Good Grief and You Help for the broken heart held hostage by grief...real relief so you can live, love and trust again. Mon, 05 Feb 2018 21:28:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Answering the question “How are you?” Tue, 07 Aug 2012 19:09:58 +0000

A question I often ask people when I see them is “How are you doing?”

Perhaps you have done this, too?

Have you ever really paid attention
to how people answer this question?

Most of the time, I’d say about 90% of the time, people say –

  “I’m fine!”

I’ve said those words and I’ve meant them.

There are a lot of things that are “fine” in my life…

Then there are the other times when I’ve said “I’m fine!” and I realize it is a lie.
It sounds kinda serious, I know.
If saying “I’m fine!” isn’t the whole truth and only a half truth at best…
What do you call that?!

I don’t know about you but I don’t like the thought of telling a lie and I certainly don’t like actually telling a lie, either!  That’s why I find myself taking a deep breath and pausing a moment before I answer the question “How are you?”

Answering this question truthfully can be especially challenging when I am grieving.
I wonder if people are asking as a way to engage me in conversation, if it is a formality or
if they really want to know?

Often times when I ask someone “How are you?” and they glibly say “I’m fine!”
I ask the question again like this:  “Good!  Now, how are you REALLY?!”
You’d be surprised at the answers I get the second time around!

Why is this so important?
Does it matter if I say “I’m fine” and on the inside I’m really not?
Does it?

I say it does matter.
Here’s why…

It is easy for a person who is grieving to lose touch with reality and to just kind of exist.
It hurts too much to feel… and the intensity of their feelings is not something they quite know what to do with.  So, it’s just easier to say “I’m fine!” and yet on the inside they are crying and all the time wishing someone would notice or read their mind that they really would like to express exactly how they feel!

They’d really like to express themselves and be HEARD…
without judgement, analyzing, criticizing or fixing!

The very best thing you can do for yourself when you are grieving is
to tell the truth ALL THE TIME!

Telling the truth all the time will make the present moment a reality.  This means you will not get stuck in the past.  Memories that are shared can bless both the one who is sharing and the listener.

Telling the truth all the time will help you give a voice to the deep pain and hurt that is inside you.  This means there is less chance of you bottling up your feelings to cause you much more grief later.

Telling the truth all the time keeps you from isolating yourself as grievers often do.
This means you will have the opportunity of identifying your feelings and then give
your grief a voice and let it be heard.

Telling the truth all the time gives others an opportunity to listen.
This means you will feel understood and heard and know others care about you.

So the next time someone asks you “How are you?” I encourage you to tell them the truth!
Express what is on your heart.

You can say things like “I’m having a rough day” or “It’s been an interesting week.”
More than likely they will respond by asking you what happened.
This is your opportunity to share a little more and to dig a little deeper
into what it is you really are feeling.

At first you may feel quite vulnerable when you do this.
I know I did!

The blessings I received in sharing my heart and telling the truth when someone asked me how I was far outweighed those moments when I felt like I was exposing everything for the world to see!

Sharing my heart and feelings brought a new understanding of the law of giving and receiving.  I realized when I did not “tell the truth” about how I really was
the challenge I faced and the load of grief I carried stayed with me
and was mine alone.

I found when I shared with others I was in a place to receive their
support and love and compassion.
You don’t have to grieve alone.
You can share your hurt and pain with others.

They may not always understand or even give much comfort.

However, you can keep moving forward, knowing you are not only telling the truth to others who ask how you are but you are telling the truth to yourself…
and that, my dear friend, makes all the difference!

Grief is a normal, natural response to an emotional loss.
Acknowledging your feelings will help you identify how you really do feel
and create the space where you can deal with the emotion as it comes.
Ignoring your feelings and emotions will have the opposite effect
and only prolong the grief until some time later.

This is like setting a tea kettle on the stove and turning the stove on high…
when the steam builds up enough pressure there is going to be an explosion!

Give yourself the gift of telling the truth…  100 % of the time!

“How are you?  Really?!”

With love and compassion,
~Susan Holsinger
Certified Grief Recovery Specialist

Ps.  A prayer for you…




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I Wish Heaven Had a Phone Mon, 02 Apr 2012 19:17:15 +0000 I wish Heaven had a phone so I could hear your voice again.

I thought of you today but that’s nothing new.

I thought about you yesterday and days before that too.

