11/7/11

show support for military families


In addition to Veteran's Day coming up, the President has declaired November as "Military Family Month".  Whether you're a surviving family member or just want to offer support to the families of deceased or currently deployed service men and women, here's some great non-profit organizations you should check out: 

T.A.P.S. (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors), is an outstanding organization that provides 24/7 support and resources for military survivors of all ages.Their home page offers several options for bereavement support, as well as services and resources for grieving survivors.

National Military Family Association.  In addition to a survivor resources page, this site offers good resources and ways to support the families of active military.

Military Family Support. This site suggests a variety of simple, cost-free ways to support military families.

We encourage you to check these out.

Please let us know about other sites you've discovered!

9/8/11

widowhood way back when: victorian calling cards


Before the advent of telephones, let alone computers, the 19th century widowed received messages of support and condolence through calling cards.

We found this interesting information by Stacy Calvert on eHow.com., which we’ve excerpted:

Calling cards were an important part of Victorian social life, especially among the well-to-do and social-climbing members of the middle class.

Simple and personalized, they carried meaning not conveyed by text, but rather in the way they were physically manipulated before being left at the home of a friend, acquaintance or potential social connection.

If a card was left intact, it meant it had been delivered by a servant; if bent or torn on the top right corner, it signified congratulations. On the top left, a social call. On the bottom left, goodbye. A calling card bent at the bottom right acted as a Victorian-era sympathy card.

A black border on the card meant the caller was in mourning. Popular symbols, such as birds, flowers and hands indicated sentiments, such as friendship and peaceful intentions.


Imagine the confusion if your cards were accidentally folded the wrong way while in your pocket or purse.





8/22/11

reflections: quotes for getting through the days; part 3


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

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

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

4)When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure.
-Author Unknown

5)Unable are the loved to die. For love is immortality.
-Emily Dickinson

8/1/11

vacation options for men and/or multigenerations



In Vacationing Without Your Spouse/Partner, we covered the emotional issues that arise when planning a vacation without your late spouse/partner. In Tips for Women Travelers, we explored some travel options for women travelers.

Now we’ll offer some travel experiences that include men travelers and situations where you may want to bring along your kids or grandkids.

Men Travelers

While some men are comfortable traveling on their own, others may prefer not to. One option is to ask a friend or relative to share the experience.

A less conventional option, if you’re a man between 40 and 68 who enjoys dancing and socializing, is travel on a cruise ship as a “Gentleman Host”. With greater numbers of single women taking cruises, there’s a steady demand for eligible single men to provide dance partners. Aside from the opportunities to see the world at little cost, being a Gentleman Host offers numerous on-board benefits. For more information, visit the Gentlemen Hosts Page on the Compass Speakers site. .

Some Great Vacation Experiences for Everyone

Road Scholar Educational Adventures is program through the non-profit organization Elderhostel that combines learning with travel. Tours throughout the U.S. and the world are conducted by experts knowledgeable in the subjects you’re studying. Road Scholar offers numerious tours that can selected according to interests, geography and activity level.

Smithsonian Journeys , is affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution and also offers a wide range of worldwide educational travel experiences. They have several tours for specially designed for families. Once on the site, look for the 'Find A Tour' menu, go to 'Types of Tours' , and navigate to 'Family Programs'. There you'll discover a wide rang of local and international adventures.

Discovered other travel ideas? Please share them with us.

Bon Voyage!

7/28/11

tips for women travelers



In our post, Vacationing Without Your Spouse/Partner, we talk about some of the emotional issues that can arise as you plan a vacation following the loss of your spouse/partner.

If you are a woman however, there can be further concerns about traveling on your own. Feeling vulnerable both socially and physically and steep supplemental charges if you don’t want to share a room or cabin, may make you reluctant to venture out on your own.

However, according to a March, 2009 Reuters report, the CEO’s of the two leading international companies reported that six in 10 travelers today are women – up from five in 10 in 2007. In addition, 30% of female travelers today are booking their trips as solo travelers, traveling either alone or with women friends, despite their marital status.

To encourage solo travelers, these top travel companies now offer free or low cost single supplements, a free roommate matching program, a 30-day risk free guarantee at booking and more. Learn more.

Check out Wanderlust and Lipstick (wanderlustandlipstick.com), a wonderfully informative travel site packed with tips, information and tour options especially for women (some include men as well).

Or look into Women Travel Tips, (womentraveltips.com), another site primarily for women travelers.

In our next post, we offer travel options for both men and women as well as vacation adventures you can share with your kids and/or grandkids.

