May 7, 2009
Volume 1, Issue 21

  • Note From Ann
  • Featured Article: What to Say... When You Don’t Know What To Say by Lori Pederson
  • Ann Recommends
  • About Ann


I got to meet Lori Pederson, via Twitter, last month and asked her to write today’s article for me. Lori is the founder of I Did Not Know What to Say, a web site that’s built to inspire you and provide tools to help a loved one through the grieving process. 

It seems like there have been a lot of deaths in our community lately, so I thought it would be helpful to get some tips on how to express sympathy, when so many aren’t sure. I love Lori’s message and hope you do too. Be sure to share with me your tip for expressing this very personal greeting and I may post them on the blog, Caregiver Corner.

Now that the weather is cooperating, I have increased my exercise routine and am about to float away with all the water I’ve been drinking! I know, I love the healing properties of the lakes and oceans, but drinking tons of the H20 is getting to me! 

I hope that whatever spring activity has your attention is going swimmingly!

Onward and upward,


P.S. Don’t forget my Mother Loss teleseminar coming up May 11. Read on for details; it is not too late to sign up and receive some tips for coping.

What to Say... When You Don’t Know What To Say by Lori Pederson

When my mother passed away, I received a card from a friend of mine that touched me so deeply that I can still remember it 15 years later. The card was humorous and the note he wrote had the perfect balance of empathy, humor and reality. You see, Chris had lost his father about a month before I lost my mom, and he knew intimately what I was going through. This card was the cornerstone to developing the website  I wanted to encourage people to be thoughtful and supportive of their friends and family when they are going through a great loss. The topic of death is difficult and many people “freeze” when it comes up. Our website is dedicated to helping people find the words when you don’t know what to say.

Put your heart into it. There are many ways to express your deep concern and support for a friend or family member when they have lost a loved one. I have found that when you put your heart into what you write, it makes all the difference. One of the cards I received simply said, “I just wanted you to know that I have been thinking about you all week, and I will keep you in my prayers.” It was from a friend’s mother that I did not know very well, but I was so touched that she would take the time to send a card. I could feel the love and sincerity in the note and it made a lasting impression on me. 

Know your audience. People have many belief systems when it comes to death, grief and the burial process. Religion, culture, family experiences, personality, the age of the person and their gender can all impact how they handle the grieving process. It is important to take these factors into consideration when offering your support. This is not a time to “preach” to someone. It is a time to reach out and open your heart.

Offer your support. The most fundamental thing you can offer someone in grief is your support.  My friend, Michele, sent me this note after my mom passed away,“We will be there to do those things you are not able to” and she really was. She helped make phone calls to my family the night my mom passed away, she was there at the memorial service, and was there through all the ups and downs as I recovered from this great loss.

I have found that most people appreciate knowing you care about them and that you are there to support them. A simple note of encouragement like this one can make all the difference: “Please know that I'm willing to help you out in any way you might need me to during this difficult time. I'd love to bring your family dinner or take you out for coffee if you ever need to talk.”

My old roommate used to send me cards on my mom’s birthday as a reminder that she was thinking of me. My aunt sends her sister-in-law a card on the anniversary of her son's death just to let her know that she is not alone.  

I am deeply appreciative of all the love and encouragement I have received from my friends and family through the many losses in my life.  My greatest hope is that everyone receives that kind of deep support when they are going through a loss.

© 2009 Ann Leach

Want to use this article in your E-zine or on your web site? You can, as long as you include the following blurb with it: Life Preservers’ director, Ann Leach, publishes In the Flow, a bi-monthly publication that supports, nudges and informs both family and professional caregivers. If you’d like FREE tips on supporting yourself and others as they ride the waves of change that grief brings, visit

Are you coping with money loss at home or in your business? Then you’ll want to claim your FREE CD, The Ebb and Flow of Money: Ideas for Coping With its Changing Tides now! They’ve been flying off the shelf since last issue’s offer and there are only 6 copies left!

Ann, I just listened to the CD and it is very good! You have included some unique ideas of handling the ebb and flow of money. I especially liked the Prosperity Prophecy (oral utterance) and how this connects to our attitude/mindset. I look forward to more wise words from you!  T.M. Briggs

Listen in as Ann shares how the current economic times call for a grief recovery like no other.

You’ll learn:

$ How to shift from ‘fearful’ to ‘grateful’
$ How to determine your true needs and wants while still having it all
$ Where your money truly comes from (hint: it’s not your job!)
$ Michael Beckwith’s No Worry Diet
$ And MORE!

To receive your complimentary copy, simply email Ann here with your name and mailing address. This gift is Ann’s way of giving back a little comfort in your time of money grief. Implement these ideas today for a more peaceful tomorrow!

Coping with the loss of your mom?    

Free teleseminar on Tuesday, May 11 at 8:00 p.m. CST                  

To honor the memory of mothers everywhere, Ann is offering a FREE teleseminar entitled Mother May I? Giving Yourself Permission to Climb Back in the Boat after the Loss of your Mother. In this 45-minute call, you will explore the impact of this loss on your own life, get Ann’s top 3 tips for coping and launch a personal grief recovery plan to help you swim instead of sink under the emotions of grief. Sign up here to claim your spot and receive call-in details. It’s a FREE call!

Ann Leach is a life coach, freelance writer and director of Life Preservers: a global grief support community. She is a certified grief recovery specialist and founded the Cancer Support Network when living in Illinois, where she facilitated support groups for those living with cancer and AIDS and their caregivers.

An only child, Ann lost both parents to cancer and, by the time she was twelve years of age, had lost every male in her life through death. Ann’s experiences with loss have shaped her approach to life, causing her to celebrate each moment and explore what’s truly important for her life. She started Life Preservers as a way to support others in doing the same and to have a global impact on how our current society views death and the emotions associated with it.

You can learn more about Ann and her organization’s outreach by visiting, reading her personal blog here or contacting her at:

Ann Leach
2674B Meadow Lane
Joplin, Mo. 64801


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