Saturday, May 31, 2008

Stress as a Widow’s Companion

Elaine Williams ©2008

Beginning a life as a widow was not an easy one for me, and whether you want it or not, it is a new life. Strange, alien, different from anything you have ever known. Many days I resisted any type of change, whether it was physical or emotional. I felt too tired dealing with the day-to-day stresses to think about allowing one more thing to change, no matter how small.

Of course, you can only float for so long avoiding the changes. Your life has turned around drastically and maybe even in small ways after the loss of a spouse, but eventually you have to acknowledge the changes as they take root. Once a widow, your life is never the same.

Some of the obvious changes occur as follows:

1. Incomes can be halved, and in some cases, become nonexistent with the death of a spouse.

2. Tax filing status, and the tax implications. I found it best to have an accountant to consult for income tax preparation.

3. Socially. You’re no longer part of a couple. Sometimes other married couples aren’t sure where you fit into the social circle. At times, you’re not sure where you fit in anymore. There is always an adjustment and this may possibly mean letting go of old friends and being open to meeting new friends.

4. Ecomically. The bills are still coming regularly, despite death. If you have children, it can be especially difficult dealing with this part of your life. Young children may need daycare, older children may be in college, and the in between is you’re still buying food, clothing, and the everyday essentials for living. Your children will be eligible for social security until they’re eighteen and in high school, and you may receive social security benefits for yourself until the youngest child is sixteen. Even though I had four years to prepare for the time I would no longer receive that help from social security, it was still a daunting prospect to think of my income dropping again.

My income halved when my husband died, and then it halved again when social security stopped. However, a little creativity and planning can go a long way.

5. Family. The family unit is minus one. As the surviving spouse, we do the best we can, being mother/father combined. I tried to keep things as normal and rational as possible for my children and myself. Some days were easier than others.
6. Physically. Given the economics and almost certain changes to lifestyle, this can be the most taxing challenge. You need to take care of yourself and deal with any stress in your life in the kindest way possible. Otherwise you may have difficulty taking care of anything else.

7. Emotionally. My husband’s death, the extreme feeling of loss, threw me into an emotional tailspin. Some days felt like a virtual roller coaster, and I hate roller coasters. Everyone processes their grief experience in their own way and time. Don’t try to rush into any major decisions, especially in the first 12 months of loss.

8. Support. I found it beneficial to accept help from outside sources; family, friends, grief support groups, therapists. Support, in any form, will ultimately help in the grief process. Keeping your fears, feelings and emotions suppressed can serve to make you ill and perhaps delay the entire grief process. And it is a process.

So move slowly through your life as it is now. I recall times I wanted to rush ahead to get through the terrible feelings, the fears, the tears, the feeling of abandonment. I am four years into this journey, and some days it was excruciating, while other days it felt okay.

In the end, I learned to fully embrace my fears, so I could then kick them to the curb and freely be who I needed to be. A woman newly evolved.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Frazzled Entrepreneur Interview Live Now

I had a wonderful chat with H. Les Brown of The Frazzled Entrepreneur. It was quite an enjoyable hour. You can catch the show at
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/frazzledentrepreneur/blog/2008/05/27/More-Information-on-Our-Guest-Elaine-Williams/

or go to the interview directly on my page and click on "Radio Interviews" at top of page. http://www.ajourneywelltaken.com/

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A Journey Well Taken "Total Success Now" Interview is Up

"Total Success Now" is a compilation of posts regarding how one can achieve total success through actively using spiritually based techniques, rather than an ego based frame of reference. For further reading, samples are available at http://www.heavenonearthsystem.com
http://heavenonearthsystem.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Radio Interview at The Frazzled Entrepreneur

Interview Thursday May 29 at 8 p.m. Eastern Time at
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/frazzledentrepreneur/blog/2008/05/27/More-Information-on-Our-Guest-Elaine-Williams/

"H. Les Brown, MA, CFCC grew up in an entrepreneurial family and has been an entrepreneur for most of his life. He is the author of "The Frazzled Entrepreneur's Guide to Having It All." Les is a certified Franklin Covey coach and a certified Marshall Goldsmith Leadership Effectiveness coach. He has Masters Degrees in philosophy and theology from the University of Ottawa. His experience includes ten years in the ministry and over fifteen years in corporate management. His expertise as an innovator and change strategist has enabled him to develop a program that allows his clients to effect deep and lasting change in their personal and professional lives."

Monday, May 26, 2008

A Journey Well Taken Featured on A Book Inside

Carol Denbow of "A Book Inside" has graciously invited me to be in the Author Spotlight.
"A Book Inside is where new and seasoned authors come to learn the complete process to writing, publishing, and selling their stories. Step-by-step, in an easy to read and comprehend format, each blog will guide you through your journey to your ultimate goal of seeing your book in print."

