Book, Life – Hunger Games Misname, Grief – Cry

BOOK:

The book signing on Nov. 9 at Chapters Crowfoot was slow. It was a horrible snowy day, but the other authors there were a pleasure to be with. I learned a lot from them and how they promote and sell their books, so the experience was valuable in the end.

LIFE:  Hunger Games Misname

Mom is still having a hard time adjusting to losing more words, but the ones she creates are very funny.

We were watching the first two Hunger Games so that we will remember where the story is when the third Hunger Games movie comes out Nov 21. Mom got caught up in the action and said “Mistress, watch out!” She meant Katniss of course. My sister and I had to choke back the laughter as we exchanged looks and my sister even had to drink to cover up her guffaws. That action hero is nobody’s mistress, that’s for sure.

GRIEF: 106 Ways to Deal with Grief,

www.KathyBriantBooks.com

The idea behind the statement…

15. Crying is good for you. Likely you’re going to do lots for a long time.

The minute the police told me Shannon was dead in her apartment (I wouldn’t go in); my eyes developed a life of their own. The tears just streamed down and didn’t stop for quite a while. It was like the waterworks were entirely out of my control. I had to close bank accounts, tell utility companies she was gone and discontinue the service and all of that with tears streaming. I realized a crying woman gets excellent service, just one of those odd things I noticed. My head had such pressure in it I had to get acupuncture to make the sinuses drain properly. I really cried up a storm and I didn’t care much that I did. At work I had to rein it in, but the minute I was in the parking lot on my way home, down came the tears. I had a lot to cry about apparently, so I did.

I cried pretty much regularly for the first two years, heavier the first, less the second. Year three, now and again and now that I am in year five, just sometimes. I was never a crier before and had difficulty crying when I needed to. No problem now. I cry at sad movies, when someone is in distress, when I think of what I have lost and just from time to time when I feel sad. Much healthier now. That dry awful feeling I used to get when I needed to cry and couldn’t is gone. I can cry and feel better afterwards, which is the purpose of crying I think – release.

So get used to it and let it go or you will back up and back up until you find the dam breaking when you don’t want it to. You don’t have to hold back the tears, they want to get out. You need to express your grief.

Come visit Nov 9, Life: Pants are not medicine, Grief: small kids

BOOK: MARK THE DATE:

Support your Local Writers– Nov 9, 11-3 at Chapters Crowfoot. I will be doing a book signing along with John Gilchrist the restaurant critic who was on CBC talking about best places to eat, Shirlee Matheson who is well known for her excellent Y/A books and a few others. Each of us will take a few minutes to talk about our books. Good chance to get books for Xmas.

LIFE: Pants are not medicine.

Mom hurt her arm on the edge of a counter and I put a bandage on. Afterwards I wondered if we shouldn’t have put something on it before I bandaged it. She said, “Yes, polyester.”  Was she thinking of her pants, I wondered?

I thought a moment and said, “You mean polysporin?” She said, “That’s it.”

We were watching Dancing with the Stars and Tommy Chong who is an old guy and she reminded me that Bitty Bright was even older (Betty White, of course). I know someone who’s not Dancing with the Stars…

GRIEF: 106 Ways to Deal with Grief, www.KathyBriantBooks.com

The idea behind the statement…

14. Play with small children. Their joy and love of life can be contagious, plus they are so darned cute.

When I was in the depth of grief, the only thing that made me feel better was visiting my grandchildren. They are so wonderful. I would play with them and immediately feel better.

It’s as though with the vibrant living of their lives, ignorant of any of its downfalls, they are so joyous and spontaneous, enjoying every moment of playing and having fun. As well, because they are at the beginning, they are so very far removed from death.

They made me laugh and I enjoyed just being with them. Children will do that for you, especially the under five group. Hilarious.

