April 2023

The Challenges And Rewards Of Relocating After The Death Of A Spouse With Monika Dunn

WRT 13 | Death Of A Spouse

  There are many things you can do after losing a spouse. One of these can be relocation. In this episode, Monika Dunn provides insights into the rewards and challenges of relocating after the death of a spouse. The discussion with Monika Dunn wraps up with sharing Tina’s journey from her perspective and those of family/friends. Moving to Virginia, Tina stayed with Monika on her last night in PA. Many connections join Tina’s friendship with Monika, the similarities of their children’s ages, serving in the military, their faith, and being in an interracial marriage, to name a few. Tune in to this episode and see how friendship gets us through challenges. Thank you for viewing this post. I am not a licensed therapist or professional life coach. I am sharing my experience of loving the same man for 32 years, a mother to two adult children, a retired military officer, a breast cancer survivor, and my connections with others. Anyone experiencing suicidal thoughts should reach a suicide hotline or local emergency number in their country. — Watch the episode here   Listen to the podcast here   The Challenges And Rewards Of Relocating After The Death Of A Spouse With Monika Dunn Hello, widowhood. I want to thank you for being on this journey with me. Thank you for investing your time in tuning in to this show and hearing the stories of my grief over the death of my late husband from the vantage point of myself, my family, and my friends. The conversation with Monika in this episode is wrapping up the sharing of my story because I wanted you to understand you are not in this alone. This is a road that I have traveled longer than some and shorter than others. As we continue on this topic of grief and losing a loved one, I want you to know that I care, and I want to hear your stories. I want you to share questions that you would like for us to cover on the show. I would like for you to email me if you’re interested in sharing your story. You can go to the website because Widowhood Real Talk with Tina is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with the mission of supporting people that are grieving, and providing a candid place for a conversation about grief. That’s what this is all about. You can email me at WidowhoodRealTalk@gmail.com. You can go to our website, Widowhood-RealTalkWithTina.org to be able to share your stories and recommend different questions. Let’s get into this conversation with my friend Monika.     Our conversation is with my girlfriend, Monika. She got me out here way past my bedtime but Monika is committed to the hood, so she got me committed too. I’m appreciative of her time. Monika, tell us a little bit about yourself. I’ve known Tina for quite some time. We go way back to when our kids were little. We met in church mainly because our kids were together and in school together as well. Besides that, we connected pretty easily because we share a lot of similar interests. I have two kids and I’ve worked most of my life either for a company. I work partially for a spa and partially build my own clients so when I retire one day, I’ll have a little lovely job or hobby, and provide some monetary resources as well. I’m from Poland but I’ve been in the US since ’87. This is my home now. I love God. I love sports. I’m very competitive when it comes to football. The Steelers are my team. College football and college basketball, I’m all into it. I love the outdoors. I love working out. I try to be healthy and I like having fun. Let’s go back to Poland. What age did you come to the US and what was your life like in Poland? I came here when I was sixteen. I came from a tiny little place with literally less than 1,000 people in my village. I came from a little place to New York City. That was a shock. Life in Poland was very different from what I experienced here. Most of the people were farming, but not business. It’s to mainly grow food for themselves. Either one or both parents were working as well to provide income. As kids, we work since we were very little, either attending to the livestock, going out and working in the fields, school, and very little playtime. Everybody knew everybody. If you got in trouble with anyone, they would correct you right there. We didn’t get in trouble that much, but it was very loving and open at the same time in some ways. I also had a tough time growing up because my mom was in the US. When I was ten, she left and I didn’t see her since I was sixteen. We also didn’t have phones available or camera phones for sure. I would talk to her maybe twice a year for a couple of minutes with a very bad reception. In between, we would write letters. Also, my youngest sister, who was three at the time when my mom left in ’81, I haven’t seen her until she was ten. She left when she was a baby and then she was a little brat when we got here to the US, but she was super excited to see us. Tending animals, you said two words. You shared some of that with me. I want you to expand on that a little bit more about what tending animals look like. They have to be taken care of every day. Usually, I would get up around the summertime probably at 3:30 or 4:00. I go out there and feed them. I clean up all their mess. I give them water. In the summertime, we would take them out to pasture and we didn’t have enclosures. The way our lots were set …

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Embracing The Ugliness Of Grief With Alison Tariq

