Tag Archives: grief

Things You May Not Have Know About Breast Cancer


Do you have a loved one who experienced a loss because of breast cancer?  Before I relate my story, let me first share some facts with you about the #1 source of cancer in women.

These facts are assembled by the National Breast Cancer Coalition, which is a powerful voice, speaking for women and men across the country, demanding victory in the war against breast cancer. In 2003 it was named one of the twenty most influential groups in health policy based on a survey of congressional staff – the only grassroots group and the only breast cancer organization to make that list.

Its mission is to eradicate breast cancer, the most common form of cancer among women in theUnited States, by focusing the administration, U.S. Congress, research institutions and consumer advocates on breast cancer.  According to the National Breast Cancer Coalition, below are some of the myths and truths about breast cancer.

Myths

  1. Monthly breast self-exams save lives
  2. Mammograms can only help and not harm you
  3. MRIis better than mammography because if finds more cancer
  4. Mammograms prevent breast cancer
  5. Most women with breast cancer have a family history of the disease
  6. Men don’t get breast cancer
  7. Everyone’s breast cancer is the same
  8. Removing the entire breast is better than just cutting the cancer out and getting radiation
  9. There are drugs that can prevent breast cancer
  10. Once diagnosed with breast cancer, it is very important to make treatment decisions immediately
  11. Second opinions are only for treatment options
  12. With new treatments we can now cure breast cancer
  13. All breast cancer research is good because it moves us toward prevention and a cure

Truths

  1. When breast cancer shows up on a mammogram, it many have been in your body for 6-10 years
  2. Breast cancer mortality rates are declining
  3. We don’t know how to prevent breast cancer
  4. Risk of breast cancer increases with age; 50% of breast cancer occurs among women aged 62 and older
  5. Most people think they have a higher risk of breast cancer than they actually do
  6. Hormone replacement therapy increases your risk of breast cancer
  7. You should question your doctors

My wife and I have had first hand experience with breast cancer.  Because of this my wife, Gretchen, passed away abruptly at the age of 63 after we had been married for 40 years.  At the time of her death we had two sons, who were 31 and 29 years old then.

The impact of Gretchen’s passing was an immediate emersion into the grief process.  I can tell you that this was a very painful time in my life.  I could have given in to the grief I was experiencing and let it control my life for a long…….long time.  But my personal makeup led me to attack the grief process and to find support and counseling so I could address my pain in as short a time as possible so I could return to a fulfilling and joyful life.

I plan to give you a picture of my life together with Gretchen and our two sons, some high and low points in our lives, the onslaught of the grief process and how I was able to regain a happy and meaningful life.

Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself:

 I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today.

 I can choose which it shall be.

Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet.

I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.
— Groucho Marx

 

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Seeking Help is the Best Decision I Ever Made


My journey through the grief process was not a lot of fun but it allowed me to move toward a new beginning.  If this major loss did not occur I would probably have not chosen my new career path.  As it is said, “If God did not believe I could handle this, he maybe would not have allowed this to happen to me.”  He only gives you challenges that you have the ability to overcome.

This has allowed me to apply my most treasured skills that were part of my prior career to my new career path.  What has mattered most in my business and personal life is to apply my interpersonal and relationship talents toward helping others through their personal times of crisis.  This is what I treasure most in life…….helping others.

During my personal grief process it was revealed to me that a career that I had never considered before was something that was made for me…….to become a professional grief coach so I could help others work through the major loss that happened to them because of the loss of a loved one to breast cancer.  My personal experience with this type of loss can be directly applied to the situations I am involved with others facing a similar challenge.

In addition, I was introduced to Aurora Winter and herGrief   CoachAcademyso I would be provided with the tools needed to deal with my clients who are facing a similar loss.  As it is said, “Everything happens for a reason.”  And I believe this directly applies to the changes that have occurred in my life. 

“Success has nothing to do with

what you gain in life or accomplish for yourself.

It’s what you do for others.”

~ Danny Thomas

                                                                                     


“Trust in the LORD with all your heart,

And do not lean on your own understanding.

In all your ways acknowledge Him,

And He will make your paths straight.” 

