Sunday Book Review – Death and its Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Beautiful Lessons – Field Notes from The Death Dialogues Project by Becky Aud-Jennison

Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. Today I’m sharing my review for a beautiful book with a very apt title – Death and its Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Beautiful Lessons, written by Becky Aud-Jennison. She is a therapist and clinician and also runs a podcast – Field Notes from The Death Dialogues Project.

Blurb:

It’s Time to Invite Death Out of the Closet!

The impending or actual death of someone close to you can be devastating. It doesn’t matter if you knew it was coming, or if it was a total shock-you’ll never be the same. There is no right way to grieve, and no appropriate time frame. It’s different for everyone.

Author and therapist gone rogue, Becky Aud-Jennison, the creator of The Death Dialogues Project and podcast, has sewn together threads from people’s shared personal stories and her own experiences, using them to offer insight and comfort to those who are experiencing the loss of a loved one or want to become more death-literate.

She beautifully discusses individual factors of grief including:

  • Traumatic Grief
  • Relieved Grief
  • Who Am I Now Grief
  • Break-Ups: Death can be the great divide
  • Love Never Dies: Do not ignore signs
  • Transformation: Death becomes you

Calling on her years as a clinician, you will also find soothing, research-based techniques to help ease the ache of trauma and loss.

Many do not realize we now have choice surrounding our deaths and how our bodies are treated. Similar to birth being brought back into the home, there has been a wave of people doing the same with death, creating moving and personal experiences at the dying time and in the aftermath. Like homebirth, it may not be for everyone, but aren’t we better humans for understanding the terrain?

With this project’s aim of promoting death literacy, you will find story and commentary surrounding death and end-of-life choices (such as having a loved one’s body at home).

It’s time to take these historically “hush-hush” conversations out into the open. We all experience death and loss in our lives, and we should be talking about it.

Embrace the beautiful-horrible full spectrum of your life. Here you will also find resources and a community where you can further explore or seek support as you continue your journey.

This book will gently hold you as you increase your awareness and comfort surrounding death and is a perfect offering to others at those times when there are no words.

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My 5 Star Review:

I’ve read several books on grief and loss and death, and I’m putting this one right up there with my recommends for anyone interested in death literacy. Like the author states, “We all experience death and loss in our lives, and we should be talking about it.”

This book gives us good insights with stories and conversations with the author and some of her clients who share their experiences on the subject of dealing with death, and things we don’t really want to know, but should. As the author states, “Death experiences can never be fully explained or compared…” adding, “We need to get death out of the closet too.” She refers to it as ‘talking about death’ because all people really want in their great times of trauma is someone to understand what they are going through. We want to hear people’s experiences on their grief journey, not from academic texts. This book is a definite balm to soothe the soul. Grief begins at the moment of diagnosis for both the patient and the loved ones. Aud-Jennison also warns that by stifling grief, it will certainly have its day. She also talks about the PTSD affect grief leaves on those left behind.

What I loved most about what this author said to those seeking grief therapy – a warning to seek out a therapist who has indeed experienced their own loss, because getting help from one who has never suffered great loss cannot possibly know the depths of grief. We will also learn how grief can wreak havoc on our bodies, “a mysterious thing that can never be taught”. So many great discussions on all aspects of grief, including how some people who are part of our lives disappear on us in our dire time of need to be surrounded by familiar people in our lives. Because many cannot handle the world which we the griever now lives in, warning: “Those are not your people.” “The absence of your loved one will forever be part of who you are now.”

The author reminds that Kubler-Ross’s Five Stages of Grief were initially written for the the patient diagnosed with the death sentence, compared to a griever’s life where we will live in and out and with grief for the rest of our days – in no particular order in a forever flux of triggers.

This book is all about the truth about death, dying, aftermath, and everything in between. I would certainly recommend this book as a guided tonic for the grieving soul.