It's a great resource of information is you're writing or thinking about writing and getting published. Stop by and check it out.

http://abookinside.blogspot.com/

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Portion of Proceeds to Make a Wish Foundation

I will be donating a portion of my proceeds on the sale of A Journey Well Taken:Life After Loss to Make a Wish Foundation. http://www.wish.org//

Audio Version of A Journey Well Taken

I've been working on the audio version of my book, A Journey Well Taken: Life After Loss. The audio will be available through my website in the next week. It is comprised of 4 CD's, and is approximately 3.5 hours in length. It was professionally read by a talented young woman, Leah Frederick. The price for the audio is $19.95 plus $2.95 shipping, and applicable sales tax for NYS residents. http://www.ajourneywelltaken.com/

Interview slated for "Beyond 50" Radio Show

Beyond50Radio.com is a variety talk show for baby boomers. I've been invited to be a guest on their show with host Daniel Davis on July 2nd at 9:30 a.m. (PST) That's 12:30 Eastern time. http://www.beyond50radio.com/

They've had an eclectic selection of guests and topics such as Marianne Williamson on Embracing the New Midlife, Facebook expert Mari Smith, and upcoming Guy Finley on Living Fearlessly. I will be speaking about my book A Journey Well Taken: Life After Loss, how it came about, and the emotional and financial aspects of becoming a widow. As the date draws nearer, I'll be posting more about Beyond 50 Radio.

Upcoming Featured Author on NourishingRelationships.blogspot.com

I have been invited to be a featured author on July 31, on the blog of Rosemary Lichtman, Ph.D and Phyllis Goldberg, Ph.D, at their blog http://www.nourishingrelationships.blogspot.com

As the date draws nearer I'll be posting more information about this wonderful blog. Rosemary and Phyllis' blog is by their own description, "A comfortable place for Baby Boomer women of the 'Sandwich Generation,' to share ideas and solutions as you learn to nourish family relationships without starving yourself."

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A Purpose in Life

Sometimes I've wondered why I've had my life experiences. Why do some people seem to experience extreme highs and lows in life, while others coast along at a steady, unexciting rate? Would I change any event or person in my life, that has led up to who I am today? Undoubtedly.

At 51 years of age, I choose to live with the decisions I've made and hope to make more enlightened choices in the future. There's so much to be gleaned from life's little surprises, joys and loss -- what do we do with those experiences? Do we let them close us down, or do we take from them what we need and go on to the next. Life can be an exciting, fabulous ride if we move out of our comfort zone once in a while.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Watching Death Take Shape

In the last seven years I have personally watched three people I deeply care about, move toward death, and die. My grandmother, my mother-in-law and my husband. Each faced it in their own individual way, but in the end it was peaceful and you could see them just letting go. I guess ultimately that's what we all do, is just let go

Friday, May 16, 2008

A Journey Well Taken Available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle

My book finally appeared on amazon.com. I've uploaded the information so it can also be purchased for the Kindle reader. That will be happening soon.

Here is the link to purchase the book. http://www.amazon.com/Journey-Well-Taken-Life-After/dp/0980110807/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1210916622&sr=8-1

Video Interview

On Monday I took the train into NYC to meet with Relentless Aaron, an author of 36 books and self-made promoter, entrepreneur and marketing whiz. Relentless is just that in his book promotions, relentless. He has sold over 200,000 of his books, hand selling them on the streets of NYC. HE currently has a multibook control with a large publisher, but he still hand sells his books. He now helps others market their books and I felt fortunate to have met up with him before he moved South, to Atlanta. I will be posting the video interview once it is available. If you'd like to check out his webpage, go to http://www.relentlessaaron.com or his myspace page with the name relentlessaaron. He has approximately 25 channels of streaming video.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

US News and World Report Interview

Today I was interviewed by US News and World Report senior Editor Kimberly Palmer regarding the financial aspects of becoming a widow. The report is slated to appear in June, so I will post the link for the interview at that time.

Book Available on Barnes and Noble

I just found out my book A Journey Well Taken: Life After Loss is available on Barnes and Noble. How cool is that? Also target.com and an African book seller that lists the price at R202.95. I'm not sure how much that translates into. Hmm. It was incredibly satisfying to see it listed, and I'm still waiting for it to show up on amazon.

Barnes and Noble link http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Journey-Well-Taken/Elaine-Williams/e/9780980110807/?itm=3

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A Recent Widower

I met a man online today through one of the blogs, and he's newly widowed. His wife passed away about two weeks ago. He's full of vim and vigor and determined to move on, as he put it, and I interpret that to mean move through his grief experience quickly and pick up the threads of his previous life.

I remember being that and there and now, four years later, I offered him what I hope will be taken as words of help. Please take it slow and don't try to take on the world, let it come to you for awhile until you adjust to this new life that is now yours.

I know from my own experience the twisted, convoluted, surprising, painful and yes sometimes exhiliarating ride ahead. I also know we can support and help others along this grief jouroney as best we can, but in the end, it's each individual's show. Their decisions. Their life.

Friday, May 2, 2008