Sit, said mom, Sit, Nov 9 signings, Grief

Rosie, Halloween Halloween past, Rosie

BOOK: MARK THE DATE:

Support your Local Writers– Nov 9, 11-3 at Chapters Crowfoot. I will be doing a book signing along with John Gilchrist the restaurant critic who was on CBC talking about best places to eat, Shirlee Matheson who is well known for her excellent Y/A books and a few others. Each of us will take a few minutes to talk about our books. Good chance to get books for Xmas.

LIFE: Strokes are not fun, but sometimes funny.

Mom woke from her afternoon nap Saturday and it was apparent she had had an episode in her sleep. She was talking jibberish and was having problems walking and thinking. This is something I have seen before and after a time period she recovers. I don’t know what it is like, but watching her search for words made her anxious. I continued to reassure her and said take your time. It’s ok, you’ve had this before. Just give it time, etc., etc.

At one point she was so mad at herself that she swore. “Sit,” she said, “Sit.”

She’s doing better now, thank goodness.

GRIEF: 106 Ways to Deal with Grief, www.KathyBriantBooks.com

The idea behind the statement…

13. Write and journal to get feelings out or just to have a way to pour it all out. If you can’t then don’t.

I am a writer but curiously, when something serious happens, I can’t write, so I don’t.

However, if you are one of those people who needs an outlet or a way to get it all down on paper, then journaling is great. Get yourself a little lined notebook and start writing. For some reason, doing it on computer isn’t nearly as good. I do write sometimes between things, but at the actual time I can never write it down.

With Shannon, two years later, I actually wrote the whole experience down in a book, first draft, but for now it is too painful to read and edit. I am sure with time, I will look at it again and there it will all be – the story of what happened to her and what happened to me. I am glad I got it all out and hopefully, one day, when it is published, it will help someone else.

What are the voices telling you to do? Book signing. Meaning behind the statement.

BOOK: MARK THE DATE – Support your Local Writers – Nov 9, 11-3 at Chapters Crowfoot. I will be doing a book signing along with John Gilchrist the restaurant critic who was on CBC talking about best places to eat, Shirlee Matheson who is well known for her excellent Y/A books and a few others. Each of us will take a few minutes to talk about our books. Good chance to get books for Xmas.

LIFE: What are the voices telling you to do?

I was going to bed at 1 a.m. (yeah, I know, I should go to bed earlier), getting ready in the bathroom when mom called out from her bedroom, “Kathy can you turn down the TV a little? It’s too loud.” I told her the TV was off.  How was she hearing voices?  She said, “Well, I hear them.” I asked if her radio was on. No. Then I paused for a moment then asked, “What are they telling you to do?”

I thought, if she’s flipped out, I can make it to the front door, nightie be damned. She’s an old woman.

She said, “Come here and listen, there are voices.” So I did. Might have been my last breath on earth. I entered the dark bedroom.

Mom said, “Here sit on the bed and listen.” I declined, but listened from where I was standing in the dark. Momma didn’t raise no fools.

She was right. She had somehow hit the switch on the radio and sure enough, people were talking softly and because Mom is so deaf, she could hear the sounds, but didn’t know where they were coming from. A flip of the switch and all was well.

Oh, mother, life is never dull.

GRIEF: 106 Ways to Deal with Grief, www.KathyBriantBooks.com

The idea behind the statement…

12. Talk out loud to your loved one. (But maybe when others are not around, you don’t want to be institutionalized, it’s no fun.)

I talk to my daughter who died. I tell Shannon how much I miss her. Sometimes I tell her about something that happened in my day, or something that has happened to someone she knew. I say how I hope she is doing well on the other side and she is happy. I know she is. I do this in private. It’s nobody’s business what I do and sometimes I feel the need to actually speak out loud to her as I look at her picture on the bookcase.

Talking to your loved one relieves your mind, I think. I feel better if I talk to her now and then. It’s not crazy. You had a relationship for likely many years and you used to talk to them all the time. It helps you not miss them quite as much and I think is healing.

