Thursday, December 15, 2011
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
One of the best parts about writing a book is the people I get to meet. During a recent event, there were two women in the audience who stood out. During the Q&A portion of the presentation, they asked some very insightful questions, and I was glad they stuck around afterward. It wasn't until they asked me to be a guest that I discovered they hosted their own radio show! They are the kind of people who make you feel instantly comfortable, as if you've known each other for years. I'm excited to "introduce" you to Connie and Sheila, as well as a few other show hosts, so stay tuned!
Saturday, October 15, 2011
Friday, October 14, 2011
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Last year I was thrilled to be signing advance copies at Turner Publishing's booth at the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville. This year I have been invited to be a panelist, followed by a book signing! It starts Friday, Oct. 14th through Sunday, Oct. 16th. My family loves this FREE event. Over 200 authors are coming to speak, sign, and sell their books. Take a look at this year's line-up.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Monday, May 9, 2011
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Upcoming Book Signing Events-
4/28 Knoxville, TN Barnes and Noble 4-6PM
4/30 Pigeon Forge, TN Book Warehouse 2PM
5/6 Franklin, TN Landmark Booksellers 5:30PM
5/7 Murfreesboro, TN Hastings 2PM
Come pick up your copy of Healing: The Essential Guide to Helping Others Overcome Grief and Loss. I'd love to see you!
Saturday, April 2, 2011
Monday, February 28, 2011
Thursday, February 10, 2011
I admit it. I was always a daddy's girl. Don't get me wrong. I was very close to my mom, too. I was lucky. I had two loving, involved parents. Still, my dad and I were tight. When my parents split, I couldn't bear to see him alone, so I left our cushy family home and slept on the lumpy couch of his rental house. I sought his approval and was always thrilled to see him in the audience of a school play or the sidelines of a little league game.
My dad always bought sentimental Valentine's Day cards for my mom, sister and me. The serious, mushy kind. I remember one year his girlfriend bought funny cards for them both to sign. I eventually worked up the nerve to tell him I missed the old ones. He smiled and said he liked those better too, and went back to them after that.
I could always count on my dad to be my biggest fan. He encouraged my love of cooking, eating anything I made. No matter how it turned out, he always claimed it was the best he had ever tasted. Over the years, I sang in a few bands. My dad saw me perform with all but one of them, often driving for hours to catch a show. Once I began writing music seriously, he would listen carefully to every demo. Without fail, he would predict, "Now, THAT'S a hit!"
It was a good life, knowing my dad would always support my dreams, celebrate my successes, and be my safe harbor no matter what.
You know what happens next, though. One night, a few hours after calling just to say hi, he died. No warning. No chance to say goodbye. After a full day's work, he simply went home, got into bed and died.
That was ten years ago, almost to the day. I'm not going to tell you there's no more sadness. There will always be tears to fight back when I see father-daughter Valentine's Day cards. I still catch myself wondering what he would have thought of something I'm doing, but I try and honor him in ways he would have liked. I celebrate his memory with my husband and children, whom he loved deeply. I pass down the lessons he taught me.
My mother died ten years before him. After months of tearful calls from me, he told me something I'll never forget. He said his own mother had shared these words after his beloved grandmother died. She explained he was still Grandma's special boy, but told him, "Life is for the living."
Life is for the living? This stopped me cold. Why, after a lifetime of constant encouragement and love, would he say something so heartless to me? I didn't understand at the time. It was too soon, perhaps, to accept the gift. He was right, of course. What sounded void of that encouragement and love I'd come to expect was actually full of both. He was putting me back on track. Later I thanked him and we had a beautiful talk about losing our mothers. I was struck at both the depth of his years-old grief as well as his ability to live fully in spite of it.
While going through his things, I found a Valentine he made for his mother when he was five. It was serious and mushy. She saved it, he saved it, and now I save it. Like the Valentine, her lessons are still in the family.
Life is for the living, I am still Daddy's girl, and Valentines should be mushy.
