Uncategorized

Holiday Grief

The difference between grief and denial……..

May we have the courage to heal.

Blessings to you this holiday season.

grief

Advertisements
Uncategorized

Coping Through the Holiday Funk- Danita Ogandaga, MSW

coping

This article is about World Class Funk: Holidays, Loss, & Intensified Feelings.

A client once told me, “Danita, if I could, I wish that I could become a bear to hibernate from Thanksgiving to New Years”. I have heard this statement so many times in my work as a grief recovery coach. The holiday season is naturally a time for persons to be of good cheer but not everyone is reeling from the turkey preparation, fall colored leaves, lines at Starbucks getting your red cups, or frequent trips down neighboring subdivisions to view holiday lights.

My therapist once told me shortly after the loss of both parents that the feelings that we carry and often have are not pasted on watch so they do not obey time and they certainly don’t obey the calendar we follow ritually. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), according to an article published by CNN affects approximately 20% of Americans and are due in part to the cold weather, lack of sunlight, to name a few followed by financial pressure for some. As much as we’d like to drag the Grinch or the person sitting in tears, the stark reality is that grief is real and it takes time. Martha Beck, who writes for O Magazine and is an amazing transformation coach in her own authority, it is important to remember that if we are going to be there for someone during their season of grief that we not try to rush them along. Healing takes time.

Just as water travels through the river, there are people that are walking the streets, working beside you at work, or pushing their cart in the grocery store with you that may find themselves in the first 48 hours of their loss whether that loss is a loved one, foreclosure or loss of house due to fire or other circumstance, prolonged illness, abandonment, rejection, or any other situation. This past week, I encountered what felt like a surge of personal emotions that all seemed to come at once:

  • My sister was rushed into emergency surgery
  • My aunt lost her husband and love of her life
  • I wrapped up a month-long course on Miscarriages and had a moment to remember my own

Although these moments dealt with a person, there are also griefs that are associated with non-persons. Whatever the grief may be, I want to encourage you that you must go through the process and in doing so, ultimately find the strength to place the memory of the things or person that you have lost in a place where you can continue to function.

Here are a few ways that you can begin to make through the days ahead:

  1. Make time to remember- Maybe it was a picture you posted on Facebook  or your favorite memory of the place you loved to attend, make the time to share those experiences with your friends and family.  It may be a simple trip to your favorite ice cream store of a long-distance trip to the island. No matter where it is, make the time to make time to remember. The engagement and the act of giving voice to the memory will provide a connection deeper than you could imagine.
  2. Open up for glimmers of joy- The feeling of guilt can cause you to believe that you are not entitled to laugh in the midst of crying as you mourn or grieve but I want to assure you that this is the best thing for you to do. Your memories can hold the joys as well as the pains associated with losing your loved one and when you remember deep down, you know that your loved one would want you to find glimmers of joy even in a painful time.
  3. Set clear expectations- It may not always be easy to set clear expectations especially when you are crying your eyes out, but it is ok to know that when you have lost someone or something, no one expects you to jump up and down and cheer. Let’s face it, you have just lost something or someone dear to you so of course you are going to cry. Death is a separation until we are reunited again. When couples and family members embrace each other after a short departure or reunion, they cry, right? So, if there is no immediate reunion in site for those things or persons that we have lost, of course there will be tears. Talking to people who are perfect strangers in a support group or grief recovery group can always assist your process.

No matter what you decide to do, maintain your peace that you are doing what is best for you. This is what we want grief to look like and in fact, it is something quite different.

ef

I encourage you to stay tuned for our February 2016 GriefTalk Recovery Group event that will be held online. For more information, read here.

In the days ahead, stay encouraged. For more products to assist your grief journey, please visit our store. 

Relationships

The Front Porch: The Waiting Room by Danita Ogandaga

Front porches are so quaint and serve as a beautiful introduction to a home. I like to think of front porches as a waiting room of sort. Some overflowing with rocking chairs and plants and some bear with a single chair. I am sure that many people have had an awesome experience in life while sitting on the porch. For those friends of mine that may be from various sections of the world, the porch is defined as a structure attached to the exterior of a building often forming a covered entrance. The definition is solid but does no justice for the cultural symbolism that a porch holds for the American and their front porch. The porch fosters an amazing connection between nature and land, safety and security, the level of control one has between the world and the domain of his or her home.

Formation of Community- Growing up on Desmond Street in Kinston, North Carolina was an amazing experience. To the left of my street would be the Koonce, Dillahunt, and Platt families and to the right of me would be the Rhem, King, and Smith families. Whether the weather was cold or hot, you could be sure that at some point of the day, you would have a member of those family members sitting on that porch. Before I could even walk, my mother and my father would always encourage me to greet my neighbors when coming out of the house and getting into the car. The idea of offering a greeting was a sign of respect and reverence for the neighbors who assisted in creating community on my street.

Porches have been creating venues for socialization for many years which has lead to the formation of community. I remember the farmers coming into town stopping on my street and watching my mom go to the porch to purchase her vegetables and fruits. There were times when my father would give the payment for our life insurance policy to the agent….on the porch. We would venture off of our porch and walk to the porch of our new neighbors who moved into the community. The porch was the holding space that fostered much opportunity to building lasting friendships; building familiarity beyond the sidewalk and not yet achieving the intimacy of entering the house. It was overall, a healthy balance of a new beginning.

Nurturing the Psychiatric Core- My parents were ministers, so I was a PK (Preacher’s Kid) two times over. Still, I witnessed several occasions where my parents would counsel married couples, engaged couples, and family issues on the porch. The furniture on the porch got a lot of wear and tear from our family as we would use the porch as a common ground to air the issues were facing as a family in addition to celebrating the positive moments like birthdays, holidays, and other events.

Families use the porch as a common ground to resolve issues about which kid knocked the hose over and how it would be resolved. The porch was a civil arena where people could come with no reservations to establish a non-threatening environment for creative resolutions to making everything better. Bringing the neighborhood and the community together and provoking opportunities to invoke awareness and prompt care, the porches of the world, whether public or private, are a waiting room for change.

This weekend, my family and I were engaged in our weekend activities which included the following, to name a few:

Visiting family members for Tally to play with her cousins
Taking a trip to our International Farmer’s Market
Business meetings with clients
Courting at our local cafe
Walking a trail at our local park
Checking out or returning books at our local library

In the midst of doing all of this traveling and back and forth, while out visiting our Aunt and Uncle in the northern part of Georgia, we realized that while attempting to get to their home early, we were locked out and did not want to wait in the car. So instead of complaining, we just took the time to take the funny pictures, get in sneezing matches due to the pollen affects, sing our favorite songs, and just look into each other’s eyes and just be……one, with each other. It was such an awesome experience to be able to take the time to star gaze into each other’s eyes…..that was until we realized that the door was open and our Aunt and Uncle had entered the house from the rear and had been waiting for us to come in for about twenty minutes! It was hilarious, but the time we spent on that pollen- filled porch was priceless!

Enjoy your family; enjoy your porch!