Widowhood

The Things That Keep Us Young: Shifting Your Mental Perspective To Enjoy Life While Living With Sheila Finkelstein

Widowhood Real Talk with Tina | Sheila Finkelstein | Mental Shift

  When you lose the love of your life, it’s easy to succumb to regret, to the what ifs and what could have beens. But our departed love would have loved us to carry on living to the fullest. How does one transcend grief and learn to enjoy life while living? Sheila Finkelstein helps us make this powerful mental shift so we can learn to deal with loss gracefully and with hope. Tune in for her incredible wisdom! — Watch the episode here   Listen to the podcast here   The Things That Keep Us Young: Shifting Your Mental Perspective To Enjoy Life While Living With Sheila Finkelstein Our guest is Miss Sheila Finkelstein. She is coming to us from Florida. In lovely artwork, she has her signature color purple there. We’re going to get into all of that. She hangs out a lot on LinkedIn. I want to read a little bit of information that she has listed there, and I want that to be the start of our conversation. She is shifting the perspective, a guide for women aged 50 and above, at a turning point, feeling stuck, and open to photography and more as a way to expand creativity, enhance relationships, and reconnect with themselves and others. I don’t read people’s LinkedIn a lot but the conversation in the widowhood and community, a lot of times, people isolate. A lot of times, people feel disconnected. I know that the age of being a widow is shifting. It’s not always 50 and older. I am connecting with a large number of younger widows. Still, the premise of what you’re doing resonates with everyone. I love that you said you didn’t have to be creative. You don’t have to be intimidated by not having this huge sense of, “I’m a creative person,” but you have a way to let people use their simple abilities to reconnect and enhance relationships with themselves and others. I thought that was a beautiful way to start the conversation. Thank you. One of the things that has been my mission even back from when I was teaching elementary school many years ago is the, “I am not creative.” People think that they have to draw, paint, or something and that is creativity. It’s problem-solving. I did something, and I forgot what it was but I was like, “I solved that problem.” That’s being creative. It’s a simple thing. I suggest people look every time they’re faced with a problem and they look for it and come up with an answer, they’re being creative. I feel like a little bit of creativity hit me because I’m solving problems all day at work as a project manager. I never looked at it as being creative. I’ve always connected the word creativity with something artistic and something appealing, not something, to me, that seemed like basic problem-solving skills. I like that idea. You have so many different pieces going on. I’m sure as we touch on each of them or maybe some of them, there will be a story but I want to start with your necklace, what’s going on with that, and how that will take us on a journey of getting to know you better. Thank you. Thanks for noticing. This happens to be one of the things that I had when I started college years ago. I was going to be a social worker. I’ll come up to it later. I went to Temple University in Philadelphia. I met my husband on a blind date. He was in textiles. There was nothing in textiles in Philadelphia, although his school was there. He got out of the Army, went to New York, got tired of New York girls, came back, and we met on a blind date. Six weeks after we met, we were engaged. We were married three months after that.     That’s still super fast. We’re going to need to slow down a little bit. Tell us about this blind date. The funny part of it was that somebody I knew from high school was engaged to Sam’s best friend. She broke the engagement. She saw me in school and she was sitting on the toilet. I don’t think I’ve ever shared that. First here. Go ahead. She fixed this up and we went out together. Four of us went out on a blind date. Was it with her ex-fiance? What did you say your husband’s name is? Sam. It was you Sam, the girl on the toilet, and her ex-fiance. You guys went out on a date. What did you think of Sam on that first date? I don’t even know. It wasn’t like love at first date or that kind of thing but we got along. We were communicating. He was caring. He went back to New York and came home one weekend. We started writing. He was writing every day. This was days long before texting and everything. I want to pause there to make sure we understand. You are writing letters and putting them in the mailbox. Is that what we’re referring to here? I have spoken to some people that the idea of even addressing a letter is foreign. I want to make sure we’re able to ensure that our audience understands that you are writing letters and putting them in the mail. Keep in mind that this was 1960 so it was many years ago. He did more writing than I did. He would talk about the day or whatever. Remember. Phone calls were expensive too but periodically, he’d call. I’d be up in the middle of the night and he’d be concerned about me getting my schoolwork done. He was a very caring person. As a matter of fact, years later, a friend of mine who has since passed, rest in peace, was a psychic. She said that after he died, his mission in life had been to fulfill me. What more could one …