“it is because we have felt

immeasurable love

we feel overwhelming grief

help us find the blessing

within the paradox

help us understand why

the world still turns without them”

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©DGKaye2023

#Podcasts 6 and 7 are Live Now – #Grief the Real Talk – Abandonment/Relationship Changes after Loss, and Condolences – What to Say and What Not to Say to Grievers, New #Reviews for Fifteen First times

Two podcasts 6 and 7 are live now. Grief the Real Talk – Abandonment and Relationship Changes After Loss, and Condolences – What to Say and What Not to Say to Grievers. I also want to share the most amazing and concise speech about grief as explained by Dr. Natasha Josefowitz, PhD. And I’d also like to thank Judith Barrow, Diana Peach, Stevie Turner, Smitha Vishwanath and Lisa Thomson for their most lovely and recent reviews for my new book – Fifteen First Times.

I will commence podcasting again, end of March.

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Thanks to Marian Beaman emailing the link to this video of Dr. Natasha Josefowitz, PhD, bestselling author, talking the bare bones on grief at different ages.

Dr. Josefowitz talks about there being no right way to grieve, and about how Dr. Kubler-Ross’ 5 stages of grief were originally written for the dying one, not the grievers. There is no law and order for a griever. Dr. J will tell us her own list of 7 emotional stages of grief, which is more like a griever’s life, no set pattern, many times revisiting, triggers, etc. This was like listening to me telling my life. Unreal. I am not alone. Everything she lived is me. So the good parts that she states, about when grief moves from her head into her heart, and suddenly the pain doesn’t feel as heavy, is the part I look forward to.

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Also, I wanted to thank a few people here who have kindly posted new reviews for my recent book release – Fifteen First Times:

Review by Judith Barrow:

Fifteen First Times is a collection of short but evocative memoirs by D G Kaye. I actually wasn’t sure what to expect when I first started to read. All I knew was that, having read various other books by this author, and having always admired her intimate writing style, I was in for a treat. I wasn’t disappointed…

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Review by Stevie Turner:

In this short but candid book the author D.G Kaye shares fifteen of her first times with us; from her first diet to her first menstrual period, her first high heels, her first love, and her first cigarette to name but a few.   We also find out what happened when she decided to dye her hair red for the first time…

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Review by Smitha Vishwanath:

‘Fifteen first times’ by author D.G. Kaye is a light, heartwarming read that will leave you reminiscing your own fifteen first times, sweet events you may have forgotten along the way as life took over and bitter ones that hurt you so much, that you buried deep inside of you- basically, all the experiences that made you into the person you currently are…

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Reviewed by Diana Peach:

Kaye’s memoir Fifteen First Times reads like a conversation over a glass of wine with a bunch of besties. As I was reading, I could imagine the groans, laughter, and tender moments many women share in common as they navigate their teens and young adulthood—first kiss, first love, first car, a broken heart, the angst of menstruation, the first hair coloring disaster, and the first death that woke us up to the impermanence of life. Fifteen firsts…

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Goodreads

My rating: 5 Stars

Lisa Thomson‘s review

Jan 04, 2023

it was amazing

bookshelves: memoir

A lovely essay style memoir, by D.G. Kaye. She shares fifteen of her poignant first experiences. Each one as touching as the next. Kaye makes herself vulnerable in sharing these very personal stories, including losing loved ones. My favorite were her stories of her trip to Europe as a teen. If you grew up in the 70’s you will doubly enjoy this book. Highly recommend!

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©DGKaye2023

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Spiritual Awareness – Learning to Trust Your #Intuition by D. G. Kaye

Welcome again to my most recent article I shared at Sally Cronin’s Smorgasbord Blog Magazine in my Spiritual Awareness series – Learning to Trust Your #Intuition. Do you often find when it comes to making decisions that you are conflicted by what your head (ego) is telling you, as opposed to what your gut (heart) is telling you? In this article, I go through how our intuition works, and how we can better develop our own intuitive inner alert systems.

Explore the spiritual side of our natures as D.G. Kaye shares her experiences and research into this element of our lives.

