12/2/10

travel options for solo travelers


Want to get away from it all during the holiday season but not sure about traveling since you lost your partner/spouse?
The notion of traveling can be especially challenging if you have few friends who are available and/or able to take the time or share the expense of joining you.

Here are links to three of our posts that you should find helpful.

In Part 1, we talk about some of the emotional issues that can arise as you plan a vacation following the loss of your spouse/partner.

In Part 2, we explore some travel options especially for women travelers.

In Part 3, we offer some travel ideas that include educational experiences, opportunities for male travelers and situations where you may want to bring along your kids or grandkids.

Please let us know if you’ve discovered any other services or resources for solo travelers.

Bon Voyage!

11/23/10

widowhood way back when: how pilgrims progressed though loss




If you’re looking ahead to a Thanksgiving dinner that will probably be hindered by a bad case of heartburn or having to cope with troublesome relatives, consider what the original Pilgrims had to cope with.

Especially the widowed survivors.

For a look back, we discovered the informative article, Pilgrim Burials on the site www.lovetoknow.com.

According to this excerpt from authors J.C. Redmond and MaryBeth Adomaitis, “Pilgrim burials were relatively simple affairs. The occupants of the Mayflower were buried in unmarked graves because it is thought that they didn't want the Native Americans living in the area to know how small of a population they were.”

The authors go on to say, “Conditions on the Atlantic Ocean crossing were poor, at best. What little fresh food the Pilgrims brought with them was quickly consumed. There was no personal space to be had; passengers slept in hammocks, since there were no cabins for passengers.

The occupants of the ship were miserable. To make matters worse, two passengers died en route to America. They were buried at sea in an effort to stem the spread of disease. Family members did not have an exact burial site to visit and there was no time for the traditional observations of grief."

Describing Pilgrim burials, the authors go on to say, “When Pilgrims died, headstones were not erected at the burial site. No artisans skilled in carving stone had come over with the first group of settlers. In addition, there was no stone available in the area where the Pilgrims settled from which to fashion a monument to the dead. Their first priority was to concentrate on the tasks necessary for survival; even if the stone carvers had come on the trip, there wasn't any time to carve headstones.

A family wanting to erect a headstone in memory of a loved one would have to go to the expense of having one brought over from England.”

Redmond and Adomaitis go on describe burial rituals: “In the early years after the arrival of the Pilgrims in North America, funerals were a very simple matter. No funeral ceremony was conducted and no special sermon was given. The grieving family did not wear mourning clothes for a certain time after the death.

Embalming of the body of the deceased was not done. On occasion, graves were opened and reused. The bodies of a family or a small community may share the same grave.”


So enjoy the meal and be grateful that as difficult as some relatives can be, at least you aren’t stuck with them for all eternity.

11/11/10

veteran's survivors assistance

If your late spouse or parent was a veteran or service member, you may want to check out the Office of Survivors Assistance page on the Dept. of Veteran’s Affairs website. The OSA is a department within a department that was set up in 2008 to specially deal with survivor’s issues and information.

We’ve talked about the updated VA site in a previous post and it continues to be easy to navigate.

The OSA pages offer lots of information about dependent’s benefits as well as burial information.

There’s an excellent “Quick Tips” page that offers an empathic and practical guide through the process of gathering necessary documentation and filing a claim for benefits.

Let us know what your experiences have been in dealing with the OSA.

11/4/10

reflections: quotes to get you through the days; part 10



1. No matter how far we travel, the memories will follow in the baggage car.
- August Strindberg

2. We do not remember days; we remember moments. 
- Cesare Pavese

3. Making the beginning is one third of the work. 
-Irish Proverb

4. Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other.
-Walter Elliot

5. Our sorrows and wounds are healed only when we touch them with compassion. 
-Buddha

10/28/10

beware the ghouls and goblins that prey on the widowed! part 2

In Part 1, we gave tips on how to identify and protect yourself from the ghouls and goblins, (AKA well-meaning friends and family) that prey on the vulnerability of the newly widowed.



Here are two more creatures you should be aware of.


