July 8, 2007


Filed under: Important To Know — bryna @ 7:37 pm

Healing is a process you go through. It’s not an event that happens to you. It’s not something someone else does to you.

You are your own healer and the way you heal is to participate in your process as fully as you can.

Everybody’s process is different. No two are the same because no two people are the same. Everybody’s experience of life is unique. We may do similar things to bring about healing but our experiences of them may be very different.

Sally Scott

June 10, 2007


Filed under: Important To Know — bryna @ 3:19 pm

If a task seems entirely too overwhelming, try breaking it into smaller ones.  Set intermediate goals to accomplish along the way.  If you want to get the inside of the house painted, pick just one wall, in one room, and schedule it, paint it.  Then schedule the next ONE wall.  Same with taxes, for example, set aside an hour each Saturday to organize, gather, etc.  Set a timer.  Work for the hour, then forget about it until the next time you have scheduled it.  Just the same exact way you accomplish projects at work, meeting by meeting.

Be sure to set up a REWARD for yourself for a job well done. It doesn’t have to be a big or expensive thing; treat yourself to GUILT-FREE time to read a magazine in the shade, or go to the beach.  Remind yourself that you did the work, kept your word, and this is the reward.

It’s all about small, sweet steps…

April 12, 2007

It feels good to cry…

Filed under: Important To Know — bryna @ 9:30 am

Some of us were taught that
it’s bad to express our feelings
directly—crying, wailing, jumping
up and down for joy—that it’s
good manners to talk softly,
slowly, and politely and to sit still.

But what happens to our feelings
when we sit still? If they don’t
get expressed, they must be
caught inside our bodies. Trapped
feelings are like birds in a cage,
or a rabbit in a trap—they try to
get out any way they can. They
peck on our heads and give us
headaches. They scratch at
our stomachs and make us hurt.

We must let them out. We must
laugh and cry. Then our bodies
will be happy, and our feelings
will curl up in our laps like happy

From the book “Today’s Gift” by Anonymous

March 9, 2007


Filed under: Important To Know — bryna @ 7:46 am

As defined in dictionary.com: an emotion or emotional perception or attitude: a feeling of joy; a feeling of sorrow, a feeling of…. “I don’t know what I’m feeling.”

Feelings can be good. Feelings can be not so good. What they are is exclusively yours, and no one has the right tell you what you are feeling is right or wrong, or deprive you of whatever feelings you are experiencing.

Grief begets every possible feeling, sometimes one at a time, sometimes all together. Sometimes you will know exactly what you are feeling. You will be clear and know exactly what step you need to take at that given moment to cope with what you’re feeling. Other times, you are blindsided by the depth of what you are feeling and won’t even know where to begin. Both are normal.

There are also times when you don’t know what you are feeling. That is normal too. You cry for no reason. You laugh for no reason. You feel just overwhelmed. No one told you it would be like this. Nothing prepared you for this. Everything is new, especially the feeling you get in your rib cage, like the laces on a corset being pulled tighter and tighter, until you think you can’t breathe. When this happens, slow down, inhale through your nose and slowly exhale through your mouth.

Just b-r-e-a-t-h-e. Then just b-r-e-a-t-h-e again.

Let’s start with anger. Or call it what you really feel. Rage. Rage at your partner for “leaving” you. Rage at yourself for not going first. Rage at both of you for not arranging it so you would go together. It wasn’t supposed to be like this… You were never supposed to be alone. Decisions are harder to make. Aches and pains hurt more with no one to tell. And, there’s resentment. So much resentment. Why didn’t you know/teach me how to (Women) pay the bills? Deal with taxes? Pump gas? Run the business? (Men) Cook, clean, do the laundry? Balance our children’s schedule. And, what about our social life? Since when does the husband make the plans? How dare you leave me unprepared to go on? I’m just so lonely…

There’s depression. Defined as anger turned inward, when you feel you never want to get out of bed again, even though you feel the bed is suddenly too big for you alone and you don’t want to be there at all. Depression is a feeling of hopelessness, when everything/anything you need to do seems like too much…and it is. This is the time to be gentle with yourself, to not ask yourself to do anything big, to keep life very simple. Make a list of the important, the not so important and the “this can really wait a while.” Then pick one thing…a chore, a bill to pay, an at home task, and do just that. Then give yourself an “Attagirl” or an “Attaguy,” and silently applaud yourself. The smallest thing completed is monumental. Be proud.

Depression manifests itself in many ways oftentimes culminating in sickness. Remind yourself to eat healthfully, if only a little at a time. Drink lots of water to stay hydrated, or tea, or broth. Good nutrition will help your body to heal as you do. Nap when your body feels it can’t move another step and treat yourself kindly. Indulge yourself in a warm bath, a massage, a stroll (nature is very recuperative) and a heart to heart with a good friend, family member or support group. Or, if verbalizing is too difficult, write. Keep a journal, your self-therapy of grieving. The blank page will always be receptive to your feelings; and, it will always be without judgement.

