Official blog for the book "Just Behind the Door"

Posts tagged ‘lend a hand’

Helping Others Through Change and Loss

The depth of a cut is directly related to the length of time it takes to heal – and so it is with loss in our lives. Loss comes in so many varieties. The loss of a child, a loved one, a beloved pet, a job, security, our health and even changes in our living arrangements are just a few examples of life changing experiences that involve loss – the letting go of the familiar and moving into unseen territory. Most often we don’t ask for this change and are dumbstruck when it appears in our life. We question ourselves, ‘What could I have done differently to prevent this from happening?’ The truth is…nothing…’All is as it should be’ as difficult as that sounds, I know it to be truth.

For many loss is debilitating. They want to know the what, how, and whys regarding the loss. By seeking more information they hope to discover a hidden nugget that will help them reach a deeper understanding and feel somewhat more in control. There are times, however, that trying to unearth more facts just delays the healing process. When folks are unable to move through the stages of grief or change and mentally demand that things be what they once were we need to be there for them.

It may take a lifetime to wrestle with and finally resolve the changes that have happened to you in your life. You may think to yourself, ‘Life is not fair.’ I get it, I have been there with the loss of my son. I can tell you that given enough time and a desire to heal, heal you will – one small step at a time. Your loved one would want you to heal by remembering the good times and the love that you shared.

The losses in our life are meant to teach us something. The challenge is to discover what the lesson is for you and only you can figure it out. What is the absolute most difficult thing you are dealing with in your mind regarding the loss or change? Discovering our lessons and then actually learning them takes a lifetime. There is no short cut in the journey. We do need to remember to be kind to ourselves along the way.

The importance of finding someone you can talk to cannot be overstated. Think of it this way, if you were bleeding profusely you would need someone to help you stop the flow. Well, in dealing with the tragic loss of a loved one, for instance, you are bleeding profusely – it’s just on the inside – and not as easy to stop the flow. You may need help along the way. Be brave enough to seek help and remember, when the student is ready the teacher comes along.

Talking to a good friend, family member or mental health professional is a positive way to start digging yourself out of the emotional abyss that can result from a loss. Verbalizing your feelings, getting the anger and denial out is like putting a soothing ointment on a cut. It will still take time to heal but the process will be less painful along the way.

If you know of someone who has experienced a loss or change recently and are having difficulty working through it please be there for them. Often they will not ask but will receive your emotional support as if it were a lifeline thrown out to them in choppy waters. They will be forever grateful. We can all make it through this life if we just hold on to each other and know that when life seems the darkest there is always someone who will come into our life to help light the way to our tomorrows.

Be that light, that friend, that loved one who steps up and says, ‘I’m here for you – for now and for always.’ You’ll be glad you did!

Have a great few days!

Learning from the Australians

Recently I had the opportunity to visit my son in Australia. Going to a different continent, albeit one that speaks a form of English. can at first rattle your cage after 30 hours in planes and airports and crossing 15 different time zones. When arriving you realize everything is so much different than you may have expected. But, as the phrase states, ‘when in Rome do as the Romans’ and as a visitor you quickly realize that patience and understanding is not only valued but expected – it is the Australian way. The major differences in choices and accessibility … food, entertainment, shopping, transportation, and just basic living as well as the overall cost associated with each activity reminded me of how much we take for granted as Americans. We have it VERY good. We have more choices, options, and opportunities than we realize. Maybe it takes an opportunity to get out of our comfort zone to truly get it.