Proverbs 3:5-6

 

 

What Do You Say to Someone Who is Grieving


One of the most awkward situations that people find themselves in is when they have to say something to someone who has just suffered a major loss, like what happened to me when my wife of 40 years died at the age of 63 from breast cancer.  Usually this is when you are attending a funeral.  You don’t want to say the wrong thing but what do you say?  Here are some suggestions of some supportive things to say and some things that you should not say.

 Below is an article written by Aurora Winter that addresses this situation very nicely. 

Heartbroken: Coaching Clients in Crisis
By Aurora Winter      June 2011

Heartbreak is inevitable. Knowing how to coach people who are devastated from a death, divorce, or another heartbreaking crisis is a valuable and much-needed coaching skill. Every coach needs at least some basic skills in this arena. If you’re looking to make a significant difference in the lives of others and grow your coaching business at the same time, consider focusing on the niche of grief coaching.

Over 50,000,000 people in the US are struggling with heartbreak and would benefit from coaching. According to a study reported in Time magazine, people typically suffer 5-8 years after a devastating emotional blow, such as a death of a spouse or a child, or the loss of a career. In my experience, heartbroken people benefit enormously from coaching. They can regain a sense of peace and well-being within a matter of months, saving them years of pain.

As the baby boomers age, more and more people will be confronted by the death of their parents or spouse. Unlike prior generations, baby boomers invest in themselves, and are turning to coaching as a way to go from pain to peace.

Businesses as well as individuals can benefit from investing in coaching when dealing with layoffs, downsizing, financial loss, grief, or another crisis. According to the Wall Street Journal, the workplace cost of heartbreak is $75 billion per year due to lost productivity, absenteeism, and accidents. By investing in coaching and supporting their employees through crisis, the company can get a good return on their investment.

Most people don’t know what to do to recover from grief. It’s not their fault. A coach can guide people through the steps required to heal from grief. Many people believe that time heals, but the truth is that time alone does not heal. The right actions heal.

When my husband died suddenly at the age of 33, leaving me widowed with a four-year-old son, I was devastated. At that time, I didn’t know what actions to take to recover. This life experience motivated me to study happiness and grief recovery. When I learned how to proactively release grief, I dedicated my life to helping others go From Heartbreak to Happiness® more quickly, and founded the Grief Coach Academy.

As a grief coach and a grief coach trainer, I commonly see profound transformations with nine specific coaching sessions. A great coach can make all the difference.

Most people, even great coaches, don’t know what to say to comfort someone who is grieving. If you say the wrong thing, you can actually make matters worse.

So that you will never be at a loss for words again, here are the top 10 best and worst things to say to someone who is devastated with grief:

 Do say:

• You’re not alone – I’m here.
• I can’t imagine how painful this must be for you?
• My heart goes out to you.
• What specifically can I do to support you?
• Grief is a normal and natural reaction to loss.

Don’t say:

• Don’t feel bad.
• Be grateful you had her so long.
• At least you have other children.
• You’re young. You can get another husband/wife/child.
• It just takes time.

If you are at a loss for words, there is nothing wrong with being authentic and simply stating, “I don’t know what to say.”

It is a relief to a heartbroken person to talk about their loss. To have an initial conversation with someone who is in emotional crisis, be sure to do the following three steps:

STEP 1: ACKNOWLEDGE
It is essential to acknowledge the situation.

After his father died, I would take our four-year-old son to play at his friend’s house. Our son literally would not cross the threshold until he first announced, “My Dad is dead.”

His little playmate said, “Oh!”. That was it. But it was enough for our son to feel acknowledged. He then felt comfortable entering the home and going to play Lego® with his friend.

We can all learn from the innocent directness of children. Don’t avoid discussing the elephant in the room.

STEP 2: LISTEN WITHOUT FIXING
People in crisis are accident-prone because so little of their attention is right here, right now. Their mind is preoccupied going over and over the past with all the “if onlys” and regrets. Their mind is anticipating the future with fear, uncertainty or even dread.

It’s as if their thoughts are all jumbled up like wet clothes spinning in the dryer. When you listen without fixing, it is as if you turn the heat on in the dryer. The person in crisis shares their worries and concerns one sentence at a time. They can hear themselves. They discover their own solutions. Listening without fixing is a huge gift that a coach can give.

