By Barbara A. Glanz –
The following is an excerpt from Barbara’s book What Can I Do? Ideas to Help Those Who Have Experienced Loss:
One of the ways we can help people to move on with their lives is to encourage them to do something different than they have ever done before. It may be to sign up for a class or try a new sport or join a new group. As soon as they take this step, as difficult as it is, it represents going forward in a new life. There is a fine line between encouraging and forcing, and it is important to respect the feelings of the bereaved person. They must feel ready to take this step. However, if you walk alongside them, you will make it much easier, and the first time they reach out of themselves will be a major victory and a real reason for celebration!
A year after Charlie died, [editor’s note – Charlie was Barbara’s husband] I was at our home in Sarasota, Florida in July and August to finish writing a new book. I spent at least an hour a day walking our beautiful beach. This special time helped heal some of my loneliness as I watched how the beach and the water were different every day and yet as constant as we know God’s love is for us. The third week I was there, my mother, sister, niece, and brother came to visit. Bruce is a marine biologist and a college professor, and he loves the outdoors. One day he rented a kayak and took it out by himself into the bay.
As he told us about it, I was intrigued. I had never been in a kayak, and all of a sudden, I realized that I could try some new things I had never done before. Charlie had had most of his adventures before we were married, and because money was tight and we had three children, we spent most of our recreational time doing things for them. I told Bruce that if he would take me out the next day, I would pay for the kayak! We rented a two-man sit-on-top kayak for the day, and I loved it. We paddled through a bird sanctuary on the bay side and down the shore where we could see the beautiful homes and boats of the residents. Then we took the boat over to the gulf side on our beach. We had not been out five minutes when right into us swam a school of dolphins! Bruce jumped out of the boat to swim with them, and I paddled right alongside them. I decided that this was a special sign just for me.
The next day Bruce came with me, and I bought a two-man sit-on-top kayak, complete with all the accessories, including a small cart on wheels so that I can handle it myself. The boat I chose was red, orange, and yellow, and the design was called “Sunrise.” As a symbol of what is happening in my life, I have named it “New Beginnings!” I will always be grateful to my brother for encouraging me and guiding me to do something completely new in my life!
We need to work through our grief and then we need to find our joy again and keep it in our lives, always focusing on what we have and not on what we don’t have. True healing occurs when we can again live our lives in an attitude of joy and perpetual wonder.
Excerpted from What Can I Do? Ideas to Help Those Who Have Experienced Loss by Barbara A. Glanz, (Augsburg Books, 2007) Reprinted with permission.
Barbara Glanz, CSP, is no stranger to grief, having lost her infant son Gavin, husband Charlie, and many beloved family members and friends. As an internationally known speaker, trainer, and business consultant with a Master’s degree in Adult Education, Barbara lives and breathes her personal motto: “Spreading Contagious EnthusiasmTM.” She works with organizations that want to improve morale, retention, and service and with people who want to rediscover the joy in their work and in their lives. She is the author of many books including CARE Packages for the Home (Andrews McMeel 1998). She has presented in all 50 states and is the first speaker on record to have spoken on all seven continents! For more information, she can be reached directly at 941-312-9169; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; website: www.barbaraglanz.com.Tags: grief, hope