Their eyes lit up!

When their eyes light up, whether coaching or giving seminars, I love it!.  After two seminars last week, the great feedback included,

“ I finally understand I wasn't going crazy after my father died!  I wish had this seminar two years ago!”

“Fabulous tools that I can use right away to help me add “umph” back to my life!”

I presented “Bouncing Back, the Art of Resilience for the Unexpected Life,” at the South Calgary Hospital Wellness Centre where 20 people had registered. It was for when life does not go according to plan and we face the unexpected: health or job struggles, disaster or marriage breakdown. As I taught what is “normal” in an unimaginable situation, there were connect-the-dots moments. Yes, we're talking Aha! moments, they are so rewarding!  

I also teach practical techniques for handling stress and boosting our resilience. Participants notes and asked great questions during our “Ask the Expert” time.  This is when I hear stories of major health loss due to a vehicle crash, painful, toxic relationships, the loss of a husband of 40+ years and I offered tools but also my heart went out to them.  I admired their courageous choices to learn how to make the best of tough situations.

My other seminar was “Creating an Extraordinary Quality of Life Right Where You Are,” for a seniors group and the lights went on there too!  They appreciated getting tools and using simple graces to find a better life right where they are.

Both groups were ready and eager to apply their learning to face the tough circumstances of their lives.  It makes me smile to know that they are excited to create their own courageous new story.  That's why I will be also be working with the Hurricane Irma victims as a Rapid Relief Chaplain - to help them to rebuild and bring back a smile.

 

Big hugs and love, 

Helga

If you are facing loss, find out the best ways to renew your resilience in a complimentary coaching session with me.  Contact me through my resouces page or e-mail me at coach@helgabender.com

If you are interested in find out more about seminars check my schedule in the sidebar or talk about booking a seminar, e-mail me at coach@helgabender.com

Please leave a comment about this blog - let me know whether you liked it or not.  

Also check out my facebook page - for the latest, or just to say Hi!  


© Helga`s Coaching Blog  2017. You are welcome to use excerpts and links, provided full and clear credit is given to  Helga Bender and Helga's Coaching Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Helping when disaster strikes

An angry storm smashed boats over sandbags, tore out trees and destroyed homes.  It swallowed up oil tanks, e-coli filled septic beds and swamped basements furniture.  Six weeks later, in July 2017, the Vernon B.C. residents were allowed to return after the terrible flooding around Okanagan Lake.  Huston and Florida too, just experienced horrific hurricanes with tragic loss of life and ravaged communities that left residents reeling.  In Vernon that day, we Rapid Relief chaplains looked for a dry spot to park our car, put on our rubber boots and headed off to support residents emotionally and spiritually.   

Returning residents had no water, sewage, or power for the recovery work.  The storm had seriously damaged homes, mold had grown up the walls and mice dropping sat on the counter tops.  The weary residents were greeted by the sickening stench from overflowing septics and rotten refrigerator meat.  Some of the homes were so bad that they would have to be torn down.   

How do you help disaster victims?

There are urgent things that need to be addressed first.  It is urgent that they are out of harm's way and have the basics of life like food, water and shelter.  They need reliable information about how to continue to be safe, that their loved ones are safe too and where to get on-going emergency help.  They may need continued basic services if they can not return to their homes afterwards.  

When we are faced with shock and disaster,  we respond in three primary knee-jerk reactions: fight back, flee or freeze.  The blood is physically directed to the muscles so they can fire instantly to take action and it is shuttled away from the brain.  This means people often feel dazed and confused.  They need help in good decision-making, planning and taking action.    

When they return home, they need physical help with the heavy work of hauling out destroyed possessions, repairing structural damage, dealing with contamination and salvaging treasured items like photos.  They need help with paperwork and dealing with insurance companies.

Does disaster trigger grief?  Most often, yes, because grief is the normal and natural emotional reaction to loss or change of any kind.  The residents faced losses due to flood damages to their homes, community and way of life.  They faced huge change in their routine, lives and face big recovery tasks just to live normally again. 

They also need emotional help with their grief.  They need to tell their story, express their feelings and be heard. This helps to sort out what happened but also to express their emotions rather then suppressing them in the body where they can cause chronic stress and trigger physical symptoms.  

They need spiritual support as they grapple questions about the disaster and what it means:

  • Was it a freak act of nature or should they have prepared for this?  
  • Were they being punished? 
  • Was God mad at them?  
  • Is there still a future here for them in this place? 
  • Is it the end or a beginning? 
  • How will they find their way back to hope?  Or to courage? 
  • Will life ever fell safe and normal again? 

If they are people of faith, they often need reassurance that God is still for them, and cares for them. They are often comforted to know someone else is praying for them and seeking God’s help on their behalf because they are dazed and praying is hard.  They may need someone else’s faith to hold them steady in time of trouble.

As a Rapid Relief Chaplain, I prayed with flood victims in Vernon on-site and they were very grateful.  Now home again, I still remember them in prayer and hold them in my heart up to God. I have been asked to deploy to the hurricane sites too and I hope you will join me and hold the victims of the Vernon flood, Hurricane Harvey, Irma and Hosea in your hearts too, as well as others in other recent disasters around the world, to pray for God’s help and mercy.  John Piper verbalized a helpful prayer: 

O Lord, unleash the common grace of kindness from a million hearts [to the needy]...Restrain, O God, the evil hearts of those who would bring sorrow upon sorrow by looting what is left behind, or exploiting loss for private gain.

…how great the sure and solid gift held out to everyone in Christ!: Who then shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword — or wind, or waves?

…For you have made us say with deep assurance: Neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor hurricanes nor floods, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

And all in Jesus’s name. 

Perhaps you can join me in saying an amen.   Our prayers and blessings are an important help for when disaster strikes.   

Big hugs and love, 

Helga

If you are facing loss, find out the best ways to renew your resilience in a complimentary coaching session with me.  Contact me through my resouces page or e-mail me at coach@helgabender.com

Please leave a comment about this blog - let me know whether you liked it or not.  

Also check out my facebook page - for the latest, or just to say Hi!  


© Helga`s Coaching Blog  2017. You are welcome to use excerpts and links, provided full and clear credit is given to  Helga Bender and Helga's Coaching Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

5 Unspoken Funeral Etiquette Rules Every Guest Should Follow

Good intentions can go off the rails

We all want to do the right thing when the wrong thing happens, but sometimes we are afraid of putting our foot in our mouth.  Instead, we stall and don't do anything, not even going to the funeral.  Our good intentions go off the rails. 

We don’t discuss death and aren’t informed

Normally, death is a tough subject, one that we avoid.   That means we have little knowledge of what to do or say at the funeral.  Funerals are about honouring the loved one, saying goodbye together and supporting the grievers by sharing in the burden of grief.   You may not know the deceased but if he was your best friend’s brother, it is right to attend to support her.  When the grievers are in deep pain, simply your presence at the funeral says, “I care too and I know it is tough”. 

5 unspoken rules for funeral etiquette 

Stick with these and you will bring comfort to ease their suffering and comfort in their time of need.

1.        Less is more:  Keep your words to the bereaved short, sincere and simple.  Remember that they usually have many people to talk to and are emotionally worn down.   Saying something like, " I'm so sorry", "My condolences to you and the entire family" or "My thoughts are with you all," are safe bets.   Recalling a fond memory or a positive short story honours the loved one and helps the bereaved know you cherished them too.  However, asking them to tell the story of how they died (again) can be draining.  Be sure to sign the guestbook because the family cherish remembering the guests that came and cared.

2.       What not to say:  Beware of platitudes, they can be insensitive and sound off-handed. 

•    Avoid saying,  "He's in a better place," - which might be true, but they are hurting here.  
•    Avoid saying,  "The pain will lessen in time," – at this time, it is too painful to imagine life without their loved one. 
•    Avoid saying,  “I know how you feel,” – each relationship is different and you might be able to identify with the type of loss, but you cannot actually know how they feel.  
•    Avoid saying,  “God needed another angel” – which implies God does not care about their broken heart.
You get the idea.  Better to give them a simple, “I am very sorry”, a hug, a warm handshake, or a pause of respect.

3.       What do I wear?  Black is still common but muted dark colours like blue, grey, and eggplant are welcome too.  It is a solemn occasion, so dress to indicate respect and honour: no flip flops, t-shirts nor taking center stage with a fashion statement outfit. 

4.       Do I take my children?  There maybe extended family for them to meet there but remember that the focus is the life of the deceased and supporting a grieving family, so be careful of taking selfies with all the relatives.   Prepare the children to ensure their well-being and be prepared to discretely take them out if they act up.  

5.       What not to do during the funeral? 

  •  Don’t receive calls on your phone, turn it off. 
  •  Don’t sit in reserved areas.  Carefully follow instructions by ushers to ensure the event goes as smoothly as possible.
  • If you are speaking, don’t tell questionable jokes, or long-winded stories.  

You can do it

These guidelines will ensure that the focus is on honouring the loved one at the funeral and being a comfort to a family in pain.   The bereaved will look back and appreciate your presence, respectfulness and support in their time of loss.    

Can you think of any others to add?  Please post in the comments for everyone’s benefit.

Big hugs and love, 

Helga

If you are facing loss, find out the best ways to renew your resilience.  For a complimentary coaching session to renew your resilience, contact me through my resouces page or e-mail me at coach@helgabender.com

Please leave a comment about this blog - let me know whether you liked it or not.  