You can find part Eleven of the series: Karma – The Law of Cause and Effect

spiritual awareness

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Learning to Trust Your #Intuition

Welcome back to my spiritual awareness series. Today I’m talking about our intuition, and how to connect with it, learning how to pay attention to it.

Do you struggle with trusting your intuition? Do you feel pangs of anxiety when having to face a big decision in your life, fighting the inner conflict of the two sides of the coin when you know something is off, yet, you don’t know whether you should trust your inside warning system or if you should just simply wave off your concerns as your imagination?

What is intuition? There are a plethora of descriptions and explanations for intuition. But the basic mechanics of how it works is with our natural instinctual reaction – memories usually trigger something from a past lesson, which the mind often overlooks. In the same way we know when there’s danger around, intuition our 6th sense, is automatically activated within us.

All of us have been in these predicaments at various times in our lives. And I’m sure many of us tend to wave off our worries, sometimes allowing the chips to fall where they may because we’re just too afraid to make an executive decision. But often, letting the chips fall where they may because of self-doubt will lead to a negative outcome. So how can we help ourselves become more assertive when it comes to making a decision about things we don’t really want to think about but aren’t going away? We must take a step outside of our worries and delve into the elements of our dilemmas looking at them from a different perspective.

Sometimes removing ourselves from the equation helps us take a better look at facts objectively, and this will help immensely. Nobody ever made great decisions while under duress, and by distancing ourselves from our own inner turmoil will aid in giving us a little breathing room, which in turn helps us to use better logic rather than feeling pressured by staying stagnant in the worry vacuum or making grievous decisions based on fear. When we aren’t consumed with constant worry and we take a breather, we allow our minds to calm and can feel and receive our intuitive messages better while not remaining situated in the immediate inner conflict.

Another way to help us assess our inner feelings is by journaling. Yes, it works! By allowing all our thoughts and concerns to pour out on paper not only relieves the pressure out of our heads, but when reading it back to ourselves we can systemically point out to ourselves precisely what is eating us, and sometimes even find our answers through our own words for resolution.

Did you know that the gut and the brain have a direct relation to stress and worry? It’s not a myth that emotions we experience are linked to the stomach – hence, that butterfly feeling we get in our stomachs when we feel scared, worried, or excited. These are good indicators of the ‘gut instincts’ we receive when something is off or in contrast, when something feels great. When things are feeling off it’s a warning sign to investigate our feelings to help us decide whether they are temporary moments or warning signals. If you are interested in reading up on the true explanation about how and why our gut signals us when something is off, please read this informative article about the brain-gut connection – the enteric nervous system, also known as ENS, which explains the scientific link to the brain/gut connection.

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Learning to trust your intuition

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We’ve all had that ‘familiar’ feeling, often labeled as a déjà vu moment when our instincts pick up on a remembered moment from the past – which doesn’t necessarily mean the triggered sense of familiarity occurred in our present life, but perhaps from a past life? Déjà vu translates to ‘already seen’ from French. It’s a common term we all use when we come upon a moment that feels so familiar, having us feeling as though we’ve already been in or experienced that precise moment, quite possibly from another place and time, as it’s an inexplicable feeling without an exact recollection of where the experience was first felt. . . Please continue reading at Sally’s blog

Originally posted: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2023/01/16/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-spiritual-awarenesslearning-to-trust-your-intuition-by-d-g-kaye/comment-page-1/#comment-659056

©DGKaye2023

Sunday Book Review – Sisters by Judith Barrow – #psychologicaldrama

My Sunday Book Review is for Judith Barrow’s brand new release – Sisters. Judith’s books never disappoint, and this new book kept me glued. This is the story of two sisters, and a huge lie that destroyed a family. The author has a talent for drawing out great characters that leave us thinking about them even after closing the book. The book is on pre-order now, release date, January 26th.