WRT 12 | Ugliness Of Grief

  This is a discussion with my friend Alison Tariq. On March 11, 2018, we celebrated the first anniversary of Mark’s death in her home. After moving to VA, I became closed off, and Alison came to my home to comfort this behavior. Alison told me she didn’t care how ugly my grief was when she was staying with me through the entire process. She took me to dinner and we just talked. Her actions made me realize I need to find a new therapist and continue doing the work of facing my grief. — Thank you for viewing this post. I am not a licensed therapist or professional life coach.   I am sharing my experience of loving the same man for 32 years, a mother to two adult children, a retired military officer, a breast cancer survivor, and my connections with others.   Anyone experiencing suicidal thoughts should reach out to a suicide hotline or local emergency number in their country https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/suicide/suicide-prevention-hotlines-resources-worldwide — Watch the episode here   Listen to the podcast here   Embracing The Ugliness Of Grief With Alison Tariq OGs In this episode, my conversation is with my girlfriend, Alison. I love her. I love her commitment, even though she is totally uncomfortable, but that’s what hood does. They roll up and Alison rolled up. Welcome to this conversation. Let’s get right into it.     My guest is my girlfriend, Alison. We are so close that she could have walked over here, at least her husband has before, but she chose to drive. Let’s get into the conversation, Alison. Tina, how are you? I’m a little nervous, to be honest with you. She is, but she loves me. She is doing this for the hood because the hood comes in hard. Yes, I’m doing this for the hood. I’m equipped with my glass of wine. Alison, tell us a little bit about yourself. Who is Alison? Alison’s a person, a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend, and a hard worker. Are you from this area? I was born in North Carolina, but I moved here to Hampton, Virginia, when I was a baby and have resided in Hampton most of my life growing up. I went to college and all like that. I moved away a couple of times, but mostly the pull was pretty strong for me to come back to the area. I love the water in this area. You can’t beat that for the water. I have moved away. I lived in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for a while. Go, Steelers. After college, I lived in Pittsburgh for a little while. I then came back to the area, moved to North Carolina for a little while, and then moved back to the area. I decided that this probably is where I wanted to be. I can go to other places, but I feel at home here. This is where my mother and my sister are. I only have one sibling, my sister. It’s very comfortable for me to be here. Also, I have a large network of friends, acquaintances, and things like that. Where did you go to college? I initially went to North Carolina Central University. My mom and dad went there. My mother was pushing me to go there, but after a year and a half of paying out-of-state tuition, I decided to come back to Old Dominion University. I went there and graduated from Old Dominion. I got my Bachelor’s degree there, and then I went to Hampton University for my Master’s degree. Let’s back up on the whole Steeler thing. She breezed over that, but I need you to understand it is not a light matter. Let’s talk about the Steelers thing a little bit. I am a crazy rabid Steeler fan. I love the Steelers. I’ve been watching them since I was twelve years old. I used to have friends that would come over on Sunday with their mothers. They were two guy friends. Our mothers would talk and chit-chat in the kitchen and whatnot, and because they were company, I had to turn to what they wanted to watch on television. Being boys, they wanted to watch football. The team that got a lot of airtime around here was the Steelers. They were Steeler fans. They taught me the game and taught me to love the Steelers. Fortunately for me, at that time, the Steelers were good and they were winning and beating everybody. I have lived through the good times and the bad times with the Steelers. That is my team. They’ll always be my team. My son is a big Steeler fan too. He tells me, “Mom, I’m more of a Steeler fan than you are.” I said, “How is that even possible?” He said, “It’s because I was born from a Steeler fan. Your mom is a Redskins fan. You were born from a Redskins fan. I’m more of a Steeler fan than you are.” Although I disagreed with him, on the other hand, I could see why a child would have that logic. I never knew that. You have a lot of Steeler stuff. What are some of your favorite Steeler items? We have a home theater in my house. Half of the home theater is decorated for Steelers. There are banners from the championship years and framed pictures in there. All kinds of Steeler paraphernalia are in there, like rugs, pillows, bean bags, chairs, tables, towels, everything. I have the table towels framed, as well as ones that I can spin around. The other side of the home theater belongs to my husband. We won’t talk about the other side because it’s not Steelers. I was wondering how you were going to play that out, “The other side of the room is another team that we’re not going to talk about.” We don’t even need to mention that. I was expecting you to do something different. You surprised …

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Chris Wissmann On Drawing Strength From Faith And Friends When Grieving

