I’ve been studying Love lately. Both how it relates to me personally and to my work as a coach. I work with people who are going through a dark time in their lives – what was once their joy (a loving intimate relationship) is now their deepest despair. In exploring their loss and pain, the question inevitably comes to love: “How will I ever feel safe to love again?”Read More
Divorce is one of the most deeply painful experiences you can go through in your life. This is true if you were the one left behind or if you decided to end the marriage. Even if the end was a long time coming, and somewhat inevitable, what often surprises people is how heartbroken they feel when the end actually comes.
Divorce is a death – the death of your marriage and all the hopes and dreams you had of “happily ever after.” With the death of your marriage comes a whole host of secondary losses. Grief comes knocking at your door, insisting to be let in whether you want to or not.Read More
It’s 9:30 pm. You got home at a reasonable time and rustled up a decent dinner. You’ve got the kids fed, teeth brushed, homework discussed, and they are tucked into bed. You climb into bed with your partner (who has that special look in their eye that you meet with that, “Don’t even go there” look of your own), you are balancing a glass of wine on one knee, your laptop on the other (answering work email), and the TV is on Real Housewives of Wherever.
This is what you call “me” time.
You congratulate yourself for checking all the important boxes for the day. Took care of the boss. Check. Handled the needs of your direct reports. Check. Kids. Check. Your partner. Check minus. Looming deadlines, client’s never-ending requests for “just one more thing,” responding supportively to your BFF's 17 text messages to rant about her divorce. Check. Check. Check. You’re awesome. You’ve got this.
And, as you are multitasking your way through the finish line of your day, you know you need this last hour to decompress before you lay your head down to sleep and get up tomorrow to do it over again. You’re doing an impressive job of fitting it all in.
You are so there for everyone and everything that is important to you.
I’m writing this at the end of 2016, which carried the sad news of the death of Carrie Fisher. She left us all too soon at the age of 60 – and what was tragically to follow a few days later was the death of her mother, Debbie Reynolds.
This led me to ponder the question, “Can you really die of a broken heart?” It certainly seems to be so given these events.Read More
Anyone who has ever owned a dog knows that dogs teach us valuable lessons about life. They seem to know how to be present, to forgive, to love, to protect what’s important, to play and enjoy the simple things in life. If you pay attention to a dog’s approach to life, they can also teach you about resilience, the ability to adapt to and recover from challenges like loss and grief.
I’ve been a dog owner for most of my life, and it’s certainly true that their companionship means everything to me when I’m feeling discouraged, sad, or lonely. If dogs could talk to you, they would share some wise words about how to take care of yourself when you are grieving the loss of your loved one. They are great listeners, helpers, and loyal friends.
When you are grieving a loss, what you need most is a best friend, which dogs are certainly famous for being.
So, my dog (Cotton) told me that he’d like to write to all of you today who are grieving the loss of your partner/spouse/best friend. He has lots to share and has been waiting for his chance to love on you.Read More
We all like to be reassured that we are normal when we are going through something for the first time. Like that rash is a normal response to your eating something you are allergic to. Good to know.
When you are going through a time of grieving, it can be so helpful to know what physical, cognitive, emotional, and behavioral experiences are considered normal. Grief counselors do a lot of work in “normalizing” the experiences of someone in deep grief. You relax when you hear the words, “It’s perfectly understandable that you are feeling/thinking/behaving in this way. It's normal.” Whew.Read More
Stories of loss and grief are part of the fabric of my work. A young woman mourns the loss of her first trimester pregnancy and the baby she will never know. A man shares about the loss of a colleague for which he secretly held a flame of unrequited love. Another woman tells about her boyfriend’s sudden illness and death on the eve of their engagement.
Most people are able to share their stories of grief openly. Some are not. When a secret relationship (or one that others don’t know about or understand) ends and you feel that there’s no one to talk to about your loss, you carry it alone. This grief becomes complicated by other issues heaped on top of your sorrow – guilt, fear, resentment, depression. Often what happens in these situations is that the person shuts down and fails to grieve.Read More
We all experience pressures in our lives. We feel pressured to perform, to conform, to please others. We experience financial pressures, social pressures, career and professional pressures - pressures in relationships, (marriages, partnerships, parenting, etc.). We want to pin the blame for pressure we feel on outer situations, circumstances, and/or people. We think we need to take our power back from these external forces. And, this accurate – when we are experiencing pressure, it’s a signal that we have an opportunity to call our energy and power back to ourselves. We just get confused on how to do that.Read More
What is a relationship, really? There are a few ways of looking at it. Firstly, we tend to see a relationship as a thing, referring to it in conversation as a noun. If you consider this a little deeper, you could think of relationship as the act of relating, connecting, bonding that you participate in with another.Read More
I want to say something about the shape of grief. Grief is not linear. It’s not a rectangle, either. It doesn't behave itself and stay within a neat box of “stages.” You don't go “through” it like passing through another country on your way home, never to return. I hear so many of my clients exclaim, “Oh no, I thought I was done with this,” when they are experiencing a grief trigger. This is especially daunting when it happens several years after their loss, just when they think they are emotionally in the clear and the crying is behind them.
The reality is, when you are grieving, you can feel like you are going through the same feelings over and over again. It can be so discouraging and frightening to feel like you are in an endless loop of pain and sorrow. There's another way to look at grief that I hope you will find helpful...Read More