Grief and Loss: Part 5 Total Eclipse of the What?

solar eclipseIn just a few hours the total solar eclipse of 2017 will happen. My glasses are purchased and my swing is positioned for maximum viewing. I plan to take my break at 2:15, grab a sandwich and saunter outside for 2 minutes and 30 seconds of ooh and aah! Then I’ll return to my day job and the fantastic will be over.

It seems the things we look forward to pass so quickly, while the things we dread or battle through linger. Grief is that way. It’s a total eclipse of joy that doesn’t pass in 2 minutes and 30 seconds, 2 hours and 30 minutes, or even 2 years and 30 days. It takes a long time for the shadow of loss to clear our hearts and let joy shine brightly once again. Sometimes we have to camp out in the shadow and give ourselves time to process the grief.

The important thing to remember is that grief IS temporary. We shouldn’t build log cabins with all the creature comforts in the shadow of grief. We shouldn’t plan to stay. It is just a camp out. Gradually, day by day we can inch our way through the stages of grief and let joy back into our lives.

Emotive Educational Activity

Speak: I will take a step toward joy, today.

Write: Make a list. Write down 5 hobbies, activities, or sports that you once took great pleasure from. Maybe you once loved to make (eat) brownies, or go to the movies, or paint with watercolors. Choose 5 of your once and future favorite things to do.

Activity: Chances are there are still remnants of those activities in your home. Choose one thing on your list to revisit. Go dust off the golf clubs, read the brownie recipe, or check the movie listings. Take a baby step toward the joy you once experienced so vividly. If (when) you find that you are able, take another step toward that activity. The joy may not be there right away. Don’t let that deter you. Joy will return. The important things is to try, move forward. Take a small step toward reclaiming joy.

Warning: There may be a good cry accompanying this exercise. Bringing up memories that you’ve protected yourself from is going to sting. But BE BRAVE! Embrace the pain. Remember from Part 4, despair is a step in the right direction. You must go through despair before healing and acceptance will come to stay.

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LaDonna Cole, Author is a Psychiatric Nurse and Anger Management Therapist. She specializes in story therapy, creative connections, and writing books and stories that encourage recovery. Check out her books here.


Swanitude Goes Viral with a Stolen Kiss

Hans Christian Andersen wrote the critically acclaimed story “The Ugly Duckling” and was later quoted to say it was his autobiography. We all know the tale. The ugly duckling, ridiculed for looking different than the ducks all of his tender years, finally decides he has taken all he can. He’d rather throw himself at the newcomers and be killed by such beautiful creatures than live one more day as ugly. He crosses the lake and is surprised that the beautiful swans accept him. He looks at his reflection and realizes he has grown into a beautiful swan.

Such a simplistic story, with profound depth and emotional ripples. We’ve all been there. But Kelsey Keating, author of A Stolen Kiss, has reached out and given us the effing swan movement and coined the phrase “swanitude.” You have reached swanitude when you realize, “I’m not perfect, but I am a swan in the making.”

Here is what Kelsey has to say about swanitude:

Swanitude is about attitude. It’s about embracing who you are, not shying away or hiding it. It’s about accepting and loving yourself in a world that says “you aren’t good enough yet.” Swanitude is realizing that the world wants to tell you you’re an ugly duckling, when the world is wrong. You were never a duckling, but you’ve been a swan all along.

Don’t forget it. Embrace it. Embrace your effing swanitude.

Kelsey releases her fantasy novel, A Stolen Kiss, today. Grab your copy and let swanitude saturate your attitude.

KelseyA stolen kiss. An unstable curse. One big mess in the making.

Derric Harver never expected to amount to anything more than the palace stableboy, but when Princess Maria’s curse keeps her from accepting a prince’s proposal, she turns to him for help, and he doesn’t dare refuse.

With the help of a lady’s maid and a prince, Derric and Maria embark on a dangerous adventure to find the sorceress who cast the curse. Along the way they battle deadly creatures and make new friends–all the while struggling with the undeniable chemistry between them. Reaching their destination won’t be easy, but the true peril lies in the truths they’ve fought for years to keep hidden.

A Stolen Kiss is the first in the Stolen Royals Series–an adventure with magical creatures, dangerous lies, and being true to the power within.

Buy it here.

You can find Kelsey here:


Twitter: @KelseyRaeK


Join heron Facebook for the release party, where you can win goodies!

Hello 2016, I wasn’t expecting you so soon.

Can it already be the end of 2015?  I feel like I didn’t even get started on last year’s resolutions and here I am wondering what to resolve for this year.