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Monday, January 31, 2011
As I've said here before, I LOVE the little winks we sometimes get from those who have died. When I was writing the book and asking for input, stories about post-death communications were among my favorites. Some were incredibly specific and compelling, others were so contrived as to be embarrassing. But what's consistent is the comfort we feel when they happen to us. It's no mystery as to why I love them. I want to believe my parents can see what's happening in my life. I want to believe our connections are too strong to be broken by death.
Hope is a Renewable Resource
“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.” Albert Einstein
Where does hope come from? And where can I get more of it – you might ask. Hope comes from your desire to seek a better future. It can come from the realization and acceptance that you cannot do it alone combined with the courage to reach out. Hope can come from reaching out to God to help guide you on your path – from out of the darkness and into the light. Hope can lift you out of sadness and help you focus on a new beginning. Or a renewal.
Hope can instill a renewed enthusiasm that there is indeed something more and better to come. Yes, you are a major player in making your new future happen. Yes, you can marshal your resources toward an important goal. Hope opens possibilities but you must be open to them and willing to let go of the past that is holding you back. You need to make room for hope in your life.
Three- Step Call to Action
- Decide to seek a better future and define what that entails.
- Commit to replacing negative thoughts with hope.
- Take action toward your goal.
Just Say No to the Status QuoTM
About the Author
- Hello, I'm Donna Marie Thompson, PhD, co-author of Bouncing Back:Thriving in Changing Times with Brian Tracy, David Riklan, Wayne Dyer, and John Assaraf. The 5 E's To Recovery Program provides a structured, supportive, and positive environment for you to find your joy and happiness - to heal and move on. To cope and conquer. To overcome.
Friday, January 28, 2011
Today's post is from a brave and generous blogger, Maureen Hunter. Maureen is grieving the loss of her son, Stuart. She writes with heartbreaking honesty about her pain, but also shares where she finds hope and comfort. Her site is full of excellent tips and resources. An oasis for any parent with empty arms. Thank you, Maureen. For the work you are doing and your friendship! -Alicia
One question that instills horror and paralysis into the heart of any grieving mother is, “How many children do you have?” It seems such an innocent question to many, bandied about in general conversation and one that we ourselves would have asked countless times, but everything is different now and I don’t know about you but I want an easier question. I had thought about how I would answer that for the first time after Stuart died, I had it all sorted in my mind, how it would happen, what I would say…..but the reality was far from my imaginings.
One night I got something in my eye, it wouldn’t budge. With eyes streaming and one eye half shut I had to go to the local hospital for after hour’s treatment. I had been there only 3 weeks previous, in the very same room, when my son was taken there initially after his accident. I remembered everything but I was stoical, I was coping. But then, the nurse, whilst ‘fixing’ my eye said, “How many children do you have?” Instantly my eyes welled up with tears and I became totally speechless. This was the first time anyone had asked me that since Stuart died and I couldn’t respond, no words would come out and I was totally overwhelmed with the impact the question had on my very being.
It’s happened so many times since then and now I have a bit of a repertoire up my sleeve. Circumstances dictate what I will say, whether I play it safe and say “I have 3 children” or whether I tell the whole story and elaborate. It all depends on who’s asking, the relationship I have with them and the social situation I am in. It also depends on how I feel emotionally. Sometimes I don’t have the inner strength to go into details, to add that little bit more, so I keep it brief for my own sake. That’s just how it is. But for me, its always 3, I have 3 children, always have and always will have.
Sunday, January 23, 2011
This is a great piece from my new friend in Vancouver, Susan Moore. Susan is doing some exciting work in bereavement and life management there. You'll find a link to her site at the end.
The Start of a New Year
For many, the New Year brings a sense of excitement; a new opportunity to create change, get in shape, stop smoking, recover from the holidays and set goals for the next 12 months. For those who have lost a loved one during the holidays, the start of the New Year can be devastating.
