Just Going Through the Motions of Life?

Deep loss can make you feel like a robot on auto-pilot. You move through your day without feeling or awareness, not even sure what day it is some days.

Why is that? Well, you’re navigating a new world honey! The life you knew, that was so synchronized with another, that life was turned upside down when they died. It’s really pretty amazing that you are getting up and getting dressed. Give yourself 10 points for that.

Do you know that in some cultures (not ours, obviously, we’re self-absorbed and very death phobic) the surviving spouse is cared for by the community for a year? They cook, they clean, they wash your clothes, they take care of your kids. Your job is to think through the relationship, to determine the following: what do you want to keep with you, what was valuable that you want to share with others and, more importantly almost, what was negative (or affected others negatively) that you want to bury with the body and leave behind? At the end of the year, the community puts on a big party. The bereaved shares this contemplated knowledge and then they dig a pit and “bury” the things that needed to die with that person (like anger, greed, narcissism, illness).

In our culture we get a few casseroles and sympathy cards and then you’re on our own. That’s a cruel reality to navigate by yourself. It’s easy to shut down. To pretend it’s okay. To go through the motions and just buy into the “at least you had a good life” pacifier.

But pacifiers aren’t food. Any baby can tell you that. A pacifier is something that keeps your mouth busy so you can’t cry out that you’re hungry!

But you are hungry, aren’t you? Hungry for meaning and understanding. Hungry for a future that isn’t sad and lonely. You wish that it was possible…

And it is. It is possible. You just need the right support. You need a proven system that moves you through grief, that lets you understand why it’s so hard to let go. A system that gives you entertaining and fascinating audio courses and recorded meditations that let you breathe out sorrow and take on new ideas. A system that was created by a widow and Certified Grief Recovery Specialist.

NEW THIS SUMMER! RECOVERING TOGETHER: The Widows Recovery System Group. Only $495 for deep support and healing that will last through Labor Day in September! But to insure a great experience for YOU, space is very limited. Check it out and reserve YOUR space today!

Drowning in Grief?

Grief can be suffocating. Overwhelming. And you can’t shut it up forever. When you try to shut it down, it sabotages you. (Or, embarrasses you in public with a grief burst!)

Do you know that 70% of widowed women become chronically ill or die within 3 years of their spouse? (That’s a CDC statistic by the way. Many doctors think it’s actually a higher percentage than that.)

Grief is a necessary phase of loss. You can’t skip it. It’s not like breakfast. (Well, it sort of is, but it’s not good for you to skip breakfast either!) Grief ebbs and flows. One day, you’ve got this! The next, you can’t get out of bed. What’s a girl to do?

Knowledge is power, honey. The Widows Recovery System gives you the information and support you need so YOU have the power to take charge of your healing AND your future.

Created by a widow and a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist, it’s a proven system for moving through grief into new life.

“Thank you for another meaningful, helpful, and insightful sacred support call. Our times together energize me. I feel optimistic after each conversation and know where to go and how to get there.”
Karen, Hawaii

NEW THIS SUMMER! Join the new Widows Recovery System Group that begins July 1! For only $495, you’ll receive over 3 months of real, meaningful support! To ensure your experience, space is limited. Order now!

Are You Ready Yet?

Are you ready to claim your healing and recover from your spouse’s death? If so, a great new opportunity to spend your summer with fourteen other women who are committed to healing and moving forward has arrived.

Beginning July 1, 15 women will begin a NEW Recovering Together: Widows Recovery System Group. Get ready for a deeply healing, fun, eye-opening, three months of systematic recovery. Those three months will take you step-by-step through the processes of grief recovery and life rebuilding. The program comes with unlimited access to audio courses (seven in all), bi-weekly live coaching phone calls (also recorded for your convenience if you can’t make the call!), a downloadable workbook with exercises that bring you greater understanding of what’s happened to you and ways to process everything you’re feeling, conversations with other widows via the calls and a private FaceBook group, and personalized email support from your coach for those times when you have a deeply personal question or just get stuck.

Join Certified Grief Recovery Specialist, TEDx speaker, and fellow widow Donna Marie Todd for summer of fun and recovery. No sunscreen required! Learn more and register here! (Note: Registration is now open. 13 openings remain. Don’t wait, act now!)

Thank You

To all the widows whose husbands were soldiers and died serving their country, we salute you and we thank you.

You gave your love to a man who was committed to the protection of his country and who sacrificed his life in the fulfillment of that vow.

The vows we make as man and wife are sacred, too. And on this day when we remember those who died in service to their country, we honor the sacrifice and silent suffering you endured as he fulfilled his vow.


