Wednesday, April 30, 2008

New Book Trailer by M2 Productions

I recently had a new book trailer made by Madison Meyer of M2 Productions. She's a very talented teenager producing book videos for a very reasonable price. My book video will be posted here on this blog within the next few days. To contact Madison, go to her website at

http://www.freewebs.com/msquaredproductions/mvideos.htm

Sunday, April 27, 2008

My Mother Read My Book Today, and We Cried

My mother knew I was writing a book about my grief experience of the last four years. When I received my books this week, I immediately sent her a copy, afraid and yet excited at the same time to expose this part of myself, even to family. When she called me today I answered the phone trepidatiously, not sure of myself, even though I have never faltered in my conviction that this story needed to be put out there for others.

The reason I felt that tingle of fear, even though my family loves me dearly, is that I am the one who has always kept my emotions to myself. Sometimes to my detriment. Our family is close, and yet I hesitated to share my anguish and grief with those same family members. Two reasons: I didn't want to burden them nor did I want to expose myself for the vulnerable being I am.

My mother told me in a loving but shaking voice how she had been able to read only the first sixty pages of my book, because it was so emotional and she understood every bit of anguish I'd kept from the family during my husband's illness. She read in every line of my writing my re-lived pain. She said she would read more tomorrow. My parents were present a good portion of the time while my husband was ill, she knew the facts, and yet she gained a different perspective of that time from my words. Words that were indelibly burned within myself -- of that time.

We talked for a good hour about that time, and the times ahead. In a way her response to my writing is a validation of sorts, even though I know in my heart I do not need validation from anyone. I guess it is ultimately my way of sharing with my family and those that know me, those harrowing, pain-filled days. Sometimes, writing is my best, most comfortable form of expression. I told my mother I wish I had expressed myself verbally, more often in those early days, but I guess in the end it was the way I had to handle my crisis, on my own. However, in hindsight, I wouldn't recommend it to others, simply because I believe it delayed my grieving process. I kept it all inside, internalized everything, sharing very little in my attempt to heal myself.

Now, in my writing, I urge others in the grief process to share what they can of their grief. I know now that talking is many times the best pain sedative we have at our disposal. We don't even need a response at times, we just need someone who cares and will listen.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Stepping Across the Threshold

Sometimes when your loved one is near death's door, you still hope for a reprieve. It's not to be, they step through that door anyway, irregardless of who's left behind.

Visiting Other Blogs

One practice I've gotten into is visiting other blogs in relation to loss, grief and widows. It's amazing the diversity of thoughts out there, and yet there's always that common thread, loss of a loved one. There is such a wide range of emotion in the grief process, and yet many of us share the most basic reaction to death; feelings of despair, perhaps abandonment -- and the mindset that life will never be the same again.

One thing that has been brought home to me is that every new day can present a unique set of circumstances. How we react in our daily life shape us -- but only as long as we allow it to. We can integrate change any time we wish, sometimes slow, sometimes not. No one should ever expect a grieving individual to forget the past. Our past, our relationships, made us who we are. Just because we are able to have joy again in our lives doesn't diminish the anguish and pain that we once felt so keenly.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Books Arrived Today

I had an uncanny moment, an emotional moment when my books arrived in three crates. I opened the top one because it had a big dent in the bottom. Well, as it turns out there was padding in the dented corner, so no books were damaged. When I lifted the first one out, looked at its glossy cover, I felt a tingle go up the back of my neck. I felt quite emotional to finally hold this book, "A Journey Well Taken: Life After Loss" in my hands. The completed project. It felt good, the beginning or perhaps the middle of this entire process. A sorrowful but joyful one. Contrary emotions, but moving forward nonetheless. I'm always intent on moving forward. I am so fortunate in my life, my relationships, my experiences. I thank the higher powers everyday for all I have.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

When Does Touch Become Critical?

Elaine Williams ©2008
When does it become critical that you be touched with love or affection? Does something happen to those of us out of relationships for extended periods of time due to divorce, loss of a spouse or physical separation?
Speaking for myself, as a widow of four years, some days it feels like I have a yearning to be touched with familiarity, love, affection or tenderness. My mind aches for the intimate brush of fingertips, a soft touch of lips upon mine. Is it selfish to want that again in my life – to have something beyond a quick coupling or an unsatisfactory relationship?

I value myself more than the cursory affair might allow, so I have decided I want more in my life than a short-sighted tryst, a quick something that leads to nothing. Where am I on this plane of thought? Am I withholding my affections for a specific purpose? Another marriage? No, at this point I am merely looking for something satisfying in body and spirit that may turn into a long term relationship.