I think of you in silence, I often speak your name.

All I have are memories and a picture in a frame.

Your memory is a keepsake from which I’ll never part.

God has you in His arms…

I have you in my heart!


PS. Click here for encouragement in taking the next step…

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I Avoided “The Room” When Death Came Calling Mon, 02 Apr 2012 18:26:59 +0000 Ok… so I avoided the room where all her stuff was…
I went around it.
I didn’t go inside.
I did everything I could to avoid “the room”.
I knew what was there and the reminder was just too painful!

A couple months after our baby died I found myself avoiding the room where we had her pictures, cards and special mementos, the cradle and rocking chair…

There was a decision that got me through some very rough times of intense grief.
I want to share it with you…

The baby’s room… it feels so empty…
As empty as my arms since my baby died.

But wait….
It’s not really empty…
It only feels as barren as my soul…

The small cradle is still here.
The rocking chair sits quietly in the corner.
The changing table has sleepers, diapers, burp rags, lotion, wet wipes..
Everything is waiting for the baby that did not come home with us…

The changing table has become home to a basket of cards we have received since our baby died.
There are two pictures of Bethany that were taken while she was alive.
I see them laying so quiet and still.
The autopsy report is here.  It doesn’t move.
The pink rose Philip gave me is still here but it is dried up now.
The pictures we took at the funeral home are here…

The only thing missing is our baby…
…………………………and ME!
Yes, I am missing!

It is too painful to come into this room right now…
I avoid this room as if it had the plague!
Yet, I don’t want to put everything away, either!
To put everything away would be like pretending my baby didn’t die!

So….what am I going to do about this?

When our baby died there was a lot of talk about couples who experienced the death of an infant or young child ending up divorced. Click here for 6 tips on avoiding the divorce court!

There was also a lot of talk about joining support groups.
(Here is a link to our support group on Facebook.)

That’s when I made a decision.
At the time I made this decision I had no idea how it would help me through some real tough times.

Not wanting to go into our baby’s room was a tough time!
Your mind can play all kinds of tricks on you and think things that are not even close to the truth as you try to figure it all out.  This decision helped me through all the hard questions that come… the doubts… the turmoil… the questions… the wondering whys…

The decision was simply to accept what it was I was thinking and feeling and work through it.
To not try and figure out why I was thinking or feeling in a certain way because I may not ever know why I was thinking or feeling a certain way.

I did not know until later…actually much later, how making this decision gave me permission to mourn and grieve for my baby…
This decision helped me to keep moving forward because I didn’t have any preconceived ideas or notions on how things needed to look.
This decision helped me to face the reality of what I was thinking and feeling…not live in a dream world acting as if this never happened.

The truth was…  it really hurt to go into the baby’s room…
It didn’t go away for quite awhile….seems like 3-4 months…

As time passed it got a little easier….
What you may find strange is that until now I have not ever shared this decision or experience with anyone other than my husband!!  I didn’t think they would understand.

Grieving is just kinda like that!
It’s a challenge to really share what you are thinking and feeling.
Somehow I felt so vulnerable….
I had no idea how to grieve for my baby!!!
There wasn’t really anyone to talk to who understood….who had walked the same path I was walking.
Hmmm…maybe a support group would’ve been a good idea?!

I’m not sure even now if I would’ve shared this decision with a support group.
Surely they would’ve understood?!
I wanted to share it with you so you can see you are not alone in your grief!
You are not alone in your thoughts and feelings….
Maybe the circumstances are different…but what unites us is the love we have for someone we did not get to keep here as we expected to.
We are united in the fact that we have been touched very deeply by the intensity of grief.

Perhaps your experience has been the death of a spouse of the death of a relationship.
There are a lot of things we grieve about.
I understand what it’s like to grieve for a baby….for something so very precious that the memory lingers on year after year…

Your story is unique… it is yours alone.
No relationship is like any other.
No person is created with the same personality, likes and dislikes and the uniqueness that is YOU.

What is your story?
What are you so very sad about?
Are you ready to talk to someone who will hear what you say and really listen?
Are you ready to heal your broken heart?

You have come to the right place.
I know how to help you heal your broken heart so you can live, love and trust again.
You do not have to suffer in silence anymore because it seems like no one understands.

