Poems from Beyond – Interview with Liza Ferrara DeStefano

Grief is universal, but individually we all have our own unique way of handling our grief.  Liz Ferrara DeStefano found very quickly after the death of her father, her own way was to create poetry.  The words would come to and the poems were born.

Liza wonders if she did grieve enough, she feels she did, her heart no longer broken, admits she feels sad and does miss her Dad but the poetry helped her process her loss.

These are some of the topics we covered

  • How soon after your Dad’s death did you discover your creativity had been awakened?
  • What is it about this activity that worked so well for you?
  • Have your poems helped your family members?
  • How many poems have you written?
  • You are now a published author
  • Did you publish them as a legacy to your Dad or as part of your healing journey?

Liza’s poems not only helped her with her grief but have helped others she has shared or written them for. In creating her poems she feels she is connected to her Dad and this brings her comfort

It doesn’t always have to be painful or anguish but a quieter letting go, and into acceptance.  When you listen to Liza’s story, you will find that family connection, closeness and supporting each other are what helped this family navigate their loss, their Dad, a husband, and grandfather.  They are all changed in many ways and these changes have brought the family closer together.

 

 

 

Summer went out in a Tornado

How was your Summer?  I do hope you were able to get away for some downtime and recharge?  It certainly was a hot one……..

A Friday Night to Remember

The last breath of Summer left us during the storm last Friday evening ushered out by 6 Tornado’s here in the Ottawa region.  The result of the storm plunged many into chaos as the power went out in homes.  across the region.  This was a small inconvenience compared to the people whose homes were destroyed by the storm.  The winds tore off rooftops, downed trees, and power lines, scattering debris over roads impeding travel and rescue efforts.

Neighborhoods Destroyed

It would take several days for the extent of the damage to reach the public’s awareness.  When it did, those watching were totally stunned and shocked by the devastation in many areas around our region. I’m certain there were a few hands over mouths as they took in the pictures they were seeing.  Trees on top of cars, rooftops gone leaving their contents visible and exposed.  Large trees on top of family dwellings.  Large power poles snapped in half downing the wires they were carrying.  One main power station feeding so many homes in the area was just another casualty of the tornado.

Grieving Enters

I couldn’t help thinking of how this external event could be linked to grief.  A death happens and throws everything into chaos. The once familiar becomes unfamiliar and how we mourn for what was.  A similar picture was unfolding.  Many were looking forward to TGIF, cooking super and relaxing at the end of the workweek, except for many there was no power and for others, there was no longer a home.

How quickly we can take people and places for granted.  In a blink of an eye, it can be taken from us and we are truly powerless.

The Clean-Up Begins

It is not just the homes that will need rebuilding or tearing down but the clearing of so many damaged trees.  The landscape is forever changed.  Everyday living last week meant restocking of fridges, and freezers after throwing out wasted food.  The rebuilding of their lives begins.  How did people cope knowing they would soon have to return to work?  How could you possibly be productive when your life is in chaos?

When a death occurs, you remain busy, stoic powering through the endless tasks and then when it is over you discover you’re not coping well, you are in mourning.  This is what those individuals affected by such loss will be experiencing.  The effects are not always apparent in the early days, however, once the shock and busyness wear off many will require close monitoring.  For signs of PTSD, severe stress and mourning.  This is when they will need support.  After the army of volunteers have left leaving them to cope on their own.

Reach out and Support

Just as first responders were there helping, grief counselors were also present.  Advising those affected to speak about what happened and to ensure they take care of themselves.  Good advice, however, when you are extremely stressed as they will be, it is hard to settle down.  Sleep when you are extremely stressed is normally the first to be disrupted and is so needed.  They may be unable to relax and feel agitated.  Making decisions may even prove a challenge.

If you know someone affected by the events of last week, please take time and invite them for coffee with you.   Take time to allow them to share their story with you.  No need to fix, just listen and acknowledge what they say.   This simple act can be healing.  Please don’t talk about your experience or share stories of someone you know.  This is not helpful.  Just listen.  If you don’t know what to say “say that”.   The important step is to allow them to talk and share.

I do hope you and your family were all safe and your power was restored quickly?

Take Time to Prepare

Truly how prepared are we for life’s challenges?

It takes something like mother nature to show us just how unprepared we may be.  Especially for those big events such as a death or loss that challenge us and stop us in our tracks. Much like the storm did.

This made me reflect on my mission to help others to not fear death and the grieving process that follows on its heels.  As a grief guide and coach, I am here to support and can help you understand the process so you will be prepared and know what to do.

Just as many people, I’m certain will be preparing to ensure they have certain supplies in place. Perhaps including a generator, definitely stocking up on candles or flashlights. A battery radio was recommended so you could be updated for the next time the lights go out!

 

Grief isn’t Just Reserved for a Death

….It is the loss of what is loved

With any loss change can be expected.  Any change whether good or bad will affect how you are feeling.  It is important to know that with loss, there is a period of grief that can be anticipated.  It may mean your hopes and dreams are dashed and there lies a death.   However, as the events from last week in the US unfold – change is a certainty. With uncertainty it is normal for fear to enter the picture.

No one relates changes to the process of mourning and grief – letting the old go. This is what is happening and it would appear that I am not alone with my feelings of grief. There appears to be a collective force gathering and they have been making their voices heard. Will this grief grow, possibly, until these confusing, emotions being experienced are recognized as grief – grieving the loss of what was. For most experiencing these emotions they just want to be soothed and comforted.

Resistance to what is
It is normal to feel resistance to change, why because the familiar is your security blanket. Imagine a small child who has lost its soother or favorite blanket – they become upset and are only comforted when Mom or Dad step in. It is no wonder we are seeing this acting out now for there is no one out there to give us our blanket back.

Alas, as adults there is no voice of reason or comfort coming to alleviate those fears.

Just as a hurt animal lashes out, a survival mechanism kicking in to protect. I guess it is a human one also. Judging with what is happening in America right now.

Who is there to calm our fear?
Yes, I am talking about the US election but only for context here. The country is both elated and in despair – love and fear are polar opposites.  What we see is a great country imploding if the leaders can’t bring the two divides together. Who and where are the mediators, the voices of reason?

Remember the death of Princess Diana, the British and the world was visibly upset and in mourning. It took the Queen, the mother, the soother to step in, to steer and support those grieving. They then had one thing in common – their collective grief and it was given a voice.

Recognizing grief emotions
The feelings of shock were felt around the world recently after month upon month of denial. The collective shock is wearing off, having done its job (to protect). We are waking up to face what has been lost. Anger is now surfacing in face of what can’t be changed and blame is rising.   The collective fear is rampant – fear always arises when the known is unknown (good fear is there to keep you safe and aware). Guilt and shame can arise and be thrown into the mix or emotions, their job is to alert us to what we may or may not have done – nothing more (not as  punishment).

It is possible that these emotions will cycle around and around until the courage to look and understand what is being felt is found.  Despair and depression are likely candidates to follow or worse Apathy –where caring ceases.

This is what grieving is about in response to a a loss.

What an opportunity for all who are grieving, to reach out, come together and for mutual support and guidance. To explore and come together with a common understanding of what it is that has been lost.  To discover what would make you feel secure again and take back your security blanket.  You can and will, once you have acknowledged and understand what your grief is about.  This then is an opportunity to learn and grow and take your own power back; to find your own inner peace through acceptance. This is how you can make changes for the better.

What will you choose?
This is a process and you will get there if you allow yourself to go through the grief, for now is a time of mourning. A time for reflection not action. That will come once your head has cleared and clarity returns. It can start with you. Let love return not fear.