I have purposely chosen to walk my path alone at this time, when I feel so acutely the lack of companionship in my life. The affection of friends and family count, but not in the greater degree of when I am alone and have time to think about my life circumstances. It is a different type of affection I crave, and will eventually have in my life. I practice patience, but some days I admit patience is short lived.

How long is too long to go without an affectionate human touch? It feels like an aeon of time has passed. There’s always the fear that the wait may prove fruitless in the long run. Will I regret waiting for the right one at the end of my life if he doesn’t show up?

Will I wish I had seized every moment that might have been -- good, bad or indifferent? I feel in my gut there is a grand plan, but perhaps I’m just fooling myself to keep from panicking. The thought of being alone for the next thirty years increases that rumbling of dismay. I deserve to find happiness – I had it once, shouldn’t I experience it again? There is no giving up, it is not within me to just roll over and play dead.

I have a wonderful, enriched life, why shouldn’t I share it with another? Is it critical to be touched when you yearn for it so much that it makes your skin itch and tears come to your eyes? Is that when you know your time to wait is up? You can be proactive, but in the end all you can do is live, be present in life, and wait until that hand touches your shoulder and you turn knowingly into someone’s loving embrace. Some days even twenty-four hours seems it is too long to go without a loving touch. How then would you classify 1460 days without that loving touch?

Holding Out For Real Romance, What's a Girl to Do?

Elaine Williams copyright 2008 Well, I confess right away I passed the stage where I could be called a girl about twenty five years ago. However, in the intervening time there was a lot of life and living that I’ve participated in and lived through. Many days held life’s usual ups and downs. However, when I became a widow at forty seven years of age, I thought I was pretty savvy about the world and the myriad people out there. I dealt with my grief on what felt like a long, protracted journey, a wending road through the unwieldy thickets of life and other times the ride was as smooth as new pavement. While journeying through the thickets, many days I didn’t know what was up or what was down and I got jabbed along the way.

Once I began dating again, after a long absence, I found out I knew little to nothing about this sector of society’s structure. At forty seven years of age it was no longer the same world, obviously, as when you’re in your twenties and starting out fresh. Many people by this age have become jaded, injured emotionally and mentally by life. Life as a whole is different. When they talk about mind games in the dating sense, that’s an entire genre all by itself. If you go into dating with an honest mindset, you think that’s what you will find in return. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case, so I learned to develop a certain type of radar to keep myself safe, not only physically but emotionally. I had to learn to grow a shell, of sorts, for my own protection. And yet at times, dating at close to fifty years of age was a liberating experience. My kids were older, I didn’t have to find babysitters if I wanted to go out. Financially, I could take care of myself, and emotionally, I had become a well adjusted citizen of the world, relatively secure in knowledge of how life worked.

My first inclination was to be trusting, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but I also learned not to be na├»ve. If your dating situation doesn’t make you feel comfortable, let it go. And yes, even though sometimes I knew a situation wasn’t serving what was best for me, it was still hard to let it go. It’s a case of craving what isn’t good for us. When I first entered dating it was like I had a sweet tooth that was out of control, I just wanted more and more. Basically, I wasn’t getting what I needed, what I deserved in the dating situations I involved myself with, so I was searching for that special something.

I’m not sure I even knew what that special something might be, but I continued my quest by trying online dating, dating services and attending sporting events. Eventually, I decided to pull back from casual dating world. It was taking too much energy and dashing hopes too quickly. I began to feel a bit burnt. It was all too “casual.” In reality, I wanted something long-term. So I pulled back from the online dating and really thought about what it was I wanted. I had been married twenty years and I knew what a relationship was about and how it worked. And yes, at times it was work. I would not settle for less than a relationship that enhanced my life and who I was today, as I expected to enhance someone else’s life. I know the right person will come along, and perhaps for now, even though it’s never been my strong suit, I just need to learn a little more about patience. In the meantime, my life is getting better every day.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Marketing and Getting Your Name out on the 'Net

First let me state I am a rank amateur on internet marketing. However, I am having a measure of success in this marketing venture to get information out about my soon to be released book.

I've been busy this week, literally glued to the computer (which this time of year, when it starts to get warm and beautiful out, drives me crazy) working on marketing, placing articles and getting my name and information out there.

Besides my several blogs, I have written 34 articles since January on grief, loss and renewal. This is interesting to me since after the loss of my husband, I could not write anything for almost three years. Now, I'm writing like crazy, in a good way, and loving it. (I've always been a writer and to not be able to write was very depressing, to say the least.) This was part of my grief process.

