November 2010 IssueVol 2, Issue 5


I Did Not Know 

What To Say  



WELCOME EVERYONE!  In the spirit of Thanksgiving we would like to express our deep gratitude to you for being a part of the I Did Not Know What to Say Community.  We hope that our newsletter and website have provided you with useful information throughout the year.


Featured Article... This month we are pleased to feature Five Things You Can Do For a Grieving Widow by Marcy Kelly, the author of From Sorrow to Dancing.  Marcy has provided us with her insights and suggestions on how to assist a loved one that has lost their spouse.  Marcy has also partnered with Emily's Teas to provide a Cup of Comfort Tea Gift, a healing gift that can help soothe the heart of a grieving widow. 


A Little Inspiration... I am delighted to share with you the extraordinary photography of Elizabeth Linares.   Elizabeth is a dear friend of mine that has emerged out of the ashes and has created her newest work RISING PHOENIX: PHOTOGRAPHY AS A SPIRITUAL PRACTICE.   I invite you to explore her photography and feel the pure joy and love shining through each piece.


Do you have a story you would like to share?  We invite you to submit your inspirational stories, letters that have reached your heart, a favorite quote or poem, an unforgettable outing, or a book that touched your life.  We would love to hear from you.


Each month our newsletter will feature a new article giving you a different perspective on how to assist your friends and family through the grieving process. Please feel free to pass our newsletter on to anyone that may benefit from our articles and inspirational messages.

With Love & Gratitude,


Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.  It turns what we have into enough, and more.  It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.  It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.  Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow. 
~Melody Beattie


May Your Thanksgiving be Filled with Many Blessings!

In This Issue
Featured Article
Monthly Inspiration
Thoughtful Sympathy Gifts
Discussion Topics
About Us
Quick Links

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HelpingFeatured Article of the Month

Five Things You Can Do For a Grieving Widow

 by Marcy Kelly,  Author of From Sorrow to Dancing


Oh no, he didn't really DIE, did he? Her husband died and now your friend is a WIDOW.  You ask yourself what you should or shouldn't do to help and you come up blank.  Fear of saying the wrong thing paralyzes you.


Being a widow is really, really, really hard and being the friend or relative of a widow is equally hard.  I've been the widow twice in my life and I have been the friend or relative of a widow a couple of times.  Even with my personal experience of having been widowed, I found it difficult to know what to say to other widows.  So, after giving the "what do I do for the widow" question a lot of thought and trials, I have come up with several tips to pass along. 

  • Allow the widow to cry.  Widowhood equals crying.  It is just that simple.  Widows need to cry in order to relieve the stress and pain associated with loss.  Sometimes well-wishers try to stop the widow from crying rather than just sitting with her while she cries.  Stopping her from crying will lead her to "stuff" the feelings that must be released for healing. Ultimately, not crying will prolong the sadness.  Putting your hand on her arm or your arm around her shoulder while she cries will show that she is not maki
    ng you uncomfortable and will give the widow permission to cry.
  • Allow the widow to lead the conversation.  A common misconception is that talking about the person who has died will make the widow sadder and prolong her grief.  However, talking about the person who died will really allow the widow, and you, to deal with the grief.  Pretending the deceased person is "away" doesn't allow the brain to fully accept the reality thatsorrowtodancing the deceased person is never coming back.  Not accepting the fact that they won't come back keeps a widow in a state of suspended animation.  It is very hard for the widow to move into the next phase of her life when she expects that her husband will walk through the door at any time.  Talk about how he died, what life was like when he was healthy, what it was like while he was ill, and what it is like now that he is gone.  Tell funny stories and laugh.  Tell touching stories and cry.  Feel all the emotions for these emotions will cleanse the soul of sadness.  But, always, always allow the widow to determine the direction of the conversation.  If she is very sad, even good memories may be too hard to remember.  Someday she will cherish the memories but it takes a very long time to get past the pain.  Simply ask if there are any memories the widow would like to share, and then respect her answer.

  • Don't assume things about the widow.  While meaning to be comforting, people sometimes say things that are very unsettling.  Without asking whether or not the widow has enough money to stay in her home, people sometimes start talking about selling the house.  The idea of selling her house after just losing her husband can frighten a widow.  The best thing to do is to gently ask questions in order to find out how you might help the widow...don't assume anything.

  • Realize that what the widow says today may not characterize how she will feel tomorrow.  The path of grieving is never straight.  One day a widow may feel as though she is back to normal and the next day she may be unable to leave her bed due to grief.  This emotional rollercoaster is normal and takes months or years to pass.  You might be able to tell whether the widow is up or down by how she answers the phone.  However, some widows do a very good job of hiding their feelings so you may need to gently probe to see if she is at the same point she was when you last talked.  Determine what you say by what you hear in her voice and most of all, keep calling her and remain her friend even when she is down.