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Navigating The Tough Part Of Grief Together With Tina Fornwald, Founder Of Widowhood Real Talk With Tina

Widowhood Real Talk with Tina | Tough Part Of Grief

  Navigating the grief process is hard, and nobody knows just how tough it is better than the person who is going through it. But even the most challenging aspects of the whole healing journey are surmountable with the right mindset and tools. In this episode, Tina Fornwald takes special attention to speak to us about navigating the tough part of grief. Specifically, she shares tips on overcoming the anger, guilt, and isolation that many people experience upon their loved one’s transition. Tune in to hear more of Tina’s wisdom! — Watch the episode here   Listen to the podcast here   Navigating The Tough Part Of Grief Together With Tina Fornwald, Founder Of Widowhood Real Talk With Tina It is the month of May 2024, and Widowhood Real Talk with Tina is celebrating our Founder’s birthday. Yes, that’s me, and we invite you to help us celebrate. How? By donating $5 in the month of May. Five and five. See what we’re doing there with that? How do you do that? Text Hopeful Hearts to 53555. Thanks for helping us celebrate and support a worthy cause. Let’s get into this episode. — I am staying true to my promise of conducting a solo podcast at least once a quarter. Today is May 16th, 2024, and you are helping me celebrate my birthday. I want to say thank you in advance for the $5 donation going towards the Widowhood. Widowhood Real Talk with Tina is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit on a mission to support the people who are grieving in our world. At some time or another, we are all grieving. Having a community is helpful, which leads to our conversation.   Why People Get Stuck In Grief I am going to tackle things that people have asked me about, where I have found the pattern of people being stuck in grief, and what my recommendations are for working yourself out of grief. The first thing that I’d like to tackle is when people feel the death of their loved one was a personal attack. Let me say this is not related to the death of a loved one that has a crime related to it, or there was a murder or something that was intentional. That certainly has different implications, which I am sorry for. I am referring to situations where, such as my husband having a heart attack at the age of 51, someone’s mother, cousin, uncle, sibling, or child dying earlier than they anticipated, maybe an accident, but feeling like their loved ones’ leaving of this Earth was a personal attack to them. That is something that I find often puts people in a place of feeling like they’re stuck and unable to move forward. That also goes to the second item, which is guilt. When people carry an immense amount of guilt related to their loved one’s death, it keeps them in a place of being stuck. They cannot move forward. They feel as if they would have only done something different if they had stayed home, not gone to work, done CPR better, given them that last meal, or forced them to go to the doctor. They think that there was something they could have done to prevent their loved one from leaving this world. That often leaves people in a place of being stuck. The third thing that I have seen that allows people to be stuck is isolation. It is being alone. These three things you may say don’t relate to me, and that’s fine. I am sharing three things that I have found as a pattern overall when dealing with people related to grief. That is the person who feels like the death of their loved one was a personal attack. They feel like God or a higher power took their loved ones from them. That is the person who wrestles with guilt, feeling as if they could have controlled the situation. The third person is isolation, where they are alone. They are disassociated from society, and they do not want to interact with anyone. They have come to a place where they feel like no one cares. They feel like no one understands their pain or grief. They feel like they have lost themself in the grief fog, and being around other people will not help them. I want to encourage you to do the opposite of that. It may be hard to digest, but I would ask you to entertain three other things that are different from that. One, death and life are a part of our existence. All of us will transition from this world. That is the reality. If we are able to come to peace with that reality, it will disassociate the idea that the death of our loved one was a personal attack. If we’re able to find peace with the reality that life and death are part of our existence, it will eliminate us from thinking that the death of our loved one was a personal attack.   It’s not granted. I’m not a fan of it. I won’t be happy that it happened. That is not what I’m asking you to consider, but I’m asking you to consider the reality that our loved ones leaving this world is part of human existence. If you’re able to take a sliver of that concept, it will eliminate you from feeling like somebody, someone, some power, some being, and God made this happen to you. It is part of life. As our own existence will end, the ability to now harness the love that we have from our person who is no longer here, harness everything we learned in our relationship with them, harness everything that they were good and the things that we learned that they were not good to use that in our existence in living. We get to honor every person with whom we have traveled this life journey. We get to show …