I took a walk through memory lane (past blog posts) to see how I did on last year’s resolutions.

  1. Engage with people more.

Well this one was a success on one hand, but a fail on the other. I did engage more with my new job. In April, I took a new job as a fraud investigating medical reviewer. I spent two weeks in Nashville, meeting some awesome people and training for the new job. I love the job. The people are great. But that is about all the engagement I could handle. Several on-line groups saw little of me and those relationships are in severe need of repair.

2. Be kind.

I hope I did a bit better at this. I opened my home and heart to a long term house guest, limited my self deprecation, and spoke positive thoughts aloud. But my tongue still wagged when it should have tucked, and anger got the best of me at times.

3. Retrieve the heart that was lost.

I guess I realized the heart wasn’t lost. He always knows where to find us. He is working great things out in each of us. No exceptions.

4. Quit letting life happen to me, be a life force for others.

Wow. That was a very vague and overly optimistic resolution. All I can say about this one is that I stood up. Depression is subject to gravity. If you lie down, it covers you. When you stand up, it rolls off. Professionals call it reframing or positive thinking. It works, as long as you continue to stand.

5. Express love and gratitude without reservation.

Is there anyone in my life that I didn’t tell you that I love you this year? My friends? My family? I do and I hope I did.


I learned that resolutions are fine, but obtainable and measurable goals are better. In addition to making the above goals more measurable, I’m adding a few more attainable goals for 2016.

Here are my goals for 2016.

  1. Join a gym by 1-31-16.
  2. Actually go to the gym at least 3 days per week.
  3. Enjoy/afford a trip to Italy by June.
  4. Write/Edit at least 3 days out of each week.
  5. Publish the first installment of The Sisterhood of the Sword Saga. (Set up a timeline with incremental goals to meet editing and publishing goals for the year, by 1-31-16).
  6. Learn to play the harmonica.

We’ll check back in December to see how well these went.

What are your goals for 2016?

BHC Authors Website Release

I am thrilled to be a part of this awesome group of authors. We are connected by our publisher, Blue Harvest Creative. I am so thankful to be associated with such professionalism and abundant support. Check out our new website.

HEADLINE: New BHCAuthors Website—Connecting Readers to Authors

Blue Harvest Creative is excited to announce the next generation of independence has arrived!

BHC Authors Logo

Welcome to the BHC Authors website—a place dedicated to bringing readers and authors together. If you love to read, this is the place to be. Find a new favorite genre or author. Check out new releases and titles. Or enter a giveaway or promotion.

Here’s what you’ll find when you visit

  • Author spotlights—Get up close and personal. Enter our monthly giveaway for a chance to win autographed print titles or eBooks from featured authors.
  • Reader/ARC (advanced reader copy) Program—Love to read? Want to see new titles before they are released? Enjoy giving feedback and discovering new authors or genres? Be sure to sign up for our ARC program.

BHC Authors Reader Program

  • News and events—Check our calendar often. You never know where a BHC Author will turn up!
  • Are you a reviewer, blogger, or journalist interested in review copies or scheduling an interview? Visit our media center, and we’ll be sure to get you everything you need.
  • Librarians and booksellers can also contact us at the media center. We’re here to make your job easier.
  • If you run a readers’ group, we offer book club reader’s guides for many of our titles and we’re always adding more.
  • Purchases titles and other nifty products from our Amazon affiliate store—From books to writer’s tools of the trade, and more, you’ll find it all here, right at your fingertips.
  • Meet the BHC Authors—Many of whom have won multiple awards and are USA Today bestsellers—and get to know their work.

BHC Authors Website


  • Subscribe to our newsletter and be the first to know about new titles, promotions, events, sales, and more. We hate spam as much as the next person, so we only send out about one email per month. Our intent is not to solicit services. Our newsletters only feature information about BHC Authors.

We’re just gearing up, and we’ll be adding more exciting features. Love our website? Have an idea to share or something you’d like to see featured? We’d love to hear from you, and we appreciate and value your ideas and suggestions. Please email us at: Feedback (at) BHCAuthors (dot) com

Thanks for stopping by and supporting independently published authors!

Click HERE to visit the BHC Authors website.

Grief and Loss: Part 4 Let It Go

Photo Credit: <a href="">EMP Museum</a> via <a href="">Compfight</a> <a href="">cc</a>No, I’m not going to break out in a Disney tune. But the premise is the same.

