing when grief is finished. There is no ‘right’ way you can please all your family and friends and I don’t want you to try, because, quite frankly, if they are putting guilt on you, nothing you do will make them happy anyway. It’s time for them to get their own life and build their own happiness after someone’s death.

The only person’s grief you are responsible for is your own. You can help soothe another family member and listen to them, but ultimately it’s their journey and they will undoubtedly walk it in a different manner and timing than you, but that’s just fine. We aren’t all the same and we don’t all grieve the same as another family member.

So on this Thanksgiving, take some time to value what you do have in your life. Honor the great memories you shared with your loved one who is no longer here. Share those memories with those whom you will spend this day…aloud of course.

And even if you think it will be painful to even bring up their name at dinner, it probably will be and tears may be shed and, guess what, it’s absolutely ok. And, yes, even if it’s been a dozen years, holidays can be hard thinking how you’d really love for them to be sitting at the table next to you just one more time.

So shed the tears and raise a glass to their memory. Talk about them, share what makes your life great at this point in your life. Share how they shaped your life for the better.

And mostly realize just how far you have come in your journey. You are still moving forward, you are still moving toward your dreams, and you can still find things to be grateful for.

I wish you a memorable day. They are with you in spirit and nothing and no one can ever take that away.

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Memorial Day 2014

276240_100000410189176_563033050_nEach year when this day rolls around, I am reminded of all the sacrifice a family makes when their loved one goes away to protect the freedoms we Americans enjoy each day.

And while I’m so amazed at what it takes to be in the military and fight overseas with the constant threat of being killed, if they’re in a combat situation, I feel it’s also important to recognize the sacrifices a family makes throughout the entire tour.

A spouse who is left to raise a young family by themselves perhaps on a military base. The inadequate stipend they are given to raise that family. The increased level of responsibility they must endure.

And if their beloved is killed, they are left to raise that family alone.

Today I salute not only the veterans and remember all those who were killed to secure our freedoms, but for all the family members who are or have grieved a military family member’s death and the difficult road to recovery on an emotional as well as financial level.

I salute you!

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When Valentine’s Day Isn’t The Same

Valentine’s Day symbolizes love and hope for the future. But sometimes, after we’ve lost someone special, it can be difficult to enjoy this day. And this is thoroughly understandable.

If you’re thinking of someone who is no longer with you today, try to remember the special Valentine’s Days you did get to share together. Try to remember the happier moments instead of dwelling on their absence.

Try to dig in and think of all the little things that you made special with them. The funny notes, the chocolates, maybe the gifts, the laughter.

Yes, today may not be like other Valentine’s Days you had in the past, yet you can try to do something special for yourself now. Could it be a lovely bubble bath, a round of golf, a special meal, a new pair of soft slippers, hot cocoa and a funny movie to move your mind toward hopefully things you wish to experience and create?

Being good to yourself when you’re hurting is key to moving forward. Don’t neglect your emotional needs and health.

And if you don’t hear it today from anyone else, let me say you are loved. You are loved by me and many others. I’m sure if you considered all the people you have helped in your life, there are many people who love you.

So do enjoy this day. Just because you feel the pain of loss does not mean you cannot also feel the joy of living.