7/21/11

reflections from lost my partner: even more words of wisdom


Here are more sayings from our book, Lost My Partner – What’ll I Do?

1) For now, it’s okay to ask for help from others. Nobody’s strong all the time. Even Superman can be weakened by Krytonite.

2) Confusion and memory loss are normal and temporary symptoms.

3) The first year is full of first everythings.

4) Any new situation will start out being uncomfortable the first time. The next time is always easier.

5) Bereavement is a learning experience about you. You’ll discover new capabilities and strengths you didn’t realize you had.

7/18/11

reflections from lost my partner: 5 words of wisdom



Here are some of the collected ‘words of wisdom’ excerpted from our book, Lost My Partner – What’ll I Do? Revised and Expanded Edition.

Print out and carry with these with you for those moments when you need a little boost of support.


1) It does get better. The pain will soften with time.


2) Every tear helps. The best way to get through mourning is to do the grieving.


3) You will mourn in your own way and in your own time.


4) For now, not normal is normal.


5) Most of your whole world has been turned upside down. Be gentle with yourself.

7/7/11

widowhood way back when: the card carrying widowed





In part 1 and part 2 of our post topic, "When the Visits Stop", we talked about ways to let others know when you need more support and attention once the visiting stops.

For a lighter take on the issue, let's look at how the widowed reached out before the advent of computers and telephones.

According to an article titled “Mourning and Funeral Usages” in an 1886 edition of Harper’s Bazaar Magazine, “When persons who have been in mourning wish to reenter society, they should leave cards on all their friends and acquaintances, as an intimation that they are equal to the paying and receiving of calls. Until this intimation is given, society will not venture to intrude upon the mourner's privacy."

The article goes on to say, "In cases where cards of inquiry have been left, with the words "To inquire" written on the top of the card, these cards should be replied to by cards with "Thanks for kind inquiries" written upon them; but if cards for inquiry had not been left, this form can be omitted."


And you thought you had a lot of paperwork!

6/9/11

reflections: quotes for getting through the days; part 11

1) Grief teaches the steadiest minds to waver.
- Sophocles

2) Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: You don't give up.
- Anne Lamott

3) Courage is fear that has said its prayers.
- Dorothy Bernard

4) Worries go down better with soup than without.
- Jewish Proverb

5) Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb.
- Sir Winston Churchill



4/7/11

finding the best support group for you; part 1


In our last post, we looked at some of the concerns many of you may have about joining a widowed support group.

If you’ve decided to take the next step, consider the following:

Many hospitals, hospices and places of worship offer free or low-fee non-denominational support groups. Contact the Social Services Department at your local hospital and/or look for listings in your community newspaper.

If possible, select a group(s) specifically for the widowed. “Bereavement” groups tend to deal with all types of loss, such as parental, child, etc.

Finding the right support group is like finding anything else that’s a good fit. Ideally, you should shop around a bit until you find the most comfortable group for you. Most groups will let you sit in for a session before you make a commitment to join.

When you sit in with a group you’re considering, watch for how respectful the members are of each other and how well the leader manages time issues.

The most important thing is to gage your own comfort level. Expect to be nervous at first, but after a few times, that should lessen.

In our next post, we'll suggest key questions you should ask about any prospective support group.

2/14/11

beat those valentine's blues; part 2



Part 2

In Part 1, we talked about embracing all the other relationships in your life where you give and receive affection. Part 2 continues this excerpt from Lost My Partner.

Use the Valentine’s holiday to show your appreciation of these other important personal relationships in some of the following ways:

-Schedule an outing or meal such as lunch or dinner to get together with a good friend or family member.

-Remember when you were a kid and gave valentines to friends and classmates? Revive this childhood custom with relatives and friends.

-Show yourself some appreciation. Think back and list on a valentine card at least two things you’ve achieved since your spouse’s death that you used to think weren’t possible. It’s important to give yourself credit for the progress you’ve made.

-Treat yourself to some pampering (a manicure or massage), or buy yourself a gift (hobby items or clothes or yes, a box of chocolates).

Remember that your marriage was just one of several caring relationships in your life. This year, begin a new tradition by celebrating more of them.

2/10/11

beat those valentine's blues; part 1






Part 1
It’s all around you: painful reminders that you don’t have that “someone special” with whom to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Although your spouse/partner isn’t here to share the day, consider expanding your definition of what the word “love” really means.

This year, remind yourself that “love” isn’t just limited by the type of relationship you shared with your spouse/partner.

By widening your scope a bit, you can embrace all the other relationships in your life where you give and receive affection. This can mean including relationships such as family members and good friends.

In our next post, learn easy ways to express your appreciation of these relationships.