I've been placing the articles (approximately 650-1200 words each) on the better known free article sites. (I also blog every day). I have every one of these articles placed on the top 5 sites, and last night I worked about 5 hours placing articles on 80 other sites. You have to wonder, is it worth it? That answer, for me, is definitely. My articles have been picked up by everyone and anyone who is looking for info on grief, loss and bereavement. How do I know this? I have set up through my google alerts account, notice that come into my email inbox. My alerts are keywords related to what I write about. ie., grief, loss, widows, etc. I also have keywords set up in relation to my article titles. So, anytime an article is used and appears somewhere, I can find out exactly where it is. They have turned up in amazing places -- such as online radio pages, ezines, other article sites, blogs, webpages, online magazines, etc., etc. (People and places I don't even know post my articles) Bottom line -- they have to keep my contact info in place in the article, and it all links back to my website. Simple.

My book A Journey Well Taken: Life After Loss is coming out in June and I feel it's crucial to do what I can right now, before that event, to optimize my presence on the web. If anyone is interested in what I have done to get my information out there, I am also willing to pay it forward and share everything I'm doing. You can check out my blogs and websites to see what I'm playing around with. http://www.ajourneywelltaken.com, http://www.onwingspress.com, http://www.elainewilliams.org, http://www.ajourneywelltaken.blogspot.com. I also have blogs on wordpress, authorsden, technorati, multipy, 22x2com/blogs, isnare.com, qassia, selfgrowth.com. I started this entire process the end of December, beginning of January, and I've done it piece by piece since then, building upon my efforts. I created my own youtube video, my websites, articles and check out other people's grief, loss related blogs. Again, I find alot of these sources using google alerts. I also play around with google adwords to some degree. I also have a networking site on facebook and myspace.

I have 25 book testimonials from people in the grief and loss arena, not only widows and widowers, but grief, hospice counselors and life coaches. I contacted these people by searching for grief related websites.

If you google my name, Elaine Williams, a wealth of info comes up. Keep in mind this is only since January that my presence has been created. You can also find my other writing names linked to Elaine Williams.

Is it time consuming? It can be. It depends how much you want to get accomplished in the time frame you set. When I began this, I had no idea where I was going with it all, but I feel I have come a long way since January, and still have a long way to go. There is so much out there and you can tap into whatever suits your interests. You're only held back by your own fears of the unknown. So jump in there, challenge yourself and move ahead.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Living Fully

Sometimes there are other losses, such as divorce, that can mirror the pain and loss of a loved one through death. That's not to say it's the same, but it is filled with pain, all the same. Many of the same feelings, fears and situations arise out of both situations. Loss is a universal emptiness, and yes, we do learn to move on, if we keep ourselves open to life and living, as hard as it is at times.

Being four years into this process I have pretty much reinvented myself. Many times it was incredibly hard walking this road, but I write about my loss experience for others to see you're not alone, and we can triumph and go on to a wonderful life, even after our loss.

You create new friendships, interests and sometimes it feels like a metamorphis taking place. At times I resisted change, afterall, change can be scary, but ultimately, I made myself step forward and experience what came to me. Good and bad.

I've come to learn that what shows up is there for a reason, so I can't hide my head in the sand and ignore them. I take what I can from the experience and leave the rest. It's called living. And I choose to live fully.

What to Say to Someone in Grief

Sometimes people aren't sure what to say to someone who has suffered a bereavement. When you are the one who has suffered the loss of a loved one -- at times you don't know what will help to ease your pain either. Some days, there's nothing that will help. Today I found a wonderful blog posting by Terry Rush, and I found his way of speaking to those who have suffered loss to be wonderfully caring and profound. The link is below.

http://terryrush.blogspot.com/2008/04/what-to-say-to-those-who-grieve.html

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

When to Call Hospice

I read a really informative posting on Carol D. O'Dell's wonderful blog, Mothering Mother and More, entitled "Is It Time to Call Hospice? Three Signs Caregivers Need to Know." It brought back memories of when my husband was ill with esophagus cancer and in tremendous pain. I didn't know which way to turn, and the narcotic pain medicine his two doctors prescribed didn't seem to help much.

My husband was in tremendous pain, 24/7 with esophagus cancer. Although he didn't say much, I know it was living hell for him with the pain. I was trying to manage it for him (heavy narcotic pain patches, high-end narcotic drugs, etc.), and I had never had any training and didn't know which way to turn. Neither doctor suggested hospice to us. Many times I would call the doctor's after-hour on call services, and receive nothing in return. Usually it was another doctor on call and he didn't want to be responsible for uping any medication. It was incredibly frustrating and ineffective to have to wait another 6 or 7 hours when someone you love is in debilitating pain.