I am here for you…
Just an email or a phone call away…

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Why God Sings – An Inspirational Video Wed, 21 Mar 2012 18:01:19 +0000

Click here to be inspired
“Why God Sings”.

An excerpt from this video:
I sat in silence with some sadness in my heart.
I heard a voice that said, “God Sings”.
I asked why?
His reply, “Because all the world is an orchestra of joy.  A thousand stringed instrument and the melody is irresistible!”

For just a moment immerse yourself in His Song!

Mar. 21, 2012

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Difficult Times, Pearls and a Grain of Sand Mon, 27 Feb 2012 20:56:36 +0000 Difficult Times, Pearls
and a Grain of Sand…

For those who are undergoing difficult times and want to give up let’s take a look at how a precious pearl is formed.
Is it really formed from a grain of sand?

Not always…
To my surprise I found out it is very rare for sand to be the culprit!

However, the result is the same no matter what the irritant is!  When a clam or other shell is “irritated” a pearl sac is formed.  Then it is bathed continuously by a special secretion until a pearl is formed!

A pearl can take anywhere from 2 – 7 years or more to reach it’s full growth potential.  How does this apply to grief?

How does it apply to the difficult times in our lives when everything seems to be falling apart and life isn’t fair!  I know life does happen and sometimes I don’t like what happens!  Sometimes I wish I could just turn back the clock and make a different choice.
Sometimes I wish I would’ve said something different or did something different.
I find when I am grieving it’s so easy to live in the past…
… with all the shame… with all the regret… with all the guilt… and with all the blame…

I’m in such a world of hurt it seems like my life is consumed by it and I am not seeing any precious pearls!
It seems like I am a prisoner…

Yet, I like to think about a secret weapon that is available to me.
This secret weapon is available to me day and night around the clock 24/7.
This secret weapon is the solution that bathes what is irritating my life and ends up making a pearl!!!
When I have no peace this secret weapon is available.
When I am sad this secret weapon can bring sweet release.
When I am frustrated by loss and difficult times this secret weapon can soothe my wearied mind.
This secret weapon can bathe my soul and bring renewed hope.
This secret weapon most of the time brings me to a place of acceptance and surrender.

This secret weapon is tears.

Do you ever remember a time you were called a crybaby?
I do.
I remember times when I was crying and felt ashamed of my tears.
Talk about vulnerable!!!  I’m feeling vulnerable right now!

I remember times I have been guilty of calling playmates crybaby!  🙁

I shudder at the many times I told our children to STOP CRYING!!!
They certainly didn’t cry all the time…

But you know how it is when they come running to you and they are hurt and in pain…
I would say, “STOP CRYING and tell me what’s wrong.”
I would say, “STOP CRYING or I’ll give you something to cry about.”
Oh the many messages I gave that said “STOP CRYING” like it was something wrong!

I didn’t realize then how precious tears are.
I didn’t realize then how much a soul needs them to keep a clear vision.
I didn’t realize then how important it is to let tears wash the windows of the soul.
Tears are made so we can cry them!
However long that takes and whatever it looks like!
If it takes a whole box of Kleenex… so what?!

Have you had a good cry lately?
Your tears are worth more to your soul than precious pearls!
Indeed, tears are your precious pearls!

I understood when our babies were born that crying was the only way a baby had to communicate that something was wrong.  I paid attention to every little nuance.  I knew when a cry meant I’m hungry.  I knew when a cry meant I’m sleepy or bored.  I even knew when a cry meant I need you and want your love.

What happened?!!
When did crying become something to stifle and stop?
Perhaps it’s time you had a good cry.
Perhaps it’s time I had a good cry!
Precious, precious pearls… these tears of mine!

I know one thing:  I am going to stop saying STOP CRYING!
I’m going to let others know it’s okay to cry.
You don’t have to be strong anymore…

Do not ignore your feelings and stuff them deep inside anymore.
Let them bubble up like a fountain that you will do nothing to stop until the tears stop coming.
Let tears be what keeps the inside of your soul a beautiful receptacle of the most precious pearl ever made.