In a traffic jam, Event, Pls cry at funerals

BOOK: MARK THE DATE: Support your Local Writers– Nov 9, 11-3 at Chapters Crowfoot. I will be doing a book signing along with John Gilchrist the restaurant critic who was on CBC talking about best places to eat, Shirlee Matheson who is well known for her excellent children’s books and a few others. Each of us will take a few minutes to talk about our books. Good chance to get books for Xmas.

LIFE: In a traffic jam

What do you do when you are in a traffic jam? Tuesday, there I was stuck on Sarcee Trail in heavy traffic, so I got out the dust cloth and did the dash, the side doors and the crevices in the heater vents. Then I thought.  Am I the only one who does this? Am I crazy? One time I got the Windex out and did all the front windows. Does this qualify as distracted driving? There was no driving actually involved, just sitting in the car waiting for traffic to move. Does anyone else do things like this?

 GRIEF: 106 Ways to Deal with Grief, www.KathyBriantBooks.com

 11.  Don’t be brave. If it’s not appropriate to cry and show grief at a funeral, when exactly is it appropriate?

At a funeral people will comment, ‘she’s holding up very well, no tears. What a brave woman.’ Huh? No. I think we should all be crying. It’s sad, someone has died and the family needs to be allowed to show how broken hearted they are.

I had a sister-in-law from Israel once who did pillows with medals, etc. on them for the families of dead soldiers. She said people cry and scream and carry on at the funerals and in a year or so she would come across them newly married. She felt the open demonstration of grief helped people get over the death quicker so that they could move on with their lives. I think there is something about the wailing and crying  you see in other cultures that is very healing. You might want privacy for it and that’s ok, but please let it out.

We North Americans are so restrained and loathe to show emotion and are from the stiff upper lip heritage. Sometimes we are so backed up with unexpressed emotion that we develop ulcers or other illness when an honest and open expression of how we feel would be so much more helpful. So cry, please if you want to. And especially at funerals. You’ve just lost someone you loved.  It is very appropriate.

 

Computer upside down, book signing, burning candles

BOOK: MARK THE DATE: Support your Local Writers– Nov 9, 11-3 at Chapters Crowfoot. I will be doing a book signing along with John Gilchrist the restaurant critic who was on CBC talking about best places to eat, Shirlee Matheson who is well known for her excellent children’s books and a few others. Each of us will take a few minutes to talk about our books. Good chance to get books for Xmas.

LIFE: My computer is upside down

My computer screen shows everything upside down now. I am not sure how that happened or what to do. The computer is in my bedroom in the corner in a tight spot since my mom now occupies my old computer room, so space is tight. I was looking through some files, some on the bed behind me, some on the garbage can to the right and some on top of my keyboard. I noticed something was pressing something because it was scrolling like mad, so I moved the files a little.

When I was done, I put the files away and looked up at my screen. Everything was upside down? I reached for the mouse to see what I could do and realized up was down and left was right. I am not that good with spacial relations so I had a heck of a time moving the mouse to shut down and start up to see if that cured it. I finally put the mouse upside down as well and was finally able to hit shut down and restart. When it came up, it was the same. By this time my poor neck was sore from cranking it around so I could see upside down. I have a laptop and a screen attached, so I opened the laptop a little and voila, the screen goes right side up. Great, I thought. However, whenever I shut the lid the screen whips around to upside down again. Sigh.

 GRIEF: 106 Ways to Deal with Grief, www.KathyBriantBooks.com

 10. Say goodbye in ways that ease your pain – a funeral, a ceremony, a family gathering.

My mom never goes to funerals. She can’t stand them and I know other people including myself who feel the same way. We are a scattering of the ashes kind of people. However, I think a funeral is important to most people and helps them say goodbye, plus a grave is a place you can go to visit your loved one. We go to the Kananaskis and to a little stream to visit Ben, my nephew – Forget Me Not pond actually, and now we also visit Shannon, my daughter since Bob Alan was washed away in the floods and that’s where I scattered her ashes. We can have a picnic in the mountains and remember. It’s nice.