  • Remember that you cannot make it better or relieve her pain.  The biggest frustration of dealing with grief is that we cannot share another person's pain.  Each person must feel the pain and deal with the grief alone.  Confronting the grief is the best way to conquer it but it will still take time for the widow to move completely through the grief into the rest of her life.  The best thing you can do is to walk the lonely, painful path of grief with the widow.  She must go through this at her own pace, it cannot be rushed.  However, with the help of God and friends, a widow can move 'through' the grief into the rest of her life.  The most important word here is 'through'.  You cannot go around grief.  It is too high, deep, and wide to go around but if you feel the pain and go through the grief you will come out a stronger person on the other side.


About Marcy Kelly:

Marcy Kelly has been widowed twice by cancer and is now married for the third time.  She chronicles her story and the stories of other widows who moved through grief into the rest of their lives in her book, From Sorrow to Dancing, which is available from and through other online bookstores.  Marcy is a Life Coach who coaches widows and other women.  She can be contacted at

This Month's Inspiration

inspiration untildeath"Til Death Do Us Part"

Photographer Elizabeth Linares

Elizabeth's body of work showcases her love of light and capturing the essence while being in the moment.  Her work is up-lifting and thought-provoking. 

A self-proclaimed light chaser, Linares channels natural light and connectivity through her photographs. Whether the subject matter is nature or a person of interest, she taps into a certain essence capturing truths. Her work clearly showcases feelings of love and joy radiating from her subjects, creating intimate, almost voyeuristic experiences. The ultimate goal of her work is to convey the world as she sees it, allow others to bear witness to the beauty and truth of light, and to connect with their spiritual selves.                         

Thoughtful Sympathy Gift Ideas
Emily's Teas - Cup of Comfort Tea Gift

Emily's Teas
 has joined with author, Marcy Kelly, to introduce a new Cup of Comfort Tea Gift.  Marcy's book From Sorrow to Dancing, is an insightful book that addresses the struggle a woman faces after the loss of a spouse. It gently guides the reader through the steps of grieving so that she can refocus on living and embracing with joy her new reality. The book is packaged in a gift box with a white porcelain vintage look snack set, some Walker's shortbread cookies, Lindt truffles, sugar sticks and a large bag of Emily's soothing tea sachets. A crocheted hanky completes the presentation. When words don't seem adequate, demonstrate your love and support by presenting her with this healing and unique gift.  

Visit our Thoughtful Sympathy Gifts page for more sympathy gift ideas for your loved ones.  We hope the thoughtful gifts listed on our website inspire you to give warmth and joy to your friends and family in their time of need.

Virtual Interviews 
Posted on October 26, 2010 - Author, Carole Brody Fleet - Widows Wear Stilettos: A Practical and Emotional Guide for the Young Widow

Posted on June 28, 2010 - Author, Lori A. Moore - Missing Andy

Posted on December 10, 2009 - 
Sally Wagner, Organized Peace - Professional Organizer  
Posted on December 1, 2009 - Author, Marcy Kelly - From Sorrow to Dancing
Posted on November 8, 2009 - Author, Jean Reagan
- Always My Brother  
If you are an author or an expert in the grief recovery field and would like to be interviewed, please contact us at

To order these books and preview other inspirational books, be sure to visit our Helpful Books page.
Discussion Topics

We invite you to join our on-going discussions on our Facebook page.  Not on Facebook?  We have also posted our discussion topics on our Blog.  Current topics include: 
About I Did Not Know What To & Lori Pederson
LoriLori Pederson created I Did Not Know What To Say in April 2009 as a platform to inspire and provide resources to people that wanted to help their friends and family through the grieving process. 
Lori's expertise comes from those experiences that only life can provide.  Over the past twenty years, Lori has lost many family members, including her mother to ovarian cancer, as well as many friends, colleagues and pets.  She is no stranger to loss and the grieving process.
Throughout her life she has been blessed with many friends and relatives that were there for her as she experienced these great losses. She understands that although people want to help, they often don't know where to start.  I Did Not Know What To was created out of Lori's desire to assist people find the words when they don't know what to say or do.
You can learn more about Lori and her organization by visiting, reading her personal Blog or contacting her at:
Lori Pederson
Each week we will be adding new inspirational stories and resources to our website and Blog.   Help us reach our goal of providing inspiration and insight to the world by sharing your story or resource with our online community.  We would love to hear from you! 

Share Your Story. Please email us your inspirational stories, letters/cards that have reached your heart, a favorite quote, an unforgettable adventure, a thoughtful gift idea, a book that touched your life, or a suggestion for our website or newsletter to

If you are an author or expert in the field of grief recovery, we would love to interview you for our Blog and/or one of our upcoming newsletters.

If you have a website, Blog or newsletter, we ask that you consider including our information on your site.  Here is the link:
I Did Not Know What To Say is a website designed to inspire and provide you with tools to assist a love one through the grieving process.
With Love & Gratitude,
Founder, I Did Not Know What To Say

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