Also check out my facebook page - for the latest, or just to say Hi!  


© Helga`s Coaching Blog  2017. You are welcome to use excerpts and links, provided full and clear credit is given to  Helga Bender and Helga's Coaching Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Can I ever be happy again?

Can I ever be happy again?

You have loved and lost.  Your heart was torn apart.  Happiness is unimaginable.

But they say it will get better: the grief books, the clergy, the friends.   Who believes them?  How can it be possible, with the searing pain, the huge loss, and the finality of death ... When my son was killed, I did not believe them either.    But… they were right. 

It has gotten better.  It can get better for you too. 

Create a New Blueprint for Happiness after Loss

We all have a blueprint for our life.  Have you imagined the future as: married, good job, home, kids, and then surrounded by grandchildren, a secure retirement where you both travel the world together?   But sometimes life happens, divorce or disasters crush those dreams.  Our blueprints are torn up and now our future is changed.  This is painful, it is suffering.   We are forced to build a different life blueprint, one we did not want and we wonder if we can ever find happiness again. 

My father was a house builder who knew about blueprints.  Once, he bought a nice big property hoping to take advantage of the great view.  He for a bungalow drawn up believing it would sell best.  When the basement was dug, they discovered a natural spring right under it.  My father consulted with others and decided to slightly relocate the house, make it a two storey with a smaller basement and float a concrete pad under it.   It meant new blueprints,  to especially optimize the view from the 2nd floor.  It turned out to be a huge selling feature of the house.  Sometimes, the unexpected happens and forces us to change our blueprints.  But his goal was to have a great view and he still got it, and sold it quickly. 

A friend of mine, lets call her Sue, met her professional athlete husband when she was a gym teacher. At the age of 48, he died suddenly of brain cancer, leaving her to raise 2 teenage sons alone.  Her blueprint for their future had been that one day, their sons and future families would spend summers at their vacation cottage, water-skiing and barbecuing.  They would retire and teach third-world kids in sport camps and winter in Arizona, playing golf and dining with friends.  Their goals were family, travel, to give, self-improvement in sports and a social life. 

Now, in all the grief, she felt like giving up, and resented that tragedy destroyed their future and there was nothing she could do about it.   But one day, she realized she still had lot of life ahead and so did her sons.   She could not go back to their old blueprint but it was up to her to find a new blueprint to rebuild a life for them all.  She looked at what she really wanted, her purposes and goals behind their old blueprint.  It was family love, togetherness, activity and meaningful living.  She resolved to create a new blueprint to still get those goals for happiness as best she could.      

To do that, she poured her energies into helping her sons get launched in life, and doing it as a family, supporting them in sports and school.   She eventually bought a vacation condo with space for her sons to stay and they swim and hike together.   She became a real estate agent and joined a mountain hiking club where she made new single friends and has a social life.  When her sons were older, she volunteered in local sport camps for inner city kids, which gave more meaning to her life.   Her friends call her an inspiration in how she has overcome challenges while contributing to the lives of others.  

Her original life blueprint was destroyed but even though it was tough, she discovered a way to achieve those old values with a new blueprint.  She found ways to build family, to give, to grow and to love and embraced it.   Now, 15 years later, she has a “happy, rich and rewarding life” although different then expected.  Along the way, she also discovered she was more then what happens in life.

You and I may have had tragedy destroy our life blueprints.   It is painful to let go of cherished dreams but when we look behind our blueprint and rebuild with our values and goals, we can create a new blueprint for happiness.  Like Sue, we too,  can build a “happy, rich and rewarding life",  although different then expected.

Big hugs and love, 

Helga

If you are facing loss, find out the best ways to renew your resilience.  For a complimentary coaching session to renew your resilience, contact me through my resouces page or e-mail me at coach@helgabender.com

Please leave a comment about this blog - let me know whether you liked it or not.  

Also check out my facebook page - for the latest, or just to say Hi!  


© Helga`s Coaching Blog  2017. You are welcome to use excerpts and links, provided full and clear credit is given to  Helga Bender and Helga's Coaching Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

De-stress like a Navy Seal

Tough stress surrounding loss needs a tough solution.   Navy Seals know how to stay calm and focused – and alive, even in tough stress.  One simple way that they use is taking a deep breath.   They call it the box breath and I will explain how you can do it too.  Every healthy person can simply and easily learn how to combat extreme stress with powerful deep breathing and drastically improve their health.  

When you’re stressed, what does it do to your breath?  Is it deep or shallow?  Most of us know it is shallow, because we have all seen it or been there ourselves.  You’d be surprised how often we also hold our breath when we are anxious.   

What exactly are the good things deep breathing does for you?

1.    Your muscles relax. 

2.    Oxygen delivery improves. Fresh oxygen pours into every cell in the body including your brain to help focus, stamina, mood and fatigue.  Oxygen rich environments are unwelcoming to many infections and cancer.

3.    Your blood pressure lowers. Muscles let go of tension and your blood vessels open.

4.    Endorphins are released. This provides pain-relief and a sense of well-being.

5.    Detoxification improves. The movement of the diaphragm in deep breathing helps the lymphatic system function properly, which helps the immune system to release harmful toxins. Did you know that 70% of the toxins inside of your body are removed through the lungs?  Sighing and groaning is part of that. 

Controlled breathing, also known as “deep breathing,” or "diaphragmatic breathing" has long been a part of Christian prayer and Eastern health practices. A "breath prayer" was used by the early church and even today.  It purpose is to connect with God by inhaling the air and God’s spirit then exhaling worries while gently sighing out a prayer like “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.”  The Jews like to breathe out the ancient name of God, "Yod, Hey, Vav, Hey" or Yahweh. 

So here is how you too can breath like a Navy Seal in the "box breath":

Step 1: Find a comfortable chair or place to lie down. Focus on your breathing, letting your belly rise and fall.   As you get familiar with it, you can focus on thankfulness which will add extra de-stressing.

Step 2: Inhale for 4 seconds (while the circle above is expanding).

Step 3: Hold air in your lungs for 4 seconds (while the circle is expanded), and let the oxygen flood your system

Step 4: Exhale for 4 seconds, emptying all of the air in your lungs (as the circle contracts).

Step 5: Hold your lungs empty for 4 seconds (while the circle is contracted).

Even though there are other breathing techniques, breathing like a Navy Seal is an important time-proven and simple approach.  If you can do this ten times, two or three times a day (morning, evening and before bed) you may notice a big difference in your energy, clarity, immune system and stress level.  You just might be amazed to at the positive impact on your whole body.

Big hugs and love, 

Helga

If you are facing loss, find out the best ways to renew your resilience.  For a complimentary coaching session to renew your resilience, contact me through my resouces page or e-mail me at coach@helgabender.com

Please leave a comment about this blog - let me know whether you liked it or not.  

Also check out my facebook page - for the latest, or just to say Hi!  


© Helga`s Coaching Blog  2017. You are welcome to use excerpts and links, provided full and clear credit is given to  Helga Bender and Helga's Coaching Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

I believed him, big mistake. Now what?

I believed him, what a mistake.  

I was betrayed.

Have you ever stood up for someone and helped them, only to discover you were “played” and lied to?  That's what happened to me.  There is a good chance it has happened to you too.  

Now what do we do?    

There are 5 solid steps to dealing with betrayal and healing the wound. 

Every hurt has its story.  Maybe your's is that you were deceived, used and abused.  One new widow learned about “the other woman” when she showed up at the funeral.  The widow was angry and wanted answers from him but it was too late for that.  Maybe, like that widow, you had a deep bond of love and trust that has been ripped out of you by the roots and it hurts.  

Healing from this kind of deep wound needs deep healing.  It is a process.  Part of us wants to:

  • deny it, minimize it or fix it – so we don’t have to face the reality and pain but that is a lie
  • retaliate and make them “pay” –  sweet for a moment but ends in more problems
  • make some sense of why they did it – but they may not even understand it themselves
  • forgive, release and rise above it – which is hard work and unfair but ultimately brings freedom

Forgiveness

Forgiving is what will set us free.   It is not the same as condoning.  Forgiving is giving up the hope of better or different yesterday.  It does not involve the other person – nor waiting for their apology.  It is your release for yourself, a gift to get you out of this black hole of anger and rejection.  You do it alone and you do not announce your forgiveness otherwise, that can be perceived as an attack and can backfire. 

Forgiveness also comes with health benefits.  You may notice your body thanking you for lower stress levels, a healthier heart, higher pain tolerance, lower blood pressure, and even an extended life.  You may sleep better at night and be less distracted. 

It may not seem fair that we have clean up their mess they made in our lives but if we wait for the offender to make it right that might take years, if ever.  Sometimes they are self-deceived and sometimes no one can make it right.  When the criminal driver killed my son, he got a jail sentence but that could not bring my son back, nor could my holding a grudge or living as a victim. 

Forgiveness is tough and can be on-going but eventually freedom comes,  freedom from living victimized, angry and bitter.   To release and forgive, it helps to face the brutal reality, grieve it, and get out of the muck by releasing their IOU.   If it keeps knocking at your door, it may be because of how brutal and deep it was so and persist at re-releasing until it’s muck is finally washed off you.   

Here is how to get free of the betrayal in 5 clear steps:

1.       Name it and face it.  Be truthful without glossing over it.  Yes, it really was insulting, awful, violating, degrading… evil.  That is where the healing starts.

