Tag Archives: loss

LoveGram: This is not an easy topic.

Hello beautiful friend. 

Welcome to your Sunday audio LoveGram

Today’s LoveGram comes to you from Oakland, California where I’m in the midst of a three-day slumber party with a couple of girlfriends, Alison Luterman and Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer. 

Both of them are writers and extraordinarily intentional about their lives and their relationships. I knew I wanted to have them as special guests on my LoveGram — but didn’t know exactly what the topic would be. 

However, as it turns out, when we first got together, our conversation turned to grief. This seemed like a good conversation to share with you. 

I realize this is not a light nor breezy topic. But I feel it is an important and necessary one. 

Thus, in today’s LoveGram, we are talking about this challenging, yet powerful, topic: how to be with one another in times of loss and grief. 

***

If we want to have deep, meaningful, and connected relationships in our lives, we have to learn how to be together in the hardest of times. 

We have to learn how to ask for support, allow support, and give support. 

But most of us weren’t taught how to do this! 

***

I’ve been hosting weekly groups called Grief + Growth, in which we talk about aspects of grief. In the most recent one, last Thursday afternoon, one of the participants asked if anyone else had close friends and family who had abandoned them in times of grief. 

Almost everyone in the group raised their hand in an acknowledgement.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot. How can we open ourselves up to learning about ways to show up for each other even when it is hard and we may feel inadequate? 

  (To listen to the audio, just click over to this page, scroll down, and hit “play” on the audio player.)

 

***

Here are some of the topics we cover in today’s audio LoveGram: 

* Some of the reasons why we may not show up for people we love when they are grieving — or why they aren’t there for us. 

* What to say or do. And, how to be with someone grieving or challenged by loss. 

* What to do or how to get support for ourselves when we need it. 

Grief is a part of life. We are all going to experience it. Talking about it together can help us learn how to ask for the support we need and to give support to people we love. 

***

Thank you for being here and showing up for all of it — for the ups and downs and everything in between. 

When we are open to celebrating ALL of life, it allows us the spaciousness to find connection and meaning even in the hardest of times. 

Listen to your audio LoveGram now

Thank you for your beautiful heart. 

Thank you for wanting to love and be loved as best you can. 

I’m grateful to be on this journey with you. 

Seek celebration — even in dark corners,

xo Sherry

 

P.S. Ali and Rosemerry are both phenomenal women and beautiful creatives. You can learn more about Alison’s work here. And Rosemerry’s work here

P.P.S. Just a reminder that any loss in your life can be filled with grief — death, illness, divorce, miscarriage, empty nest, alienation from a friend, etc. If you feel something as grief, I hope you honor it and seek support. 

P.P.P.S. See our sweaters in the photo up above? Did you notice that they all have the words “faerie lights” embroidered on them? Rosemerry did that! These sweaters were an oh-so-special surprise gift with beautiful, personal meaning to us! The last time we three were together, we made up a “band name” for ourselves, The Faerie Lights. Rosemerry took that fun detail/memory and made a “Say it Now” kinda gift. Note: That thoughtful gift inspired us to make up silly songs all weekend long, pretending they were for our first album. It’s been so much fun! Think about how you can do something like this as a creative gift for someone in your life!

LoveGram: Advance love for your future self.

 

Hello Friend!

Today I send you a love letter you mail to yourself.

I send you clean sheets that smell like lilac, which you luxuriate in when you crawl into bed, exhausted.

I send you a song on the radio, one that you love from long ago, which you hear unexpectedly, and it brings a smile to your face.

***

Welcome to your weekly audio LoveGram.

In today’s LoveGram, we talk about some ways to think about how we can support our future self, especially if there might be bumpy roads ahead.

How can we prepare in advance to offer unbounded support and extra special attention to the self who may need it?

(To listen to the audio, just click over to this page, scroll down, and hit “play” on the audio player.)

***

You can be on the offensive by declaring this a new chapter. Name it for yourself. Plan it.

Or, if it isn’t yet time for the new chapter, let this be an official period of transition/grief.