STEP 3: GIVE HOPE AND ENCOURAGEMENT
After the person feels heard, acknowledged and validated, give hope and encouragement. Here are 3 ways to give hope and encouragement:

i) Remind the person of their inner strengths, and how they overcame adversity in the past.

ii) Reassure them that they’re not alone; they have a support team, and that you’re on it.

iii) Share success stories of how other people just like them overcame a similar adversity.

People can easily get stuck in grief unless they are guided through the process of proactively releasing it. Time alone does not heal. The wrong kind of talking about it can deepen despair. The right coaching can make all the difference.

After the initial conversation with the person in crisis, urge them to get support, and make a referral. Or, if you’re trained as a grief coach, invite them to continue coaching with you so that they will see results quickly. In my experience, grief responds beautifully to coaching, and I typically see profound results in just nine specific grief coaching sessions.

Often people who are heartbroken make the mistake of thinking that they will wait before getting help. But if they had a broken arm, they wouldn’t hesitate to immediately go and get help. Broken hearts should be treated the same way as a broken arm, immediately, and by a qualified professional.

“Nothing worth doing is completed in our lifetime.
Therefore, we are saved by hope.
Nothing true or beautiful or good makes complete sense

in any immediate context of history;
Therefore, we are saved by faith.
Nothing we do, however virtuous,

can be accomplished alone.
Therefore, we are saved by love.
No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint

of our friend or foe as from our own;
Therefore, we are saved by the final form of love,

which is forgiveness.”

Reinhold Niebuhr


 

 

 

Statistics About Grief


Average Grief Period – 5 to 8 Years

There is a very eye-opening statistic on the grief process.  This was reported in the January 9, 2005 issue of Time Magazine in an article by Claudia Wallis titled “The New Science of Happiness”.  This was based on a study by Edward Diener, who is an American psychologist, professor, and author. He is noted for his research over the past twenty-five years on happiness — the measurement of well-being; temperament and personality influences on well-being; theories of well-being; income and well-being; and cultural influences on well-being.

According to Diener, two events in a persons life with the greatest impact were shown to be loss of a spouse (taking 5-8 years for recovery) and loss of a job.  This is a significant part of one’s life to be stuck in limbo.  If there were a way to address the grief process that would reduce this to a much shorter period of time, wouldn’t we opt for this in a heartbeat?

Baby Boomers Facing Grief More Frequently 

The baby boomer generation is defined as someone  who was born during the demographic Post-World War II baby boom and who grew up during the period between 1946 and 1964.  This would make these baby boomers between 47 and 65

                                                                    

Source: U.S. Birth Rate – 1909 – 2003

At present it is estimated that there are about 80 million baby boomers in the U.S. today.  Because of their age, they are increasingly facing the death of their parents or their spouse.  This translates to a very big increase in the number of people who have or will be faced with the grief process.  The estimate of how many of these baby boomers who are currently suffering from grief because of the death or divorce is about 5 million.

If you or someone you care about is suffering from grief because of a major personal loss, wouldn’t it be better for them to seek out professional help.  It has been proven that this type of coaching, counseling or whatever you want to call it can help the person to deal with the grief process in the best possible way.  And if this results in this person being able to return to a productive, fulfilling and joy filled lifestyle, wouldn’t it be worth it?

My Goal: Helping Others Achieve a More Fulfilling and Joyful Life


While I was attacking the grief process, I ran onto someone who really opened my eyes.  She is a woman who lost her husband when he was only 33 years old when they had a four year old son.  They had just relocated to a new home.  The second day she woke up to find her husband dead in bed next to her.  You can appreciate that this had devastating results on her and her four year old son.  Being a writer by trade and always maintaining a personal journal, she documented her feelings and wrote down what was going on in her life on a daily basis.

Because of the nature of his death and the early stage in their life together this had a devastating impact on her.  It took her 10 years to work her way through her personal grief process.  Being a writer by trade she decided to put her diary in book form.  It was published about 12 years after her husband’s death.  It is titled From Heartbreak to Happiness®.

The success from this book and the feedback she received from so many people that it had touched caused her to found a new endeavor that she called the Grief Coach Academy®.  This was a very comprehensive program where she trained others to become grief coaches.  Being a businessman by background, I was very impressed that a totally new business could be created where nothing like it existed at the time.