WRT 11 | Faith And Friends

  Losing your partner siphons everything from you. During such a low point in your life, never forget that you can always turn to your faith and friends to get through with grief. In this discussion, Chris Wissmann talks about drawing strength from God and the people around you when you are grieving. She provides a candid insight into our friendship, the people Chris has lost in her life, and how her faith has been her strength. We also discuss our friendship over the years and our families. Chris provided a safe space and immense interest in my thoughts and grief for Mark. I sincerely appreciate her willingness to honestly want to know every idea, concern, and stressful part of missing my late husband. — Thank you for viewing this post. I am not a licensed therapist or professional life coach.   I am sharing my experience of loving the same man for 32 years, a mother to two adult children, a retired military officer, a breast cancer survivor, and my connections with others.   Anyone experiencing suicidal thoughts should reach out to a suicide hotline or local emergency number in their country https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/suicide/suicide-prevention-hotlines-resources-worldwide — Watch the episode here   Listen to the podcast here   Chris Wissmann On Drawing Strength From Faith And Friends When Grieving The OGs My next conversation is with my girlfriend, Chris Wissmann. We have had children and went on a road trip together. She’s going to talk about that. We have lived life together. We are not paid actors, but we are friends that love each other. We are sharing our life and our story in hopes of encouraging someone else along this way. I am sorry for the person that you have lost that has driven you to this conversation, but I’m glad that you found us. I thank you for being now part of our hood and our community. Let’s get into the conversation now.     My guest is my girlfriend, Chris. Let’s see what she is going to say. How about you tell me a little bit about yourself? I am a wife and a mother. I enjoy friendships. I need more questions. I like to cook. What about that belly wash? That is grape juice. It’s grape concentrate like the frozen stuff and a package of Kool-Aid. You could get a grape tropical punch and prepare the Kool-Aid like you would normally, but with less sugar. Put the grape juice concentrate in there with the appropriate amount of water and stir it up. It’s a belly wash from Wisconsin. That’s what Mark’s mom and grandmother would fix for the people who were helping them with their harvest and stuff on the farm. It seemed way more complicated than that, and the baking skills that you’re underestimating over here. Thank you. I am not an elaborate baker. I only bake easy things. Which are? Brownies, pies, cakes. We like to eat a whole lot of sweet stuff. How did we meet? You met my husband first. My husband was a non-traditional student at CNU. We moved from farming back to Virginia so he could go to school. CNU is Christopher Newport College. That was before it became a university. I was working and Mark was in school full-time. He was busy meeting all these people and they all had female names. He told me he was going to be meeting Tina to play racquetball with her. What time? On Saturdays is how it came to me. I’m like, “Okay, but who is Tina?” The time became important because it was 6:30 in the morning. Who would get out of bed to play racquetball at 6:30 in the morning besides my husband and especially a female? I didn’t know any girls or women who would get out of bed to do that. Not anybody in their right mind. They were supposed to be married. That’s what he finally told me. I’m like, “Why is she getting up? Why are you playing racquetball with her?” “Because she likes to play racquetball.” “Is she married? What does she do on Saturdays?” “Her husband likes to sleep in as you do.” I’m like, “Ouch.” They played a lot and I didn’t still know who she was. I got up early one morning on Saturday to meet her. This was way before cell phones. I got up early because I had not met her. He hadn’t made any effort for me to meet you. I came home a different day and there was a blonde in my house. He was tutoring her. Now he’s meeting Tina to play racquetball. Who was the blonde? Lori. I had no suspicion that he was being unfaithful, but I also was not comfortable that all his friends at college were girls. I didn’t hear men’s names anywhere. He even got a welcome letter from Christie. I’m like, “This is too many, Lori and Tina. I got to meet her.” Whatever was going on this day, she was making sure Mark was not coming downstairs. I drove to their apartment complex and Mark would normally come down. Before cell phones, I could not honk my horn at 6:00 in the morning because the whole apartment complex would wake up. I’m like, “Where is this dude at? If he did not get up, I’m going to be upset.” I go upstairs and knock on the door. She says, “Hello.” I was like, “Is Mark here?” She’s like, “Who are you?” I was like, “We are about to have a whole situation. I just want to play racquetball.” She starts drilling me and asking me all these questions. I was like, “How do you know if I like playing racquetball with him that much? This could be over.” It might not be worth it. After a while, Chris and I became more friends, and Mark became boring. Her husband’s name is Mark, just like my late husband. Both of our birthdays …

