Ellen Gerst's Blog (49)

Embrace Your Grief to Release It

I believe in order to truly work through your grief, you must first EMBRACE it wholeheartedly. Live it; breathe it; examine it; and steep yourself in it. And as you sit mired in the muck of how you may see your life right now, YOU can decide how to pull yourself up and out of it.



When you think of the word embrace, the picture that might come to mind is a pleasant one...perhaps, two loved ones with their arms clasped around one another. Let's look at how Webster…

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Added by Ellen Gerst on November 5, 2010 at 7:30am — 1 Comment

Can You Hurry Through Grief?

Death, divorce, loss of a job, loss of a home, loss of community standing ... these are different types of losses, but they all take their toll on the human spirit. For some, it makes them grow stronger and more resilient; for others, each loss weighs more heavily upon the shoulders until one feels beaten up and downtrodden.



During these times of loss, one may feel uneasy about his or her place in this world. The world has tilted, and one must transition or change into a new person… Continue

Added by Ellen Gerst on October 13, 2010 at 6:00am — No Comments

10 Platitudes Never To Say To A Mourner

After the loss of a loved one, friends and family rush to comfort the bereaved. They want to do and say the right thing in order to help the most. However, sometimes they are not quite sure exactly what is necessary to accomplish that task.



In society, we often hear platitudes such as, "Time heals all wounds." or "God needed your loved one." In truth, these statements do not ease the pain of the mourner.



It certainly is not the intention of friends and family to bring more… Continue

Added by Ellen Gerst on September 22, 2010 at 6:00am — 2 Comments

A Chance for a Do-Over

Death is the great equalizer. Be you rich or poor; savvy or naïve; any religion; or any race, there is not a family that goes untouched by death and the subsequent grief that follows.



After a death of a loved one, a person is usually vulnerable and, consequently, open to considering new thoughts
and ideas, as well as connecting with those he/she would not have previously come in contact. It is upon this great cross-section of new ideas, people,… Continue

Added by Ellen Gerst on August 26, 2010 at 6:30am — No Comments

What To Do With The Clothing and Possessions of the Deceased

It is a couple of weeks after the funeral of your spouse. Relatives have gone home, the kids may be back at school or gone back to their own homes, friends aren't stopping by that often, and you are feeling very sad and alone. Every time you open the closet to choose your clothing for the day, you are confronted with your dead spouse's array of clothing. You can hardly look at the clothes, for they bring back the painful memory that they will not be worn again by your loved one.



Watch… Continue

Added by Ellen Gerst on August 11, 2010 at 6:00am — 6 Comments

Help Yourself Heal Through Story Telling

Everyone loves a good story! And although a story can entertain us, it also is a powerful tool that allows a writer to transform a reader’s way of thinking in order to let him or her see the world from a new perspective — perhaps even tilting the view a couple of degrees to the positive.



Death and other losses, as no other occurrence, teaches the survivor important lessons about the sanctity of life. As a part of the grief journey, the survivor can metamorphose into the most… Continue

Added by Ellen Gerst on July 22, 2010 at 6:00am — No Comments

Grief: The Pick Up Sticks Theory

In this posting, it is my pleasure to introduce to you the first LegacyConnect Video Blog. Going forward, I will be alternating videos and written blogs; each video will be a quick 3-minute 'coping with grief' tip.



That said, this video is little lengthier at approximately six minutes, but I wanted to take the time to explain my own theory on how I believe the grief journey works. This theory compares life and the effects of grief to the age-old game of "Pick Up… Continue

Added by Ellen Gerst on June 29, 2010 at 7:30am — 5 Comments

Surrendering To Your Grief

Webster’s definition of surrender:

To give oneself over to something (as an influence)

To give up completely or agree to forgo especially in favor of another

Synonym: Relinquish --give up; to withdraw or retreat from




Sometimes grief is so painful and your loss so deep that you might want to surrender to your darkest emotions, but society tells you “you must be strong.”



What if society’s definitions of weak and strong are incorrect?



What if… Continue

Added by Ellen Gerst on June 11, 2010 at 10:30pm — No Comments

Fear of Change: How To Overcome It

Do not be afraid of change. Change forces you to grow and, hopefully, become a better, more fully developed person.



It is you who will decide how your grief will affect your life. On one hand, you can sink deep into your grief and never see that there is still life going on around you -- life in which you can participate. On the other hand, you can be proactive in adjusting to your new circumstances and see all the positive things around you.



As I’ve mentioned previously,… Continue

Added by Ellen Gerst on May 24, 2010 at 12:00pm — No Comments

How The Death of A Spouse Can Be The Worst Thing and The Best Thing That Happens to You

In a prior post (March 8), I talked about the dual nature of the world and how to reach neutrality. Following along with that vein of thought, I am now able to make the following statement:



My late husband’s death was both the worst thing and the best thing that ever happened to me.



I realize that for many of you who are just at the beginning of your grief journey, it may be difficult to believe or understand that statement. It is also necessary for you to know from… Continue

Added by Ellen Gerst on May 7, 2010 at 4:30pm — 2 Comments

Projecting Positive Thoughts

"The inhabitant or soul of the universe is never seen; its voice alone is heard.