Don’t push yourself to go too quickly through your experience. It is so essential that we feel our feelings and process whatever loss or hardship is alive in us right now. There’s no rush. Be human!

***

You’ll hear in today’s LoveGram that I’m kinda doing both at once! I’m letting myself feel everything that wants to run through me, whenever it arises. I’m reaching out to friends and leaning in on their love.

AND, I’m setting up an autumn “Advance Love” program for myself.

I’ve created a list of books I want to read that I know will support the ways I want to grieve and grow. I’ve listed a few projects that I will complete. I’ve also made a list of some new skills I want to learn. And finally, I’ve brainstormed some ways I can be out in the real world, meeting people live again and volunteering.

***

Here are some ways you can plan to love yourself — now, next week, or next month— whenever it is time for the next stage of your healing:

  • Buy a beautiful journal for yourself that you will fill with love.
  • Make some audio recordings that let that future you know you care and understand.
  • Make a playlist of comforting or uplifting music.
  • Research meet-up groups where you might get to know new friends.
  • Create a list of books to read that you know will support you.
  • Enlist a friend for exercise accountability.
  • Reach out for places to volunteer.
  • Think about a musical instrument you would like to learn.
  • Make a list of projects that would feel great to complete.
  • List places you’d like to clear free of clutter.

***

My dear friend, I know that the past two years have been filled with grief, loss, loneliness, fear, and disappointment.

I understand.

I also know that this is exactly why we all must fortify ourselves.

This is why we must offer ourselves unlimited kindness now — and why we must plan advance love, too!

Seek celebration — even in dark corners,

xo Sherry

LoveGram: Permission to be sad

I hope you are doing well and finding plenty of ways to take care of yourself and the people you love.

This has been a doozy of a week for me because my son moved out to live in a house near his college campus. (That’s us in the photo. A blink of an eye from babyhood to manhood!)

Holy Toledo! There were so many logistics. So many things to buy. And so many tears.

I had no idea how hard it would hit me the first night he wasn’t here with us in the house.

Have you gone through this? Have you closed one parenthood chapter and started another? Or, maybe it isn’t exactly the same as Empty Nest Syndrome, but maybe you’ve left a job that you had for decades or moved from a neighborhood you loved or lost the physical ability to do something that brought you joy?

And of course, most of us have also had to navigate the huge ocean of grief that pulls us under when someone we love dies.

Loss comes in many shapes and sizes. 

If you are going through loss right now, of any kind — big or small — I send you love. I send you a warm blanket that makes you feel safe and cozy. I send you sweet, hot tea in your favorite flowered mug.

I also want to send you a few simple practices that helped me immensely over the past few days.

One of the ways I took care of myself was by posting on Facebook and asking for support and advice. It was the best thing I could have done!

Simply reaching out and asking for help made me feel less alone.

But then, in addition, people offered great advice, support, and love. They posted links to articles. They told me about rituals that helped. Best of all, they gave me permission to feel all the feelings.

If you are facing your own empty nest, I highly recommend that you scroll through these 100+ comments and I promise that you will feel uplifted. People are so loving!

(If you aren’t on Facebook, I’m sorry that you can’t see this post and all the comments right now. However, I am compiling the best advice and links so I can create an “Empty Nest First-Aid Kit.” Stay tuned.)

After a couple days of bawling my eyes out, I also went live on Facebook to share a few things that really helped me get through the sadness, emptiness, and grief.

That video is my LoveGram for today. (Usually I send an audio, but today it is a video LoveGram!)

If you’re going through some big emotions— not just Empty Nest, but any kind of loss and grief, this short video might really help. I hope so.

The three tips I share in the video are a little checklist we can use whenever we are feeling pulled down by the undertow.

I’m here with you in these still challenging and uncertain pandemic times. We are in this together. Sharing our experiences helps.

Reach out to people in your life and ask for or offer support, okay?

Seek celebration — even in dark corners,

xo Sherry

 

 

P.S. In case you are one of those people (like me!) who sometimes read the postscripts first, here’s the gist of it for today: If you need a little support for something big you are going through — something that brings with it loss, sadness, or grief —  today’s video LoveGram offers three simple things that can help. (They helped me big time this week when I was bawling my eyes out!)