Stream where Shannons ashes are                                                         Stream where Shannon’s ashes are.

Also rituals of other sorts are very important to help you with grief. My cousin Sharan gave me 12 candles, the short ones in a glass that she got from Glenmore Safeway. She told me it is a Jewish tradition to light one on the monthly anniversary and after 12 months, get on with your life. I am not a ritual person, but I tried it and really liked that one, so for about 14 months, I burned a candle (they go for over 24 hrs.) in front of Shannon’s picture and thought of her and talked to her. It was good for me and seemed to help me with those horrible days each month that were a reminder of the day she died. I still have some candles from there I bought and burn one now and then when I am feeling especially sad. Burning those candle sin front of her picture helped immensely, which was something I did not expect. Rituals are apparently, very important for us. Who knew?

 

JUST THE FAX MA’AM

BOOK: Got a cold so missed the Meet Your Local Author book sellers event today. Drat. Hope everyone sold a ton of books.

LIFE: Just the fax ma’am

How did you sleep last night? Well? I didn’t. I think it was a case of a wrong number dialed. People. Please be careful about dialing especially in the dead of night. Around 3 a.m. the phone rang and it was a fax wanting me to turn on my computer so a fax could be received. My computer is not set up to receive faxes because I just don’t care for them. I hung up. The phone rang again. Boy that fax was insistent. It must have called me 6-7 times. Mom woke up and asked who was phoning all the time so it woke her as well. Just back to sleep the front door started beeping, like it does when the batteries on my number key lock are loose. About 5 a.m. it starts. I think it is due to the change in temp outside. The cold is triggering the batteries somehow. I just had the sucker replaced because the old one did that and I mistakenly thought a new $100 one would be fine. Silly me. I got up and pushed the batteries back. So you think that was it? Foolish. No, the dog needed to get up, and woke me again so I would let her out. I should have just stayed up perhaps? What a night.

 GRIEF:

  1. The word ‘grief’ just doesn’t seem to cover it. Maybe we need to use the word ‘mourning’.

We are a society that lives in denial about death. We don’t want to think of it, we don’t want to see it so our dying are usually sent to hospital and no longer die at home. That’s not only because everyone works so no one is at home, but because we do not support people who wish to die at home.

We don’t know what to say to someone who has had a loss and comment on how well they are doing if they show no signs of grief. Mourning people wore a black band on their arm and were given a year. People treated them with consideration because they were aware of what the person was going through. Employers give 3-5 days off work for the funeral these days and no time for grief or the months people require. People have been reprimanded as though grief is a performance issue because the person’s work suffers due to a death.

Yes, if we used ‘mourning’ I am sure we would view grief differently.

 

LIFE: People speaking “garlic”

LIFE: 

Momisms: My mother, Vi,  is 91 and starting to forget her words.  She is hilarious sometimes and makes herself laugh.  We were watching the news and she told me about an “earthcake” that happened. We laughed hard.  Then watching Outlander, a new TV series about a woman in the Highlands of Scotland, she was annoyed because she couldn’t understand a portion since they were speaking “garlic” she said.  She is a hoot and fortunately has not lost her sense of humour.

0006
        Vi, aged 91

Also, It’s my birthday today, Sept 26.  Happy Birthday to me. I think I’ll buy myself something.  Hmm, what I wonder?

GRIEF:  106 Ways to Deal with Grief

7. Allow yourself time to grieve in  your own way  This is where people think they are losing it and consult a counsellor, which is good if it is a grief counsellor with experience with grief since it is a real specialty area.  If you sleep a lot/can’t sleep, eat/can’t eat,  must have quiet and withdraw, or need to keep busy at all times, all this is normal grief. Husbands and wives who have lost a child, often break up over their different ways to grieve. She says he is cold and indifferent, he says she is losing it and is too emotional, whereas the truth is likely just different kinds of grieving. Some are loud, some withdraw completely.  Each person may have a completely different way than another and the best thing to do is give yourself and others permission to do things differently.