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Why Widows Do Bounce Back With Your Favorite Widow Coach, Maya Tyler

WRT 46 | Widow Coach

  Being a widow coach isn’t just a career for Maya Tyler. It’s deeply rooted in her own painful experience – an experience that she weaponized to help other widows navigate this tumultuous transition. Widowed at 27, Maya had her own share of what young widows typically experience, with all the judgment and prejudice attached to it. The fact that she is a woman of color only served to intensify it all. Join in as she shares on the podcast how she overcame the external and, more importantly, the internal obstacles to healing and how she uses those lessons she learned to help others through her life’s work, Widows Do Bounce Back. Tune in! 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   Why Widows Do Bounce Back With Your Favorite Widow Coach, Maya Tyler Our conversation is with Ms. Maya Tyler. She is the CEO and Founder of Widow’s Do Bounce Back LLC. I am so glad that I connected with her on LinkedIn and was able to bring her to the show. This conversation is so dynamic. She has a lot to share buckle up and let’s get into this discussion.     Our guest is Ms. Maya Tyler. Welcome, Maya. Thank you so much for having me. She says that like I didn’t stalk her on LinkedIn to get her into this conversation. As you know, I am always looking for someone to come to this conversation and make it value-added. Sometimes, people talk from different perspectives, but Maya can talk with us from a lot of different angles. Let’s get into this conversation right now. Maya, where are you at this moment? I’m at home in my office in Maryland. What do you do in your home office? This is where I coach with my coaching program for widowed women. This is where I coach for book coaching because I also have a company that coaches people who are producing and publishing new books. Now and then, entertain my daughter who thinks this is her office. What led you into coaching widows? Someone once said to me therapy and healing come from giving the thing that you didn’t have, from helping people with something that, once you got it, was an epiphany for you, but it was something that you went without for a while. You know exactly where they are and you can meet people right at their needs and provide a solution that is the aha moment for them. For me, having an IT background, the aha moment is something I’m always chasing. Coaching seemed to be a shoo-in for it. You said the idea of providing something you didn’t have. How does that relate to you personally? I am widowed. I was widowed at the age of 27 and my husband passed away doing routine daddy things. We were at a picnic on Easter Sunday, and he was running back in a relay race and tripped and fell and was gone. That devastated my life. It turned it completely upside down because, at the time, we had two children together. I was 27, our children were 6 and 18 months. That completely made my life a different story. What I was looking for was when people were normally widowed and referred to places for help, I was referred to places that did not provide a lot of the needs that I specifically had as a younger mom, as a mom of color, and as a mom in general. I’ve asked a million people this question, not literally, but lots of people this question. They don’t think of a woman of color. What do you think of when you think of a widow? You don’t think of a woman of color, under the age of 60, or a mom. You think of somebody opposite of those circles and needs. That is what I found when I was in those circles and that’s not what I needed. I needed help with grieving children. I needed help with financial stability and figuring out adulting and who I am at this stage in life as a woman. There were things that I did not have, but I figured it out eventually and decided, “I thought there needed to be a blueprint. I’m sure somebody else does.” In creating the blueprint, in writing the book that I wrote back in 2015, the demand seemed to grow for, “We need this one-on-one. I need you in my life. Please come sit next to me and do this with me for me, and together.” That’s what it’s been ever since. There’s a lot to go back and circle. When you say you figured it out, can you maybe expound on one particular area that you identified you needed and what figuring out looked like? The easiest subject and the most forefront in my mind was parenting. Parenting grieving children was a completely new area for me because I was already a new mom. My children were babies. I just so happened to have a parent. At that time, my mother was the head of special education in Prince George’s County here in Maryland. What I didn’t understand and didn’t know already, even though she’s been in education forever my whole life, was that schools do provide plans in place for grieving children. There is a 504 plan for children who have special needs. Learning disability doesn’t have to be a physical special need. It could also be a counseling special need. You can create this plan and most schools around the US do provide this, but …

