2015 Academy Awards Gift Lounges

There is no bigger time of year in Hollywood than Oscar season as a record number of gifting suites pop up catering to stars not just with free gifts like trips and products, but lots of pampering from massages to manicures to lash extensions - all in the name of getting red carpet ready for the annual Academy Awards.

Finding Gratitude for What Was

Finding Gratitude for What Was

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross proposed in her 1969 book “On Death and Dying” that there are five stages of grief. Many of us were taught them in basic psychology. Later in life she acknowledged that she regretted how they had been applied over time, "They were never meant to tuck messy emotions into neat packages. They are responses to loss that many people have, but there is not a typical response to loss, as there is no typical loss,” she explained in her final book, On Grief and Grieving. While there are some common themes that occur in grief, they are by no means linear. Rather, people experience them in their own unique way and time, or perhaps not at all. If you’ve faced the loss of a loved one, this is old news. By now you’ve realized there is no logic to grief. This New Year’s Day I experienced a new insight to my grief process. It had a hint of the “stages of grief” in that I realized I was feeling anger, but it was more about seeing my loss in a new way. I wrote down my feelings to share since I’m only certain of one thing, I’m not alone in my grief process. Perhaps my insights will give you a new perspective too. We all need to share with and support each other.

14 New Years Resolutions for the Grieving - StillWithYou.com

14 New Years Resolutions for the Grieving

This New Year, I want to share with you some resolutions that you may find helpful, regardless of the date. In truth, I’m not much on resolutions, if something is worth doing; it’s worth doing right now. That said, since the New Year is on hand, this feels like a good time to share a few ideas. You’ll notice several pertain to health. The stress of grief ravages our bodies, making easier to get sick, which then adds to the stress, and so on… Of course, this is YOUR journey so use only the ideas that resonate with you. New Years Resolutions for the Grieving Allow yourself time and space for grieving, there is no rush to “get over it.” Accept that there is no right or wrong way to grieve. Make good nutrition a priority, eating more whole foods including brightly colors fruits and vegetables. Take a long walk three days a week (a great stress reducer). Accept the love and support of friends. Isolating yourself or turning down help is NOT a sign of strength. Be understanding that not everyone knows how to support the grieving or says the right words. Sometimes people mean well but fail badly. Live the life your loved one would have wanted for you. Stay hydrated. So simple yet so important. Some say to drink eight 8-oz glasses of water per day, that is a good place to start. Learn about the grief process by reading books, blogs, or joining support groups. While learning will help you feel less alone, and brace you for surprises, all keep in mind that your process will differ in many ways. Pamper yourself once day, allowing a few moments of “me time.” Drink tea, read a book, take a long hot bath, or stroll in the park. Funny cat videos are a worthy pastime too…just trust me on this oneJ Journal or meditate regularly to allow your feeling someplace to go. I suggest daily. Often the most productive times are when you think you have nothing to write or think about. Initiate plans with friends rather than waiting for a call. Plan ahead to be with loved ones or friends on important days and anniversaries. Facing them alone is often not easy. Own your journey, it will surprise you and defy definition. It is uniquely yours and that’s okay.

Facing Grief - Kim Power Stilson Radio Show

More on Facing Grief During the Holidays (AUDIO)

A few weeks ago I shared a blog post on dealing with grief over the holidays. It clearly resonated, logging more views than any other post I've written. Hearing about the topic, the Kim Power Stilson Talk Radio Show invited me to share my tips and discuss holiday grief on her radio show which aired today. It was great to expand on the blog post verbally and thus reach more people who are hurting this time of year. Here is a like to the show so that you can listen to our conversation: Facing Grief During the Holidays (Link to Radio Show) Hint: Fast forward to about 15 minutes in if you'd like to bypass the other topic which covers yummy cookies. As always, know that my heart is with you. I know first hand how difficult this time of year is when you've lost someone you love. Peace ~ Kristen

Let

Holiday Healing: Share YOUR Memories and Support One Another

Two weeks ago I shared some tips about handling grief during the holidays. It went viral, but more importantly, a conversation started. People shared their stories and comforted each other. It was beautiful and unexpected. Each time I write here, it’s just me sharing my authentic thoughts and feelings in hope that I can comfort others. In the spirit of the conversation that started, I invite you to share you fondest memory of a departed loved one. Lets spread some love and encouragement to each other at a time of year when it is desperately needed. I’ll start, and then you can either comment on this post, or on our Facebook page.

7 Ways to Remember Loved Ones During the Holidays - StillWithYou.com

7 Ways to Remember Loved Ones During the Holidays

I don’t want to “get over it” I love my husband and miss him everyday, especially during the holidays. Our kids miss him, as do all of our family and friends. There is a hole in our lives that will never be filled. Instead of getting back to normal, we celebrate, remember, and give him a prominent space in our lives and traditions, especially during the holidays. I still feel his presence; I’m convinced his spirit is still with us. In an age that promotes “getting over” grief, how can we uplift and honor our loved ones instead? I have ideas to share, but even more, I’d like to hear yours. You can share them by leaving a comment. It would be nice to add new inspiration to our holidays.

5 Tips for facing holiday grief

5 Tips for Facing Grief During the Holidays

Holidays bring up the best and worst in our emotions. Grief is a particularly difficult emotion to face at a time when “cheer” is attached to every song, card, and advertisement. In reality, no fewer people are hurting this time of year, yet it feels like we are given less space to be sad. Painting on a fake smile won’t help, but there are a few tips you may find useful. None will eliminate your sense of sadness, but they may ease the burden. I can tell you one thing for certain, you are NOT alone. There is an empty seat at my table too.