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Get This Book on Amazon

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Blurb:

A moving study of the deep feelings – jealousy, love, anger, and revenge – that can break a family apart. … Sisters is another absorbing, emotional and thought-provoking creation from the wonderful Judith Barrow.
Janet Laugharne


Two sisters torn apart by a terrible lie.In shock after an unbearable accident. Angie lets her sister Mandy take the blame, thinking she’s too young to get into trouble. But she’s wrong. Mandy is hounded, bullied and finally sent to live with their aunt, where she changes her name to Lisa and builds a new life, never wanting to see her sister again. Angie’s guilt sends her spiralling into danger. Thirteen years later, they meet again at their mother’s funeral. Lisa starts to suspect something is wrong. Angie seems terrified of her husband, and their father is hiding something too.
What does Lisa owe to the family that betrayed her?


I knew I was in for a treat. I wasn’t disappointed… I couldn’t wait to find out what happened to Lisa and Angie… A tale with characters that linger in your mind after you close the book.
Jacqueline Harrett

My 5 Star Review:

Judith Barrow strikes again with this new release, Sisters. Barrow has a talent for creating rich characters who linger with us long after we’ve finished reading the book. She is recognized for her fantastic family saga stories, and this one had me going through varied emotions as one huge lie orchestrated by elder sister Angie, for a very evil deed she committed, is pinned on her younger sister Amanda, and changes both their lives and the family dynamic forever.

I found it a gripping read as I shook my head and wanted to shake Angie even more for destroying her family over her selfish whims and passing the blame on poor Amanda. It irked me that Amanda didn’t stand up to her evil sister and tell the truth, but as Barrow so cleverly weaves this tale, she makes us understand how big sister Angie holds a grip on Amanda and talks her into good reason why Amanda shouldn’t tell on her.

The horrendous event that took place that Amanda was being blamed for, eventually has her parents sending her to Wales to live with her aunt to avoid the bullying and terrorizing Amanda endured for the awful event that took place. And wanting a fresh start, Amanda even changed her name to Lisa.

The story kept me turning the pages, hoping that Angie would speak up and tell truth, while having me shake my head thinking about how one sister can even live with herself as she watches her little sister’s life spiral and turn upside down because of her horrible actions and her coverup lies that went unchallenged. But it does seem Karma always find her way back to those as a reminder.

Some thirteen years would pass before the sisters are forced to meet up at their mother’s funeral. In between those passing years we learn about both Angie’s and Amanda’s lives. Amanda/Lisa is happy in her life living with Aunt Barb and Uncle Chris, while Angie, who ran away from home shortly after Amanda was sent to Wales, lived a tawdry life, until she meets up with her childhood crush and cohort in ‘the big lie’, Stephen Birch, now a wealthy businessman and predator in more ways than one. Once Lisa returns home from her mum’s funeral, she learns about Angie’s unhappy past and present life, with her now, abusive and dominating husband Stephen Birch. And as Lisa works on sewing up her mother’s estate, she discovers more dark secrets about Angie’s insidious husband. The story grows darker as we learn exactly what is going on in Angie’s marriage and what exactly it is Stephen wants from her – from her family.

As Stephen continues to emotionally abuse and torment Angie, Lisa’s empathy has her worrying for her sister. And by the time the next tragedy strikes in their family, Lisa begins investigating and working with an old friend, Ben, now a journalist, she teams up with to investigate just what the evil Stephen Birch is really up to.

Why is Stephen so evil? What is it he wants? What is it he has hanging over Angie’s head? Will Stephen be caught and punished for the physical abuse he caused to Angie? Will he be found discovered responsible for causing harm to the girls’ parents? How far will this deranged man go to get what he wants from these two sisters? You will find no spoilers here, and will want to keep reading to the end, anxiously waiting to see if Angie escapes Birch’s stranglehold on her and if just desserts are served.

