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When You Cry Unexpectedly in the Middle of a Talk: Grief Recovery

April 19, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 137

I've been a freelance writer for decades. After losing four family members in 2007 the focus of my writing changed and I began to write about loss, grief, and grief recovery. I also give talks that expand the information in my books. Last week I spoke to Elder Network volunteers in my community. It was a small group, a dozen volunteers gathered around a table.

My hour-long talk was about anticipatory grief, a feeling of loss before a death or dreaded event occurs. Everyone goes through anticipatory grief, yet many fail to recognize it. I started the talk with a summary of the nine years I spent caring for my mother, who suffered from progressive dementia. As my mother's dementia became worse, the stress of caregiving became worse.

Each day, I wondered if this would be the day she died, I explained. Then I shared my experience of losing four family members--my daughter, father-in-law, brother, and former son-in-law--within nine months. Suddenly, tears filled my eyes. "I'm going to cry," I announced. And I did.

Had unexpected tears ruined my talk? Had I lost my audience? Apparently not, for the group gave me a loud round of applause at the end of my talk. Several attendees commented on the power and value of my presentation. Though unexpected tears can distract both speaker and audience, I think my tears let people know I speak from the heart.

Still, it was embarrassing to lose it in the middle of a talk. My mother had been gone for a decade. Five years had passed since I suffered multiple losses. I thought my crying days were over, and they weren't. Why did I cry?

Not practicing my talk out loud was one reason. Before I give a talk I practice it aloud several times to check the logic, length and word flow. The biggest plus of practicing a talk aloud, however, is that it prepares me for emotional pain. Somehow, and I'm not sure how, hearing words aloud makes my story believable. It is a way of me telling me, "I can do this."

But I didn't practice this talk out loud because I had given it several times previously, a mistake I will not make again.

Fatigue may have contributed to my tears. The week was packed with appointments, tax preparations, family and social events. I also had two books in production and my mind was crammed with detail work--proofreading, submitting corrections, and checking references.

A week later I delivered some of the books I've written to the Elder Network office. To my surprise, several staff members appeared to welcome me. "We've received emails about your talk," a staff member shared. One volunteer wrote, "I'm so glad I went." Another volunteer said, "I needed that talk. My anticipatory grief journey is just beginning."

Unexpected tears reminded me, yet again, of the power of grief. During the passing years I had adjusted to life without my mother, daughter, father-in-law, brother, and former son-in-law. I had adjusted to being a GRG, grandparents raising twin grandchildren. In truth, I think my twin grandchildren have done more for me than I have for them.

But I still have empty places in my soul, places that remember my deceased loved ones and a yearning to see them and share my life with them. You may feel the same way. If you're grieving now, don't be ashamed of your tears, for they are reminders of love. When loved ones die our feelings for them do not die. Love keeps me going and can keep you going as well.

Copyright 2012 by Harriet Hodgson

Harriet Hodgson is the author of 31 published books, including "Smiling Through Your Tears: Anticipating Grief," Lois Krahn, MD, co-author, "Writing to Recover: The Journey from Loss and Grief to a New Life," "Writing to Recover Journal," "101 Affirmations to Ease Your Grief Journey," "The Spiritual Woman: Quotes to Refresh and Sustain Your Soul," and "Happy Again! Your New and Meaningful Life After Loss." Her latest book, "Help! I'm Raising My Grandkids," will be available soon. Please visit her website and learn more about this busy author and grandmother.

Source: EzineArticles
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