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A Polyamorous Widow’s Journey Of Grief And Healing With Elizzabeth Cannon

WRT 34 | Polyamorous Widow

  It’s easier for us to wrap our brains around anything if it’s put within the context of the mainstream. As far as widowhood goes, we almost by default put it in the context of conventional monogamous relationships. We don’t hear a lot about how the experience of loss works for someone who is in a polyamorous relationship. That is the perspective we’re going to hear from Elizzabeth Cannon, a polyamorous widow who makes the rounds on TikTok, talking about all things in the intersection between polyamory and widowhood. Liz shares her grief and healing journey after losing her husband, Josh, to liver disease. She shares how she was able to carry on with life and choose joy despite the pain of losing her soulmate. Tune in to hear her amazing story! 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 — Watch the episode here   Listen to the podcast here   A Polyamorous Widow’s Journey Of Grief And Healing With Elizzabeth Cannon We are about to have a conversation with Lizz Cannon who is a polyamorous widow. This should be very interesting and insightful. Let’s get into the conversation.     Let’s welcome Lizz Cannon to the hood. Hello, Lizz. The question comes up on how I met Lizz. You know I’m always looking for people who want to share their journey. I saw Lizz on TikTok and she was sharing her journey. I thought it would be a great opportunity for her to bring her story to the Widowhood, so here we go. If you want me to take the reins, I can give a little bit of a background. Go right ahead. I was married for twenty years to a fabulous soulmate and wonderful partner. He was a chef. His name was Josh Velasquez. Early on in our marriage, I guessed that his drinking might lead to some problems. He was, like many people in the restaurant industry, a heavy drinker. I never saw him drunk. He was so good at drinking that he would start early on his shift and keep drinking all day long. I kept saying, “You probably want to slow your roll.” He kept saying, “You don’t know my family. My grandmother used to drink a whole bottle of Ramade.” I thought, “Maybe a small bottle.” He continued. I thought he would become ill when we were in our 50s or 60s. Instead, when he was 38, he became very ill. I almost lost him three times in a row within about a month and a half. The verdict was liver disease and cirrhosis. His numbers were so bad that the doctor was trying to get him to have a transplant immediately. However, I noticed that since he had begun being sick and stopped drinking, his liver numbers had dropped precipitously. I said to him, “I am willing to go on this journey of seeing if you can heal yourself.” He tried and he did a very good job initially. He was doing everything he was supposed to and did get a lot better. Unfortunately, he wasn’t all better because you can’t get all better quickly from liver disease. One of his liver specialists made the mistake of saying, “Do you know why we call you around here?” He said, “What?” He said, “Wolverine.” I knew that was not going to be good. Sure enough, Josh started to do things he shouldn’t have been doing again. That wasn’t drinking so much as eating poorly, eating fatty things late at night, and smoking cigarettes again. When you’ve got advanced liver disease, you have to take care of that thing like it’s a little baby. He knew that, but as time went on, it got harder. He got sicker again. He got depressed. It became a vicious cycle of not taking care of himself. I ended up being a caregiver for the last two years of his life as ammonia started to affect his cognitive skills. I have so much respect for people who are caregivers to long-term ill spouses. I cannot imagine going on longer than I did because two years almost broke me. I learned so much about compassion from that. I’m amazed that people can be caregivers for long-terms because two years was so hard for me. One of the things that I’ve wanted to do in sharing my journey of being a widow is also to say to people who are caregivers that they need to take care of themselves, too. It’s becoming an epidemic in this country of people who are struggling to take care of their spouse or other loved one and they don’t have that much support. We don’t have a village anymore. We are a viciously individualistic country, and that leaves a lot of people stuck where there’s no one to help. There is no safety net in this government. There is nobody coming to help take care of your spouse. It’s hard. I have so much compassion for the caregivers, too. I learned a lot about compassion through being a caregiver, watching him struggle, and watching him try so hard to do the right thing and not have the capacity to do it. That’s the other thing. There’s this community of TikTok widows. We talk a lot about each individual person’s journey. One of those facets is, for me, recognizing capacity. Where you come from is going to inform what capacity you have. For example, if you’re a widow who knew that your spouse was going to pass away, that’s going to create a different capacity on how to heal when you are trying to heal. …