©DGKaye2023

Writer’s Tips – January Edition – #Writing Solo Life, Fonts, Writing the End, Author Bio, #Blogging Tips

Welcome to my new year of Writer’s Tips. In this edition, Ruth Harris talks about 13 Ways to Drive a Writer Crazy; Anne R. Allen’s blog, guest writer, Jessica Bell, talks about Choosing Proper Fonts for Book Covers; Sally Cronin is rewinding her Public Relations for Authors series, – the importance of an Author picture. Hugh Roberts with a great list of 7 Ways to Clean up our Blogs for the New Year; Diana Peach, writing for the Story Empire has a helpful post for writers – Writing the End; Ruth Harris shares 6 Writing Tips from Famous Authors; Diana Urban at Bookbub shares various examples of Writing Your Author Bio.

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Entertaining post from Ruth Harris at the blog of Anne R. Allen about the concept of writing, and how many outsiders have no clue what goes into writing – including friends and family.

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Jessica Bell guest writer at the blog of Anne R. Allen’s blog – Using the right Fonts on your Book Covers

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Sally Cronin’s, Smorgasbord Public Relations for Authors Series – The importance of an Author Profile Picture and How to Create one

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Hugh Roberts with 7 ideas to clean up our blogs

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Diana Peach featured at the Story Empire, shares a post about different types of endings for books, Part II

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Ruth Harris at the Blog of Anne R. Allen, shares 6 great tips on Writing from Professional Authors

From Bookbub Insights, Diana Urban shares 20 Examples on how to Write Your Author Bio

©DGKaye2023

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Spiritual Awareness – #Karma – The Law of Cause and Effect by D.G. Kaye | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

My latest post at Sally Cronin’s Smorgasbord Blog Magazine, in my spiritual awareness column – The Law of Cause and Effect and #Karma.

Explore the spiritual side of our natures as D.G. Kaye shares her experiences and research into this element of our lives.

You can find part ten of the series: Old Souls

spiritual awareness

Welcome back to my spiritual awareness series. Today I’m going to talk about Karma, something we’ve all heard of, but perhaps we aren’t all aware about how it works.

From The Oxford Dictionary: noun. /ˈkɑrmə/ [uncountable] 1(in Buddhism and Hinduism) the sum of someone’s good and bad actions in one of their lives, believed to decide what will happen to them in the next life. good/bad karma (informal) the good/bad effect of doing a particular thing, being in a particular place, etc.

karma

Karma is a word used loosely by many, usually as a term for payback, as in: What you do will come back to you in some form at some time whether it be payback for wrongs or mean-spirited doings or reward for good deeds. But this is not exactly how karma works.

Karma is spiritual and it’s something we carry forward with us from previous existences into our next ones. If bad karma has not been resolved in a past life it accrues and will have effects in the next life. Every action we perform has a consequence. Karma can be material, moral or emotional. The intent of one’s actions generates karma.

Since I was a young girl, I was aware of the word karma and relayed it to one of my favorite cliched sayings: – what goes ‘round comes back! Karma is really energy, and we are all made from energy created as an action, not necessarily a fate, but a result. We all have the opportunity to change our karma by changing our intentions. This statement can be applied to things, such as: when we wish ill fates upon others, it can boomerang and come right back on us. Karma is ethical consequences, which determines what happens in the future of our lives. The punishment for allowing our egos to take over by wishing ill-will towards an outcome or a person is really a psychological suffering as penance for bad actions.

Many people aren’t aware that most of their actions and desires are manifested by karma – acting out of past lifetimes – what we reap is what we sow, what we focus on is what we get. We are our own karmic projection. We’ve all heard clichés like ‘be careful what you wish for because it will come back on you’. Ill-will and evil acts are paid back to us by suffering something in our own life, goodness gives us peace of mind. In essence, we perpetuate our own karma. It’s been said that the sum of a person’s karma upon their death will determine the form of existence they will take on in their next life.

An example of how karma works: perhaps someone stole someone else’s camera, that same camera may very well be stolen again from them. Or maybe, that camera may get them in trouble by some other means. Did that camera have photos of something illegal that the thief got caught with and blamed for? Karma is a strange phenomenon that works with the universe. On the same token, you may have donated something to a charity and later find you won a contest, you found twenty bucks surprisingly on the ground somewhere . . . you get the gist here – thoughts and actions always circle back around.

