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My whole life of 61 years has been associated with a family and a community of people helpers such as counselors, clergy, teachers, emergency responders, and social volunteers of all kinds.
As a pastor’s child, my personal history was rich with witnessing celebrations and a huge amount of losses. I have been proactive to find ways of learning and healing. Unfortunately, unhealthy beliefs and ways of coping were picked up.
I lost my brother when I was four. There were multiple moves around the Northwest, and often back to the home on the family homestead. With the losses of frequent moves, I began believing that “if I got really close to someone, they would die or move away.”
In 1983, my first husband, Barry, died in my arms. He was 25. Facing life with two small daughters as a single parent was overwhelming. Although I remarried to my husband of 34 years, David, I have continued to help women’s groups and reach out to single women.
Cross-cultural living for six years - Trauma
In 1994, David, my four children and I moved to Budapest, Hungary. We experienced culture shock, lived near the Serbian Kosovo War and terrorist bombings occured in our city. We learned a foreign language, counseling skills, cross-cultural adaptation, and lost 5 family memebers in the USA while living abroad. We also lived in a culture with a 17% suicide rate and the average length of life was 64 years at that time. People would wear black and white for a year following a family member's death. Culturally, I was told, widows rarely remarried. I had remarried and that sparked interest in me as a person to talk to about recovery from losing a spouse.
In 1995, my father mailed a first edition of Grief Recovery Method to help me talk about loss with those seeking comfort and a safe listening ear. At the time, a young Hungarian widow with small daughters reach out to me for comfort. My Dad related how he had changed his approach to grievers by using this method. It was profoundly making a difference. Community people were requesting him to perform memorial services almost weekly.
The following year, I saw firsthand the impacts his life had made when he was tragically killed in a boating accident in Alaska. His body was found 8 months later. During that time, I experienced what Search and Rescue does, a trial to declare someone missing dead, what media does with a prolonged story, and how to grieve with a community.
Some of my favorite people to encourage are those with disabilities. I’m 16 years post op from an Acoustic Neuroma Brain Surgery with many complications. Partial facial paralysis, balance issues, hearing loss and vision impairment in one eye. I love encouraging others who are challenged by isolation and health related losses. I enjoy sitting and listening to people’s life stories. Grief Recovery Method has truly helped me after many surgeries and continues to keep me grateful and hopeful.
I had numerous pets until 1985 when I emotionally said “No More”. “I can’t stop being close to humans, but I can stop having pets and losing them.” Eventually, my family had another dog and parakeet that softened my resistant heart and when they died, I had tools to grieve them both. Grief Recovery Method for Pet Loss greatly helped me truly grieve a pet like never before. I was able to do hospice care and comfort for our parakeet during the last months of his life. Although I have not replaced the loss, my heart is healing and I am open to bonding to another pet without fear of being completely undone by loss again. I now have effective tools to release when the time comes. I generally do the Pet Loss Program during one on one work, but will organize a group when requested for groups of 4 or more.
Caregivers to aging, cancer, hospice and Alzheimer’s patients need loss support. They often need encouragement with relationships before and after their loved one's death. I was an active caregiver to all four of my grandparents in their aging and death. One lived with me for years.
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PRIVATE ONLINE sessions with secure connection. Across all time zones and overseas expats
Other Formats Available: Check my Website Link for Specifics
One on One/in person – Reno/Sparks area, Washoe County, Nevada, 6 Week/Adult Session for When Children Grieve Book (Experience of 35 years volunteer children’s work), Pet Loss Handbook – Private or arranged group, Moving On In Relationships – Private or arranged group and 8 Week/Adult Sessions of Grief Recovery Method (Sometimes co-lead with my husband, also GRM certified and MFTI may assist with groups in Reno/Sparks area.)
Multnomah University Graduate, AACC Membership and Certification