P.P.S. I absolutely agree with all of the folks who have encouraged me to be grateful and to celebrate this moment in time for my son. I am! I promise. But let’s remember that it is also important to let ourselves move through our feelings so we get to the other side. We don’t have to immediately put on a happy face and pretend we aren’t feeling what we’re feeling. We can be real live human beings who experience many emotions at once!

“Love Never Dies” Workshop Replay

Thank you so much to those of you who attended my Reimagine Workshop on Sunday, “Love Never Dies.” ♥️ We missed those of you who couldn’t be there!

I feel so fortunate any time I am able to connect with you and to SEE your faces.  It means so much to me.

I had such a beautiful time getting to know the loved ones whom you brought to the workshop by way of their photos or the stories about them.

I’m still smiling as I think of “his cute butt” and the “toys she saves for visiting children” and “the way he knows the history of food” and her saying, “at least it isn’t raining.”

I’m also still thinking of each of your faces as you shared photos and memories of people you love — whom you will always love.

Being human is such a strange and wonderful thing, isn’t it? We have this capacity to love so deeply — and thus, to grieve so hard. We have the capacity to laugh, even as we miss someone desperately. 

I don’t know if you ever saw the animated film, “Inside Out,” but — [spoiler alert] — my favorite part is the message that often when we are sad, people show up for us with love. We get to connect on a whole different level with others.

That’s how I felt about being with you Sunday morning. I wouldn’t have chosen for us to come together because people in our lives have died. But being with you was such a gift.

I treasure getting to know you and the people you love.

We need to share in the love. We need to share in the grief. We need to connect. We need one another. 

For those of you who were unable to be with us during the actual workshop, I hope you will create a Love List by following along with the replay. (Link below!)

After you do so, please email me if you feel moved to do so. I’d love to see a photo of your beloved and/or to hear some of the things that dropped in during the workshop.

 

Here’s the replay Link
Click here to watch the workshop + follow along

P.S. The actual workshop starts around minute 17. However, I left all of the beginning conversation as participants were joining in, because the discussion was so rich and important. I think you’ll want to listen from the very start. 

 

After you watch the replay; do these!   

Keep adding to your Love List 
If you haven’t already done so, you can download the free printable I created for you and write your Love List items on it. Then, you can keep that sheet someplace handy and add to it anytime something drops in. You can also use the extra prompts on this page.

Share your Love List 
Do you know someone who also is missing the person you made your list as a tribute for? Consider calling someone and reading your list aloud. Sharing stories about what we love is a way to stay connected to the joy of the relationship. It is also a way to share the grief with someone who understands.

Invite others to add to the Love List 
On the call, we talked about how wonderful it can be to invite others to add their own Love List items to the tribute you’ve started. You could call someone on the phone, read them your list, and then ask if they want to share their own thoughts. Or, you could invite their participation via a letter, text, or email.

Check out Jane’s “Before I Go” Work 
I hope you enjoyed meeting my friend, Jane. If you’d like to find out more about the powerful and compassionate work she offers, here is a link to her book, “Before I Go: The Essential Guide to Creating a Good End of Life Plan.” Her course and website by the same name. And her Tedx Talk.

Check out Reimagine Resources
This workshop was offered in collaboration with the wonderful nonprofit, Reimagine. Reimagine is helping us explore death and celebration of life through conversation and creativity. I love this organization and encourage you to stay connected to them.

Add your tribute to my Million Love List Campaign
My mission is to inspire 1,000,000 Love Lists during my lifetime. Please take a quick moment to add yours to the count. If you would like to snap a photo and attach it, that would be wonderful. Otherwise, all you need to do is let us know the first name of the person you created it for. It would mean so much to me!

Don’t forget to “Say it Now.” 
Expressing love is such a healing act. Not just for the person who receives it, but for those of us giving it. Taking time to appreciate the people who are around you — right here and now —is another way to keep love alive. If you want some creative ideas for expressing your love, check out my book.