Karma is never instantly repaid. It is also not an impending punishment. … Please continue reading at Sally’s Smorgasbord

©DGKaye2023

Source: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Spiritual Awareness – #Karma – The Law of Cause and Effect by D.G. Kaye | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Self – Relationship and Taking Care of our Health

Welcome to a brand new year! I thought I’d kick off the year with a post to remind us all to take care of ourselves to maintain good health. No time like the present to keep ourselves in check for a healthy new year.

The most important relationship we have first and foremost should be with ourselves. If our health isn’t in great shape it can hinder much of what we do. Did you know that emotional health can affect our physical health? It’s a fact. In relation to that statement, I’m sure many of you have heard the term – ‘stress kills’. Well, it can potentially be very harmful. Just ask me, one who has gone the gamut of doctors and tests for much of the fall of 2022.

It’s easy to overlook ourselves, especially when times are tense. I’m a living testament to what self-neglect can do.  So yes, self compassion and self care is essential to live and thrive, not just to survive.

When my husband took ill, my complete focus was everything for him. Out with the old routine and scheduled self-care. While I was living on auto-pilot, I didn’t take the same care of myself I always previously did. Starting with poor diet and often, not eating. Not eating much led me to not taking my vitamins and supplements as I’d been doing for decades. My mind was solely focused on taking care of my husband. And when I’m living in stress, I’m one of those people who cannot look at food when in this mode – quite contrary to many who eat for comfort when they are stressed. Not living on a set schedule led me to random bites here and there, and often, food is required to take vitamins along with for absorbtion. Nothing to absorb left me forgetting to, and eventually, not even caring to take my supplements. So my body was becoming mal-nutritioned. Oh sure, I know better. But fear and anticipatory grief left me otherwise not caring. And there was certainly a price to pay in the fallout. So I can tell you from this experience that there is also no quick fix, but once getting back to a routine, it took many months to bring back my healthful levels in my lab tests. And still, it didn’t end there.

After losing my husband in spring of 2021, I wasn’t only an emotional wreck, but I was in poor physical health. Yes, even this good health advocate was caught in the spiral. And by summer’s end in 2021 I finally booked my overdue physical with my doctor. After she read back my labs to me, I was mortified at the results and all the changes my being had gone through. I lost a lot of hair for one. Many of my levels were red flagged. I was severely deficient in vitamin levels, especially Vitamin D. That was the biggee for me, as Vitamin D is so essential to our bodily functions, and fighting off cancers, where deficiency leaves us as an open target for cancer cells to develop. I also began experiencing ‘weird’ sensations in my heart. I often had palpitations and moments where I felt I wasn’t getting enough oxygen and I’d spontaneously cough. So I was sent to a cardiologist in the fall of 2021. I was put through a battery of tests and scans, and thankfully, nothing was diagnosed except stress causing my symptoms. The cardiologist asked me to follow up this past fall, and I did.

This time I was put through more and different tests, having me go back there and to the lab several times September until just weeks ago this past December. I was quite concerned, especially since a year had passed and my vitamin levels were brought back up by my good behavior, yet the heart symptoms were still lingering. And after the circuit of tests, I finally got a follow-up consult with the cardiologist. Thank goodness I was told there was nothing more serious going on, but I learned that there is indeed something called Broken Heart Syndrome. And though it is said that will eventually subside, it very much has the potential kill with a fatal heart attack.

There is a Japanese word for this syndrome – Takotsubo. This is a temporary form of cardiomyopathy. It can last weeks or months. Although this syndrome isn’t always fatal, it presents such symptoms of feeling tightness in the chest, palpitations, shortness of breath, and weakness in the heart muscle caused by sudden shock or acute anxiety. The body releases stress hormones which temporarily curb the heart’s ability to pump properly. Experts say that the coronary arteries that feed oxygen to the heart muscle, go into temporary spasms. Pyschological stress is a usual precursor to these symptoms. People in critical states are put on several heart medications for a temporary trial period of three months. I am grateful that I didn’t have to be prescribed such pills.

