Most of the information that appears in our printed newsletter also appears in this website. This webpage contains newsletter features that do not appear elsewhere in our website:
"From the Director" is written by Cathy Clough
"From the Chairman's Desk" by John Baird"
"Want to go on a Cruise?"
summertime make you think of picnics in the park, amusement parks, swimming,
golfing, or going for bike rides? It was always a time I looked forward to
so much, but that first summer after the death of my husband, those things
didn't seem fun anymore - who was I going to enjoy them with?
When that first Memorial Day hit me, I was blown away. Yes, it was a holiday weekend - but not a major holiday. It was a time when we used to have three whole days together as a family and usually planned something special. I hadn't planned anything - it just kind of snuck up on me. The kids and I spent the weekend together and it turned out O.K., but I vowed that I was not going to let those little holidays ruin a potentially good week in the future!
Looking ahead to the Fourth of July, I decided I needed to do something. By that time, I had met a few other women whose husbands had died and invited them to spend the Fourth of July with my kids and me. We went to the parade together, barbecued, played games and had a really nice day. It took some planning, but it kept me busy and provided an entertaining and fun day for all of us. It was so successful that I did it again the next year!!
I've said all this to let you know that whatever you liked to do in the summer months when your loved one was alive doesn't have to be lost to you forever. It takes some planning, but you can enjoy those things again. No, it's not going to be the same, but it can be good. If you like to golf, Single Point Ministries has several golf leagues made up of single adults. If you "really" like to golf, you can join them on their annual 54 hole outing up north over the Fourth of July!! If you like to barbecue - invite members of your grief support group over for a cookout. Do you miss trips you used to take to Cedar Point with your child? Invite someone else's child to go with you - maybe his/her parents don't like the rides and that child wouldn't get to go if you didn't offer.
I hope you'll think about all of these things as you look ahead to the summer approaching and do the things you enjoy and more!
P.S. You'll note that all of the groups New Hope offers on a regular basis, but we have a couple of special things coming up on June. We've been asked by some of the family members of those who lost their lives on 9/11 to start a support group in the greater Detroit area for them. We've been working hard helping to organize this. Also - our young teen group is finally taking off! In May they met for "putt-putt" - next month they are planning go-carting with our wonderful teen leaders. And, last but not least, we're planning a "Men Only" night for widowers on June 10 which will meet at the same time and place as our west-side Fresh Start meeting. If you know someone who could benefit from any of these specialized groups, please let them know that they are available.
continue to have high hopes that a grant will be made to New Hope to hire
a half-time KIDZ Programs Director. The foundation that will consider our
request recently revised its application process. In effect, final decisions
will be made in the fall. As a result, we've taken the additional time to
"add a couple of coats of polish" to our application. Thanks again
to Yvonne Borg for hours of work, and to Dave Dieterle for providing excellent
suggestions as a part of a "peer review." We'll keep you posted.
At our last Board meeting, Jan Carlton and Karen Jinnett were elected to new, 3-year terms. The Board has six members (in addition to Cathy) who volunteer a variety of skills in supporting the New Hope ministry.
Sandy Prebenda joined the Board meeting and described fund raising events that she is working on. Events such as the Comedy Club, Golf Outing, and special shopping at Parisian are important elements in raising financial support for New Hope. Our commitment to provide services to the bereaved free of charge remains unchanged. Your participation in fund raising events and as donors allows us to hold on to this commitment. The Board extends its sincere thanks to all that volunteer time and financial support. If your circumstances permit, won't you consider becoming a Sustaining Member? Information on that program is contained elsewhere on this website.
- we all need to make them. Some are everyday happenings and some can be life
changing. After losing someone you love deeply, someone who was an important
part of your life, you eventually get to a place where it is time to move
on and make a new life without that person or you can make a choice to live
in the past, focusing on the way things used to be and what will never be
again. I've seen people do it both ways and, believe me, those that choose
a new way of life are the winners.
You can choose to be a winner early on in your grief, but it is hard to actually start a new way of life until you've done your grief work. So, if you are reading this and are still pretty new at grief, start practicing some of these behaviors, but don't rush through your grief too quickly or you may get into too much too soon.
I have listed below "Cathy's top five choices." I hope you find them helpful and will choose to make them yours.
Choose to put your loved one in a very special place in your heart, drawing on memories but not living for them.
Choose to be happy. You can go around with a smile on your face or a frown. Smiles are contagious and will draw people to you.
Choose to be your own person. Find out who you are without your loved one, not as his or her wife, husband, parent, child, etc. Develop a style of your own in dress and behavior. Think of this time as an opportunity to become the best you can be.
Choose to like who you are becoming or who you've become. Be your own best friend. Spend time alone and learn to be comfortable with yourself. If you are comfortable with YOU, chances are other people will be comfortable with you also.
Choose to make new friends. We all need friends to do things with and to grow with.
My guess is that if you have successfully conquered the first four choices, you will be the kind of person that others will want to get to know. But remember, new friends won't just land on your doorstep. You will need to take the initiative and work at being a friend, inviting people to spend time with you or by reaching out and befriending someone.
Well, are you ready? The choice is yours. I sure hope you choose LIFE!
Written by Cathy Clough, New Hope Center for Grief Support, 5-02
Some of you know that for many years I've taken groups of widows and widowers on a winter Caribbean Cruise. It's been a great opportunity to get away from a little of the Michigan winter weather and get to know others "in the same boat." We're willing to plan another cruise for January, 2003 if there's enough interest. If you think you might like to cruise with us, please let us know by e-mailing or calling us, indicating interest. If we get a good enough response - we'll get the plans going.