During my attempt to attack the grief process associated with the loss of Gretchen, I came across some of Aurora Winter’s material on the Internet.  The more I researched Aurora and her business the more my interest was peaked.  After some very extensive research and due diligence that is part of my nature as a financial managment person, I decided that this is exactly what I wanted to do.  Even though many will wonder if this fits with my background in Corporate America, I believed that this is what I was meant to do with the rest of my life.

After many discussions with Aurora and listening to her training calls with other grief coaches in training, I can say thatAurora is one of the most heart-centered, warm people I have ever met.  She is has very good interpersonal skills and has the first hand experience of struggling with her own grief process.  A more formal description of Aurora Winter follows:

 Aurora Winter is a popular speaker, trainer, coach, and guest on radio and TV. Aurorais the founder of the Grief Coach Academy®. She is passionate about helping others enhance happiness.

A former TV producer, Aurora Winter is the author of From Heartbreak to Happiness®, which has been endorsed by Dr. Wayne Dyer. Her latest book, Encouraging Words, will be available December 2011.

It plays directly into my long-time focus on wanting to help others.  In addition, my interpersonal and communication skill sets would help me in this new career.  If it is possible for a former Chief Financial Officer to be heart-centered, that is exactly what describes me as a person.  So I enrolled in the Grief Coach Academy® and I am in the process of undergoing this top quality training program that will allow me to help others and create a new career for myself.  The following bible verse has a very special meaning for me.

 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD,

“plans to prosper you and not to harm you,

plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11

 

 

 

 

 

 

Info on Breast Cancer


Do you have a loved one who experienced a loss because of breast cancer?  Before I relate my story, let me first share some facts with you about the #1 source of cancer in women.

These facts are assembled by the National Breast Cancer Coalition, which is a powerful voice, speaking for women and men across the country, demanding victory in the war against breast cancer. In 2003 it was named one of the twenty most influential groups in health policy based on a survey of congressional staff – the only grassroots group and the only breast cancer organization to make that list.

Its mission is to eradicate breast cancer, the most common form of cancer among women in theUnited States, by focusing the administration, U.S. Congress, research institutions and consumer advocates on breast cancer.  According to the National Breast Cancer Coalition, below are some of the myths and truths about breast cancer.

Myths

  1. Monthly breast self-exams save lives
  2. Mammograms can only help and not harm you
  3. MRIis better than mammography because if finds more cancer
  4. Mammograms prevent breast cancer
  5. Most women with breast cancer have a family history of the disease
  6. Men don’t get breast cancer
  7. Everyone’s breast cancer is the same
  8. Removing the entire breast is better than just cutting the cancer out and getting radiation
  9. There are drugs that can prevent breast cancer
  10. Once diagnosed with breast cancer, it is very important to make treatment decisions immediately
  11. Second opinions are only for treatment options
  12. With new treatments we can now cure breast cancer
  13. All breast cancer research is good because  it moves us toward prevention and a cure

Truths

  1. When breast cancer shows up on a mammogram, it many have been in your body for 6-10 years
  2. Breast cancer mortality rates are declining
  3. We don’t know how to prevent breast cancer
  4. Risk of breast cancer increases with age; 50% of breast cancer occurs among women aged 62 and older
  5. Most people think they have a higher risk of breast cancer than they actually do
  6. Hormone replacement therapy increases your risk of breast cancer
  7. You should question your doctors

My wife and I have had first hand experience with breast cancer.  Because of this my wife, Gretchen, passed away abruptly at the age of 63 after we had been married for 40 years.  At the time of her death we had two sons, who were 31 and 29 years old then.

The impact of Gretchen’s passing was an immediate emersion into the grief process.  I can tell you that this was a very painful time in my life.  I could have given in to the grief I was experiencing and let it control my life for a long…….long time.  But my personal makeup led me to attack the grief process and to find support and counseling so I could address my pain in as short a time as possible so I could return to a fulfilling and joyful life.

I plan to give you a picture of my life together with Gretchen and our two sons, some high and low points in our lives, the onslaught of the grief process and how I was able to regain a happy and meaningful life.

Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself:

 I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today.

 I can choose which it shall be.

Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet.

I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.
— Groucho Marx