Stress kills, is a real thing. Stress comes in all shapes in forms and wreaks havoc in both our mental and physical health. We must never forget to take care of ourselves and our health, yet it’s so easy to do when life bombards us with unpleasant events, overwhelming things, and overly achieving schedules we put upon ourselves. Life is always throwing us curve balls in some aspect, so we must learn new ways to combat the overwhelming things in life. It isn’t always easy or preferred, or even thought about when we’re in the midst of a living crisis, because even when we forget about ourselves, our bodies do not forget the sins we’ve committed to them.

So what can you do to keep your healthy engines running? First and foremost, make it a point to have an annual check-up to get a scope of how well your bodies are functioning. When symptoms appear, don’t fluff them off until the “I’ll get to it eventually.” Pay attention to the signs that your bodies are sending you. Nothing happens because of nothing. There’s a reason for everything your body is telling you to pay attention to, not disregard until something escalates and potentially may become too late to repair.

In my case, it was (and is) ongoing ‘tragic’ grief that sent my body into a tailspin of symptoms. I was isolated in the depths of Covid and alone contending with my husband’s demise, and then, ultimately, the unraveling of living in that grief without him. We’ve often heard of someone losing a spouse and then not too long after, the other one dies. Grief is a stronghold that wraps around our hearts and suffocates. If it is not dealt with, it will cause a spiral of other symptoms, especially when self-neglect sets in. People who are left to wallow alone in their brokenness will ultimately pay a price somewhere with their own health. A good doctor will be so beneficial in this circumstance. The strong survive because they take action in searching for avenues that help them get through the difficult days. For me, my doctor gave me Valium for the short term to help numb the overwhelmingness I lived in. After my wake-up call with bad labs, it took about five months until my levels were back to normal again. I use meditations to take me out of myself when I feel the need. After a year, I joined a gym for both some physical goodness, and for social interaction. And of course, writing, writing is a great therapy for me, and it can be for many. You don’t need to be an author to be able to write in a journal to expel emotions, even if nobody else ever gets to read them. Words and thoughts that circle our brains sometimes need a push out of our heads onto paper. This can be quite gratifying and freeing to the soul.

It was a certainly a year of learning to get myself back into reasonable good health. The palpitations and shortness of breath moments have been lessening, but they aren’t gone yet. I take my vitamins religiously again. I also had an overdue colonoscopy a few weeks ago, and although nothing specific was found, the surgeon requested me to have more bloodwork done, and she informed me she took a few precautionary biopsies. Fingers crossed for that final result that should be back to me in a week or so. And so I shall continue on my journey of health, as I hope all of you will do the same for yourselves. 🧡

Happy New Year

©DGKaye2023

I told my doctor, now I understand how it could really happen, that someone could die from a broken heart. She said she couldn’t disagree. – Japanese word for broken heart

Sunday Book Review – #Poetry – Sorrowful Soul by Harmony Kent.

My Sunday Book Review is for a heartfelt read, – Harmony Kent’s new release – Sorrowful Soul. This book was written in free verse poetry and dedicated to the claimed, seven stages of grief – despite the stages in no way being linear – just ask me, one who is living with grief. A beautiful Calla Lilly was depicted for the cover. As the author expresses, the Calla Lilly is used for both weddings and funerals, and occasions in-between, but also represents tears as the water droplets form on the petals.

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Blurb:

f we’re lucky, we meet twilight at the front door and old age creeps in on the night breeze.

Even if we make it to our twilight years, the more we age, the more loss we must endure as part of the cycle of life. Many of these poems lament death, but they also relate to broken relationships, severed friendships, and the loss of youth. This book of grief poetry is as much about saying goodbye and working through loss as it is about death and love split asunder.