There is seasonality to death rates with marked increases before and after the New Year. In addition to the standard increases in seasonal flu’s, weather related accidents and overindulgence, the spike in the death rates can also be attributed to the strength of the human spirit. Hospice and palliative care workers have often witnessed terminally ill patients ‘hanging on’ through the holidays, wanting to share another holiday, not wanting to make the holidays a time of grief.
If you have lost a loved one during the holidays, you are not alone and there is support available for you. The Living Through Loss Counselling Society of BC (www.ltlc.bc.ca) is a not-for-profit organization that provides professional grief counselling to adults and children. You can contact LTLC by telephone at 604-873-5013 to get more information or to schedule an appointment. The BC Bereavement Helpline (www.bcbereavementhelpline.com) is a non-profit, free, and confidential service that connects the public to grief support services within the province of BC. The helpline can be contacted at 604-738-9950 or toll free at 1-877-779-2223.
I have had the opportunity to work very closely with LTLC and BC Bereavement during that past year and I am awed by the incredible support they provide to those in need.
If you are the primary caregiver, family or friend of someone who is dealing with a life-limiting illness, the support organizations shown above are also there to help you. Grief is something that affects us all before, during and after the death of a loved one. There isn’t a time limit for grief – starting or ending.
These support services are also there for you if you have been diagnosed with a terminal illness. This is a huge, devastating, painful experience and accessing the support services available in the community can help you understand, cope, process the huge challenges you are facing.
Self care is very important when grieving and care giving. Lynnette Pollard-Elgert, Executive Director of LTLC & I co-authored an article printed in the Vancouver Sun dealing with Grief and the Holidays. Many of the same points about self care can be applied after the holidays:
- Drink water and lots of it! Water helps to flush toxins from the body. Grief creates excess amounts of stress hormones, like Cortisol, which is associated with disease, sleep disturbances, and other physical maladies such as depression, anxiety, panic attacks and stomach disorders.
- Stay away from alcohol. This can be difficult during the holiday season. Alcohol is a depressant, spikes blood sugar, dehydrates, and is not helpful during the grieving process. It may numb the pain for a short time, however the grief process does not move forward it holds you in the same place you were before the alcohol and you feel worse the next day.
- Rest. Rest helps boost the immune system and counteracts the effects of stress on the body. Office parties, family events, and children’s holiday functions can all be exhausting. Taking time to rest is particularly important when normal sleep patterns are interrupted.
- Eat healthfully. Grief often significantly increases or decreases appetite. Holiday foods, while tempting, are usually high in sugar and fat – so enjoy these “treats” in moderation. It is important to eat a healthful, balanced diet with an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables.
- Take supplements. Talk to your doctor about adding a Vitamin B Complex and Vitamin D to your diet. Vitamin B complex helps manage stress. Vitamin D helps balance mood and counteracts the effects of low exposure to sunlight, which can cause Seasonal Affective Disorder in some people during the winter.
- Exercise. Physical activity releases serotonin in the brain, which, in turn, helps balance mood, increases energy, boost the immune system, and normalize sleep. Winter weather can put a damper on going outside for exercise. Consider physical activities that can be done indoors like yoga, swimming or aerobics.
- Self care. Take time to do the things that make you feel good. This can include getting a massage, seeing a movie, or eating at your favorite restaurant.
- Talk. Spend time with family and friends who will let you speak as much or as little as you need. Processing the loss of a loved one is exactly that – a process. Talking about what is happening for you will help you heal.
- Take time. Grief does not have a timeline – it takes as long as it takes. Spend time with people who support you and who do not expect you to ‘be over it’.
- Feel what you feel. The death of a loved one is painful. Many people feel ‘guilty’ if they laugh or have fun after someone has died. Do not judge yourself for enjoying some holiday activities.
- Ask for help. Reaching out and asking for help is not a weakness. Everyone needs support. You are not a burden. If you do not want to rely on friends and family, there are community resources that specialize in bereavement support:
Bell Alliance Transitions can provide you with the support you need to during any critical life change. We provide a free, no obligation needs assessment in the privacy of your home. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have. We are here to help!