What insight can you share to someone who is hurting?

1.   Allow yourself to let your emotions just happen. When you feel like crying it is okay, if you feel depressed, give yourself permission to feel that way. If one day you are happy, there is nothing wrong with that so don’t feel guilty. We all are different and therefore we all deal with grief differently and that is okay. Allow yourself permission to feel however you need to feel.
2.   If no one is reaching out to you, then you need to reach out to someone you trust. People aren’t taught what to do when someone dies, and as a result most people tend to shy away from the griever not knowing what to say, so they think it is better not to say anything. The reality is the griever needs personal contact with others now more than ever. So if you suddenly find yourself all alone, call a friend or family member to spend time with. Maybe you need a hug, you need to cry with someone, or you just need someone to talk to.  Maybe you just want another person there with you. If you are not getting what you need—ASK. This is very important.
3.   You need to connect and lean on God, or whatever your belief system is. This is the time to connect to your spiritual side.  Go to church, pray, sing songs, sit quietly in your garden and meditate, whatever works for you, do that as it helps you to find comfort from a spiritual source.

Where are grievers making their biggest mistake?

Grievers tend to make their biggest mistake by acting like everything is fine; isolating themselves from everyone; or possibly falling into despair and a deep state of depression. One important thing I did (many years after the loss of my family) was I finally saw a therapist. I had a pre-conceived idea that seeking help from a therapist meant I was acknowledging that I was crazy. This is the farthest thing from the truth.  You are seeking out professional help to provide you with tools to better assist you in processing your loss. Admitting to yourself that you don’t need this help is foolish as we all need help from time to time. I can personally say I wish someone would have encouraged me to see a counselor after the accident as I really needed the help.

What have you learned from speaking with women about your book?

I am learning that we all have our own stories, our own heartbreaks and disappointments.  It’s not about my story being more horrific than anyone else’s story, as you can’t compare pain and shouldn’t, as pain or loss is all the same, but it is about learning to open yourself up to another person. Even though we all deal with our pain differently, I want women to know that if I can share my story as revealing and raw as it is with very intimate thoughts to women I don’t know , then they too can bring their walls down and share with another woman. There is strength in sharing and we can learn to hug one another, to lean on one another, to hold their hand or just be able to sit and listen, then we can help each other live through the pain. Trusting another person and allowing yourself to be vulnerable and to share what you are feeling is empowering and will definitely help you to rise above the pain.

Why did it take you so long to write your memoir?

I was afraid to face those demons yet again and I wasn’t sure I could write it in a positive manner. I have always been a positive person and if I was going to tell my story, I needed to be able to do so in a way that would help the reader. God helped me to know when I was ready. Healing can take a long time, especially if you keep getting injured. Emotional I am in a very strong place which allows me to feely discuss my pain and encourage women to live through their pain.

Do you still grieve for your lost loved ones?

Of course I do, just not in a way which paralyzes me anymore. Maybe grief isn’t the right word as I believe they are in Heaven and suffering no more of worldly problems. I miss them every day but always look around and find something that reminds me of them and makes me smile. I actually now have joy in my heart and wouldn’t bring them back if I could as I think that would be selfish of me.  When my time on Earth is done, I think I will be very excited as I have a whole family of Angels just waiting to take me down the final path home.

If you could share one message of wisdom with others, what would it be?

I would tell anyone to really live in the moment. We never know how much time we have or how much time anyone else has. To remain bitter, depressed, sad, lonely, mad, angry, etc. only cheats ourselves of the joy God wants us all to feel in our hearts every day. This doesn’t mean we don’t experience those feelings as we are human and we are at times lonely, sad, angry, etc.  But what I am trying to say is don’t stay in a negative emotion. You must fight it to get back to something positive otherwise you just begin to sink deeper in your problems.  There is always something you look around and be grateful for. I have always been able to think of my parents and who they were and what they did and how they raised me, and I have always felt blessed beyond words to have been their daughter for 16 years. Many people don’t have those types of parents and I did, praise God!

If you have any questions or comments, please email me at Author@CathyAKurtz.com or call me at (360) 928-5015.  I am also available for speaking engagements, connecting via email or phone to book clubs or author signing events.