Ask any questions/stay in touch 
If you have any questions at all about creating Love Lists or celebrating life, email me. I’m here for you.

xo Sherry

{Video} Will you do this? 

Hello! This 10-minute video re-posted from yesterday’s Facebook Live, includes a request, a poem, and a last-minute gift idea for Father’s day.

I hope you’ll take the time to watch the video and then consider this: Do you know someone who may need extra love on Father’s Day?

Is there someone in your life whose dad has recently passed away? Maybe someone whose dad passed away long ago, but you know how much they still miss him? How about a divorced dad or a widower who might be raising young children on his own? Perhaps you know a dad whose child has passed away? Maybe you know someone who desperately wanted to be a father, but was never able to have children?

If there is anyone in your life who might be feeling an acute loss or grieving on Father’s Day, would you reach out to them with a call, email, or text to let them know that you are thinking about them and sending love. 

(If you wanted to go the extra mile for someone who is grieving, you could include a photo and some loving memories of the person who died. It always help to hear beautiful memories about someone we miss dearly.)

The few minutes it takes you to reach out to someone who might be feeling alone or sad on Father’s Day might mean the world to that person. Sometimes just knowing that someone else understands how we’re feeling can change everything.

Thanks for being willing to consider this today.

 

xo

Sherry

 

P.S. If you are a father or someone who loves a father or you have a father figure in your life or you are a father figure to someone, I’m sending you big love and celebration on Father’s Day.

 

The poem, Shoulders, in the video is copyright Naomi Shihab Nye. 

My friend Linda, whom I mention in the video story about her Father’s Day gift to her children, is owner of Mind Over Matter Coaching. Thank you, Linda! 

Who needs some TLC on Mother’s Day?

sherry-mom-kayne-2016

Mother’s Day is coming up in a couple days.

I’m incredibly fortunate that not only am I a mom to an amazing son, I am also the daughter of a wonderful mom. Mother’s Day is a time that I feel celebrated by my family and also when I get to appreciate and celebrate my own mom.

But believe me, I don’t take either of these relationships for granted. I know how lucky I am. I know that for a lot of people Mother’s Day can be filled with longing or loss. It can be a hard day for anyone whose mom has passed away, whose children have died, who were never able to have children, or who may have difficult relationships with their kids or mom. It can also be a hard day for single moms who don’t have a partner to plan a celebration for them or make the day special.

My friend and former colleague, Roberta Brown, wrote a piece for all the single moms out there: Single Mom Confessions: I Hate Mother’s Day—And How I’m Changing That. I am honored that she quotes one of my gift ideas in the article. But more importantly, I am so grateful that she is raising awareness that these kinds of Hallmark holidays can be really difficult for people.

 

[ File # csp8931887, License # 3140331 ] Licensed through http://www.canstockphoto.com in accordance with the End User License Agreement (http://www.canstockphoto.com/legal.php) (c) Can Stock Photo Inc. / dip

I’d love for us all to think of one person in our lives who might experience pain or grief this weekend while others are celebrating. Can we each commit to offering some small gesture of love or kindness to that person to acknowledge them?

That opportunity was handed to me on a silver platter this week when I read Roberta’s wonderful article. I emailed her to ask if she would be open to having me set up a recorded telephone interview with her 12-year-old son as a way of celebrating her. She said yes! I’m really excited to be able to acknowledge Roberta because she is a loving, generous, fun, spirited mom. Interviewing her son about her will be a gift for ME!

Could you do this same thing for a single mom you know? Or perhaps you’d want to write a card about what a great mom she is.

Or if you know someone who will be missing their mom, you could call them and tell them a favorite happy memory about their mom and let them know you, too, are thinking of her.

I’m grateful to Roberta for reminding me to think beyond my own small world — and to consider folks I know who may need an extra boost this Mother’s Day.

Do me a favor, if you do something thoughtful for someone who needs some TLC this weekend, would you be willing to post it on my Present Perfect Gifts page on Facebook? You could inspire others! If you’re not on Facebook, email me. I love to hear from you! You always inspire ME!

