Living Fearlessly

Giving Hope to those who grieve

Grief, like most life changing experiences, teaches us something. Fully realizing that people I love will one day die and that “those sort of things” do NOT only happen to other people drove home the fact that to live well means to live more fearlessly and to fear less. Forever grateful to Lisa McDonald and her company Living Fearlessly for giving me the opportunity to share my message with subscribers in 145 countries (wow). I am honoured to have my name affiliated with a podcast that interviews some of today’s brightest, most innovative and inspiring newsmakers,business leaders, entrepreneurs, athletes, authors … (you get the picture). the link: Improving How We Perceive & Manage Grief with… Be sure to poke around the site as I’m certain you will find more than a few podcasts you’ll want to download.

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I eat ice cream: a philosophical approach

I like good ice cream. I like eating good ice cream. It tastes wonderful and I am happy when I eat good ice cream.

I also like being slimmer. But, when I eat ice cream I do not become slimmer. This makes me a bit sad.

I like being slimmer. Being slimmer in my mind makes me more attractive. If I’m slimmer my love life might improve. Like someone might actually ask me out. This thought makes me happy.

But… this means I would have to stay slimmer to be attractive and that could mean not eating ice cream, which makes me happy. Because eating good ice cream does make me happy.

Am I more attractive when I’m slimmer or when I’m happy?
Is slimmer more important than being happy?
Is slimmer critical to being happy and if so why?

Would I want to date someone who didn’t understand that some things in life that bring pleasure come with unwanted side effects?

Would I want to date someone who wouldn’t find me attractive because I eat ice cream and I am no longer pencil thin?

I think that when the mood strikes me I will eat good ice cream. I will put my happiness first. Because as we’ve established, eating good ice cream does make me happy.

Also, if I don’t put my happiness first then how can I expect someone else to put their own happiness ahead of some other equally inaccurate social belief. And who wants to be with someone who is unhappy because they’ve judged themselves to be not tall enough, muscular enough, rich enough, or slim enough. Unhappy is not attractive.

People who enjoy themselves and like themselves are attractive.
It’s so much easier and lovelier to be with happier people.

Plus, it only follows that if they can’t be happy that I’m happy when I eat good ice cream because it isn’t slimming then my happiness is less important to them than it is to me. I choose happy me, happy people and good ice cream.

* This really isn’t about ice cream (well maybe just a little).

Coming next week “Widow Wednesdays #2”.

Looking for “Widow Wednesdays #1click here

To learn more about Heike (Author: “Grief is…”) click here

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Widow Wednesdays #1

Widow Wednesdays

Welcome to Widow(er) Wednesdays. A new way for me to share what worked, what didn’t work and what could work better.

How to support the grieving

Invite a widow(er) for dinner in your home – not for lunch or coffee but dinner. Dinner is the hardest meal of the day to eat alone after the loss of a loved one.

Fact: In the year after my husband died two friends invited me into their homes for dinner. I invited myself into the home of a third friend after a particularly difficult day. I also invited my daughter, the dog and myself to a friend’s home for Christmas Day. I started going out for the occasional dinner with other widows and we cooked for one another (maybe once) during that first year. So, of the 365 days that made up that first terrible awful year I likely ate dinner alone at least 350 nights and possibly more. It shocks people when I tell them this. It doesn’t shock other widows and widowers.

Why your home? It’s a safe place. During that first year I was often reduced to tears. The way something was phrased, a favourite song over the loudspeaker system, a shared disliked song over the loud speaker, couples strolling hand in hand, and couples arguing. Tears could be triggered anywhere and by anything. It’s much more pleasant to feel your eyes well up sitting on a friend’s couch than it is in a crowded restaurant or coffee shop. Grief comes with tears. It should also come with understanding friends.

Note: Extending a dinner invite to a widow(er) with children is also a good idea. If anyone needs a break it’s those who are trying to figure out how to become a single parent when they’re in the midst of grieving.

P.S. If I hadn’t been so overwhelmed by grief I might have thought to ask my friends to invite me over more regularly. But, I didn’t want to impose, I didn’t want to admit how awful things were and I didn’t want to appear like I hadn’t figured it all out in 3 months – because I thought I was supposed to and so did they. * It takes years to figure it out. We can do this better.

If you’re grieving and you could use dinner at a friend’s place but don’t know how to ask, feel free to send them the link to this post. I’m grateful I can look back on this now and be able to share with others how we might do this better together moving forward.

It gets easier. Hang in.

Heike

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Wouldn’t you like to know…

Ever been at loss of what to say to a friend who is grieving? Ever wondered if what you said was helpful? Ever wanted to help but didn’t know how? Ever wondered why you felt this way?

Misbeliefs.

If you’re interested in dispelling some of these misbeliefs and learning about how to better support those you love, then join us.  June 6th, Mount Pleasant Cemetery, 7-9 p.m. RSVP: Torontodeathcafe@gmail.com  This is a free event. All are welcome.

 

 

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Could Grief Be The Next ‘Me Too’?

me-too.jpg

I most certainly hope so. If we can accept the validity of another’s story, even when we don’t have any personal experience with loss, it’s choosing to take a step towards creating a more compassionate and supportive space for all. We don’t need to be sexually assaulted to know it impacts people’s lives. We also don’t need to lose a loved one to know it impacts people’s lives.  Together we can do this better.

Stay well,

Heike

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Story

“Story, as it turns out, was crucial to our evolution – more so than opposable thumbs. Opposable thumbs let us hang on; story told us what to hang on to.” – Lisa Cron

And this is why it’s important to share our grief stories and why we must do so to make them part of our life stories.  We all have stories. Hang on and Move forward. Stay well, Heike

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Platinum Blonde

“Platinum Blonde” is one of the nicer things someone has said to me since I stopped putting highlights into my every changing hair.

“If you’re over 65…” was one of the least, if not the least, welcome comment I’ve heard. I’m 55.

The funny thing is that I would never have guessed what this decision would teach me. For example I’ve learned that:

Women tend to love the white in my hair. I’ve lost track of the compliments.

Men sometimes look at me with confusion- sometimes with aggression. But white haired men almost always smile. I smile back.

Does it make me look older? For sure, but, I think that’s because there is an expectation that women under 70 are supposed to hide their natural hair colour.

If you think this isn’t a learned response let me tell you that my four-year-old grandson tells me my hair is yellow and his is white. He also thinks I’m 24 because I’m so much fun.

Some people have even asked me why I’ve done this. This fascinates me as few other decisions I’ve made about my looks have caused this reaction. (Exceptions include my warrior band tattoo and the rat’s tail I had in my twenties).

So quickly, here are a couple of the reasons why.

  1. I was thinking of travelling and didn’t want to deal with the upkeep.
  2. I got tired of spending 3 hours at the hairdresser every 3 months.
  3. I got even more tired of shelling out the almost $200 it cost to do just my highlights. That’s almost $800 a year.
  4. I would start noticing the roots in about 3 weeks. Arghhh.
  5. My hair was becoming dry, damaged and more difficult to style.
  6. My hair went pretty much white after my brother and husband died 18 months apart. It wasn’t coming back. No real point in hiding this part of my story. We all have stories.

The truly amazing thing is that since I’ve gone “au natural” I’ve seen other women I know do the same and they look so much better and less tired. The biggest perk however, is that I look healthier. Something, no doubt, having to do with this not being some chemical attempt to match nature’s beautiful colour spectrum.

Platinum Blonde. I’ll take that, at least until I graduate to silver vixen.

Stay well, Heike

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