The Australian people are gentle, kind and accepting. Their highly efficient, immaculate and safe transit systems have signs that say, ‘please give your seat to someone who may need it more than you. If students are riding another sign directs them to give up their seat to an adult. Amazingly, these students – frequently teenagers – all do so willingly and with a gentle smile on their face. In the grocery stores people pushing their trolleys (grocery baskets) have just a few items – enough for a day or two in them. Food is costly and it appears never wasted. Also, you don’t see papers or trash on the sidewalks or streets. There are signs that instruct people to report anyone if they are littering. Consequently, people do not litter. The Aussies seem to take life in stride in a peaceful, unhurried manner. When driving people do not cut you off, honk their horns or merge quickly. They drive as they live. At work if they do not get everything accomplished they had planned, well, there is always tomorrow. Their mantra, ‘no hassle, no worry, no problem is truly their way of life. They just don’t seem to get rattled over anything. As Americans we have LITTLE patience with interruptions, delays or inconveniences. We know what we like or want and are usually able to get it. In Australia stores close at 5:00 P.M on weekdays and every Sunday. In America we are a 24/7 culture. We move fast, talk fast and usually expect – even demand that complete accessibility is available.

Our nonstop work ethic demonstrated the greatest difference between the cultures. As Americans we seem to be in a permanent state of rush, rush, rush just going faster and faster to get more things done. The good news is that as a culture we do get a tremendous amount accomplished. We are the innovators that seem to be in a seamless morphing state of constant improvement in everything we do. We work hard and can take great pride in what we contribute to the world. There is a reason why we are a world leader.

But, could it be that in our rush to accomplish more and become better and better that we have forgotten to give ourselves permission to really live and enjoy the special moments of our lives? I ask this with great humility. I lived the 24/7 lifestyle for years, now I wonder if it really was all that necessary or if I could have modified it slightly and taken a little time to smell the roses.

I remember a time …. long ago when as Americans we did enjoy a little more relaxed lifestyle – true it was years ago but I still remember. Family time was valued, holidays celebrated together, actual cards were sent in the mail telling someone how loved and important they were in our lives. Service personnel were treated by customers with appreciation and respect. Drivers were courteous. Living just felt safer and life a little more in balance.

I believe every experience we have can teach us something. My take away from this visit was to make a greater effort to take a few minutes and genuinely thank people for being in my world. To reconnect with friends and tell them how important they are to me. As Americans we are very generous when a major catastrophe happens – it is part of our DNA. We can take great pride in this and tap this part of our DNA by extending these thoughts of caring to a daily basis by remembering to be a little more gentle, patient and understanding with others and ourselves. As people of the world we have the power to change it one person at a time as we extend a hand to our fellow travelers.

Have a great few days!

Greater Clarity in Life

It is said that when a person is near death they have a greater clarity of purpose as they reflect back on their lives. We are also told in our Hospice training that people die as they live. The first time I heard that I was a bit puzzled. Now, a couple of years into my volunteer work it has become clearer to me. I have the opportunity to hear this clarity first hand as I listen to them relive the important moments in their lives. What I hear is about love of family and friends and the times when something happened that just took their breath away. It’s about whether they feel they made the world a little better off by being in it. Basically, it is all about gratitude for being a part of this experience we call life on planet earth. I don’t hear people worrying about how much they have accumulated or how much, in real dollars, they are worth. They seem to realize at this life changing time in their lives that what we do and think on a individual level really does affect not only ourselves but the entire world. Their hindsight is, indeed, 20/20. They seem to just know that we are all made up of energy and what we think and speak about most often comes back to us triple fold. Our thoughts really are the key to life and open or close all doors for us. If there is a yearning from these wonderful folks, it is to help the world understand the importance of loving others and lending a hand to someone in need. I am so fortunate to be in this classroom of life called the Hospice experience. It makes living that much more meaningful. You can see first hand that the entire world really has a very deep energy connection.

Our lives can be about so much more than just getting by or getting ours. Do you know of someone that has recently gone through a life transition or is struggling? If so, did you take the time to show them that you are concerned about them. If you don’t know what to say, that’s easy… simply, ” I care and I’m here for you,” is enough. It could be the lifeline they need at that precise moment to make it through another day.The Hallmark people are right, it’s never too late to show someone how much you care. Sooner or later we will all be at the end point in our lives on earth and will see with greater clarity what our lives represented. Let it be about compassion, gratitude and love. As I said in my book, love is the Alpha and Omega of the Universe.

Have a great few days!