2.       Feel the hole inside and express your emotions privately and safely, mourn it.  For many people it feels like it is rising out of their belly and out their throat.

3.       Write your thoughts in a paragraph or two and then your decision to release and forgive them.  Read  it out loud to “God” or to “the universe”,  committing to giving it away to God or the universe,  asking them to make it up to you in whatever way is best and then tear it up.  Restitution may come from a totally different direction then you might expect.  Repeat this internal commitment every time the anger comes back.  It could take weeks but it is worth it.

4.       Avoid self-pity by being of service to someone worse off then you (call them, volunteer, donate).

5.       Find something in the event that made you stronger or wiser, that you learned, or a skill you developed.  It is not calling the betrayal good, but it is finding a silver lining.  It is calling on your inner resourcefulness to rise up and find something useful in it.  It maybe your decision to ensure it does not happen to you or someone else again or to establish smart personal boundaries or to refusing being locked in with bitterness.  I am fascinated by epigenetics, which has discovered generational trauma on descendants' DNA.  What if your forgiveness is overcoming a negative family DNA propensity to withdraw or to fear when betrayed, imagine if it could reset DNA for your future generations, that would be a silver lining too. 

Betrayal catches us off guard and wounds.   However, as we mature we get better at coping, forgiving and letting it go.  Things that bothered us before do not crush us and we accept the ups and downs of life with greater confidence and empathy to the suffering.  We become caring people of muscle and character, who rise above storms and overcome adversity.  We live happier, healthier and more peaceful lives.  

Big hugs and love, 

Helga

If you are facing loss, find out if you are on track and the best ways to renew resilience.  For a complimentary coaching "How to rebuild a life again" session with me, Helga Bender, MThS, contact me through my resouces page or e-mail me at coach@helgabender.com

Please leave a comment about this blog - let me know whether you liked it or not.  

Also check out my facebook page - for the latest, or just to say Hi!  


© Helga`s Coaching Blog  2017. You are welcome to use excerpts and links, provided full and clear credit is given to  Helga Bender and Helga's Coaching Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Can "The Shack" help a grieving heart?

Can “The Shack” by William P. Young help a grieving heart?   When the best-selling novel came out in 2007, it took me months to gather the courage to read it because like in the story, I too had lost a child to a criminal act.  The tale pulled me in when I did read it.  As I turned the pages, I wept about Mack's loss and his pain of the broken heart and I wept about my loss too.  It helped me and healed me.  It can do that for you too.  

The Story

The story is about Mack, (spoiler alert ahead) who lives with the Great Sadness after his youngest daughter was abducted  from the family campsite.  He walks with stooped shoulders and silent despair crushes his heart.   One day, he receives a peculiar invitation to the shack where she was killed and later to a beautiful cottage. 

Cherry_pie_with_crumble_topping,_July_2009.jpg

This is where the story unfolds, as Mack comes face to face with God as a loving Trinity depicted by unexpected characters who radiate their care.   Knowing all about his baggage, they anchor and comfort him as he walks through the smoldering pain, guilt, anger, disappointment and heartbreak of his haunting loss.  Whether in a garden, under a starry sky or eating pie, they penetrate his defenses, face his questions together and bring healing to his heart.

Imagining the Joys of Heaven

It is an imaginative story that includes looking through a waterfall to see his happy daughter playing in heaven and describing the people there as rainbow lights bobbing and sparkling.  That made me smile.  I could envision my 25 year old son, Ben as a joyful orange lightening bolt break-dancing with Jesus!  (Yes, I am a proud "Mama Ben", my nickname by his Rwanda friends.)

Questions, His and Mine

When my son was killed, I asked the same kinds of questions that Mack did, and I banged on God's door as my tears ran under it.  The story gives language to these questions,  “Where was God when..., why did He not stop it, was this a punishment? ”  Thankfully, the novel does not spout neat and tidy clichés.  Instead, it reveals a God of compassion, who is with the broken hearted, binds up their wounds and collects their tears in a bottle.   He is a comforting friend engaged in relationship with us even in our doubt,  brokenness and tragedy.

As a coach for people in grief,  I hear these difficult questions often.  People struggle to find meaning in their loss, and to make sense of their devastated world, their image of God and their spirituality.  It takes courage to face them: of our own mortality, if life is just random, of the hugeness of our pain and of trusting God again.  Sometimes lies cling to our soul because of what was said or done to us, just as the author experienced.  In this book, I loved how “Jesus” kindly explains about fears, “All I want from you is to trust me with what little you can”.

Unforgiveness Hand-cuffs

The criminal and brutal killing of Mack’s daughter is a big issue.  Somehow, Mack needs to be unhand-cuffed from the weight of his (false) guilt of failing to protect, and his on-going anger and pain.  For many grieving people, it is a real struggle to forgive, whether themselves, their loved one, the medical system,  God, etc.  This is where The Shack really shines, by explaining, “Forgiveness is not about forgetting. It is about letting go of another person's throat,”  and that it is a decision that is made over and over to allow the poison of bitterness to finally drain away. 

I know this from experience.  Before the five-day trial of the driver who killed my son, I had worked hard to forgive him but I when I heard the testimonies of worse details and new information, I was a wreck.  I was so grateful for the friends that were a God-sent support.    The driver got a jail sentence but I had to get out of my  “shack” of new levels of anger and bitterness by repeatedly releasing those things to God and trusting him to make it up to me one day. 

Recommendations

The Shack has kicked up a lot of theological controversy which is not my focus in my loss blog.  However,  I will add a disclaimer:  Please do not expect this fictional book to be a theological treatise any more then you would read Star Wars novels expecting accuracy about space.  When the dust has settled, I imagine it will find it’s place with the "edgy" fiction of Tolkien and, C.S. Lewis, or J. Bunyan where God shows up in different forms.  However, if you are looking for non-fiction Christian grief reading, try C.S. Lewis’s A Grief Observed, Ronald Dunn’s When Heaven is Silent or Nicholas Wolterstorff’s Lament for a Son, all very good books.  

Is it for you as a bereaved person? 

In the early days of loss,  it is hard to focus, especially on a heavy story.  Light-hearted humor is a better choice for a little break from the intensity and daze of early grief.  But if your loss is not fresh, and you are pondering meaning, spirituality or forgiveness, The Shack, is a very creative engaging story that speaks a honest language of loss in a culture that avoids it.  It has the potential to bring great comfort and launch you into deeper relationship with God.  The book format allows you to put it down if you need a breather.  I haven't see the movie yet, so I can not speak to that.

In The Shack, questions are wrestled with and forgiveness rises.  It is a story of wonders, water is walked on, heaven is imagined, burdens lift and freedom is found.  All this ripples out of the pages and embraces the reader in hope.   Thank you, William P. Young for this remarkable story, The Shack.

 

 

Big hugs and love, 

Helga

If you are facing loss, get the support you deserve.  For a no-obligation "Rebuilding Life Again" session with Helga Bender, MThS, e-mail me click here.   

Please leave a comment about this blog - let me know whether you liked it or not.  

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© Helga`s Coaching Blog  2017. You are welcome to use excerpts and links, provided full and clear credit is given to  Helga Bender and Helga's Coaching Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Re-framing Valentine's day

lonely woman.jpg

It's Valentine's Day - but your heart is aching. 

What do you do when the one you love has died? 

Yes, you have the right to be miserable.  

I don't blame you for just ignoring the next 24 hours.  

But here is another idea.  Re-frame the meaning of Valentine's day now in your circumstances to give it a new and healing meaning.  

Re-frame

Boy: Do you have a date for Valentine’s Day?Girl: Yes, February 14th.

It is okay to drop the idea of a date and romance.  At the "heart" of the day is ‘love’ (pun completely intended) of all kinds. Enjoy the memories of your love.  And there may be a lot of emotion to express including through tears but also writing them a love letter, music, art, exercise.  But you may want to release the love in your heart to love on family and others.  

Love the One you are with

"If you can't be with the one you love, Love the one you are with" - Crosby, Stills & Nash (I have been a fan forever) gave us a little sage advice.  This old song advises us to find some of those that you can love that are in your life: kids, parents, friends, dogs and give them a phone call, a little gift, a hug, a walk.  It will help heal your heart.

Random acts of kindness

How about making the world a better place on Valentine's day with 3 simple acts of kindness.  It makes the world a nicer, gentler place, and you feel better about yourself.  In fact, research finds that when we give to others, the same “feel good” hormones are released as when we receive a gift.  Kindness boomerangs back to us!   Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • hold a door
  • buy a coffee for someone
  • e-mail to encourage someone – a friend, or political figure, etc.
  • by a little gift for a relative – especially children
  • shovel a walk
  • volunteer at the pet shelter (and get lots of dog kisses)
  • make a donation – perhaps in your loved one’s memory
  • make a call to an elderly relative – who may be lonely

I bought little chocolate hearts and toys for my three granddaughters and they felt so grown up to get a heart box, it was a joy to see them so excited.  They gave me homemade cards and put on little impromptu acting and piano performances over a delightful early-valentine's dinner at their house with their family.  They had even decorated with hearts everywhere.  Wonderful conversation, wine and the kids insisted on candles.  So Valentines-y!   

But romance, no.   

But love?   There was lots and lots of love.  How blessed am I!

Big hugs and love, 

Helga

If you are facing loss, get the support you deserve.  For a no-obligation "Rebuilding Life Again" session with Helga Bender, MThS, e-mail me click here.   

