8/27/15

reflections: remembering don spector on his birthday


Today would have been my dad’s 90th birthday.

If, that is, he had lived more than a few weeks past his 49th birthday.

It took me a long time before I could picture Dad as the man he was before cancer so cruelly altered him and our lives.

I try to imagine him now as an elderly man with all the physical changes that come with advanced age.

Yet despite how he might now look if he’d been able to grow old, what comes through in my thoughts are the qualities about him that would have remained ageless;

His compassion.

His sense of humor.

His intelligence.

His insightfullness.

His love.

These are the realities of Dad that remain ageless. And always with me.

Laurie

8/24/15

sleeping solo




Some people find it difficult adjusting to sleeping alone after his or her partner has died.

It’s often uncomfortable to change your position on the bed after having shared it with a partner. For some, moving into a bedmate's “space” may feel comforting while for others it’s a painful acknowledgment that a loved one is no longer there.

Whether you feel most comfortable sleeping on your usual side of the bed or moving to your late partner’s side, here are some tips for helping you adjust to sleeping alone:

1) Try hugging a pillow to help you doze off.

2) You may want to sleep with an article of clothing that carries your partner’s familiar scent.

3) If you’re uncomfortable moving from your customary position, try out shifting yourself gradually toward the center of the bed.

4) If you initially find it comforting to have your young child/children sleep with you, try to ease them back into their own beds as soon as possible. While it may be reassuring to you and your child in the short term, you don’t want to burden children with the responsibility of “taking care” of you.

5) Sharing the bed with your pets, however, is a better way to feel less alone.

Adjusting to sleeping by yourself is a very personal process. There is no right or wrong about this, so take your time and move (or sleep) at your own pace.

8/20/15

ruth joins huffpost live panel on overcoming sudden loss


 On 5-5-15, Ruth was interviewed on HuffPost Live as part of a program "How to Overcome Sudden Loss".


Although prompted by the recent death of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg's husband, Dave Goldberg, who died suddenly following an exercise accident, the subject of sudden loss itself was the focus.   

As a professional psychotherapist who was herself widowed in her mid-40's, Ruth joined the discussion on the challenges of surviving being widowed and coping with the sudden death of a loved one.

Go to HuffPost Live to watch this informative program.

And please share your thoughts and reactions with us!

8/17/15

when sudden death strikes


Whenever we hear of the recent, unexpected death of a celebrity it reminds us of the fragility of life and highlights the special challenges facing surviving spouses, family and friends.

If you’ve lost your spouse/partner to a sudden death or know someone who has, understanding the following tips from our book may help you cope:

1.) When death comes unexpectedly, it seems unreal, like a bad dream that will be over once you wake up. Expect this sense of unreality to persist for awhile.

2.) With any sudden death, there is almost always unfinished business: unresolved conflicts, words either spoken in anger or not at all, plans left unclear or incomplete. You’re cheated of the opportunity to put things in order before the finality of death.

3.) You may feel rage over the unfairness of what has happened.

4.) You have to struggle with a sense of helplessness as events following the death move you along with them. There is often a need to place blame somewhere.


With any sudden death, expect the mourning process to take somewhat longer than usual, as the shock of the loss is generally greater than with a death that was anticipated. Be gentle with yourself and take the time you need to grieve. Learn more in this excellent article by Barbara Paul, Ph.D., Reactions to Sudden or Traumatic Loss.

Please send us your thoughts and/or reactions.

8/13/15

am I responsible for my spouse’s debts?




In addition to the trauma of your partner’s death, you may also face the burden of his or her financial debts.

Here is some advice from Bill Hardekopf, CEO of LowCards.com and author of The Credit Card Guidebook:

When is a surviving spouse not responsible for credit card debt?

If a credit card is only in your spouse's name, the debt only belongs to your spouse (there are exceptions to this in community property states). Family members will not be responsible for the debt or forced to pay it. Even if you are a second cardholder on the account who has charging privileges, but it is not a joint account, you are not responsible for the remaining debt.

If the card is only in your spouse's name, the estate is responsible for paying off the balance. The executor of the estate will use the assets to pay off the debts. If the estate doesn't have the money to pay the bill, then credit card companies must write it off and the account is closed.

There are several instances when the surviving spouse is responsible for the credit card debt.If the card is a joint account, this means that your name is also listed on the account and the card is reported on your credit report. You will be responsible for the debt after your spouse dies.

In addition, if you live in a community property state, you could also be responsible for the debt. Assets that are gained together during marriage are classified as joint property in these states.

This can also apply to debt. Debt gained together during marriage is considered joint debt and the surviving spouse is responsible. Rules vary by state. States that use common property laws include: Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. Sometimesthe surviving spouse will only have to pay the debts that he or she benefited from like food, utilities and health care. (read more)