Shawn Doyle is an author and motivational speaker who thoughtfully sent me his book when it came out last week. Spread the word, he said, and I am glad to do that because it has so much food for thought and insight and is so timely for me.
Doyle covers the myths about bereavement that society puts on us and critiques those expectations. I thought about one of those when publicly I was seen rapping in a street fair that I wrote about recently on this blog. I wondered what would people think. Yet I knew in my heart that my husband would want me to go on and bring smiles to people when I rap. As dementia ravaged my husband's brain he tried to act normal and he would want me to go on when he was gone.
Other myths Doyle dispels include that there is a time frame for grief and that all family members will be helpful. He points out that the death after a sudden illness is not the same as a prolonged illness. Certainly this is the case with my two late husbands. I experienced shock the first time after the heart attack and acceptance the second time because I saw my husband go downhill and know now that his soul is with our LORD waiting for the bodily resurrection when Christ returns.
One morning, June 23, 2014, to be exact, the sun rose when the every four hours alarm rang at 6:30 am. I awoke in my twin bed by my husband's hospital bed and I soon discovered that husband was dead as I recounted in PRECIOUS LAST DAYS on this blog, a post that has had over 300 views. I am angry at dementia, but not at the LORD's timing in taking my husband to be with Him when He did. I finally became comfortable with caregiving as I have written on this blog, but I now need to begin a whole new chapter--grieving. I am not so comfortable being single and grieving as of yet. Shawn's insights are helping me.
But it is not just GRIEVING, where I could get stuck, but I could get stuck NOT forging of a new life. "You will eventually be OK" writes Doyle assuredly (p. 48) and you CAN reinvent your life. Hmm, my life now includes getting back to my counseling dissertation on caregiving and continuing to write this blog. Will my grieving continue because of writing this dissertation and writing this blog? I ask myself as I read this carefully crafted book.
Here are some gems from the book.
- Shawn advises to not have toxic people in your life.
- I choose how I think and I choose my attitude (p. 59) he writes.
- Life is so short and precious that I'm not going to waste my life sitting around being miserable, mean, and sad. . . I choose to heal, honor the past, but embrace the present (pp.60-61).
- Grief is not only emotionally draining, but also takes physical tolls on the body. We have to take care of ourselves. Shawn went to Weight Watchers and I now have the time to go back to Weight Watchers and have been there for several weeks slowly losing almost five pounds.
- Get involved with others and give back to others.
- Decisions are more difficult when you are grieving. Listen to your heart, but also have advisers.
- The feelings of grief can include numbness, anger, distraction, nightmares, impulsiveness, special day blues, jealousy, lack of direction, lack of optimism, depression, personality changes. My first special day, July 4th, saw two people backing out on being with me and it was hard. I haven't had nightmares or jealousy. I admit to a bit of impulsive spending, numbness, anger and distraction.
My advice to you on this rule is simply be yourself and don't worry about how you are supposed to or not supposed to act. If people want to misinterpret your actions as being inappropriate then that is their problem. (p. 118)
I want to add to this review that the SON rose from the dead so that I may have new life on this earth because I believe in Him and eternal life in Heaven. Christ said in the beatitudes God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted (Matthew 5:4 NLT). While Shawn is well read with many helpful quotes and excellent advice, his book is mainly for his secular readers as he is a popular motivational speaker. However he does touch on spirituality briefly.
But if you are in grief, don't miss this book. It is a HUGE help
with freeing suggestions
and well-crafted, clear insight.
Thanks, Shawn, for this gift.