Please leave a comment about this blog - whether you liked it or not.  

Also check out my facebook page - for the latest, or just to say Hi!  


© Helga`s Coaching Blog  2017. You are welcome to use excerpts and links, provided full and clear credit is given to  Helga Bender and Helga's Coaching Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

 

Grief: Snowball or tennis ball?

snowball.jpg

Some people think grief is like a snowball. They hope that it slowly melts away and one day, disappears.   But that is a mistake.   It more like a tennis ball that never really disappears.  How, then, do we cope with that tennis ball? 

These three jars and three tennis balls help explain how grief really works:

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The first jar: 
This is early grief.  The tennis ball barely fit in this jar.  It fills every part, just like grief fills every part of our lives at first.   There is barely air to breathe and no space to move round.   It fills our waking thoughts making it hard to concentrate on even the simple things like getting groceries.  Our life is filled to the brim with numbness and pain.  


The second jar: 
The size of the grief has not changed but as we mourn and adjust, our lives slowly start to expand.  We still have to pay the bills, take out the garbage and go on living life as we face the deep pain, loneliness, disappointment, and fears of grief.  We often have to learn new skills and roles that our loved one did.  We are faced with questions about spirituality and the meaning of life.  Our relationships change.  Maybe we have deeper relationships with supportive friends, family, or a support group.  We are changing and forced to stretch to become a bigger jar. 

The third jar:  

When others suggest that we should “get over it”, they often are hoping that our loss has “melted away” like that snowball.  But they don't understand that it is not a snowball or a flu that you can “get over”.  We don’t get over people or relationships, they remain a part of you.  But as we are stretched, including by a growing family, new interests, travels, challenges, skills, values and a bigger heart, our life and our identity has grown.  Our loss and grief, the tennis ball, is always there but we, the container has stretched quite large.

Going through loss, can deepen compassion for others.  People who have suffered, often have huge hearts and great empathy.  They understand how life is fragile and how hard things can be.  They understand what it is like to be stretched beyond what they thought they could ever bear and have become bigger people.  There is more space in the jar of life now because the jar got bigger.  The tennis ball of loss has not shrunk but their shoulders have become a bit broader.

I can not promise you how your grief will work out, but we can grow to be those bigger jars.  The grief does not disappear but as you process it,  you can become a bigger person with an expanded identity.  You slowly become more then the bereaved person.  Your identity has grown, perhaps as an artist/craft-er,  a facinating traveler, or a caring friend with strong shoulders and someone who really understands.  

Big hugs and love, 

Helga

If you are facing loss, get the support you deserve.  For a no-obligation "Rebuilding Life Again" session with Helga Bender, MThS, e-mail me click here.   

Please leave a comment about this blog - whether you liked it or not.  

Also check out my facebook page - for the latest, or just to say Hi!  


© Helga`s Coaching Blog  2016. You are welcome to use excerpts and links, provided full and clear credit is given to  Helga Bender and Helga's Coaching Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

4 Tips When You Just Want to Sleep Till January

Wish you could take a long winter's nap right into January?  
I've been there too. 

After loss and bereavement, the closer the holidays come the more knotted up we can get on the inside.  Just to face the holidays takes a courage no one sees.  Our holiday has fallen apart.  No, it has been blown to pieces and so has our life.  For me, it changed the year a criminal driver killed my 25 year old son Ben. 

The holidays bring extra pressure to be “merry”.    But the grieving person finds themselves in a different season, a season of mourning regardless of what the calendar and the TV commercials say.   

Here are 4 tips to help you get through the season.

1.     Plan/ prioritize
Because grief is fatiguing, don’t try to do too much.  Pick out the two or three important activities that you want to be part of and focus your energy there.  Don’t get bogged down worrying about the rest.  Delegate as much as possible to others.  

2.     Pace yourself
Grief is a marathon not a sprint so ensure you are pacing yourself and doing good self-care. Extensive Christmas preparation decorating may be overly exhausting.  
Personally, I scraped Christmas baking, I did store-bought - except for the shortbread cookies that my son loved.  I skipped Christmas cards since I was ambushed by grief trying sign the cards - without my son’s name.   I finally decided to write my name then, “and Ben, from heaven”.  Some people put an angel sticker and write their loved one's name on it.  That year I sent an e-mail greeting without any family picture, since mine now includes my son’s gravestone.  

christmas card weary dog.jpg
white pointsetta.JPG

I did not decorate, no lights, no tree except the beautiful huge white poinsettia that my daughter gave me.  Gift shopping was one stop at the Walmart gift card display, since I could not handle the bustling mall.  Others hosted activities, I just did not have the heart or the energy.

 

If there is a family gathering, it helps to mention how you would like to honour your loved one. Others mean well but often just don’t know what to do. Many people light a candle and say some words of thanks about their loved one at the gathering.  It is a time of tears but gratitude and laughter too.  

Many people like this candle lighting, saying "Tonight we light 4 candles to remember ______:

 1.  This candle represents our grief. The pain of losing you is intense. It reminds us of the depth of our love for you.

2.  This candle represents our courage – to confront our sorrow, to comfort each other, to change our lives.

3.  This candle is in your memory – the times we laughed, the times we cried, the times we were angry with each other, the silly things you did, the caring and joy you gave us.

4.  This candle is the light of love. As we enter this holiday season, day by day we cherish the special place in our hearts that will always be reserved for you. We thank you for the gift your living brought to each of us. 

3.     People vs Privacy
In socializing, we usually find support but honor your need for privacy too.  It takes energy to face something as emotional and sentimental as the holidays. One new widow found she had to leave a Christmas party to sit in the car and cry.   If you prepare your hostess by explaining that grief can be unpredictable,  you will be more comfortable accepting an invitation if you have the liberty to leave early or not attend at the last minute.  

4.     Perspective
Asking yourself what the holiday means to you will help you determine where to focus your limited energies.  That way you can ensure you do what is truly important to you.

Some grievers want to keep the traditions the same to honour their loved one’s traditions and memory.  Some want to make it entirely different, like taking a beach vacation,  to honour their loved one’s absence and memory.  

Either way,  love remains forever.


Big hugs and wishing you quiet and rest in the hard season,

Helga 

If you are facing loss, get the support you deserve.  For additional resources, including a no-obligation introduction coaching session with Helga Bender, MThS, for help, relief and rebuilding life again  click here.   

Please leave a comment about this blog - whether you liked it or not.  Also check out my facebook page - for the latest, or just to say Hi!  


© Helga`s Coaching Blog  2016. You are welcome to use excerpts and links, provided full and clear credit is given to  Helga Bender and Helga's Coaching Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

When is Grief 2.0 Installed?

Grief versions 1.0 and 2.0
 

If you are in recent loss, you need to know that grief changes. It is much like a computer app installation, Grief 1.0 installs instantly at the heartbreaking news. As you process it, Grief 1.0 is updated and slowly stops being the lightening bolt that hits you first thing in the morning.  You begin to remember where you put your keys and if you ate breakfast. Grief 1.0 slowly changes to a softer version, Grief 2.0 - where you can enjoy browsing the Christmas market once again. 

For me, Grief 1.0 installed instantly at the news my son had been killed in a car accident. But Grief 2.0 was installed without me realizing it at least a year after, maybe even three years later. I know it sounds weird to say it just snuck up on me but that’s the way it works.  Life is much kinder now. How about you?   

Grief 1.0 installed automatically. In early grief, it initiates the natural numbness and daze to protect you from the full reality of the death. Every day, when you wake up and you hope it was all a bad dream, it relentlessly loads up again.  Grief 1.0 often includes a wide variety of emotions besides sadness: anger, shock, fear, loneliness, rejection and even relief that they're not suffering. 

It often runs a monstrous data backup reviewing all the moments, conversations, joys and pains of life together.  Your entire system slows down and you forget what you were doing in the foreground like where you put the keys.  If you try to do too much, it can easily overload, and “blue screen”.   When that happened to me I had to operate in “safe mode”  for a while, just doing the basics in a basic way.

Some people suggested I should just quarantine this entire process.  Clearly they lacked expertise.   The process is not a virus but rather a loving de-frag where all the precious memories of your loved one  are integrated for effective and clean access.  When the system has processed an adequate amount, it speeds up again, and can allow for a fresh commitment and new possibilities.

When Grief 1.0 had been running for some time, I worried that I had a glitch when I realized that I had not thought about my son for a whole day.  I worried that I was forgetting his memory but I realized it was a normal update.   Slowly, other updates were added and extra Ram was installed as I continued the processing.  That meant other apps and activities could be reintroduced, but I was very selective, not wanting to overload my resources.  Other updates also made it run more smoothly and they were slowly transitioning me to Grief 2.0.  

Grief 2.0

When exactly Grief 2.0 was released in my life, I can’t tell you.  I believe it installed when the recommended resources became available when internal capacities had stretched and life processing power had excelled.  You have grown in your capacity to handle life, with a higher perspective and reassessed values.  For me it means, like Stephen Stills wrote in his song, “And if you can't be with the one you love honey / Love the one you're with.”  Even though I can’t be with my son in this world, I can love the precious ones that are in my life: my family, friends, and community.

Grief 2.0, is a softer version and less intense version of Grief 1.0.  It even comes with a planner calendar for the future.  I have discovered some great uses for it: schedule a trip to the Christmas fair with my granddaughters, volunteering with Mother Against Drunk Drivers, a fun birthday trip.

