Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Tips for dealing with Grief

I’m in my fifties now and one of the realities I have noticed is that many more people around me are dealing with grief and loss.  Whether it’s the loss of a parent or even the loss of a spouse, as we age grief becomes a part of all our lives. 

I am by no means an expert, but having gone through the death of my first husband and the loss of my mother, I have lived through my fair share of grief, so I want to use my experience to offer some advice.

What NOT to say/do:
·      We all know people who say things like, “they are in a better place now” or “everything happens for a reason”, neither of those statements are helpful when someone is hurting so please refrain from those comments.
·      Please do not tell someone,“ I know how you feel” because you really don’t know exactly how they feel.  Each situation is unique, and having empathy doesn’t mean you know what someone else is feeling. 
·      It may sound like a compliment, but saying “you are so strong” can be  incredibly frustrating.  Being strong is the only option they have right now, they really want to curl into a fetal position and sob, but putting one foot in front of the other is all they can do and its not strong, its survival. 
What to say/do:
·      Your friend or loved one probably doesn’t feel like eating; so don’t focus on bringing food.  We had so much food when my husband died, much more than we could ever eat.  We felt guilty about wasting it all and honestly we were stressed about getting the bowls and serving dishes back to the right people – so if you feel you must bring food - please bring it in disposable dishes. 

·      A thoughtful gift might brighten their day.  I mentioned wanting to write and I had an amazing friend who went right out and picked up some beautiful journals for me.  Another friend bought a big comfy bathrobe and some beautiful candles to help make my bedroom feel like a safe place.

·      Cleaning or doing other chores can be extremely helpful.  My sister-in-law swept and mopped and did dishes, it helped me to not feel so overwhelmed.
·      Sometimes just being there is the most important thing you can do.  I still remember my sister climbing into bed with me and sleeping there; she didn’t say anything, she just stayed right next to me so I wouldn’t feel alone.

Grieving is part of life, but it is one of the hardest things to go through.  Give your loved one time to grieve, just be there to listen, that’s the most valuable thing you can do.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Its time for some historical accuracy about 'The Great Society'

Warning – Warning – Warning: I am about to talk about something political and its bound to be controversial

As this election season progresses, and we all get tired of hearing about the candidates, I have one gigantic pet peeve that I want to share…for the sake of historical accuracy, can we please stop referring to all social programs as ‘New Deal’ and attributing all social programs to FDR. 

I have as much respect for FDR as the next guy, but the reality is that most of the programs we enjoy today, the so-called ‘entitlements’ that politicians discuss endlessly, are actually programs from LBJ’s Great Society, and not from FDR. 
President Roosevelt did introduce a large number of recovery programs when he took office during the Great Depression, including the Social Security Act in 1935 which set up pensions and unemployment insurance for workers as well as providing aide for the disabled, but it was President Johnson who created the Medicare and Medicaid programs, and many more of the social programs that we know today. 
LBJ used the country’s shared grief over President Kennedy’s assassination to help push through a wide range of social programs and civil rights legislation.  LBJ was responsible for creating Project Head Start and a wide range of programs in his famous ‘war on poverty.’ 
Now whether you support these programs or you think they are government overreach, for the sake of historical accuracy please stop calling them ALL the New Deal, because they are not.