I was under incredible stress because I was afraid of giving my husband too much medicine, and also trying to keep our three boys (11, 17, 18) on an even keel. When my husband was 3 months into his cancer diagnosis, my sister in law, who is a nurse and lives away, came to see us. She immediately told me I should contact hospice for pain control. She assured me it was their forte. I knew something had to be done. I had always associated hospice with end of life services, and didn't know they would help with the pain management end of things.

Once I contacted hospice they acted immediately. It was still a roller coaster with the pain, (many days of extreme ups and extreme downs) but there were also many days it was adequately managed and his pain seemed bearable. Hospice worked continually on his pain management, and my husband was on hospice 7 months before he passed away. They did everything possible to make this situation less stressful for not only my husband and myself, but my children also.

Here is a link to Carol's posting. http://caroldodell.wordpress.com/

Friday, April 4, 2008

Living Life

In the end all that really matters is who has loved and therefore been loved in return. Truly, faithfully, without reservation.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Amazon -- Jumping on the Collective Bandwagon

There’s quite a stir these days with the rumblings about Amazon trying to basically corner the print on demand market. What it means for small publishers, like myself, is perhaps a way of life coming to an end -- before I even get started. I’m going into a wait and see -- my book is scheduled for release in June of this year and perhaps there will be a different scenario by that time. Again, only time will tell. Anyone interested in reading about what’s going on can visit this page, writersweekly. Angela Hoy has a ton of links in relation to what’s happening almost up to the moment. http://www.writersweekly.com/amazon.php

Another good one is Shel Horowitz’s write up at http://principledprofit.com/good-business-blog/amazons-stupid-anti-competitive-move/2008/03/29/

Victoria Strauss at http://accrispin.blogspot.com/2008/03/victoria-strauss-use-booksurge-or-die.html/

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Rainbow at 6:30 p.m. Easter time

Rainbow out my front window. Surely, it is a sign of wonderful things to come.

Glass Class at Corning Glass Studio

I had a great time over the weekend, I went to Corning Glass Studio in Corning, NY and took a flameworking class. My intent was to see how much of a learning curve there is in creating glass art, and after 12 hours of instruction I am convinced I have barely (pun) scratched the surface of what you can do with a glass rod and a torch. My intent also is to begin a new business for myself, creating memorial glass for bereavement/grief gifts. Such beautiful art work, and glass creating is an art all by itself. So, a new venture to sink my teeth into, though it will probably be something left for next fall, during my slow time of year. I plan to take at least one more class before then, another flameworking class, but a bit more advanced. It’s almost an addiction, the thought of creating a new form of art. It’s something I’ve never really dabbled in before.

Jenslove.com

Here's a nice site, relatively new and they're always accepting new members. They have lots of good people, all kinds of cool gadgets for leaving comments, music, videos and interesting posts, all with an uplifting message. The site is http://www.jenslove.com and it's dedicated to Jennifer Rigby Stam, who passed away at 24 years of age.

Dying with Dignity

I read a post today about Washington state trying to pass a law so the terminally ill can die with dignity. I know if something like this had been available in New York State, my husband would have taken advantage of this means of dying with dignity. The State of Oregon already has this type of help available for terminally ill patients, as do a few European countries. Perhaps this is something no one thinks about until it strikes home, I know I never gave it a thought, I had no occasion to until my husband became ill and suffered so much. There are of course people on both sides of the argument, but again, it is a deeply personal decision, and not one that should be made by a court or strangers at the end of life. You can decide for yourself. http://www.yeson1000.org

An Individual Grief Experience

At first the loss was a relief, my husband had been sick with esophagus cancer for almost 12 months, was in tremendous pain and had wasted away to nothing. I never knew for sure how much weight he lost, but I would estimate close to one hundred and ten pounds.

When he died, he took that last breath, I knew it was best for him, as terrible as his life and lack of quality of life had become. At about six months it really began to hit me, and my life became a deep, gaping hole of lonely, empty despair. I was afraid to talk about it, to voice my fear, my total numbness. I had three children I needed to keep on an even keel. At times I would cry, or stare blankly, and I thought perhaps this is going crazy, or at least I was losing whatever grip I had on life. This was the beginning of my grief experience.

Now, four years later I can see the tremendous growth I've gone through, allowed myself to move through, and I feel I have come out on the other side, a better, more compassionate person. But I still remember the time in between, the time of incredible loneliness, feeling wounded and hurt to be left alone. In truth, I don't want to forget those years in between. It made me who I am today.