Sometimes, I wondered if I was still operating in Grief 1.0 when the pangs of longing were triggered by something simple like seeing his favorite chocolate bar in the store.  But Grief 2.0 is much softer, and now that even makes me smile in my sadness.  In Grief 2.0, we are grateful for them being a treasured part of our lives and permanently in our hard drive memory.  However, we are also grateful for the new ones who have come into our lives since.  Surprisingly we have a bigger capacity to embrace additional treasures in our present and future too.     

"Why God?"

Feel like you have to live as an impostor?  

When my son died, I asked, "Why this way?  Why now?  Why did he die when I prayed?"  
Some well-meaning people said, "Think of what you have to be thankful for" or "It was God's will".  I pasted on a smile and nodded my head but I was an impostor because deep in my heart I could not accept these cliches. 

When Mark's wife Sue, died of cancer last March, he angrily asked, “Why God?  She was only 54 years old?”  His friends told him, "Everything has a reason and it was wrong to question God". Now, in October, his friends were happily hooking up their trailer to spend the winter in Arizona.  He and Sue were supposed to be joining them.  She was also supposed to outlive him since she was 11 years younger and she was the sparkling glue of the family.  Her death made no sense and neither did all his grief that threatened to swallow him up. 

You have the right to search for meaning

The Mourner' Bill of Rights states, " I have the right to search for meaning," but your friends may not be comfortable with the hard life questions that you are asking.  Watch out for the clichéd responses like. "God needed another angel" or "It's not a funeral but a celebration" or  "Everything has a reason".  They are not helpful but in fact minimize your loss. The idea that “Jesus took them,” mistakenly suggests that he is heartless even though he died to overcome death.  Better to say, "It was death that took them but Jesus took them away from death!”  

So is it punishment? 

Cliches can feel like God might be punishing us.  But that is not how he operates.  Jesus said,  "Those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all others… No."  (Luke 13:4–5).  No, they were not worse and being punished.  He also clarified that a man born blind was not a punishment on him or his family, saying, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him” (John 9:3).  It had a purpose.

 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:17–18)

I used to think that accepting things with a calm smile meant you were more spiritual but now I know better.  In my struggle to understand why my son was killed, I brought my questions to God for several months.  I found it especially hard when people told stories of: "My child was almost killed/ almost died of illness/ almost flunked out but God saved them."  I asked myself, "But my son did die so God, what went wrong with us?"  I had to find answers that made sense to me.  Only the desperate, the real or the courageous go there.  

Finding your own answers

Searching for meaning is natural and a common part of the journey of the desperate bereaved.  Death leaves you feeling powerless, unable to stop it.  The person who died was a part of you and now you feel empty.  It is as though a part of you died.  Now you are forced to confront the questions racing through your head about your own spiritual beliefs.  You do not have to accept the cliches.  You will find your own real and authentic answers that are meaningful to you but you may have to face that some questions may not have clear answers today and accepting that tension.  Other questions may evolve and change.  This is part of living life authentically. 

One widow found some help by asking herself, “What would my husband want for me going forward?”  That was easy: to be happy, healthy, kind and giving and take care of their family.  She thought she would try being happy again by really laughing at her favorite comedy, “Big Bang Theory” but at first she felt guilty.  At the same time though, it felt good.  He would want her to laugh again, and to use her loss to grow, adapt and as a springboard to make a difference in the world.   

For me, as a result of losing my son, I am more determined to live an authentic life.  I have little time for the petty and theatrical.  I have a deep understanding and confidence in life after death - which is a long explanation that I have mentioned in other blogs.   I have bigger dreams for my life.  My son dreamed big dreams and made the world a better place by helping build leaders at home and start Wellspring school in Rwanda - to rebuild the nation devastated by genocide.  He is an inspiration.  It’s one of the main reasons why I am now a Life Coach specializing in loss and trauma. 

My son, Ben, pretending he was "sleeping on the job", at Wellspring Academy, Rwanda. 

My son, Ben, pretending he was "sleeping on the job", at Wellspring Academy, Rwanda. 

Meaning in suffering

Concentration camp survivor, Victor Frankl told of a widower came to him in deep grief, unable to find meaning in the death of his wife.  
Frankl asked, “What if you died first and your wife survived you?”  
“That would have been terrible, she would have suffered deeply.”
“Do you see, you made a sacrifice.  You have spared her the suffering.”
The man shook his hand and said, “Thank you, you have given meaning to my pain and  to my living, I can go on now.” 

In some way, suffering ceases to be suffering the moment it has meaning, such as a sacrifice.  We can’t avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope and how we find meaning in it.  If you are searching for meaning, don't let anyone stop you.  Search for it until you satisfied - even if you do not find an answer.  It can be an important part of finding renewed living and resilience, your personal story can change, and the reason for living can be deeper and richer also. 

This is the last of my eight points in the Mourner`s Bill of Rights, "I have the right to search for meaning".  I am excited to list them all here again for you.  They give confidence to express our grief and mourning to stay on the most effective path to real healing.  

The Mourner's Bill of Rights:

1. I have the right to experience my own personal, unique grief.

2. I have the right to embrace my grief and heal.

3. I have the right to feel many different emotions including surges of grief.

4.  I have the right to treasure my memories.

5. I have the right to respect my own physical and emotional limits.

6. I have the right to talk about my grief.

7. I have the right to embrace my spirituality.

8. I have the right to search for meaning.

 

Bless you in your real and authentic journey! 

BIG HUGS AND ALL MY BEST,

Helga

Check out other helpful blog articles including : 

Five Lessons Learned in the Fire, 

 Birthday Parties in Heaven, 

He is not here,

Just Tell Me What Happened  

The Worst Nightmare

plus helpful Renewing Resilience Tips.  or scroll down for more


If you are facing loss, get the support you deserve.  For additional resources, including a no-obligation introduction coaching session with Helga Bender, MThS, for help, relief and rebuilding life again  click here.   

Please leave a comment about this blog - whether you liked it or not.  Also check out my facebook page - for the latest, or just to say Hi!  


© Helga`s Coaching Blog  2016. You are welcome to use excerpts and links, provided full and clear credit is given to  Helga Bender and Helga's Coaching Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

They said I was strong... If they only knew.

“You are so strong!” they said.

If they only knew.

I was dying on the inside.  

If you too, have wrestled with doubt, asked why a tragedy has struck you or questioned God’s goodness, you’re in good company here.   When my son died, I felt crushed, including in my spiritual life.  You will find no judgment or shame from my tiny little corner. 

I have the right to embrace my spirituality

The Mourner’s Bill of Rights states, “I have the right to embrace my spirituality”.  That includes wrestling with it, when what you trusted doesn’t make sense.  On one hand, if faith is part of your life, now is a time to try to be around people who understand and support your religious beliefs.  Your foundations are likely shaking and they can offer tremendous comfort.  But you also must be free to ask your real deep and honest questions - without being dismissed or blamed.   

This is where the rule of third’s comes in again (I mentioned it in my other blogs).  Real questions can make people uncomfortable so don’t expect more then 1/3 of those who support your beliefs to really be able to help without being critical of your questions and feelings.  Those people are pure gold. 

Personally, with a master’s degree in theology and I thought I knew how God should act.  I believed that since I was doing my part of praying and serving, that God would do his part to keep my family safe and “deliver us from evil”. But when my son was hit and killed by a criminal driver, I was confounded and felt abandoned by God.  I began to wrestle with him like Jacob did with the  Angel. 

jacobwrestling.jpg

Suffering is part of the package

Slowly, I came to realize that the bible says, (are you ready for this), suffering is a necessity and to be embraced,  "count it all joy, when you encounter various trials," (James 1:2).  Wrestling and doubt can become a gateway for deeper faith and a deeper relationship with a true, good God and to our real selves.  It has been a tough journey but I believe that good can emerge even through the thorns of suffering.  It is like a tiny rosebud on a stem of terrible thorns.  One day, it will bloom in majestic, triumphant beauty. 

Comfort or STRENGTHEN?

Some people tried to comfort me with the bible idea that suffering is for enabling a person to comfort others with the comfort you have received, (2 Cor. 1).  But I wondered, “Couldn’t God do it himself and leave me out of it?”  Then, I learned that this verse is actually poorly translated. Up until the 1700's, the word “comfort” meant, “to strengthen” not our current understanding of “delivering ease”, or making you feel better like a pain-relieving Tylenol.  The idea of delivering ease was only added more recently.  What the verse actually means is that God is promising strengthening in the midst of our pain so we too can eventually strengthen others to help them to bear up.   When I learned that, it made so much more sense, and now I get it. 

Rule of thirds

Back to the rule of thirds.  You can only expect about 1/3 of your support people to really be of comfort to you. One third may actually be detrimental, offering hurtful comments that show that they just don't "get it".    Then there is the other third that does not really help or hurt.  Today, I want to be among your positive 1/3 of people of faith who are a support to you.  

I would like to be a little bit of a beacon for you.  Your suffering is the not the last word on your life. What I discovered is that you will get through and you are not lost or abandoned. My working theory is that there is a big picture, a REALLY big picture.  God's eternal purposes for us are so huge that we are confounded by how God could possibly use the worst experiences to transform us into magnificent spiritual beings, who are made kings and priests for all eternity (Rev. 1:6). 