Eternal Embrace - StillWithYou.com

My Most Personal Creation Yet

I wanted to freeze time. Two months after losing Rob, the kids asked me for something simple, a home cooked meal. I’d only cooked once since he passed, so returning to the kitchen, our kitchen, required bravery. I began prepping food with what felt like an excessive about of effort, “okay, I can do this…” I assured myself. But the simple task of chopping veggies was significant. This is something he would have helped me accomplish, but this now I had no helper, companion, love…then I felt him. His arms wrapped around me, his strong comforting strength warmed my side. Familiar. Real. Powerful. I held my breath and wanted to freeze time, “can we just lock here for a moment?” I asked God.

Making Decisions During Grief

Grief, Decision Making, and Listening to Myself Again

In the days and weeks immediately following Rob’s death people would ask me questions and I kept hearing myself say, "I don't know… I don't know." (i.e... what are you going to do with the house? what about the funeral? what are you going to do?) They were questions that, quite frankly, I didn’t want to answer. I didn’t want to have to bury my husband; I wanted him back. The questions felt irritating and my emotions resisted making decisions. Yet, I realized I wasn't getting anywhere with "I don't know." I had to change my thinking… so every time I heard myself say, "I don't know," I would cut myself off and say, "I will figure it out… I'll figure it out". It was amazing how it helped open up my thinking. It felt like I was in a storm, tumbling in waves. Drowning. Getting up for air just long enough to be asked questions I don’t want to be asked. I simply wanted my life to return to normal. The answers and ideas didn't come right away but they did come. Over time the tough decisions were made, but I was firmly in reactionary mode. Something would come up, and I would “figure it out.” Looking ahead wasn’t an option, just getting by. I stayed in that place for a long time, nearly two years. Not because I had to, but because I didn’t realize I had a choice. In my grief, I was barely able to keep my head “above the waves” let alone look ahead. One thing I didn’t do was allow myself the option to figure things out later, even when I could have. I looked at every question as if it had to be made immediately. I’d react. I tumbled in the storm.

Smile & let everyone know that today, you

My 6 Favorite Online Grief Resources in 2014

When your grief is fresh and raw, just getting through the day is tough, let alone knowing how to move toward healing. I browsed the web for some good resources and found a few worth sharing. I selected them based on quality of content and functionality. My Six Favorite Grief Sites What’s Your Grief – I was so impressed with this site, I immediately subscribed. It’s comprehensive, covering grief from every angle. “…We are committed to delve into anything and everything grief-related and to provide a place where people can come to support and be supported,” state the founders of the site. They’ve done an excellent job.

Dad, your guiding hand... StillWithYou.com

Story Behind the Statue: Your Greatest Fan

“Dad, your guiding hand on my shoulder will remain with me forever.” ~Author Unknown Communities, cultures, and relationships are often bound by stories. In ancient times they were passed down from generation to generation. Today they are found in books, online, and are still passed on from mouth to ear. They add context to our lives and keep us close to those who have passed. Most of the statues we create began as true stories. We’ll share those stories here so that you’ll have insight to the lives that inspired the mini scenes you’ll find in our collection. Once cast into bronze, the figures represent many people’s stories, some very different from one another. Yet, each has one common element, we feel the undying love of those we’ve lost. For example, the story of Your Greatest Fan is about a boy who lost his father. The figure could just as easily represent a boy who lost a brother, uncle, or dear family friend. They are visual representations of the comforting presence in YOUR life. That said, I’d like to share the story behind this statue, it is my son’s story, so this isn’t easy to write.

Still With You - The Cure is Salt

Finding the Healing Value of Tears

I woke up early again this morning. I was thinking about a comment a friend posted on Facebook about the statues: "This last May was the first Mother's Day my wife Lori went through after her moms passing. She tried hard to hide her feelings on the days approaching. I was able to purchase one of Kristen Lamb’s statues for her and had it sitting on the table when she came downstairs that morning. She immediately burst into tears and told me she was trying to be strong and this didn't help. When in all reality she needed to open the floodgates and let it out. It was just what the doctor ordered." The "trying to be strong" he talked about is exactly where I have been and a place where I think many of us get stuck. We think it’s helpful to shelter others from our pain, but in reality, I think it keeps us trapped. As I've allowed my emotions to surge and find their way out through my tears, I’ve felt the peaceful calm I had been struggling for so long to find.

Fell Asleep

Two Years Later: Surrendering to Grief

I can’t taste ice cream. Seems odd doesn’t it? Grief is like that, full of surprises. Right now I’m dealing with one of them. Let me explain. It’s been two years since my world crashed, yet the anniversary date approached like a storm. Unstoppable. Overwhelming. August 30th. The day I lost Rob, the love of my life and father of our five children. The day our 22 years of marriage were brought to an abrupt and tragic mortal end in a fleeting moment. I can still see the Sheriff standing at my door…. Waves of anxiety and stress mounted leading up to the date, yet no one else seemed to see the storm. “Am I alone?” I asked myself. Or maybe I was asking God. Looking Back In the days and weeks that followed Rob’s death, I stood strong for our children because they needed me. Holding myself together, I handled his estate and our business. I had to be a big girl when what I wanted was to surrender, curl up, and cry. It wasn’t that I couldn’t feel my grief at all, the emotional pain was devastating, but I had to fight the urge to collapse and give in.