Accept support that is offered. It has a way of making the one who is offering, as well as the one receiving, feel so much better. It is a kindness to accept support. It conveys that it will be okay for him or her to ask for your support one day too. Support gently given and support gratefully received is a gift.

Next comes guilt: Many jokes are made about guilt, as though one ethnicity has greater claim to it than another. I define it as wasted emotion, without merit. “I should have taken better care of him/her.” “I shouldn’t have left the room.” “I should have fed him/her better, etc etc.” Guilt never brought anyone back and never will. You did your best! You loved your partner in his or her lifetime, and that partner loved you. Otherwise you wouldn’t be feeling the enormous sense of loss that you do. Please let the guilt go and congratulate yourself for having been a wonderful spouse.

Sadness: Samuel Butler wrote, “It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” A thought very difficult to agree with or even consider when your heart is freshly broken. I remember hearing those words and wanting to scream… but, they also made me think, and subsequently reword in a way that felt right for me. I consoled myself with these words that have become my mantra, a word I didn’t even know up until then. “It is better to feel you lost him too soon, than to feel you were together too long.” As with any mantra, when repeated often enough, it becomes part of you and in this case was exquisitely consoling.

Even with a mantra, a silent prayer of sorts, one still feels sadness you are sure will never pass. Don’t deny yourself. Give into yourself. Talk about. Write about it. Cry about it. Tears are so healthy that according to the Talmud, a collection of Jewish law and tradition, they were the second gift G_d gave to Adam and Eve after the Sabbath. Cry alone. Entrust another person with your tears, there to acknowledge your feelings, and if you are not one to cry, find an outlet to help you do so. A book. A sad movie. Something that might resonate in you. It is important to release the flow of tears, because it is the healthful thing to do. It rids the body of toxins, which is especially important, especially when you may not be taking care of your health in other ways.

Crying won’t last forever. You needn’t be afraid to cry. As I’ve often said, be gentle with yourself. You deserve to be.

February 26, 2007

Words to Remember

Filed under: Important To Know — bryna @ 7:27 am

It isn’t who you love, or how you love…but that you love.
Rod McKuen

February 20, 2007

Happy Birthday to me…

Filed under: Important To Know — bryna @ 12:16 pm

Yes! Even widows have birthdays…and what an exciting one this is for me.

In addition to celebrating my many riches, namely my children, my family, a significant other and great friends, I have as a result of the coaching I myself have received, applied to the Academy For Coaching Excellence to become a certified life coach for widows and widowers.

I am grateful to all those who have encouraged me to do this. It is my goal to “pay forward” to others how good life has been for me.



February 14, 2007

Choose Life

Filed under: Important To Know — bryna @ 4:07 pm

When someone we love dies, it hurts. Period.

So what are we to do with that pain? Do we become bitter? Afraid to love again? Do we close ourselves off from life? Do we stop loving the people closest to us?

I have known people who have been hurt by life again and again, with everything most dearly loved taken away from them, who keep coming back, each time more alive than ever. More loving. More caring. More compassionate.

I have also seen people who have been hurt through the untimely death of someone very close – a child, a mate – who become bitter, hostile, and uncaring of others. They treat the people closest to them as though those who are alive mean less than those who are dead. They seem to have jumped into the grave or scattered themselves with the ashes. This is especially sad when a child has died and the parent becomes so focused on the dead child that they seem to forget to love the children who are still alive. It is as though the pain of the child’s death becomes more important than the reality that this child ever lived and brought them joy.

When Bill Cosby’s son, Ennis, was tragically killed, I heard Rev. Jesse Jackson talking about Martin Luther King, Jr.’s father. Jackson related that King, Sr., said when Martin died, he was so busy being sad about Martin’s death that he stopped paying attention to everyone else in his family. Cherished family members continued to die. Each time his pain would cause him to close off to those who were still alive, until finally, one day it dawned on him that he better start paying attention to people who were there before they, too, were gone.

In 1997, I had the privilege of hearing a speech given by Yvonne Ameche, wife of pro-football player and Heisman Trophy winner, Alan Ameche. After their son was killed suddenly in a car accident, she was so bereft and in pain that she basically stopped living and only went through the motions. One night, a few years after her son’s death, Alan gave her flowers and took her to a beautiful restaurant to celebrate their anniversary. All she could do was sit listlessly lost in her sadness. Finally, Alan said, “Is there a time when I will ever be enough for you again?” Yvonne told us that had she known Alan would be dead within six months, she would have paid more attention to him.