All we know is that it has a gentle voice, like a woman,

a voice so fine…that even children cannot become afraid.

And what it says is “Sila ersinarsinivdluge” -- “Be not afraid of the universe.”


- Eskimo teachings



It is my contention that in order to understand how the universe works, you must first… Continue

Added by Ellen Gerst on April 26, 2010 at 7:00am — No Comments

Love After Loss: Writing The Rest of Your Story

For those of you who have lost a spouse, you may have reached a point of readiness to look for love once again.



I was 46 years of age, a widow of seven years, and a veteran of a happy twenty-year marriage at the time I began this process.



Although I was told that it would take from five to seven years for me to feel truly healed from the wound inflicted upon my heart from my late husband’s unexpected death at the age of 41, I really did not believe it. After all,… Continue

Added by Ellen Gerst on April 12, 2010 at 7:30pm — 2 Comments

The Physical Aspect of Grief: A Natural Healing Therapy

Not only does grief disrupt and ‘irritate’ our mental and emotional states of mind, it can also play havoc with our physical bodies.



According to Susan Neva, L.P.N., C.C.T, a practicing colon hydrotherapist in Tempe, Arizona, when one is going through a difficult time -- whether sad, depressed or grief-stricken -- individuals have a tendency to “hold on.” For many, this holding on affects bodily waste elimination.



In this situation, Susan recommends utilizing a Castor Oil… Continue

Added by Ellen Gerst on March 31, 2010 at 3:00pm — No Comments

Coming To Terms With Your Grief: Reaching Neutral

Love vs Fear

Good vs Evil

Light vs Dark

Happiness vs Sadness



These pairs, and many others, are reflective of the natural duality of this world.



It is in the comparison of these polar opposites that you can find the true meaning behind these words/concepts/emotions, for, if you have never known any sort of darkness, how is it possible to appreciate the light fully?



Grief is darkness personified. At first, it is as if a blackout curtain has been… Continue

Added by Ellen Gerst on March 8, 2010 at 10:30am — 2 Comments

Is There Life After Death?

Is there life after death?



As one who has experienced the searing loss of a loved one, I have many times pondered about what happens when one dies. Questions I’ve asked include: does a soul go to “heaven” or somewhere else; can we still communicate with a person who has died, even though his/her physical body is gone; and are we being looked after by the souls (or angels) of our lost friend or family member? Although there are no definitive answers, evidence from different fields of… Continue

Added by Ellen Gerst on February 8, 2010 at 6:00am — 3 Comments

An Opportunity To Tell Your Story

Recently, I was introduced to the concept of the “thin thread”. A thin thread is a moment, event, setback, crossroad, or encounter that connected you to a person, place or an opportunity that changed your life for the better.



Losing a loved one may very well be one of these moments, but, in the darkness of grief, this “moment” may be overlooked or ignored.



I truly believe that there are no coincidences in life. Everything for which we desire is put in our path, and… Continue

Added by Ellen Gerst on January 24, 2010 at 11:00am — No Comments

Allowing Grief To Propel You Towards New Adventures

As I suggested in my holiday message to take time off from feeling sad and lonely, I thought I would start the new year with a little levity.



I have been a strict rule follower my whole life -- crossing all the t’s and dotting all the i’s. I also always fulfill my responsibilities before taking any pleasure.



Never stepping over the line, my late husband’s suicide was an especially hard concept for me to understand, for what goes more against societal rules than taking… Continue

Added by Ellen Gerst on January 10, 2010 at 6:00pm — No Comments

A New Year’s Resolution: Hope

The beginning of a new year is a good time to formulate a plan on how you want to move forward in your new life without your loved one.



I find when I listen to my own intuition, I am usually headed down the right road. One way to assure yourself it feels right is to check to see if your brain, heart, and gut are all in alignment. There shouldn’t be any little pings, nagging questions, or red flags waving in your face – only calmness and an inner knowing.



As a New… Continue

Added by Ellen Gerst on December 26, 2009 at 5:30pm — No Comments

Coping With Grief During The Holiday Season: Give Yourself A Holiday Gift

Sometimes loss is so devastating it sends you into a seemingly never-ending downward spiral. Do you often find yourself descending into darkness rather than looking for the positive ray of sunshine present in every situation?



Try to remember that every event in life is neutral. It is neither good nor bad; positive nor negative; happy nor sad. It is you, and your response, which gives meaning to the event.



I do not mean to mitigate the death of a spouse, or any loss for… Continue

Added by Ellen Gerst on December 4, 2009 at 7:00am — No Comments

How To Resolve The Guilt of a Suicide Survivor

No one can know the depth of despair to which a person may sink upon contemplation of suicide. Possibly, the black hole in which one finds him/herself gets deeper and darker as the days go by. Soon, even the smallest sliver of light is blocked from view. And then, instead of being frightening, the darkness becomes comforting and safe. It cradles and protects the person from all outside forces – from life and all the decisions to be made, both large and small. Eternal sleep and “supposed”… Continue

Added by Ellen Gerst on November 19, 2009 at 9:30am — 3 Comments

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