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Hello and Welcome ...

Thanks for stopping by. It’s a Wonderful Wednesday. Yes, I am moving into the next phase of retirement, yet so grateful that my brain is still moving at a 24-hour pace of thought. I usually do not read lengthy blog posts, messages, sales letters, and the like, so I won’t give you what I don’t do myself. I do hope that these bite-sized thought nuggets are enough to make you ponder, yet inspiring enough to make you find gratitude on this Wonderful Wednesday. Enjoy your day and keep moving forward!

Dora Carpenter, CPC

Founder, Institute of Professional Grief Coaching

Grief is the journey. Gratitude is the destination.®

The Holidays Can be Complicated

November 30, 2022

The holidays are a vulnerable time for individuals grieving the loss of a loved one. Those complicated and conflicting feelings of what you should or should not do, how you should or should not feel, what others think or do not think, and that uninvited guest named “grief.” Grief for what was supposed to be and is no longer.

Please don’t beat up on yourself. What you are experiencing and feeling is normal and natural for one who is missing a loved one, whether the loss was this year or many years ago. Grieving the loss of a loved one is a complex experience to navigate at any time but is heightened during the holidays. This week I would like for you to shift a bit with me for only five minutes.

Take a break from whatever you are doing and thinking about. Grab pen, pencil, 

coffee, tea, or your favorite beverage. Find a comfortable chair, or even sit on the floor (my favorite), and let’s go to work with an exercise we use in our coaching program, the 50 Smiles Project.

For the next five minutes, list 50 things that make you smile. This can be a word, phrase, sentence, whatever comes to mind. Don’t forget the simple things that we often overlook and take for granted. I smile as I type this for the gratitude in simply being able to share this message with you… smile.

Go easy on yourself this holiday season and allow all feelings to coexist. Give yourself permission to feel those painful emotions. Also, look for smiles in the love you shared, the memories you made, the continued bond you share. Make space to honor your emotions, while allowing room for joy, smiles, and gratitude.

Enjoy your day and keep moving forward!

Treat Yourself to a Thanksgiving Timeout

November 23, 2022

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. You are probably busy traveling or preparing for this day and might miss this week’s blog post. If not, I’m glad you are here because I want to interrupt your busyness.

Take a few minutes to go deeper into the Oneness of who you are today. I know that’s pretty deep right? Either before you retire for the evening, in the morning, or even a bathroom break during the day. Give thanks beyond the daily gratitude expressions for health, finances, family, etc. Don’t forget those of course!

Close your eyes. Imagine an endless open space, i.e., nature, water, etc. No one is there but you. Connect with only you. Oneness. Stillness. Inner peace. Connect with who you really are. Your being. Your greatness. Your presence. Smile and allow all of it. Find gratitude in simply the Being of You. Don’t try to fix or change anything. Just be. Now, go wherever and however this feeling takes you. Have fun.

I remember being at a shopping mall many years ago when an older gentleman gave me a compliment. I replied, “thank you” and he responded, “Don’t thank me. Thank your parents.” That response took me on another path of thought. Did he see something deeper than the physical presence? Who am I anyway? Why am I anyway? How am I anyway? I went really deep after that moment and carry that memory still today. I am not my business. I am not my home. I am not my finances. You get the picture.

I invite you to take some time to honor and celebrate who you really are this Thanksgiving!

Enjoy your day and keep moving forward!

Missing Someone During the Holidays

November 16, 2022

Whether you have experienced the loss of a loved one this year, or many years ago, the holidays always heighten the memories, as well as the emptiness. This is the season of happiness, joy, family togetherness, and family traditions. For those who have lost loved ones, it might be a time of sadness loneliness, and despair. The sights, sounds, smells of the holiday season can’t be avoided and many feel that others have even forgotten about their loss.

You miss the booming laughter and special moments spent. There’s an empty chair at the table for Thanksgiving. You won’t have those warm hugs on Christmas morning. You might feel lonely on New Year’s Eve. You have to spend Hanukkah without your loved one. It might seem daunting to light the seven candles during Kwanzaa. You might even paste a smile on your face while feeling dreed inside. It is okay and even normal to feel like breaking down during this time, so please don’t consider your tears and emotions an indication of weakness.

What you are experiencing is simply called grief. Only those can feel this pain who have been through this type of heartache. Even though you might feel like crumbling, let the warmth of cherished memories fill and lift your spirits this holiday season. Find gratitude for those times shared.

I hope that you feel empowered to be compassionate and loving towards yourself as you navigate the feelings of loss this holiday season and beyond. I promised only nuggets here, so if you want to dive deeper into the pitfalls of holiday grief, listen to a previously recorded holiday grief webinar here.

Enjoy your day and keep moving forward. 

Riding the Wave of Grief

November 9, 2022

One day a client called me from her car during an immense period of panic. A traffic detour forced her to drive through a street she had not taken since her husband died two years ago. She was terrified. She couldn’t force herself to drive by the park where they used to sit on the same bench and enjoy lunch together. I could hear other car horns in the background beeping for her to move, but she was emotionally frozen and refused to drive through that street. Unfortunately, there was no way for her to turn the car around.

Feeling grateful that I was available to take her call, I talked her through this consuming grief burst as she slowly made her way through the detour. Grief bursts? What are they? Grief bursts, sometimes referred to as grief attacks, are those sudden outbursts of sadness, crying, or any normal and natural response to loss. They can be triggered by a sight, sound, smell, familiar object or place; or, they might have no trigger at all. The only thing predictable about grief bursts is that they are usually unpredictable with no trigger at all.

Now that you know what they are and that you are not going crazy, give yourself permission to ride the wave of this grief experience. Calm down. Take three deep mindful breaths. Close your eyes, open your heart, and remember the smile of your loved one. Embrace the journey and ride the wave of cherished memories.

p.s. My client was later able to return to that park and occasionally have lunch on that same bench.

Enjoy your day and keep moving forward!

Dora's First Grief Nugget Blog Post... Enjoy

November 2, 2022

When I worked in the cemetery, each day at a gravesite I would hear so many expressions such as “Life is so fragile. I just saw him yesterday.” “Life is so fragile, I’ve been meaning to call, but I’ve just been so busy.” “Life is so fragile. I didn’t even know she was sick.” “Life is so fragile. I can’t believe this has happened.” “Life is so fragile. If only I had known…” “Life is so fragile. I had the family on my mind last week, but…” “Life is so fragile. She wasn’t even sick.“ “Life is so fragile. We were just texting each other last week.” “Life is so fragile. His life seemed so perfect.” “Life is so fragile.” “Life is so fragile.” “Life is so fragile.”

Merriam-Webster defines fragile as easily broken or destroyed; flimsy or insubstantial; not strong or sturdy; delicate and vulnerable.

Many have thought and said it and usually at a time when life has thrown a curve ball of change that leaves us in the depth of despair. Upon notification of a death, the fragility of life stares you in the face and you stare back with questions of how and why. You not only question the death, but your own existence and the impermanence of life itself. Whether you acknowledge this fact or avoid facing the reality of same, the non-negotiable occurrence of death is inevitable. It will directly or indirectly affect each of us at some point and place itself on our calendar without permission, leaving us heartbroken.

If the delicate order of birth is death and life is really fragile, what is within our immediate control? Right now as you read this, in this present moment, on this Wonderful Wednesday, ponder these questions. What might you do today that you’ve put off until later for whatever reason? Who might you call or visit? Who might you forgive? To whom might you express feelings of care, concern, or love? How might you rearrange your busy schedule to make an avoided action a priority today? Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?

Life is here. It is now. It is waiting for you! Enjoy your day and keep moving forward.