Thank You, Dear God, for tears… whether happy or sad…
They truly are precious pearls to me.
As the difficult times come and the trials seem long…
Send sweet tears to bathe my soul.
Help me to remember…
I do not have to be strong, nor is there shame in tears…
Still waters can run very deep even in a silent tear upon the cheek…
Remind me that tears are not the mark of weakness but of power…
They speak more eloquently than a thousand tongues…
These messengers of overwhelming grief and unspeakable love…
Thank You again, Lord, for tears!  Amen

hmmmm… anyone got a kleenex?!
With compassion for all tears, (happy or sad and everything in between…)
~Susan Holsinger

Feb. 27, 2012

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I said, “God, I hurt…” Wed, 18 Aug 2010 20:39:33 +0000 I said, God, I hurt!


I said, “God, I hurt.”
And God said, I know.”

I said, “God, I cry a lot.”
And God said, “That is why I gave you tears.”

I said, “God, I am so depressed.”
And God said, “That is why I gave you Sunshine.”

I said, “God, life is so hard.”
And God said, “That is why I gave you loved ones.”

I said, “God, my loved one died.”
And God said, “So did mine.”

I said, “God, it is such a loss.”
And God said, I saw mine nailed to a cross.”

I said, “God, but your loved one lives.”
And God said, “So does yours.”

I said, “God, where are they now?”
And God said, “Mine is on My right and yours is in the Light.”

I said, “God, it hurts.”
And God said, I know.”

Posted on the wall at the Oklahoma City bombing site
by K. C. and Myke Kuzmic
Stockton, CA

Posted here Aug. 18, 2010

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How Far is Heaven? Wed, 28 Jul 2010 00:42:24 +0000 How far is Heaven? I asked myself this many times after my baby died.

A couple months had passed since my baby died…
I was in the kitchen cleaning up the supper dishes and singing.   I love to sing!  😮

The song I was singing was one I remembered from my childhood. It was on an old 45 record my Dad used to have. The song was written about a little girl who had lost her Daddy and she was asking her Mommy…how far is Heaven?

I do not remember the words to the actual song but I do remember the chorus. I’ve included the video of this song here and at the end of this post.

Tonight I made up my own words.
They went like this…
How far is Heaven?
Please take me there….
To see my Bethany…
She’s there, I know…..

How far is Heaven?
Let’s go tonight….
I want to hold….
My Bethany tight….

Oh how I did long at times to hold her tight!!!  If only for five minutes!
This feeling was very real….even though I knew she was in Heaven with Jesus.

It brought comfort to my heart to know that Jesus understood….
He understood my pain…
He understood my Mother heart and why I longed to hold my baby tight.

And I was comforted…

I felt His comforting presence and His gentle reminders when He spoke to me of a blessed time in the future when I will get to hold my baby tight…. forever!
To know that He understood helped me keep moving forward through the pain of not getting to hold her tight right now.

It was just a little song…but it expressed my deep heartache and pain…
I felt relieved to express my pain in this way…  I did not think it was strange or presumptuous to wish I could hold my sweet baby Bethany again for just 5 minutes.

I knew Jesus understood then…
I know He still understands today…

There is no shame in expressing exactly how you feel to Him…
Because He understands….and if you let Him…
He will heal your hurting heart and pour in the oil of comfort and consolation.

You do not have to suffer in silence…
You do not have to feel alone….

You do have choices….
You can choose to talk to someone who has experienced this deep heartache.
You can choose to work through this and experience the joys of life again.

You can find comfort and meaning in an experience that has left you bruised, shattered and broken. Misery is optional… Others have experienced what you have experienced.

I am one who had this experience, too… just like you…
I often wished for someone who understood my thoughts and feelings.
That’s one of the reasons you are reading this… I have been through this and I care about what’s happening in your life. I know how painful this can be.

If you feel misunderstood and like no one wants to talk about this anymore; I am here for you.  Helping you through the pain and hurt is one of my specialties.
With Love and Compassion,

July 27, 2010

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Celebrating Birthdays? My Child Isn’t Here! Fri, 26 Mar 2010 21:12:26 +0000 Today the calendar says it’s been another year since our baby died.
Have you experienced that yet?
We have experienced this day 27 times already and wonder where the years have gone?  Sometimes it seems like it happened yesterday.  Other times it seems like a long time ago.

Birthdays are special… a time of celebration… a time of looking into and dreaming of the future and places this child might go.

So how do you celebrate a birthday when your child is not here?
The important thing to decide first is what would make this day special to you?  Do you want to start a family tradition that you will observe every year on this day?

What is it you want to create for yourself and others as you remember the day that totally changed your life?