Another kick in the pants is that with a second death, for instance when my nephew died 15 months after my daughter, grief can be different.  I could eat and sleep ok with Shannon’s death. With Ben’s death, I had about two days a week when I was up all night and couldn’t go to bed at all.  That continued for quite some time, which was very bothersome.  There were several other differences as well, so one death doesn’t necessarily prepare you for the  next.  It’s ok.

 

BOOK, LIFE, GRIEF

BOOK:  Well, I have finished the three chapters and now it’s in the hands of the publisher who will say nay or yea, likely in three months or so. I got so I couldn’t read it another time without my head exploding.  Wish me luck!…Now comes the rest of the book…

LIFE:  Full moon just ended, people nuts, driving all over the road, weaving in and out like  some sort of relay race or something. What are they in such a hurry to get to? I am sure everyone can’t be driving a pregnant woman about to deliver to the hospital.

The poor trees. After the snow, they are all yellow and drooping and I notice a lot of brown ends on the evergreens. There is some speculation that many may not survive the winter with the damage inflicted by the storm. My flowers are battered, some will survive, but the others look terrible, time to weed out the fading ones.  I am hoping for another month of summer before the fall. Cross your fingers!

GRIEF:  106 Ways to Deal with Grief

6. Be kind to yourself. You are in a dreadful place and need to give yourself the benefit of the doubt and cut  yourself some slack.  Sometimes we are our own worst enemy. After a life altering experience we don’t know why we aren’t doing the laundry, cooking, paying bills on time and getting on with life. Well,  you aren’t because you are grieving and need to be realistic about what  you can do right now. We try to be kind to others so why is it so hard to be kind to ourselves?  Be nice, especially to you.  What would you do for yourself if you were your own best friend? Then do that for yourself. Life can’t continue as usual for a while, so go with the flow and be gentle with yourself.

Fantasy Book, Life, Book: 106 Ways to Deal with Grief

FANTASY BOOK:  The Travelogue of Quickstaff and Alice

What is the nature of magic and if it was sentient, what sorts of things would it do?

LIFE:

I hate winter in September.  September!  Really? We’ve had 40 cm of snow here in NW Calgary and I think that just stinks! I had to move a tree branch to drive down the alley. It fell exactly across the road, blocking cars both ways.  I got out and moved it.  A  few days later, summer again. Boy, have we ever wrecked the planet with all this extreme weather. As least we are being reminded that we are one with the earth and if we disturb something with our activities, we will pay the price.

BOOK:  106 Ways to Deal with Grief        www.KathyBriantBooks.com

4. Talk to others who have lost a loved one and listen to their stories as well as tell your own (when you are ready). I attended two grief groups in dealing with my own grief. This was a year after Shannon died. For that first year I couldn’t talk about it, or say her name without breaking down, so I had to wait until I could at least be coherent and stopped wanting to die. I had to be ready.

The first group was for people who lost someone; a few children, a few husbands, and a brother. It was a sort of a teaching opportunity, whereas we really wanted to talk. That was limited and there was only one other mother who lost a child. It was good but something was missing.  I connected to another mom who lost a daughter through her own art and my daughter’s art.  We are still connected. The second was a group of people who had lost children and there I found my people.

I learned how everyone responds differently. Some went to bed for months, some couldn’t sleep, some couldn’t eat or the opposite, eating a lot and sleeping a lot.  There was a lot of anger and guilt and the denial was long lasting in some.  As I heard more stories, I felt better. I was not the only person going through an awful experience and when I talked about what happened to me, people listened and understood.  You have no idea how important  it is to be heard, both for me and for them. t is not appropriate to compare but that was exactly what I did and thanked heaven that I didn’t go through what some of them went through. I felt normal in my grief, validated and safe talking.