Feeling Left Out?

Feeling like a 3rd wheel at family get togethers is not fun. Neither is sitting at home without an invitation!

You might feel like you’re always on the outside looking in and this is a perfectly normal experience for a widowed woman.

The fact is, we live in a couples’ world and when you are widowed you become socially invisible. People don’t mean to exclude you, they just don’t know how to include you and worry that “you might not be ready yet.”

In our death-phobic society, you represent that which most people don’t want to think about: the end.

But there are strategies you can use to re-imagine the holidays. They’ve worked for lots of other widowed women and they’ll work for you, too. These strategies help you design what would be meaningful to YOU on each holiday that pops up (Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas) before it arrives so that you protect your fragile emotions while enjoying special holidays.

Learn more about the Widows Recovery System. Think of it as an investment in your future.

There’s nothing to worry about. You’re fine.

Ever get the feeling that people really don’t want to hear the truth about how you’re feeling? (Oh, that’s because they usually don’t.) We live in a “happy meal,” instant gratification, 3-day quickie-grief, death-phobic culture. Conversations about death (and how you’re surviving it) make most people exquisitely uncomfortable. When you feel like people really don’t want to hear about how you’re doing, your instincts are spot on.

As one of the widows in the Widows Recovery System says, “It’s like we don’t even have a language for what you and I are talking about right now. I’ve needed to talk about this for way longer than I thought. Just being able to say that makes me feel better. Just knowing somebody actually cares is healing me.”

Where do you go to safely discuss grief and your desire to rebuild your life? If you don’t have someone who can listen deeply, try journaling out your feelings at a set time every day, reading what you’ve written out-loud, and then sitting quietly for a few moments to honor yourself.

If you want a proven system to heal and rebuild your life, make an investment in your future with the Widows Recovery System. Practical knowledge, loving support, excellent audio courses, a practical workbook, and personal support calls guide you to that new life you know is possible. Schedule a complimentary call today!


Lessons from My Mothers

I don’t reflect as often as I should on the lessons I’ve learned from other women but today the lessons from the “mothers” I’ve loved unfolded like a highway; complete with roadside restaurants, exit signs, and rest stops. True Confession One: I was too focused on the Big Boy restaurants and icebox pies to see the exits and rest stops I really needed to take. Confession Two: I still am.

My maternal grandmother’s teachings arrived first. She was a Victorian era bride who birthed 6 babies in the Roaring Twenties, lost one in childbirth, one to the Big Red Measles, and reared the other four in the Great Depression. Despite only having a 6th-grade education (Why waste education dollars on women? They’re just going to have babies and cook…) she had the best vocabulary of almost anyone I’ve known because she read the dictionary cover-to-cover and could whip your butt at Scrabble.

My grandfather ran a successful life insurance business and she kept his books – in her head. When the stock market crashed and they lost “all their savings” she kept their money in the mattress and saved the stubs of our pencils in a can on the stove. She put up beans all summer long and ate them on bread, often with a wilted salad made from wild greens, dressed with bacon fat, a pinch of sugar, and homemade vinegar.

Grandma was soft on the outside – cast iron on the inside. She was harder on herself than anyone, ruled her family with an iron fist, did not trust others or “the system,” and lived to be almost a hundred. The last 20 years of that as a widow. From her I learned to be strong, resilient, self-supporting, frugal and wary of “systems” that make the rich richer and deny women an education, and take long naps. But I also learned to be mistrustful of others and isolated.
Five Icebox Pies. Two Exit Signs. Daily Rest Stop.


Then there was my first mother-in-law: A high-ranking Navy doctor’s wife who drank Bloody Marys for breakfast and chain-smoked Camels. She was world-traveled, politically astute, very loving and tragically lonely. She taught me how to survive in high society, give cocktail parties an admiral would enjoy, and be ridiculously generous. (She gave me a Wedgewood jewelry box, antique brass pitchers I still display, fur coats I almost never wear, a collection of tortoise shell combs from pre-war England, and a red vintage BMW.) She tolerated her husband’s dalliances and openly encouraged me to do the same. When he was gone at night she never asked where, she just poured another whiskey and once a month had a massage. (“Don’t be naïve, it’s just what men do. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you.”) When I finally stopped looking the other way and spending my nights alone with a drink, I divorced her baby boy.
Three Icebox Pies. Two HUGE Exit Signs. One Monthly Rest Stop.

My second mother-in-law was a truly elegant, plantation-bred beauty with charming manners, deep faith, and love of family. She was playful, impeccably dressed, and amazingly fit. (She showed me how to do a split at 70 and encouraged me to exercise.) Her five children were the light of her life. She made a mean G&T and also cultivated the habit of looking the other way.

