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Obituaries, Grief, Death, and the Triumph of the Human Spirit

By April Braswell

 

It is such a strange gift to have at such a young age, but I have had 6 major relationship deaths in the past 6.5 years.  I was married at 36 and a widow at 37, having lost my husband after 13 months of marriage. 

 

My mother then died 3 years ago. 

 

My grandmother 2 years ago. 

 

My father just this month. 

 

(My FIL and my uncle also.)

 

So, when my late husband died after my walking alongside him and his battle with cancer.  The journey as well as the grief journey both left such strong imprints on me, that I knew I could not ultimately continue in the work I was doing.  I knew I was already a leader and that people were watching me and my example. 

 

Having emerged from the grief of losing my husband, I found that women yoiunger than I, women with more youthfully perfect skin and figures weren't self-confident.  They had some belief in themselves.  Just, they really doubted themselves.  They were more full of their insecurities than their confidence. 

 

I, on the other hand, I was very confident.  They observed me and thought I was fantastic because I would take risks they were too afraid to do, simply lacked the self-confidence and belief in themselves to do or even to try.  I simply knew who I was, and who I was not, so I was now incredibly self-confident. 

 

There are a few things I recommend and embody because of this.

 

 

How to treat the greiving

 

Those who are most recently grieving, those who were the closest to the deceased, are going through a number of emotions, often all at once.  Be kind, thoughtful, and gracious.

 

There are two relief valves for this - laughter and tears.  Slap stick movies help with the laughter.  Nothing terribly high brow sophisticated.  Think as silly and goofy as possible.  I cried so much when my husband died I actually started to crave salt. 

 

1.  Send a card.

 

Your mother, father, and grandmother taught you to do this.  You thought nothing of it.  You think of it as just a little nothing gesture, almost akin to the lost art of a handwritten thank-you note.  However, you do not know how much it means to the grieving.  We cling to it.  We can hardly talk right after the death.  Immediately after the death of my husband, I was catotonic.  People from church sent cards of condolence.  They started to arrive within a matter of days.  I clung to them.  These thoughtful little gestures of genuine caring meant THE WORLD to me. 

 

I have heard that some people get angry with the card or note.  That is ok.  The card was just coat hanger for their anger.  Indeed, anger and rage are a piece of the grief process.  You have given them a gift to help them touch that emotion that maybe they had not given themselves permission yet to feel, thinking they are only supposed to be sad and cry.

 

My mother when she lost her first child after only a matter of months, she received condolence letters.  Letters were more common at the time.  She told me so softly years later what a thoughtful gesture they were from people.  When we feel lost and reeling in our world of grief, they are like small life preservers from other dear ones reminding us of those who care and that there is still a world out there.

 

 

2. Phone Them, Briefly

 

People would phone me to reach out.  I would blather on the phone for a few minutes and, of course, cry at some point.  What a gift just to be able to talk a little bit about the deceased.  The people who phone, most were so uncomfortable with my crying.  What did you think I would be doing?  Just LET the griever have their process.  Keeping the conversation short is usually best.  Let them talk a little and cry a little. Give them the space to grieve.  Give them the gift of God's ears.  Be like God and just LISTEN to them.  Murmer a few pleasant nothings.  Tell them you care, and then end the conversation.

 

Some of the time, they don't WANT to talk.  Yes, and I am extrovert, so if I say this, it is quite a statement.  I am often so lowkey and inwardly focused reflective after a death that I do not WANT to talk, or really only for a few moments.  It is an effort to converse.  I'm sure Dr. Kevin Hogan would be able to tell me more about why and what part of the brain affected. 

 

 

3. At the Memorial or Funeral Service

 

This can vary by culture and ethnic groups of origin.  Some are more emotive and demonstrative.  Others are more quiet in public about their grief.  Please, neither is right.  Neither is wrong.  They are both at different stages and expressions of the grief.  Just HONOR it.

 

So, when you are at a service that is more demonstrative, wonderful.  Be sure you have plenty of Kleenex.

 

When you are where they are more subdued, please be careful with the bereaved and do not be too, too terribly gushing and huggy.  To do so is to be IN the emotional state and triggers that for them just at a time when they may have only just managed to keep their unstoppable streaming tears and emotions within a degree of control.

 

Grief can be a very intimate thing.  I did not want to share all of it with everyone in public.  My world was already turned on its head.  To do so would have been to lose all my sense of context and frame in the world.  It might have stimulated excessive cognitive dissonance where I would have had no point of reference, no anchor, no plumbline.

 

Some people are still in the psychological denial stage and will say, "I just want to celebrate their lives!"  That is totally beautiful and a valid place to be in.  However, when you juxtapose that with another bereaved who is in the scowling anger stage, keep them apart to avoid bouts of slapthology from the angry bereaved to the celebrating bereaved.  It's just thoughtful.  Safer too!

 

Additionally, the bereaved IS totally caught up in the grief.  At the service, a gentle way to shift them is to ask softly about beautiful memories, "I remember you always telling me how much he enjoyed walking in nature.  Remember when he used to take you to the park and walk the dog in the evening?"  This helps them to shift without TELLING them to shift or demanding them to shift just when what they are feeling is that they can't talk to anyone.

 

4. Months later

 

Months later, at a Birthday, at Valentine's Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Yom Kippur, Easter, Passover, at their wedding anniversary, New Years.  These are all times which will re-trigger the pain of the loss.  Just gently and thoughtfully reach out to them. Sometimes just a simple card, "Thinking of you.  You continue to be in my thoughts and prayers.  Hope you are healing well....."  A short phone call.  The grief cycle takes 5 years to complete.  But always, when there is a major family event, like my brother getting married this year, it touches the wound and reminds us of who was unable to make it to the wedding.

 

God bless and God speed,

 

April Braswell

 

Time for Love, Time for Money: Time Production System

Time for Love, Time for Money: Time Production System, romance, romance coach, online dating coach, romantic relationship coach, romance coaching, online dating coach, romantic relationship coaching, how to find your life partner, how to find your soul mate, how to find your soul mate online, how to find love online,

 

 

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I just met April at a conference in Philly.  What a vivacious, self-assured, beautiful and incredible woman!!  It’s obvious how her energy and passion are part of everything in her life and that she can coach you in tapping into your own life force to show the world the beautiful person you are and attract the type of man you want.

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April Braswell, Relationship Coach Par Excellence! I had been stuck in a relationship that was going nowhere with a man who did not love me and who did not make me happy.... April gave me the confidence to HOPE that there was someone out there who would love me and accept me for who I was. She held my hand thoughout the whole the experience, or I would never gone online....I was too skittish about the whole deal. In fact, I told her, "April, I have already met all the single men in the Metro area in my age agroup. There's no one out there for me that I am interested in!  But April's warmth, encouragement, and compassion challenged me to venture online. I did and enjoyed a number of good results. I had some good dates. This was good. But still...I had not met THE one. Then she encouraged me to try another service...and within several weeks...I was dating new men.  It was GREAT.   What a difference.  THANK YOU......I love you!!! Sonya L. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright
April Braswell 2016
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Cougar Love Dating Expert, April Braswell, Greg Dougall, Newport Beach, Royal Thai
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Dating Expert, April Braswell, with Bold Calling Sales Trainer, Steve Chambers, Mo's San Diego, CA
Baby Boomer Dating Expert, April Braswell, the Dating Coach of Women After 40+ with Corporate Sales Taining Bold Calling author, Steve Chamber, Mo's San Diego, CA