Next time, I am excited to blog about the very important last item in the Mourner’s Bill of Rights # 8. “I have the right to search for meaning.”   This gives depth and importance to the hardest journey.

Here is the entire Mourner’s Bill of Rights once again, to encourage you on your important journey: 

The Mourner's Bill of Rights:
1. I have the right to experience my own personal, unique grief.
2. I have the right to embrace my grief and heal.
3. I have the right to feel many different emotions including surges of grief.
4. I have the right to treasure my memories.
5. I have the right to respect my own physical and emotional limits.
6. I have the right to talk about my grief.
7. I have the right to embrace my spirituality.
8. I have the right to search for meaning.

I hope this has saved you some agony and wondering if you are doing it “right”.  There are no shortcuts, and no rules.  Your grief journey is important and to be respected, regardless of a society that wants to avoid loss.  

If you would like to discuss it or anything else about it, contact me and let’s have a conversation.  

 

BIG HUGS AND ALL MY BEST,

Helga

Check out other helpful blog articles including : 

Five Lessons Learned in the Fire, 

 Birthday Parties in Heaven, 

He is not here,

Just Tell Me What Happened  

The Worst Nightmare

plus helpful Renewing Resilience Tips.  or scroll down for more


If you are facing loss, get the support you deserve.  For additional resources, including a no-obligation introduction coaching session with Helga Bender, MThS, for help, relief and rebuilding life again  click here.   

Please leave a comment about this blog - whether you liked it or not.  Also check out my facebook page - for the latest, or just to say Hi!  


© Helga`s Coaching Blog  2016. You are welcome to use excerpts and links, provided full and clear credit is given to  Helga Bender and Helga's Coaching Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Tears and Chocolate?

Tears and chocolate?  Are you familiar with this crazy combo too? 

My true confession is that the tears and emotions after my son died were so exhausting that I was so grateful for chocolate (especially chocolate almond clusters) and sleep!  
Maybe you understand.  

Not everyone does.  

I have the right to respect my own physical and emotional limits.

Sometimes, grievers are advised, "Just keep busy. "   It sounds good but when you try it, you discover that you are too fatigued to do that. Grieving and mourning may be the hardest work you have ever done and that is why the  Mourner’s Bill of Rights states “I have the right to respect my own physical and emotional limits”.   It is important to respect what your mind and body are telling you.  If they are slowing you down,  it is to allow healing.  There is no reward for speed in grief.  Now is the time to lighten your schedule.  It is a time to nurture yourself with  daily rest, eating properly and gentle exercise and to be your own tender, caring friend.  

About chocolate almond clusters, chocolate is the most potent happy endorphin-producing food on earth and the almonds are packed with magnesium, which seems to help keep cortisol levels low.  But they are high fat so be aware. 

About three months after Ben was killed, my uncle Richard in Germany, died.  My family thought it would be nice for some of us to fly to the funeral.  I knew it would be too exhausting for me physically and emotionally triggering.  I was grateful that they understood and went without me.

Caring for yourself is not about feeling sorry for yourself, it means you are using your survival skills to keep yourself nourished and fit for your journey.

I have the right to talk about my grief

If sports fans can talk about their team losing, how much more reason to talk about losing someone precious.  Your life has been ripped apart, dreams have been pulverized and your identity has been destroyed.  You are suddenly single, or a child without a parent or a parent without a child and missing someone desperately.  Your heart's silent scream needs a voice to tell it’s story of pain and disappointment.  It is in getting the pain outside that the wound can really heal.

Sometimes, well-meaning relatives and friends want to give advice or “fix you” to “make you happy again”.  It is uncomfortable for them to see you on this painful journey and they may struggle to walk it alongside you.  Instead, find caring people who will not judge: a friend, a support group or a professional helper – I would be delighted to journey with you.  You have expressed your love for the person you have lost and now you have the right to express your grief which is the opposite side of the same coin of love.  No one has the right to belittle or dismiss your love or now, your grief and mourning.

“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand.  ...who can stay with us in an hour of grief...tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.”                                                                                                                                            ― Henri J.M. Nouwen 

These are Mourner’s Bill of Rights, points #5 & #6. I am excited that it can help to change the way people understand grief.  In understanding, we can really allow ourselves the space needed to heal, to integrate our loss and then to reengage life with energy and hope once again. 

 The Mourner's Bill of Rights:
1. I have the right to experience my own personal, unique grief.
2. I have the right to embrace my grief and heal.
3. I have the right to feel many different emotions including surges of grief.
4. I have the right to treasure my memories.
5. I have the right to respect my own physical and emotional limits.
6. I have the right to talk about my grief.
7. I have the right to embrace my spirituality.
8. I have the right to search for meaning.

Hope this helped,  more next time! 

 

BIG HUGS AND ALL MY BEST,

 

Helga

Check out other helpful blog articles including : 

Five Lessons Learned in the Fire, 

 Birthday Parties in Heaven, 

He is not here,

Just Tell Me What Happened  

The Worst Nightmare

plus helpful Renewing Resilience Tips.  or scroll down for more


If you are facing loss, get the support you deserve.  For additional resources, including a no-obligation introduction coaching session with Helga Bender, MThS, for help, relief and rebuilding life again  click here.   

Please leave a comment about this blog - whether you liked it or not.  Also check out my facebook page - for the latest, or just to say Hi!  


© Helga`s Coaching Blog  2016. You are welcome to use excerpts and links, provided full and clear credit is given to  Helga Bender and Helga's Coaching Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Ahhh...summertime and sometimes you even can enjoy it.

Sunshine, flowers, watermelon. 

And sometimes, for a few moments, you can even enjoy it. But the grief still comes and goes, even months later. 
Not everyone understands that.  Well-meaning people advise you to "be strong" or "move on" as though it was possible to forget a part of your life.  That's why we need a Mourner's Bill of Rights and I am explaining it step by step.  I introduced it in my previous blog, The Mourners Bill of Rights, The Good the Bad and the Ugly.

What do you do when grief seems to hit you right "out of the blue"?   Or what do you do about all the memories?   Read on to learn about normal emotions and waves of grief and how remembering is actually vital to healing. 

The Mourner's Bill of Rights:
1. I have the right to experience my own personal, unique grief.
2. I have the right to embrace my grief and heal.
3. I have the right to feel many different emotions including surges of grief.
4. I have the right to treasure my memories.
5. I have the right to respect my own physical and emotional limits.
6. I have the right to talk about my grief.
7. I have the right to embrace my spirituality.
8. I have the right to search for meaning.

 I have the right to feel many different emotions including surges of grief.

ball- underwater.jpg

You might be surprised that grief includes many more difficult emotions besides sadness.  Shock, disbelief, anger, loneliness, guilt, helplessness, fear, confusion, yearning and more are common.  Emotions are like beach balls, if we push them under the surface of the water, it takes up our energy and they can still pop up to the surface.  It is in facing them and expressing them in safe ways that we find the plug to deflate them.  

An 8 year old struggled with this when her pet gerbil died.  The next day, when she was asked to set the dinner table as usual.  The normally calm child had a tantrum "out of the blue" because "she always has to set the table".   This was actually her grief and anger over losing her pet, about not being able to ensure the pet lived.  Children will often act it out.  But most mourners need to find safe ways to express the emotions of grief through journaling,  hitting a tennis ball at the practice wall, drumming it out or speaking it in prayer. 

A grief wave or surge of emotion happened to a new widow who was grocery shopping.  She glanced at the "Minute Maid Lemonade"  display and she burst into tears.  It was her husband's summertime favorite.  These grief surges or bursts can come even months later and you may or may not be able to identify the trigger.  They are very normal.  It is best to take a break when they happen, breathe deep and pay attention to what they might be communicating to you.   

I have the right to treasure my memories.

Even decades after high school, most of us still have many memories of it.  If we don't forget that, why would we forget our loved one who was an integral part of our life and part of us.  Don't let any misguided person try to tell you to put away your photos and not think about them in an attempt to save you from pain. 

Facing it gently and in "doses" is how it will begin to soften.   By "doses" I mean take a limited amount, then a take break from it too.   Here's an exercise to help you lean in but without facing it all at once: Quickly brainstorm 5-10 characteristics of the person who died and then reflect on them.  Enjoy them, understand them, appreciate or alternately, forgive them. Now take a break and go smell the roses or invite an understanding friend to join you at an outdoor cafe or a baseball game.  

Remembering helps us to understand who we have been and it helps us decide who we will be in the future.  As Kierkegaard said, "Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forward".  When someone we love dies, we never forget them and we still love them.  But continuing to love them is not to the exclusion of loving the living.  We honor the love they have given us by "paying it forward" to love our family and friends around us.  Gently embracing past experiences makes us open to new ones. 

Hope you enjoyed learning,  more next time! 

 

BIG Hugs and ALL my Best,

 

Helga

Check out other helpful blog articles including : 

Five Lessons Learned in the Fire, 

 Birthday Parties in Heaven, 

He is not here,

Just Tell Me What Happened  

The Worst Nightmare

plus helpful Renewing Resilience Tips.  or scroll down for more


If you are facing loss, get the support you deserve.  For additional resources, including a no-obligation introduction coaching session with Helga Bender, MThS, for help, relief and rebuilding life again  click here.   

Please leave a comment about this blog - whether you liked it or not.  Also check out my facebook page - for the latest, or just to say Hi!  