3. Demolition Demons

Spot them: These creatures love to pressure you with sincere but unwelcome advice aimed at dismantling reminders of your former life. Under the guise of “it’s for your own good”, they urge you to give away your spouse’s belongings, sell your car, home, or other valuables, move to another city, or make other important changes…quickly.

Ward them off by: Keeping in mind that making hasty decisions while you’re grieving usually results in later regrets. Tell DD’s,“ I need more time before I make any important decisions. I’ll consider taking these steps when I’m in a better frame of mind.” If this doesn’t stop them, a simple, “Not now!” may work.


4. Creepy Crawlers

Spot them: Often a family friend or neighbor, these predators exploit your trust at a time when you’re most vulnerable. When these creeps offer a sympathetic “shoulder to cry on”, that’s not the only part of their bodies they want to share with you.

Ward them off by: Letting them know how insulted you feel and what a betrayal of trust their offers have caused. Or you might say, “You’ve obviously misread me/the situation. I’m not interested!”


The grieving process can be scary enough without these creatures. With a little caution and some assertiveness, you can send them scurrying back into the darkness.

10/25/10

beware the ghouls and goblins that prey on the widowed! part 1


In honor of Halloween, we're reprinting these hair-raising posts.



Part 1


In the days and weeks following your spouse’s death, shock and exhaustion can leave you vulnerable to certain people who are difficult to avoid.

Usually disguised as well-meaning family and friends, these creatures often unknowingly say or do upsetting things.

Here are some tips for identifying them and protecting yourself:

1. Platitude Ghouls

Spot them: Though well-intentioned, these creatures don’t think before spewing out insensitive remarks such as, “It’s all for the best”, “Aren’t you over it yet?”, “Don’t worry – you’ll find someone else” or “ I went through exactly the same thing during my divorce.”

Ward them off by: Changing the subject.


2. Gruesome Grabbers

Spot them: Usually adult children/step-children, cousins, or other relatives, these creatures swoop in while you’re still off-balance and start nosing around for “remembrances” of your late spouse. Can often be found burrowing through closets and drawers while you’re in another part of the house.

Ward them off by: Telling them, “I’m just not ready to deal with this yet. I’ll let you know when I’m up to it.” Then be sure to keep an eye on them.


There’s more in Part 2.


9/20/10

a legal site with useful links



Need to become better informed about a legal issue that’s come up since your partner died?

We’re always looking for free, reliable online sources of information and think that FindLaw.com is worth checking out.

Although FindLaw.com is primarily an online referral site for finding a lawyer, it also has some useful links to official state sites so you can browse relevant laws.

In addition, the FindLaw site offers an online guide to hiring a lawyer as well as a listing of your state’s legal aid resources.

If you’re looking for a lawyer, check out our post, Need A Lawyer?

Let us know what you think and if you’ve discovered other online resources.

9/6/10

wow! we’ve made it to 200!




Since our first posts over a year and a half ago, when we were almost clueless about blogging, we’ve published 200 posts (this makes 201) on our lostmypartner.com blog.

We’d really appreciate any feedback you can give us about posts you’ve found most helpful and/or topics you’d like to see us cover in the future.

In our efforts to provide the best support and information to the widowed and their family and friends, we’d appreciate any suggestions about how to improve this site or our website, lostmypartner.com.

Thanks for visiting!

Laurie and Ruth

8/16/10

we're taking the week off


Ruth and I are taking this week off from blogging.

We'll be back with you next Monday.

In the meantime, take care of yourself and check out some of our past posts.


Best Wishes,
Laurie

7/29/10

reflections: quotes to get you through the days; part 8



1) It's so curious: one can resist tears and 'behave' very well in the hardest hours of grief. But then someone makes you a friendly sign behind a window, or one notices that a flower that was in bud only yesterday has suddenly blossomed, or a letter slips from a drawer... and everything collapses.
- Colette

2) Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak whispers the o'er-fraught heart and bids it break.
- William Shakespeare

3) Tears are the silent language of grief.
- Voltaire

4) One who gains strength by overcoming obstacles possesses the only strength which can overcome adversity.
-Albert Schweitzer

5) Grief is the price we pay for love.
- Elizabeth II

6/28/10

reflections: quotes for getting through the days; part 7



1) Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.
-From a headstone in Ireland

2) If you're going through hell, keep going.
- Winston Churchill

3) Courage is being afraid but going on anyhow.
-Dan Rather

4) There are things that we don't want to happen but have to accept, things we don't want to know but have to learn, and people we can't live without but have to let go.
-Author Unknown

5) She was no longer wrestling with the grief, but could sit down with it as a lasting companion and make it a sharer in her thoughts.
-George Eliot

5/31/10

great resources for military widowed


If your partner/spouse was in the armed services, these previous posts offer valuable links to supportive resources:

- Resources for Military Survivors
- Updates in Veteran’s Benefits Website

Check them out.