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The Power Of Friendship In Times Of Grief With Geraldine Newson

WRT 10 | Power Of Friendship

  The power of friendship is truly mind-boggling. It serves as crutches when you can’t walk. It is your most reliable support system during desperate times. In this episode, Geraldine Newson shares the value of having friends you can rely on when you are grieving the loss of a loved one. She explains the importance of keeping people you can trust by your side during the long process of grieving. Geraldine also opens up on the significant role of friends in achieving inner healing. — Thank you for viewing this post. I am not a licensed therapist or professional life coach. I am sharing my experience of loving the same man for 32 years, a mother to two adult children, a retired military officer, a breast cancer survivor, and my connections with others. Anyone experiencing suicidal thoughts should reach out to a suicide hotline or local emergency number in their country https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/suicide/suicide-prevention-hotlines-resources-worldwide — Watch the episode here   Listen to the podcast here   The Power Of Friendship In Times Of Grief With Geraldine Newson The OGs My guest is Miss Geraldine Newson. You will remember her from our first episode because she interviewed me and now it is Jerri’s turn to sit in that seat and tell her journey and share her experience. My girl has got some pearls of wisdom to give to you. We should have got the tissues early. I need to do better about that. Let’s have this conversation.     My guest is Miss Geraldine Newson. She did my initial interview. Now the eye is on Jerri. We are going to get to know a little bit about Jerri and I get to interview her. Jerri, tell us a little bit about yourself. Tina, I was born and raised in Pittsburgh. I’m the youngest of five. I had 2 brothers and 3 sisters. Now there were three of us. I moved here in 1987 with my then fiancé, and we later got married. I have been here since. I have been working. I have 3 wonderful adult children, 4 grandchildren, and 5 great-grandchildren. All of them are my heart, every single one of them. I have come to love living here and the relationships I have built. A lot of that started with our relationship together because I believe this is the longest relationship friendship I have had since I moved here. I never told you that. I am not here with my tissue. I am not here for this. It was hard to find friendships. Why is that? The mothers of my children’s friends were a little bit standoffish. The first church that I attended was predominantly White, and I had female relationships with the women. It was a little tough to keep those to be lasting relationships. It is a come-and-go type thing for a season, but our season is still going because it is a lifetime. You said working. What type of jobs have you had over the years since being here in Virginia? When I first came here, I was working for an attorney. In what capacity? I was the transcriber. I transcribed all of his recorded documents. It was a lot of typing all the time. I was there for several months. He merged with another company and he couldn’t take the whole staff. I started working with commercial and residential real estate. That was one of the things I thought I wanted to get into because I loved real estate management. I did learn the tricks, trades, and some of the things about it. However, the agents that worked there weren’t working. This was a hobby for them. There wasn’t a real grind going on. After three years, I knew I had to start looking for another job. There was no growth potential. None at all. I was the office manager. You name it, I did it. The owner of the company had her own thing going on. Even the owner had a side gig. She had a side life. I’m going to leave that with the tea. I’m going to leave that right there. I’m going to drink my tea on there. I finally started looking for another job. I saw a job that I had vacated when I left Pittsburgh. I worked for Duquesne University. I was working in the Admissions Department. At that time, they had newspapers. The daily press was out. I was looking through the newspaper, and I saw this job. I looked at my husband and said, “My job is in the paper.” The first thing he thought was I was getting fired from my job. I said, “No, the job I left in Pittsburgh is here in this paper, and I applied for it. It was Christopher Newport College, and it was in the Admissions Department. I was excited. Back then, there were paper applications, and it was long. It was a legal-size paper. It was a lot to do, but I couldn’t wait to get it filled out and turned in. When they called for the interview, I went for the interview. They called and made me an offer. I was excited and stayed in that capacity with Christopher Newport for many years. I had hit the ceiling in that office, but I couldn’t find myself working in another department. I applied for another job. I applied, at that time, to Thomas Nelson Community College, which is now Virginia Peninsula Community College. I stayed there for many years. I have been in this field for almost 36 years in 2023 because my time in Pittsburgh was six years doing that. You also worked at the University of Pittsburgh. You said you stayed there for eighteen years. What happened after eighteen years? I retired on January 1st, 2023. It took a while to get into the mode of being retired because I have been working since I was in high school. No one counted low-key babysitting at other subways. The …

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