And if YOU are someone who is having a difficult time this Mother’s Day, be sure and reach out to a close friend or family member and let them know you need some love. People will be glad you asked.

With special love to all the moms out there and all the children of moms and everyone who loves a mom…

Yours,
Sherry

 

P.S. I’ve compiled some questions for you to ask someone’s child if you want to do this for Mother’s Day. You can edit the questions and use them to interview someone’s mother, as well.

P.P.S. Here’s the follow-up to my interview with Roberta’s 12-year-old son! 

 

 

 

 

What we carry

canstockphoto9845704Recently I’ve talked to a lot of people who are having a hard time. They’re in pain, feeling grief, worried about a loved one, or are just-plain-exhausted.

What do we do for ourselves + each other when we’re in this place?

I happened across a short poem by Naomi Shihab Nye which seems to be a bit of an antidote to the suffering in the world. Her gentle nudging offers possibility.

I hope you’ll listen and let me know what you think by commenting on the blog. (If you’re reading this via a post that was delivered to your email in-box + the audio player isn’t showing, please click here to listen.)

 

 

“Shoulders” copyright Naomi Shihab Nye. Used here with her permission.

Why I owe you an apology

Yesterday I sent out an email to my subscriber list telling you about a book of fill-in-the-blank appreciations that I love. It was a simple email that I’d drafted up on Wednesday and had hoped to send that day. But I got busy and didn’t do it. When I realized I hadn’t sent it, I quickly added a line about the upcoming weekend, and whisked it off.

That wasn’t the right thing to do.
It was lazy.
And it didn’t speak to some things that I should have spoken to.

Thanks to one of my coaching clients (you know who you are!), I got a reminder that there was so much more to say.

Because the truth is, the email I sent was against a backdrop of the anniversary of 9/11. It was against the backdrop of so many people displaced from their homes due to war and violence. It was against the backdrop of a huge wildfire in my state. It was against the backdrop of two teenage boys who went boating and never returned. Sadly, this paragraph could go on for miles — the long list of loss, fear, violence, and terror.

Imagine all of the world’s grief as a backdrop for my simple little email.

And in light of that, here’s what I should have said: Life is so fragile. Life is fleeting. We never know what is going to happen to ourselves or the people we love. Everybody is up against something — be it loss, illness, depression, or fear. Even if they look bright + sunshiny on the outside, you can bet there is a weaving of darkness with that light.

Because of that, because of so much pain, the thing I want us to turn our attention to over and over again … is love. And kindness. And simple, small moments that offer pinpricks of light to anyone and everyone who may be in the dark.

That book I told you about yesterday could seem like a breezy fun way to love + appreciate people. I presented it that way. Because I was not being mindful of the larger picture. I was not pausing to reflect on what’s *really* true.

Please forgive me. I am so grateful to my client who said, “There’s so much pain right now. You have to write about that. You have to help.”

She’s right. There is so much pain. And the way that I can help, and the way that I best know for us all to help, is to keep our eyes open for people and places in the world that need our pinpricks of light. And if we are the ones in darkness, we need to trust that we can ask people we love to help us find the fireflies of light in our heart’s backyard.

I’m reminded of that quote that is attributed to Plato and Ian MacLaren: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

With that in mind… with the world’s grief, loss, and sadness as the backdrop, I implore you to consider how important it is that we take the time to express our love + appreciation + concern to the people in our lives.

There’s no such thing as a silly little love note. There’s no such thing as a small gesture of love. There’s no such thing as an insignificant act of kindness. These are the armor we wear when we walk out the door each day.

I apologize for not saying that yesterday. It is truly the heart of why I do what I do.

With this as the backdrop, I remind you to please take the extra five or ten minutes to express your love to someone today. And if you need a little help, Alexandra’s book will make it oh-so-simple.

With gratitude,
Sherry

 

P.S. You can also download my free two-page printable with some tiny notes that spread big love. Or, you can call someone you love and let them know you care. If you know someone who is dealing with illness, grief, loneliness, or fear right now, take a moment to reach out. Be their pinprick of light.