Please let us know if you’ve discovered any additional information that would be helpful to our readers.

Ours thoughts and best wishes are with anyone who has lost a loved one in service to our country.

5/17/10

when should i stop wearing my wedding ring and other timelines about widowhood; part 3


Our series of posts about important timeline questions continues:



*When should I start visiting the gravesite?

Have you visited your late spouse/partner’s grave since the funeral?

If not, do you find you just can’t bring yourself to go? Even when family and friends offer to accompany you?

Do you feel guilty because this ritual is one a widowed partner is supposed to observe?

Actually, there are no “rules” about this. Although some faiths mark the end of the first year of mourning by observing a memorial for the deceased, visiting the gravesite is otherwise a very personal choice.

While some people find regular visits comforting, others find it too upsetting and choose not to visit. Some visit only on special occasions or holidays.

As with all other aspects of mourning, you should trust your own sense of what feels right for you. It’s okay to give yourself as much time as you need before you’re ready to take this step.



*When Will My Mourning Be Over?

(Excerpted from our book, Lost My Partner – What’ll I Do? Revised and Expanded Edition).

The mourning process is often described as feeling as though you’re stuck on a roller-coaster.

Nobody chooses this ride, but once it starts, you have to hold on tight and trust you’ll eventually be back on solid ground. The first few dips can be unsettling, and just when the track straightens out and you think you can finally relax, there may be a few more dips before you get to the finish.

The hopeful news is, if you don’t try to jump out before the ride ends, and if you have someone (or a group) beside you for support, the dips will come less frequently, and you’ll recover more quickly.

“How long will this ride take?”

In most cultures of the world, the period of mourning is traditionally one year, however, the answer is different for everyone. (read more)

4/15/10

reflections: quotes for getting through the days; part 6






1) Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in getting up every time we do.
-Confucius

2) A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
- Laozi (Chinese philosopher)

3) Don’t count the days, make the days count.
- Muhammad Ali

4) Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.
- African proverb

5) It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.
- Confucius

3/12/10

reflections: quotes for getting through the days; part 5


1) Keep constantly in mind in how many things you yourself have witnessed changes already. The universe is change, life is understanding.
Marcus Aurelius

2) To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly.
Henri Bergson

3) All growth is a leap in the dark, a spontaneous, unpremeditated act without benefit of experience.
Henry Miller

4) The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today.
Franklin D. Roosevelt

5) If you hear a voice within you say "you cannot paint," then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.
Vincent Van Gogh

3/1/10

join us to celebrate the first anniversary of lostmypartnerblog!


It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since we began this blog.

At the time, we were clueless about how to be bloggers and uncertain whether anyone out there in the blogosphere would discover us.

Since then, we’ve been touched and inspired by the wonderful, insightful comments we’ve received from our readers.

Because we don’t have a typical “fans” sidebar (for reasons of privacy), we’d love to hear from you.

During the month of March, we’re asking you to send us your best tips for coping with loss.

We’ll then publish the best entries on lostmypartnerblog.com.

Email us at contact@lostmypartner.com.

We look forward to hearing from you!

2/19/10

another movie that deals with loss



In our post from last October, Seen Any Good Movies Lately? we listed several films that deal with the death of a spouse/partner.

A more recent addition to the list is the film, A Single Man. The film has just received an Oscar nomination for Best Actor.

Nominee Colin Firth stars as an early 1960’s English professor in Los Angeles, whose long-time partner suddenly dies. The story follows Firth’s character as he struggles with a range of feelings common to anyone who has lost a partner/spouse.

Let’s hear from you!