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Dating A Widower: Reclaiming Love After Loss With Abel Keogh

WRT 33 | Dating A Widower

  Losing your spouse can be devastating, but is it okay to date again? When is dating too soon? Is there a timeline we should follow? Join us in this episode as Abel Keogh, the author of Dating a Widower, shares his personal journey as a remarried widower, shedding light on the motivations and emotions behind widowers’ decisions to date again after losing their partners. Gain a deeper understanding of the dynamics of relationships with widows and widowers, and explore the challenges of transitioning into remarriage. Tune in for an illuminating conversation on the widower’s perspective on remarriage with Abel Keogh.   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   Dating A Widower: Reclaiming Love After Loss With Abel Keogh Our guest in this episode, Abel, is a widower, an author, a life coach, and a dating coach. He has some good information to share. I connected with him. I saw his information on YouTube and said, “The widowhood could appreciate having a conversation with Abel.” His books are listed on our website under Resources, and I think you’re going to enjoy this conversation. Let’s get into it now.     Our guest in this episode is Abel. He has a lot to share with us, and I’m going to let him introduce himself and we’ll get right into the discussion. Thanks, Tina. As Tina said, my name is Abel Keogh and I am a remarried widower. I was widowed many years ago. My late wife took her own life. Now, I work as a relationship coach primarily with widowers and the women who are dating them. I’ve written some books. I’ve written a couple of memoirs about my experience, one with my now wife, my living wife, and some other books on relationship guides with dating, especially with dating a widower. My specialty, you could say, is creating that chapter two after a loss. There was a lot in that short introduction there. I want to go back and unpack some of that if we can. I know you’re very open about the idea that your first wife took her own life. I am sorry for that. I’m sure everyone who’s part of this conversation is sorry you had to have that experience but glad for your willingness to be able to talk about that, to share, and to help other people. In that same vein, would you mind sharing a little bit about your marriage with your first wife and how it led up to that? I was married to my late wife a month shy of three years. There wasn’t any romantic interest until we both got to college, but we grew up together. I knew her from the time we were 7 or 8 years old on up. We dated for 3 or 4 years before we got married. We were married for almost three years when she took her own life. For the most part, our marriage was a good marriage, as good as marriage as can be. I didn’t have anything to compare it to, but things started to change when she got pregnant. Her mental health deteriorated. She ended up taking her own life when she was seven months pregnant. Around the circumstances of that, they were able to save the baby. I had to take the baby off life support nine days later, unfortunately. In some ways, it was even harder than losing a spouse, but I had to take the baby off life support. That kicked me out into the whole widowhood thing. As far as the marriage went, until those mental health issues hit, it was a good marriage and we were young. I was 26 when I was widowed. I was young, and that put me in an odd spot as well in the sense that I had friends who were not even married, and here’s a 26-year-old widower. I don’t think anyone knew how to handle me. My friends, family, and everybody were all obviously sad and sorry for my loss. There was support in that area, but I’m thinking about dating again or how to handle somebody who is 26 and widowed. No one quite knew what to do with me. It was the first time in my life that I truly felt alone. It was not that there wasn’t some support there, but the sense that there weren’t any other people in their twenties I could go talk to and say, “How did you get through the death of your spouse?” That doesn’t happen in your twenties. I felt alone and a lot of the issues that I was going through with grief, dating again, and trying to mix those emotions or trying to figure out how to handle all this stuff. I was truly alone. This was the early days of the internet. This was in 2001. I talked about all these resources that I have. Tina, you’re providing resources and there are other resources out there, but back then, there was nothing, especially for young people. There were no resources out there. Part of the reason I ended up doing what I was doing is that, more than anything, I wanted somebody to talk to and someone to explain. “Here are some ideas on how other people have handled it. This is how I got through it. Here are some things that you might want to think about.” In some ways, I guess they’re still not a lot of resources out there. I do a lot of relationship coaching, and I get …

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