© Helga`s Coaching Blog  2016. You are welcome to use excerpts and links, provided full and clear credit is given to  Helga Bender and Helga's Coaching Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 



Exotic Dream Trips and The Mourner's Bill of Rights

If you’re living in the middle of loss, you’d probably do anything to find a compassionate heart who really “gets it”.  In our culture that avoids loss and intellectualizes it, people don't learn about grief.  You can usually divide the support that people offer into thirds: one third of it is helpful support - these people are treasures, one third are neither helpful or unhelpful and the last third is well-intentioned but actually unhelpful.  Now, in "The Mourner's Bill of Rights" you have a guide to affirm your needs and perhaps to pass on to your well-meaning friends.  

I introduced it in my last blog and got such positive feedback!  Support is so vital to mourners and so appreciated but there are moments that you need to sort out what is truly helpful and what is not.  This Bill of Rights will help you do just that.   Here it is again, then I will explain them more.  

  
The Mourner's Bill of Rights:

1. I have the right to experience my own personal, unique grief.
2. I have the right to embrace my grief and heal.
3. I have the right to feel many different emotions including surges of grief.
4. I have the right to treasure my memories.
5. I have the right to respect my own physical and emotional limits.
6. I have the right to talk about my grief.
7. I have the right to embrace my spirituality.
8. I have the right to search for meaning.

1. You have the right to experience your own personal and unique grief.

No one else will grieve in exactly the same way you do. It is like a fingerprint, unique to you.    

What makes it so personal?  Your thousands of shared conversations and activities: the meals, the sunsets, the trips, the projects, the hugs, and the dreams.  A young widow said,  “We had been waiting for the kids to graduate, waiting to be empty-nesters and take those exotic dream trips and volunteer.  He used to be a pro-football player, in great shape.  We were stunned that his headaches were a brain tumor and suddenly he was gone.  Our lives and our dreams were shattered."  

It is also unique because you are you.  Quiet or talkative, analytical, artistic, or visionary, all these traits will be part of how you grieve.   The quiet “stiff upper lip” culture grieves differently then a talkative expressive culture.   Your personal religious views make a difference too, they may give you comfort or perhaps discomfort, or leave you grappling with big questions.  

Was your loss sudden or traumatic?  Were goodbyes said?  How, where and why your loved one died can all make a difference in your grief.  If there is stigma around the death, it can be harder - suicide, Aids, drugs, relationships.  One family was shocked to meet the “other woman” at the funeral and suddenly were too embarrassed to mention their loss.  Many other factors such as medical questions, autopsies, crimes, trials, traveling to the funeral, conflicts over the will and finances or difficulties with relatives all can affect your grief and mourning. 

Imagine the additional losses for the semi-invalid husband whose care-giving wife died.  Suddenly, he had to move to a care facility, leave his house, neighborhood supports and comforting memories - compounding his grief. 

No one is in a position to plot or schedule anyone else's mourning.  Others mean well, but don't allow them to tell what you should or should not be feeling.

2. You have the right to embrace your grief and heal.

A new widow’s son told her, “Well, you had him for 50 years of marriage, you shouldn’t complain.”  She said, “I wanted to slap him!  I told him, “I met your father when we were 15 years old, I would have happily taken him for another 50 years. I have every right to complain and to my grief””. 

Celine Dion, at the funeral of her husband

Celine Dion, at the funeral of her husband

Grief is not just a funeral event, it is the process of adjusting to an unwanted and permanent life change.  You have been injured emotionally, physically and spiritually and your life has changed forever.  The first months continue to uncover new ways you miss them: their jokes at the holiday table, their repair skills, their special gift on your birthday.  Slowly, through the "year of the firsts", you face these new losses and in “doses” which is a good way - too much at once is overwhelming. 

The emotions of grief must be gently embraced because otherwise they can stay inside you until you do.  Journaling, talking it out, music and art all help to get them from the inside to the outside.  Unfortunately, sometimes those around you want you to "get back to "normal".  The trouble is that your normal is gone and you can never get it back.  About two years after my son died, I woke up one morning and realized I had to live in this new normal, of a bereaved parent with only one living child now, whether I wanted it or not.  

When you express and embrace your grief, you can release the pain and begin to reconcile yourself to it.  Avoid by-standers who are impatient with the process. 

We are happy to find love, which means most of us will face grief one day as a part of life, they are two sides of the same coin.   I hope that understanding these “rights” as a mourner has affirmed that your grief is unique and that embracing it leads to acceptance, peace and integration.  Being an authentic mourner will help you travel back to the find the spark and the light of life.   

We are told “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted”.  The comfort comes with the remembering and mourning.   My prayer for you is that you too will be deeply comforted and uncover your life light again.  

Watch for my next blog, and more about The Mourner’s Bill of Rights.

Big Hugs,

Helga  

If you are facing loss, get help for dramatic relief and rebuilding, get the support you deserve.  Let's have a conversation about your situation, contact me for a phone or skype coaching chat about your situation, Helga Bender, MThS,  click here.   

Your comments are valuable to me, please leave one below - whether you liked it or not.  Also check out my facebook page - for the latest, or just to say Hi!  


© Helga`s Coaching Blog  2016. You are welcome to use excerpts and links, provided full and clear credit is given to  Helga Bender and Helga's Coaching Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Mourner's Bill of Rights (or The Good, the Bad and the Ugly)

Linda was a new widow, and her dear husband of 41 years had died.  One day, while out for coffee, her friend said “Well, it’s been three months since Don died, I think it is time for you to move on.”  Linda’s grief was still so raw, and she was so shocked that she did not know what to say.  

Have you too had something weird, something offensive like that said to you?  

People mean well when they give advice but often they don’t truly understand your loss.  They blurt out something that they hope will be helpful.   You need to decide if it is helpful or maybe even harmful.  The trouble is that you may have never walked this journey before and it is hard to know the difference. 

That’s why the Mourner’s Bill of Rights was born.  It will give you greater confidence to leave unhelpful advice and not take it to heart.  It will empower you to sort it all out.  The eight rights cover emotional,  physical and spiritual aspects. 

I am excited about it and I think you are going to really like it.  In this blog post, I will explain why people don’t “get it” and in my next blog posts I will continue to explain the Mourners Bill of Rights. 

Why do you need a Bill of Rights? 

Getting back to Linda, she was too taken back to respond, so her friend continued, “You look pretty good for 61 years old, I can get you set up on that e-harmony dating site.”  She thought she was doing Linda a favour.  People like this mean well but the reality is that they do not understand the grief journey.   

•    Our culture does not teach it. Instead it avoids loss and grief – even from childhood.  A child comes home from Kindergarten crying that someone was mean to them.  Their parent said, “Don’t cry, have a cookie”.  The lesson is not to cry and to divert your attention with a little sugar.  Then as adults, people say, “Be strong” and “Try these lemon squares” (or something stronger then sugar).  They are usually uncomfortable with true emotions.  Linda’s friend wanted divert her from the loss with e-harmony. 

•    Others say cliches because that is what they have heard.  Aunt Mary said it and it sounded pretty good so they repeat it to you,  “God needed another angel” as though that makes any sense, or “It happened for a reason”.   They don’t really know if it is helpful but that is the best they have to offer.  They are hoping it might work for you. 

•    They intellectualize and say, “He’s in a better place” or  “He lead a full life”.   They are avoiding the emotions and appealing to your intellect. Your brain may agree because your brain is not broken, BUT it is our heart that is broken.  That is where love lives, and that is where our pain is.  Speaking to our intellect does not comfort our broken heart. 

•    They think that the way they feel is the way you feel too – but their loss so much less.   They may have spent 1-2 hours a month with your loved one and they are moving on.  You spent every day for 10- 24 hrs with your loved one for decades.  Their life has not been shattered but yours has been changed in every way. 

When someone has an amputation, they need rest, support and recuperation.  They have to learn new life skills and they need a vision for how to go forward in a life so changed.  My clients come in and say, “I feel like my right arm has been amputated” and emotionally and spiritually, it has been.  They too need rest, recuperation and support.  They need to learn new life skills and they too need a vision that the pain will soften and how to go forward in a life dramatically changed.  

I want to give you the entire Bill of Rights right away because I am so excited that about it.  I think you will love it.  It will empower you to finally have a tool to help you sort out the good, the bad and the ugly advice.  But in my next blog post I will explain how to powerfully apply it in your life.  You will learn how to

  • ensure that you are free to do the grief work that you need to do
  • ensure that people do not press you into their ideas and unrealistic expectations 
  • ensure that there are no blocks in your path to healing 

Here it is: 

The Mourner's Bill of Rights


1. I have the right to experience my own personal, unique grief.

2. I have the right to embrace my grief and heal.

3. I have the right to feel many different emotions including             Surges of grief.

4.  I have the right to treasure my memories.

5. I have the right to respect my own physical & emotional limits.

6. I have the right to talk about my grief.

7. I have the right to embrace my spirituality.

8. I have the right to search for meaning.

See you next time for more on the Mourner's Bill of Rights!

Big Hugs,

Coach Helga

Check out other helpful blog articles including : 

Five Lessons Learned in the Fire, 

 Birthday Parties in Heaven, 

He is not here,

Just Tell Me What Happened  

The Worst Nightmare

plus helpful Renewing Resilience Tips.  or scroll down for more


If you are facing loss, get the support you deserve.  For additional resources, including a no-obligation introduction coaching session with Helga Bender, MThS, for help to move from ruin into rebuilding  click here.   