After the death of many people I loved – my father when I was 12, many close relatives, close friends, an unborn child, and a beloved stepson – I finally came to realize that the best thing I could do to honor their lives was to live mine better. As a child, I believed that staying sad forever was the best way to show I cared. Now I know that living better is the highest and best tribute I can pay to those I have loved. They don’t have the privilege of being alive, but I do. And I can take the love we shared, incorporate it into my life and heart, and reach out to others with compassion.

My choice.

It doesn’t take the pain away, but I feel better knowing that I have not wasted their lives by forgetting to live mine.

©Virginia A. Simpson, Ph.D., 1999

February 7, 2007

How To Move On…

Filed under: Important To Know — bryna @ 9:04 am

Part of the work of grieving is to channel our emotions and energy into activities that help us to redefine ourselves.
Some people turn to creative pursuits. Some people reach out and help others by volunteering.
And some, recognizing that life is both precious and short, fulfill their dreams.
To help yourself heal, do what moves you. Or do what matters.

  • Adopt a cat. (Perhaps work at an animal shelter.)
  • Visit some foreign land. See America. (Join Elderhostel. Join a tour group)
  • Ride a bike. (Learn a new skill)
  • Help the homeless, the newborn, those in need through your church or temple.
  • Be a mentor. Help someone learn to read.
  • Make a new friend.

And, in every activity remember your loved one who brought you to this place.
Have the courage to take these first steps into the rest of your life.

This is based on a beautiful article by Ann Hood, author of “The Knitting Circle” published Sunday, February 4th in the Desert Sun.

February 3, 2007

The Art of Asking for Support

Filed under: Important To Know — bryna @ 5:24 pm

In coaching, we look at our Structure of Knowing around the subject of support. Are you willing to ask for and receive support when doubts and fears might be getting in the way of moving you forward in your life? When asking another person for support, you’re actually giving them a gift. You’re generously allowing them to make a valuable contribution. Each receives benefit, by working together. The circle of generosity is completed when you let them know the difference they have made.
We don’t have to do life alone; support is everywhere. We’ve only to be aware of its opportunities and blessings. Connecting with support will allow us to live life with a sense of ease and grace.

Nancy Laura Joseph, Certified Life Coach

January 28, 2007

Prepare Your Partner for Financial Independence

Filed under: Important To Know — bryna @ 10:13 am

Make sure she can manage financial affairs after you are gone.

Having observed many couples over the years, I see that the majority of the time one spouse is more “financially attuned” than the other. One spouse usually takes the lead on financial matters. But what happens when that financially aware partner is gone?

The reality is that you need to prepare your partner to manage his or her own financial affairs. 2006 issue of Here are some guidelines to get you started.

How to Locate Financial Documents
Take the time now to write out instructions on how to find everything financial. Leave this information with a trusted individual such as your attorney or financial advisor.

* A list of all financial accounts including account numbers, passwords, institution and contact information
* Any hiding places where you’ve stashed things.
* How to value collections of stamps, musical instruments, art, antiques, and so forth.
* If you have any stock certificates or bonds, transfer them to your investment account or www.treasurydirect.gov.
* The combination to your home safe.
* Where you have a safe deposit box and where to find the key.
* Where you keep important papers for annuities, appraisals, birth certificates, cemetery deeds, credit cards, deeds, marriage certificates, divorce decrees, insurance policies, mortgages, income tax returns, retirement accounts, prenuptial agreements, titles for cars, estate documents.

What to Keep and Where

In a bank safe or deposit box
* Car titles
* Deeds for property
* Business agreements like partnerships or buy-sell agreements
* A detailed home inventory listing all valuables including pictures or videos and    appraisals.
* Ethical will: typically an account of your life, usually videotaped, that explains important life lessons or values that you want your heirs to know about

In a fire-resistant home safe
* A copy of your will and/or trusts
* Insurance policies
* Investment account numbers and passwords
* Original powers of attorney for health care and property (copies should be given to those people who are named your agents)
* Letter of instruction explaining final wishes

In a home filing system
* Three years of statements for insurance payments, bank accounts, investment and retirement accounts
* Credit card and mortgage statements for the past year
* Three years of tax returns (if not seven years)

At your attorney’s office
* Signed and witnessed will and trust documents
* Copies of powers of attorney

Who to Call, Who to Trust
Make sure your loved ones know where to find detailed contact information for your accountant, attorney, banker, financial advisor, life insurance agent, other insurance agents, and veterinarian (if pets need temporary care).

Share Financial Responsibility Now
You can help this inevitable transition go more smoothly by introducing your spouse to your trusted advisors during your lifetime. There’s just something about that personal bond that brings comfort and reassurance for all parties involved.

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