Menopause

You Are Not Alone: A Heartfelt Guide to Grief, Healing, and Hope (and a Giveaway)

 

Just off the presses:  You Are Not Alone: A Heartfelt Guide to Grief, Healing, and Hope by Debbie Augenthaler.
For those of us who haven’t experienced it yet, we wonder what it would be like to be thrown into immeasurable grief. That’s what happened to the author of this riveting book. Debbie Augenthaler not only recounts in vivid, compelling prose what it was like to lose her husband, but she offers clear and encouraging coping suggestions for those enduring intense grief. I found this book so deeply moving and encouraging that I could turn right around and read it again.
 
Here’s what the publisher says about You Are Not Alone:  Debbie is a psychotherapist in private practice in New York City. Her husband, Jim, died suddenly in her arms when she was only 36 years old. He had been healthy and vibrant – the doctors compared the probability of his death by heart attack to being struck by lightning. That lightning strike ended her life as she knew it and thus began the “baptism by fire” that brought her to her new future.

You Are Not Alone is the book she wishes she’d had when she was grieving. With the connection of a shared experience, Debbie guides the reader through grief to transformation and a new beginning.

“This is my story of loss, healing, and the spiritual journey that led me to know that love never dies. This book is about hope. As hard as it might be for you to believe right now, I want you to know: you will heal, you will not only survive, but you can thrive and find joy and meaning in your new life. This may not be the life you had before; but it is still your life to live.”

Giveaway: The publisher is giving a copy of You Are Not Alone to two lucky Friend for the Ride readers. For a chance to win, please enter a comment by June 10. U.S. only. Thanks!
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Menopause

Losing Mom: Vintage Linens

Iron

My mother was a collector’s collector. She went nuts over vintage linens, buying them for herself and for yours truly.

Soon after Mom died in March, my friend Nancy and I hosted a bridal shower at my house.The younger me would never have believed I could spend hours with Mom’s things within days of her death. I would have expected tears to hit the eyelet napkins like raindrops.

Nope!

Ironing those napkins and slipping them into Mom’s silver napkin rings put me in happy spirits after a gut-wrenching five weeks. (Mom went fast with cancer.)

Napkin Rings

Getting ready for the bridal shower helped me mightily

Table

and introduced me to the concept of active, and yes, even festive grief.

In this article on grief, the writer states that “healthy grieving results in an ability to remember the importance of our loss—but with a new found sense of peace, rather than searing pain.” Active grieving, be it ironing beautiful linens or hiking a beloved trail or starting a scholarship fund, helps us move to that new sense of peace.

My brother found drawers filled with linens as he cleared Mom’s apartment. He shipped them to me a few weeks ago.

Box

I’ve been having a grand time sharing them–more active grieving as my friends admire and select the hand towels, napkins, tablecloths, or bureau scarves they like best.

If I experience a more searing loss, I have no clue if the concept of active grief will help me. But in the case of my mother, who accepted her death and told us she had lived a good life, using and sharing her collections has been restorative and rewarding.

What about you? Thoughts? Impressions? Suggestions? Experiences?

Photo Below: Mom starting out on her linen journey, her wedding day in April of 1946.

WeddingBook Giveaway Winners! Congrats to Pam, who won Barbara Crooker Selected Poemsto Carol and Karen, who won Judy Holland’s Moody Bitches; and to Lisa, who won June Cotner and Nancy Tupper Ling’s Toasts.

Menopause

Losing Mom: A Life in the Details

Nancy Kiehne Miniature Books

In recent years, I’ve wondered: Is life about the big picture or is life in the details?

The big picture is good. It keeps us from wasting time on things that don’t matter. It enables us to step back and analyze problems, trends, and accomplishments. The big picture lets us rise above pettiness.

But details are good too. Your fingers trace the geometric design on a throw pillow. Your eyes catch the wink of a favorite cousin. You hear the clack of the roller coaster the second your feet hit the boardwalk. Details help us mark our days with appreciation and whimsy.

My mother died on Friday after a short bout with cancer. I prayed she would go once the pain became intense.

And so the job, or perhaps I should say the honor, of mourning her begins.

Do I grieve the big things? The loss of a mother. The ending of an era. The last parent.

Or do I grieve the small things, the details? I unpack Easter rabbits she painted and recall how Mom loved holidays. My grandson flies his first kite, and I can’t phone her with the news. I take out a recipe card, and there’s my mother’s handwriting.

Mom was a collector. In the photo above, you see some of her miniatures: books, animal figurines, tiny houses, a doll, and doll house furniture.

And she was an artist. Here are those Easter rabbits.

For collectors and artists, it’s all about the details. And although this grief is new, I’m thinking that’s how it will go for me. Photo by photo, memento by memento, flashback by flashback, I’ll miss my mother. I’ll miss her in the details.

But I’m not complaining! For as the big picture tells me, who would want it any other way?

What about you? Have you lost your mom? Any words of wisdom for those of us fresh to the loss?

Photo Below: My mom, Nancy Kiehne, on her 90th birthday in December