Talking to children about loss

Simple DO’s and DON’Ts:

  • DO – Go first. As the adult, you are the leader. 
  • DO – Tell the truth about how you feel. – Telling the truth about your own grief and about how you feel will establish a tone of trust and make your child feel safe in opening up about his or her own feelings.
  • DO – Recognise that grief is emotional, not intellectual and that sad or scared feelings are normal. Avoid the trap of asking your child what is wrong, for he or she will automatically say “Nothing”.
  • DO – Listen with you heart, not your head. Allow all emotions to be expressed without judgement, criticism, or analysis.
  • DO – Remember that each child is unique and has a unique relationship to the loss.
  • DO – Be patient. Don’t force your child to talk. Give your child time. Make sure to plant healthy ideas about talking about feelings.

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  • DON’T – Say “Don’t feel scared”. Fear is a common and normal response.
  • DON’T – Say “Don’t feel sad”. Sadness is a healthy and normal reaction. Sadness and fear, the most common feelings attached to loss of any kind, are essential to being human.
  • DON’T – Ask your children how they are feeling. Like adults, fearful of being judged, they will automatically say, “I’m fine”, even though they are not.
  • DON’T – Act strong for your children. They will interpret your “non-feeling” as something they are supposed to copy.
  •  DON’T – Compare their lives or situations to others in the world. Comparison always minimizes feelings.
  • DON’T – Make promises that you cannot keep. Instead of saying “Everything’s going to be okay”, say, “We’ll do everything we can to be safe”.
  • DON’T – Forget that your children are very smart. Treat them and their feelings with respect and dignity as you would like to be treated by others.

 

3 very important things your dying loved one needs from you

I was listening to my big role model Cheryl Richardson on Hay House Radio the other night, and in that show she mentioned a lady who worked with dying people. Her name is Lani Leary and she has written a book called “No one has to die alone”. I went in, curious about what to find, and on her start page was a TEDx Talk. I pressed play, wondering if I could digest a topic like that on a Tuesday morning. But what she taught in that 15 minute long speech is worth more than any gold or money in the world! She listed three things that a dying person really wants to be able to receive on his/her deathbed:

  1. They need you to listen to them openly, even if you have heard the same story a million times. Openly and without any judgment.
  2. They need you to touch them. Communication through touch is often a lot more powerful than words.
  3. They need you to give them permission to let go and move on. Say that you will be OK and that they are allowed to finally let go.

When I heard those sentences tears started streaming down my face. How intuitively I had been acting around the dying in my own life, and how grateful I am that I have been able to dare to be close to a dying loved one.

When my father was dying, I cuddled up beside him in his hospital bed. Tthe whole family was gathered in the room telling old stories and anecdotes, laughing and crying at the same time. I was just lying there beside him, listening to his breathing getting more and more shallow and finally announcing to the rest of them that something had changed and he was about to go. We all sat at the bedside telling him how much we loved him and that we would all be OK, that he could finally let go of his sick, cancer riddled body, and then he took his last breath. This is also exactly how I acted when it was time for our 8 month old Ingrid to leave the Earth plane, which gives me enormous peace today.

I had no idea how to “do dying right” or “grieve right” at that time, but looking back I did just what these three things Lani listed in her TEDx Talk. And this is a gift that I will certainly pass on to my own two kids. Death is not something scary that needs to be hidden away from small ears, and what we teach them they are going to provide for us when it’s our time to go. Be listened to, be touched and be given the permission to let go <3

Think about that for a second.

Much love.

WHY I do what I do

There are so many ways to pitch your business… But what would happen if I started telling people WHY I’m really in the business I’m in, from the heart? 

That question struck me as I was thinking of sending yet another “sales pitch” mail to all the networks I’m in. Do I want to sound like the current “Newsletter trend” or do I want it to come from the heart? When is it actually OK to speak from the heart without following all the sales pitch rules and formats? Are people going to find me weird if I do?

There is only one way to find out I guess, and that’s putting it to the test!

So WHY I’m in this business of Grief Recovery?

When we lost our firstborn daughter it dawned on me how little help there was for us as parents. We had received excellent medical care for our child, but when she had left us and all the medical equipment had been collected we were standing there with an empty crib, diapers, baby clothes, toys and all the rest of it that comes along with a baby. We now had to arrange all the practical details like organising the funeral, tombstone, documents for flying back to Sweden with an urn, insurance, medical bills having to be clarified etc etc etc.

Having to deal with all of that while in a state of chock and grief was mind boggling. There was no real list of support options presented to us, and I had to muster the energy to look for help myself.

I immediately signed myself up as support parent at the Children’s hospital and the palliative home care team here in Zürich to at least give other parents with the same diagnosis a chance to contact a fellow parent. But what about all the other people being stuck in loss and grief? How could I be there for fellow expats experiencing loss, living far away form their natural support system of family, friends, language and familiarity?

That’s when I decided to do the certification to become a Grief Recovery Specialist. I now work with my passion to help others getting unstuck, feel less alone in their grief and have someone listening to their story. I wake up every day feeling so blessed to be able to do this kind of work, and that our daughter taught me so much about life, death and all the things in between. Like my coach Edson Williams said yesterday, “Karin flipped the script from a bereaved parent to using the loss as an inspiration to help others.” That really warmed my heart.

So that’s WHY I’m doing what I’m doing! I just can’t stand the fact that so many are stuck and limited by their unresolved grief, and if I can just help a handfull of these people it’s worth it! And I just have to trust that the people needing my help will find me, in one way or another. Have a great weekend and start of February!

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I’m a proud Momtrepreneur!

Hi all, I do write a lot about my work but I just heard this lovely term, Momtrepreneur, the other day and I just felt compelled to write about it!