This heartfelt collection provides company and compassion through the devastating journey of loss and shows us we do not travel this lonely road alone. Within these pages we share shock, numbness and denial, catapult into anger, bargaining, depression, loneliness, and guilt, and—eventually—make the seismic shift into testing the possibility of a new normal and finding acceptance.~~~~~

Praise for Slices of Soul, Book 1 in the Soul Poetry Series:

“I found my answer in this wonderful treasure-trove and have already read it three times.” Robert Fear

“I found in Slices of Soul something approaching aesthetic bliss, a sense of being connected in some way to other states – like tenderness, kindness, ecstasy – where art is the norm.” Colm Herron

“A stunning collection of poems that I read in one sitting! Unable to simply put this down until I had read the last. I love the clarity of the short poems, such clear images created in so few words or phrases. Many of them touched my heart and I will be giving them a 2nd and 3rd read!” Audrina Lane

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Praise for Life & Soul, Book 2 in the Soul Poetry Series:

“…a wonderful and relatable look on the seasons of life and the heartbreak and happiness of love and family.” Julie

“I would highly recommend this book to anyone who’s looking for some good poetry that hits you right in the feels.” Katie

“Powerful and Enlightening: I highly recommend this volume and eagerly look forward to her next collection.” Writester

My 5 Star Review:

I couldn’t wait for this book to come out in paperback, and I wasn’t disappointed. I’m familiar with this author’s multi-genre talent in writing, and I especially enjoy her heartfelt poetry. The book is divided into what is said – the seven stages of grief. As the author points out, and I can attest to, these stages are by no means the law and order of grief and can and will be felt at various times after a loss, and in no specific order – Shock and Disbelief; Denial; Guilt; Anger and Bargaining; Depression, Loneliness and Reflection; Working Through; and Acceptance.

It’s difficult to write this type of heartfelt poetry if one hasn’t loved and lost someone or something, just as a reader won’t take in the breadth of it unless they too have lived loss themselves. But one doesn’t have to have lost someone to take in these evocative poems and feel both the love and the pain of loving and losing to stir up emotions and reiterate how precious life is. These stories in poetry speak of painful losses – death, youth and health.This is a beautiful book that one can pick up at anytime and open up a page to. A handy reference to revisit time and time again. This would be a lovely gift for someone who is grieving or for friends and relatives to offer some insight into the grieving process and the loneliness that ensues.

All these poems hit me hard, in fact, each and every poem spoke to me, especially, Borrowed Time from Part 1 – Shock and Disbelief:

“From wedding bells

To funeral dirge

From dancing and fun

To tears and disbelief

None could have known

How soon you’d be gone

We miss your smile

And loud, easy laughter

Your compassion

And unassuming friendship

From May to December

You withered away

And by the new year

We burned your bones

Scattered your pale ashes

To the fickle wind

And looking back

I still can’t believe

Nor properly grieve

From wedding bells

To funeral dirge

Where to now?”

Each and every poem resonated me as I endure my own great loss, and my compassion was lent to the author in her own stories of her losses. It’s difficult to pick out a favorite in this heartfelt read, but a few more that gave me pause, some favored quotes from:

No Words – “…I’ve died a hundred times since you left my life bereft”

The Worst Kind of Thief – “…The sparkle in your eyes ignited me whole”

Not Since – “…Didn’t sleep last night Nor the night before, Not since they carried you, Out the door”

Down Deep – “… And joy on the beach, All I feel now is the scratch of the sand, In this barren, strange, unknown land, You were my navigator, my pilot, My life’s one true love, And, oh my darling, I miss you so much”

Triggers – “a discarded shoe, an odd sock, or a simple visit to the shop, who ever knew the total and utter shock such simple things could induce?”

At the end of the book, Kent also leaves some important resource links for people who are in need of seeking help with mental anguish. I highly recommend this beautiful book full of verses of the human condition and emotion.

©DGKaye 2023