It is up to you…
Will it be a celebration that creates special meaning to all those who participate?

On our babies birthday we always take our children and go visit her grave.  It may sound silly but we have a little tradition we started.  We sing “Happy Birthday” and then we share the story of her life and the day she was born. Then we have an open discussion where everyone talks and when we finish sharing we close with prayer.

Sometimes I bake a birthday cake.  On our babies 16th birthday we invited the extended family by special invitation to meet us at the grave.  Afterward everyone came back to our house and we had “angel food”.  My husband gave me 16 roses.  It was a very special evening.

Over the years as our children grew up we noticed some very interesting things happening.  We had conversations at the grave about many things; things we don’t think we would have ever talked about in any other situation.  Another thing we noticed is how real Heaven is to our children.  It is a real place to them since they have a sister there.

My challenge to you is this:
Do something to make this day a special one!
You will be so glad you did.

Suggestions of things to do to make this day special:
1.    plant a flower, shrub or tree in memory
2.    put a rose on the grave
3.    bake a special birthday cake
4.    go out for supper and talk about this event in your life
5.    create a memory book
6.    look at the cards you received
7.    sing the “Happy Birthday” song
8.    dedicate a song to your child
9.    share things that have special significance to you since this happened
10.  share how this changed you and what it means to you

With Compassion and Love,
Susan Holsinger

Ps.  “My Little Angel” ~ the perfect place to write everything down you want to remember.  Available to purchase right here at Good Grief and You.  Also available is our exclusive line of products created to keep your child’s memory alive in your heart forever.

March 26, 2010

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Clouds of Grief and Sunshine Days Wed, 30 Dec 2009 21:41:44 +0000 Clouds of grief and sunshine days

When clouds of grief come it sometimes seems the sun will never shine again.
Days come and go in this fog of grief and it’s easy to feel out of touch with reality.
It’s almost like you’re living in a daze…

Recently we have been having many many cloudy days… It brought back memories of when my baby died.  Cloudy days were hard.  Crying came very easy and moping around seemed par for the course.  I loved it when the sun shone once again.
It seemed easier to cope with grief when the sun was shining.

Here is a poem/song I wrote.  May it give you courage to keep going through this heart wrenching experience creating beautiful meaning for your life.

Sunshine ~ Sunshine
Sunshine sunshine where did you go?
All I see is fog, ice and snow!
Sunshine sunshine please come out and play
Chase all the clouds and gloom away!

Sunshine sunshine where did you go?
The song in my heart is missing you so!
I’ll just keep singing my troubles away~
Until you come and brighten my day!

Sunshine sunshine shine again for me . . .
Shine through all the clouds I see . . .
Wonder of Wonders!  Oh, can it be?
I saw His Son Shine ~ it’s shining on me!!

Singing, singing, singing,
Shine . . . Son . . . Shine . . .
Do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti, do
Do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti, do
Every morning do, ti, fa, so
When I wake up do, re, me, do
No clouds or gloom
Will stop my song!
So, ti, la, so, fa, mi, re, do!

Written by Susan I. Holsinger
January 22, 2010
© All rights reserved

. . . I will put a new song in your hearts.  Psalm 40

With Love and Compassion Always,
~Susan Holsinger

Dec. 30, 2009

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My First Christmas In Heaven Fri, 25 Dec 2009 22:27:49 +0000 Christmas in Heaven
by Unknown

‘Tis Christmas in Heaven
What a beautiful sight!
It’s my first one here;
Everything is all right.

The crib is adorned
With the brilliance of stars,
Wisemen have come
From Venus and Mars.

I’ve met all our dear ones
Who preceded us here;
The reunion was lovely,
An event full of cheer.

And tonight we’ll all gather,
In reverence we’ll kneel,
For the Babe in the cradle
Up in Heaven is Real.

I think of my family
that I left behind
And I pray that your Christmas
Is as blessed as mine

Please shed no more tears,
For my soul is at rest,
Just love one another;
Live life to its best.

Yes, It’s Christmas In Heaven,
So I’ve heard them say,
Yet, Christmas In Heaven
Happens every day.

May this Christmas be extra special
as God comforts your hearts
and heals your hurts.

With extra Love and Compassion,  Susan Holsinger

Ps.  Give a special gift to yourself ~ be sure to sign up
for my weekly newsletter!  😉

Dec. 25, 2009

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