A wickedly smart woman, she unfortunately bought into the myth that men always know best and only made decisions when she had to. I became the wife of her Rhett Butler-esque #1 Son and gave birth to the first-born son of the first-born son of the first-born son of the first-born son. From her I learned pride of lineage, the importance of daily exercise, the art of being Presbyterian, a love of tartans, and prayerfulness in the face of betrayal.
Five Icebox Pies. Two Exit Signs. Daily Rest Stops.

And this leads me to my own dear mother. She was an exquisite pianist and organist whose innate relationship to music is embedded in my mitochondria. (I guess that’s what happens when you lie as a baby on the console of an organ and the lid of a grand piano.) She centered herself in the morning and at night with the power of prayer and was the wind beneath my pastor father’s wings; a wind that entertained constantly to secure and advance his career, a wind that kept its own power a family secret, and also allowed him to define whether or not she was still beautiful after she endured a 43-year fight with breast cancer. A true survivor, my mother wore carefully tailored outfits that hid the maiming she’d endured. She modeled positivity in the face of tragedy, fearlessness in claiming God’s healing and mercy, insisted I use my intelligence and gifts boldly, and was always affectionate and loving.
Eight Icebox Pies. Two Exit Signs. Two Daily Rest Stops.

So as I reflect on my own life as a wife and mother I’m happy that I’ve learned to be truly loving, generous and affectionate. I’ve encouraged my son to be a kind gentleman, to use his deep intelligence, to live boldly, dream big, and be a man of prayerful intention. Like the women who taught me, I am resilient in the face of tragedy and betrayal and have become a fierce encourager for others facing the same. (This still rather surprises me!) I’m pretty bold about sharing the stories that have surprised me, wounded me, informed me, and made me (for better or for worse) who I am.

And, I’m working on taking the EXITS and REST STOPS along the highways of life. I’ve spent too many years either trying to “hold it” or “hold it together.” And, like many of you, way too many years doing both at the same time!

Need Some Help Navigating Widowhood?

Sometimes it’s hard not to feel like life is pushing you around. It can feel like you’re going through the motions of life without living it.

And your spouse is not there to help anymore so you’re negotiating all of it alone and that can make things really rough.

To successfully navigate widowhood, a dual process ideally happens simultaneously: You allow yourself to heal from the loss AND you keep moving forward in rebuilding your own life.

Finding people who will support you is key. You’ve probably got a friend  who really wants you to “move forward, maybe even date somebody!” And you might have a support group that understands that you are grieving. But most people really don’t understand how many changes you are negotiating because they simply don’t understand that your spouse’s death turned your life absolutely, totally upside down. (In defense of your relatives and friends, it’s a hard thing to understand until it happens to you!)

But here you will find that understanding. You’ll receive a proven system to heal your heart and rebuild your life and the guidance of a fellow widow who knows the journey you’re on to guide you through it. Find out more about how the Widows Recovery System can help you.

Do You Know How to Comfort Yourself?

When you’re deeply grieving, it’s tempting to turn to unhealthy thoughts and behaviors to comfort yourself through it. It’s hard to find knowledgeable and loving support (at the same time!).

But there are scientifically proven techniques you can use to identify what you need and then give yourself the comfort you are craving without turning to drugs or alcohol or binge watching TV.

Once you learn how to identify the emotions that are sitting just below the surface, and the techniques for calming yourself, you can safely move through your grief and loneliness and learn to give yourself what you need.

No one can hold your hand through this process 24/7. It’s not realistic. People want to help but they really don’t know how. Surviving widowhood is kind of a specialized activity.

But you can find loving support and information you need to know with the Widows Recovery System. Explore how to help yourself heal today. Be willing to invest in your own happiness.

Are You Angry With Your Spouse?

 Don’t feel guilty if you’re feeling angry at your spouse. It’s a natural response to the situation you’ve been thrust into.

Women are taught to hide their anger (sadness and crying are more acceptable female emotions.). But running from your anger or not talking about it with someone you can trust  is dangerous when you’re grieving because it keeps you from being real with yourself. And if you can’t be real with yourself, you’re not going to be able to heal and move forward.

Anger is the twin cousin of fear. Often, when we are afraid our go-to emotion is anger, because it helps us feel more powerful. Releasing fear is an important practice in moving forward and embracing life. You can use the Temple of the Heart guided meditation to decompress from fear.

How are you managing your anger? In the Widows Recovery System, you’ll use a proven process to release yourself from fear and receive the loving support you need to let go and rebuild.

Learn more and get free of what’s hurting you inside.