Please leave a comment about this blog - whether you liked it or not.  Also check out my facebook page - for the latest, or just to say Hi!  


© Helga`s Coaching Blog  2016. You are welcome to use excerpts and links, provided full and clear credit is given to  Helga Bender and Helga's Coaching Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

 

Don't be surprised if the second year is harder

My neighbour leaned over the fence and told me, “It gets harder you know, the second year is hell”.  She had lost her son.  “Poor woman,” I thought, filing it far back in my memory.   

Our neighbours were a close-knit Greek family, proud of their successful 29 year old son, Tony.  His family loved him.

Every Sunday, his sexy red sports car pulled up at dinner time. This week his Mom had run out of tzatziki sauce for their dinner.  It was a sunny afternoon.  He jumped into his car and dashed off to buy some sauce at the grocery store just blocks away from home.   

Then the unthinkable happened.

A car pulled out and cut him off. 

He was killed - instantly. 

His family was devastated.   

Ten years later, and thousands of kilometers away in British Columbia, my own son, Ben, was now 25 years old and his family loved him. It was a sunny afternoon. He was out bicycling just blocks away from home.  

Then the unthinkable happened.

A criminal driver hit him from behind. 

bike mangled.jpg

He was killed - instantly.  

Our family was devastated.

In the next months of terrible grief,  I remembered my bereaved neighbour’s words about the second year.  I thought, “That’s crazy!  Nothing could be harder then this first year”.  

Then the second year hit. Yes, hit.  And I learned the truth, the second year is harder then the first.

In the first year, the raw burning hole in my heart was partly numbed by the shock and the daze of the loss.  That helped me get through the endless chores of laying a loved one to rest.  It helped me get through a birthday or holiday which brought a new layer of missing him.  I was forgetful and distracted.  My grief was also mixed with anger at the injustice of it all.  I pounded on heaven’s door asking “Why did he die God, how did you let something so wrong happen?”

At Ben’s first death anniversary, I felt I had endured to this big milestone, and somehow the worst should be over.  But the suffocating heartbreak was still the next morning.   

In the second year, I really wrestled with my “Why” questions and my anger and that was agonizing.  In a shocking death, the numbness can last into the second year but it was wearing off just as I was facing the new round of grief as the permanency of loss set in.  In the second year the special days like birthdays hit harder and were more painful.  The exhaustion and bone weariness of mourning was also taking its toll just when friends were drifting away, occupied elsewhere. 

In the second year, on the bad days, the pain seemed as sharp as in the first year and I wondered if I was making any progress at all.  But I began to understand the process grief and mourning.  I found that leaning into the waves of grief helped dissipate them.  I also learned that the nature of grief is that it is up and down with unpredictable bursts but the length and sharpness is usually slowly lessening.  

In the second year, friends often think we should be "moving on", but the truth is that we need to take the time to go backwards first, to remember, review and understand our lives together with our loved one.  It takes time to look back to understand our relationship and appreciate what was good, valuable and joyful and sort out what was not so good.  (In fact, the complicated painful relationships are as difficult to grieve as the loving ones and sometimes even more.)  Only then can we decide what we want to bring forward into our own lives and values in the future.   

For me, I decided I would no longer “sweat the small stuff”anymore, after all, no one died.  I decided to be more intentional about letting my family know I cherished them.  I decided to move 3,000 km, to be with my dear daughter, son-in-law and precious grandchildren to be a support to them.

I also learned that the love I shared with my son is still in my heart after death.  If the love is in our heart, when we move forward we do not leave it behind.  It is a part of us now.  Instead, we carry them into the future with us in our hearts, in the ways they touched our lives and in our own unique ways of remembering.  

If you are in your second year, don’t be surprised if it is harder then you imagined.  But you will make it through.  There is coming a time, when you too, will say,

“I have loved and lost, but I will always cherish the privilege of having loved.”  

Big Hugs,

Coach Helga

Check out other helpful blog articles including : 

Five Lessons Learned in the Fire, 

 Birthday Parties in Heaven, 

He is not here,

Just Tell Me What Happened  

The Worst Nightmare

plus helpful Renewing Resilience Tips.  or scroll down for more


If you are facing loss, get the support you deserve.  For additional resources, including a no-obligation introduction coaching session with Helga Bender, MThS, for help to move from ruin into rebuilding  click here.   

Please leave a comment about this blog - whether you liked it or not.  Also check out my facebook page - for the latest, or just to say Hi!  


© Helga`s Coaching Blog  2016. You are welcome to use excerpts and links, provided full and clear credit is given to  Helga Bender and Helga's Coaching Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Dear Abby, Is Grandma going crazy?

Dear “Abby”, 

Is my Grandma going crazy?  She told us that Gramps came and had breakfast with her, three days AFTER he died! 

She is British, a staunch church-goer and not the type to believe in ghosts.  But she said he quietly came in the kitchen while she was having tea and toast.  He sat down at the table with her. 

She was surprised but not afraid and simply asked him what she always did, “Tea Dear?”  

“No Dorothy,  I am here to tell you that the place I have gone to is very beautiful, and I am very happy there.  One day you will come too and see it, “ he answered then he disappeared.  It gave her great peace she said.  

She is not on any medication and is convinced it really happened.  What should we do?

Signed: Confused

 

Dear Confused,

It is not easy to understand supernatural experiences.  They burst out beyond the limits of normal science.  However, quantum physics is giving us good reasons to look at this seriously and so is new research which measures electrical activity around the time of death.  In 2014,  “A team of psychologists and medical doctors associated with the University of Berlin, announced that they had proven the existence of some form of life after death… based on the conclusions of a study using a new type of medically supervised near-death experience,” with almost 1000 volunteers.

After Death Communication

Psychologists, ministers and hospice workers are all familiar with the kind of experience that you describe.  They call it After Death Communication.  In fact about 30% of people in my personal coaching work report a vision, a dream, a sensation, a smell, a symbol or “hearing” internally or externally from their deceased loved one, sometimes for years.  Most often, it is a great comfort to them.   

Dream Study

Recently, a study done by Jennifer E. Shorter, PHD on “Visitation Dreams in Grieving Individuals” reveals some common elements of these kinds of dreams.  The deceased usually appeared younger or more healthy and communicate,  "I am OK and still with you", with or without words. These dreams are typically clear, vivid, and intense and are often called lucid dreams.  It also helps the grieving process and/or brings a wider spiritual perspective.  The awake dream or “vison” that people like your grandmother have is usually very much like this too.  

Christian Religious View

Is there a religious precedent for this?  Your Grandma is a church-goer so I will talk about the Christian view.  In the bible, Jesus was on Mount Hermon (Mount of Transfiguration) with Peter, James and John.  They all saw Elijah and Moses who were long gone (Mathew 17).  Jesus talked to them and the other three heard the conversation with these 2 “dead” men even though the Old Testament warns of not seeking the dead with mediums, etc.  Why then did Jesus engage in earnest conversation with them?  The warning is not to contact them by seances or mediums but they came to Jesus directly and perhaps that is key for us,  letting them come spontaneously.  

There is also much evidence that people “carry on”  after they die.  In Mathew 22, Jesus explained that God said,  ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”  The point is that though they are dead to men, but they are not dead to God; they are alive with him.   There is one church or body in heaven and earth (Eph. 4:4), which implies we can have fellowship with those in the earth and heaven too.  Hebrews also talks about faithful men who are dead and yet surround us like witnesses (Hebrews 12:1), “...so vast a cloud of witnesses surrounding us.”  This means they are alive, aware and cheering  us on to run our race as they watch us.  In Acts 12, Peter knocked on a door and their belief was that his "angel" or "messenger" could visit in his form.  Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 12:3 “I know a man caught up into paradise—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know,” which implies a consciousness in the body or out.  If this is a little mind boggling, remember, “All things are possible with God.” Mathew 19:26.

Lastly, Jesus came alive after his death and gives that gift to those who believe. He appeared to many people for 40 days after he died.  He walked through walls to visit his friends, along the beach and with friends on the road to Emmaus and then disappeared.  He levitated up into heaven while 500 people watched.  He even appeared as a floating ball of light that spoke to Paul on the road to Damascus.  He made an amazing promise that believers would do what he did and greater things.  

Conclusion

As you can see, there is considerable evidence that your Grandma's experience is not unusual. Unless you can prove it did not happen, I would choose to believe that it did.   The comfort and peace that your grandmother received is a gift for her - and perhaps for you too. 

Big Hugs,

Coach Helga (in place of “Abby”)

Ps. If you have had a dream or visit, I would love to hear about it, in the comments below, or on my facebook or e-mail me at coach@helgabender.com  If you liked this, please share it with others. 

Check out other helpful blog articles including : 

Five Lessons Learned in the Fire, 

 Birthday Parties in Heaven, 

He is not here,

Just Tell Me What Happened  

The Worst Nightmare

plus helpful Renewing Resilience Tips.  or scroll down for more


If you are facing loss, get the support you deserve.  For additional resources, including a no-obligation introduction coaching session to discuss your situation and renew resilience and tranquility, with Helga Bender MThS, click here.   (specializing in faith-based coaching)

Please leave a comment, check out my facebook page - for the latest, just to say hi, or to leave a comment and let me know whether you like it or not. 


© Helga`s Coaching Blog  2015. You are welcome to use excerpts and links, provided full and clear credit is given to  Helga Bender and Helga's Coaching Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.