“Auuuuuuugggggg!!!!” Can be a powerful tool. Part of the damage that grief, loss, and especially anger is allowed to do, is because we have bottled it up. We don’t want others to see us lose our composure, so we resort to short periods of leakage. We seep our way through the grieving process because people are around to be supportive and we don’t want them to see how deeply we are grieving. We try to protect ourselves from a negative reputation or protect them from witnessing the depth of our despair. How backwards is that? The very people who are there to hold us up end up being a hindrance to the grieving process. Tears moisten our lashes while we blink furiously and turn our faces away. Anger builds pressure in our chests and we release tiny spurts of it as we snap at the people we love the most.

It’s time to go nuclear.

Emotive Educational Activity #4 Go nuclear!

Speak: This one is going to be fun. No words required. Just fill your lungs with air and scream.


Write: Throw your pencil down.


Action: This works best if you have a place far away from others. Drive into the country. Bring a trusted friend if you need to. If you can’t get out to open empty fields, find a big fluffy pillow.  Fill your lungs with air and SCREAM!  Scream loud and long. Scream high and low. Dig that scream up from your toes and LET IT GO!  Scream until the ridiculousness of it all breaks through, then let yourself laugh and scream some more.

Now go pick up that pencil.

Write: How did the scream make you feel? Did some pressure come off your chest? Did you feel silly? Will you do it again?

Remember the exercise you were supposed to think about a few weeks ago? Put it in place. Start walking, running, playing tennis, Tai Chi, whatever your activity was, it is time to put the plan into literal motion. Find time today to start exercising. You will be amazed at how well this works at ridding your body of the toxins of grief. Don’t forget to hydrate!

Grief and Loss: Not So Pretty Little Liars


As writers, we often deal with what Steven Pressfield, in the War of Art, called resistance. Basically, it is our own self-sabotaging behaviors that keep us from getting the Work-in-Progress finished. Whether you are an artist, a writer, a dancer or any form of creative expressionist, as a sensitive soul you are subject to this foe.

Whether you are a sensitive soul or not, if you have experienced a major loss you will enter the stages of grief. Resistance exists in those stages.


Grief has a form of resistance called denial. It is smart. Grief knows the minute we start to accept loss, that despair will take over. Since despair sounds like such a horrible thing, we resist it with everything we have. The truth is that despair is the first sign you are moving toward acceptance and healing. We don’t need to fear it.

Ah, but resistance in the form of denial doesn’t know that. Grief and Loss have adopted denial as the major weapon against despair. And it’s a sadistic weapon that turns on you, jabbing you in the most vulnerable places. Every lie you’ve every believed about yourself will emerge.

Some common lies that grief uses.8342876469_93541f5610_b

“I deserve this loss.”

“I’m a bad person.”

“I don’t deserve happiness.”

“There is something wrong with me.”

“I’m not good enough.”

“It’s all my fault.”

“I can’t cope.”

“I’m too weak, frail, fragile…”


Recognizing the lies is hard when your thoughts are clouded by pain, questions, and confusion. But these lies will lead you down the path of depression where ruts are formed in your psyche. Once you fall into the ruts, it’s very hard to climb back out. NOT IMPOSSIBLE, but difficult.


If you find you are already there, stuck in a cycle of self-deprecation, you can take steps to end the cycle. If you are just entering the stages of grief, these steps can help you recovery more quickly.

Start here.

Emotive Educational Activity: 3 Confront Lies


“I can’t do this.”

Grief crawls out of the shadows and pokes at you. Often it will lie to you and make you feel the situation is too big. Try to recognize the lies for what they are.

Speak: I will recognize lies. I will not be deceived.

Write: Make your own list of lies you have heard from loss and denial over the last few days. Beside them, write the truth.


Action: Today we are going to shop. Find something tangible to represent the loss. Choose an object that will fit into your palm or that you can wear or place in a pocket. Some ideas: an inexpensive bracelet or ring, a coin for your pocket, a lock of hair, a dried flower petal, a cheap locket. Make it something you will not mind losing, but also not mind having on your person. It will be with you for a while. You can shop around your house, Macy’s is not required. Once you locate your memorandum, associate it with a good memory. (For me it was a glass beaded bracelet on elastic. I associated it with fishing trips I had taken with my dad.) Now, put it on, pocket it. Every time a lie assaults you, touch the memorandum and let the beautiful memory remind you of the truth~ Joy is real and mine for the taking.

Grief meme

LaDonna Cole RN BSM CART is an RN Psych Nurse, specializing in Grief Recovery. She writes therapeutic stories to motivate readers through the journey of grief to recover joy. See more of this Grief and Loss series here.