So how does a Momtrepreneur “work”day look like?

07:00-08:00 Make sure that the kids wake up, have breakfast, brushing teeth (with a lot of threatening about  the trolls eating your teeth if you don’t…), get dressed (hopefully shoes on the right foot, sort of matching clothes, and hopefully finding all the out door gear you need to wear this time of year) – and BREATHE!

Photo taken by Elin, 4 years old08:00 Start the little trip up to Kindergarten, there are a lot of secret paths, leaves, cats, friends and other fun things to stop and look at on the way. Sometimes carrying a kid (15 kg) on one arm and extra gear, bags and a bicycle on the other…

09:00 Get the house back in order, start some washing, check if we have food (if not, too bad!), and get in the car to drive off to my Grief Recovery client. Fist making sure that all is packed, printed and in order 🙂

10:00-11:00 Grief Recovery work! LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT!!

11-12 Dash back home, start lunch, close the computer and end the Grief Recovery work day. Did I accomplish all I needed to have done without having kids in the house… Most of the time the answer is NO! (no, really?!)

12:00 Kindergarten finishes, run up to Kindergarten, just sliding in to the yard as they open the door and the kids are pouring out!  Pick up my daughter <3

12:15 -> Cook, eat, draw, bake, organise play dates…. So that’s how it looks like!

Lunch time!

I’m sure I’m going to look back at this time and as my “younger self”what I was thinking, starting up a business with two small kids! But it also shows that if you have found your passion, which I have in case you haven’t figured that one out yet ( 😉 , you just find the time to get it all done!

And my secret weapon (yes, I admit):

My next step, a certification course at the Grief Recovery Institute in Stockholm

So I’ve had a couple of moths asking myself over and over again “How may I serve?”, and as soon as I gave in and said to myself that I can’t be doing less than offer help and support to other human beings suffering from unresolved grief things started to shift in a BIG way! People, books, videos and ideas literally started dropping at my feet as if the Universe tried to get me to understand that I had found my path.

So later this month (September 2012) I will go to Stockholm and attend a certification course on how to assist others through grieving processes. I’m so excited and happy to have taken this step, even if it’s scaring the crap out of me at the same time. This means that I have to work though my own unresolved grief before I can help others which is a daunting thought, so wish me luck!!

Much love, Karin

“I have a big sister and her name is Ingrid”

We have managed to shock quite a few people during our holiday in Sweden this year. The reason being that Elin is now big enough to share her world with people she meets (and that are not immediate family or friends), and she proudly tells everone that she has got a big sister who is called Ingrid.

Many then look at me as if asking “Is she making this up?” and I then find myself smiling a bit apologeticly for having to “shock” them with the news that it’s true and that Ingrid is in heaven. Then there is a short pause and maybe an “oh” or “I understand”and that’s it. I’m not saying that it’s wrong, hurtful or even irritating, it just is what it is.

I have to get used to my children speaking freely about the fact that they do have a big sister in heaven. And I have to make sure that I can support them with words and stories in order to help them tell others about their reality. Ingrid is so present in our lives and that is how we wanted it to be, no secrets and no hiding the fact because her younger sister and brother are too small to hear the truth.

So if anyone out there knows of a good book for children who has a sibling in heaven, and that is POSITIVE and FUN, please share, also so I can share it on to other families in similar situations!!! Thanks and have a fantastic day!

                                    Elin and Victor planting flowers for Ingrid <3

I got interviewed by Lilou Macé!

The weird wonders of vision boards!

I lerarnt about vision boards when I first med Edson Williams (leadbyexample.com) as I attended his workshop “Access to Success” in November 2010. So I decided to give it a go last year, with this result:

There was a lot about changing carreer and work on reaching my dreams, but also a picutre of Lilou Macé (liloumace.com), a web TV host who travels around the world interviewing just about any person she finds interesting! What a cool thing to do! And there are a lot of famous names on her interview list so go check her out on YouTube (liloumace).

Next week, on the 5th of July, I’m going to have lunch with Lilou in Stockholm!!!! I mean, how cool is that?! She is one of my role models right now regarding living the dream and her interviews has brought me to where I am today in a way. A lot of people she’s beein interviewing has helped me personally, and also helped me help others. I’ve bought tons of books, I’ve forwarded and posted hundreds of her interview links and I keep on following her progress.

This year’s vision board hosts a lot of head lines from a Magazine given out by Carolina Gårdheim at Kreativ Insikt in Stockholm (kreativinsikt.se), like “Find your own Life Artist”, “Creative Insight” and their Vision as it was so nicely written. I’ve now brought Lilou and Carolina togheter, Lilou will interview Carolina after our lunch together and I’m there as the glue! I just can’t believe that all of this is happening!

I’ll report back to you when that meeting has taken place 🙂  Until then I really urge you all to sit down and map your dreams, visions and goals by getting a stack of amgazines, a glue stick and a fairly big piece of paper in front of you and get creative!

Or if you feel that you don’t have space to put it somewhere, use a photo album that you can a) do smaller, themed vision boards in abd b) put away after you have looked at it for the day 🙂

Signing off and flying to Sweden on Monday!

 

5 year Angel Party today <3

Today it’s 5 years ago that Ingrid joined her angel friends in heaven and we are celebrating the occasion with cake and candles!

Elin and Victor thinks it’s great that we get to celebrate her TWICE per year, that means two extra parties 🙂 And I know for a fact that Ingrid sees and enjoys being celebrated, so that’s an even stronger reason to do it. I also know that she LOVES parties and being in the centre of attention (much like her mother and her siblings…), so a party is just the right thing to have on a day like this!

Happy angel day, gorgeous Ingrid! You continue to touch people with your presence and your story. We love you, always <3