The gratitude jar in my heart

Grief Diaries

✔️Missing Aly.

✔️Mom’s out of the hospital and feeling a little stronger each day.

✔️Dad came through surgery with flying colors.

✔️Move Mom and Dad into new home next week.

✔️Brother’s radiation treatments should be done by Christmas.

♥Kids are all doing well and home for Thanksgiving weekend. My mama heart is happy.

♥A warm roof over our heads and a table full of delicious homemade food. My belly is happy.

♥A laughter-filled night playing games with 3 generations. My soul is happy.

♥Our youngest son’s physics GRE score for grad school were posted late last night—top 14% in nation. Our family is doing the happy dance.

Life will always bring sorrow, but it will also always bring blessings. It’s up to me which ones I count.

When life brings more sorrow than joy, I make little mental deposits into the gratitude jar I hold in my heart. Today, your name is on one of those deposit slips.

Thank you for being part of my world. I am truly thankful.

-Lynda Cheldelin Fell

Grief Diaries

Hope for the Holidays

Hope for the Holidays Show, hosted by Lynda Cheldelin Fell and Todd Nigro, is a show for grievers to share tips and coping techniques for managing the holidays without our loved one. Learn more at www.LyndaFell.com.

12 Nights of Kindness

Kindness. It’s a simple act that unites instead of divides, and Tuesday, Nov. 13 is World Kindness Day. Watch Lynda Cheldelin Fell’s story about teaching her children to be messengers of joy through the 12 Nights of Kindness, the family tradition she started 14 years ago and how, since losing her daughter 9 years ago, the tradition unexpectedly helps her own heart to heal.

Free instructions and printables available on www.LyndaFell.com.

Why grief robs our memory

Memory

Memory is something I used to take for granted, at least up until Aly died. Nobody told me I would lose my memory after losing a child. It was so bad I often worried about early onset Alzheimer’s.

You too?

The good news is that we’re not alone. The better news is that there’s an explanation, and it’s not because we’re going crazy.

It turns out that when a part of the brain called the amygdala is flooded with adrenaline from fear or trauma, it anesthetizes other parts of the brain. Memory is impacted, time gets distorted, and events come back like a strobe light rather than a story.

So if nobody told you that memory loss, tunnel vision and time distortion are normal responses to emotional trauma, rest assured it’s common. I promise. Symptoms are especially pronounced after a traumatic loss.

Yes, I know—they’re still embarrassing. Especially to our kids.

Next time your kids give you the stink eye for asking the same question you did 10 minutes ago, bore them with the above explanation. With luck, they’ll never question your sanity again.

At least not out loud.

By Lynda Cheldelin Fell

 

Memory

Heavenly angel helps dress a grief-stricken mother

Grief Diaries

Teenaged girls giggled around my sister and me at the mall. They walked together in a tight group, swinging bags of merchandise. Any minute I expected to see my own daughter Liz come around a corner with a group of friends.

But Liz wasn’t here. She died in a duplex fire at college the day before.

“Let’s try this one,” my sister Sue said, guiding me into a shop that looked familiar. Of course. Liz had worked at this store during high school. A true clothes-a-holic, she’d loved the employee discount. Most of her earnings went right back to the store. Now here I was buying one final outfit for Liz—her burial outfit.

“Can I help you?” the salesgirl asked.

“Just looking,” I said.

I felt numb and far away. Sue had driven us to the mall because I couldn’t focus on the road. I couldn’t focus on anything. At the funeral home I had sat with my husband and father in silence while the director went over all the details.

“You’ll need to bring us some of Liz’s clothing,” he explained. “Any time in the next couple of days.”

I sat like a statue, not really understanding. It wasn’t until I got home that his words actually registered: Liz needed new clothes. Her entire wardrobe had been destroyed in the fire along with everything else.

I flipped through the racks around me. How many times had Liz needed new clothes? She seemed to come up with a reason every other week. My daughter was a champion shopper. If it ever became an Olympic sport, Liz surely would have won the gold medal.

“Liz didn’t get her love of shopping from me,” I said, holding up a dress for Sue’s opinion.

I put the dress back on the rack. Sue agreed: It just wasn’t Liz. How could I ever pick the right outfit without her? The clothes in the store swam together like a jumbled mass of fabric.

Liz, you’ve got to help me here, I thought to myself. I have absolutely no idea what to pick.

Sue and I moved through the store and my gaze wandered over the racks. Suddenly, a pair of khaki pants caught my eye. I grabbed a pair in Liz’s size. A few minutes later I reached for a pale blue sweater. “That’s pretty,” Sue said. “Let’s get that.”

“I have no idea if this is what Liz would want,” I admitted.

In my mind I saw Liz picking through racks of clothes. Maybe she can’t care about things like that anymore.

“I guess it doesn’t really matter if I don’t get it right,” I said.

I had once wished my daughter didn’t care so much about clothes. Now the thought of her not being able to care was unbearable, because it meant she no longer existed. Not on earth, anyway. I would never see her again.

The funeral went smoothly, not that I would have noticed any mistakes. Nothing mattered to Liz anymore. Why should it matter to me?

The day after the funeral my sister-in-law stopped by. Karen was the family photographer and had gone through her collection searching for shots of Liz.

“I found one from last Christmas when Liz was over at my house,” she said, digging into her purse. “I don’t think you’ve ever seen it.”

She handed me the photo showing Liz smiling and happily sitting on a couch with her cousins.

I drank in the sight of her face for a moment before scanning the rest of the photo. And when I did, I couldn’t believe it.

Liz was wearing a pair of khaki pants and a pale blue sweater.

You weren’t on your own, I realized. I had asked for Liz’s help. And she did.

A fashionista angel helped me choose the perfect outfit for my daughter, the champion shopper. No longer here with me on earth, but alive as ever in heaven, where one day I will see her again.

No doubt she has a new outfit ready and waiting for the reunion.

Kim Wencl
www.kimwencl.com

Grief Diaries

Surviving Loss by Cancer

cancer

Cancer. It’s an ugly word that strikes fear deep in the heart. From the very moment the diagnosis is delivered, our worlds pivot in unimaginable ways.

It’s with great honor that in conjunction with tonight’s telecast Stand Up to Cancer in Los Angeles, I share the newest release in the Grief Diaries series, Surviving Loss by Cancer.

The book is a collection of stories from people who have lost someone they love to cancer ranging in age from 24 to 77. Those who face the same loss can hold this book in their hands and draw strength from the written words. Filled with understanding and compassion, each poignant story weaves a journey beginning with their loved one’s first symptoms, to the moment of diagnosis, through to their loved one’s final breath, and beyond.

The purpose of such a book? To serve as a life raft in the storm by offering readers hope, strength, courage as they too transition into life without their loved one.

A heartfelt thank you to the courageous writers who penned their journeys in this book for the purpose of helping others. You are all heroes in my world, and I’m grateful from the bottom of my heart.

If you know someone who lost a loved one to cancer, please share this book with them. It’s available on Amazon and Kindle, and will soon be available in Barnes & Nobles along with 40,000 other retail outlets around the world. Thank you. XOXO

Lynda Cheldelin Fell
www.LyndaFell.com

#cancer #griefdiaries #SU2C