Musings, Conversations & Cross Posts

Where Have I Been?

Jess, Jim, Theo, Julia and Me at Mel and Steve's wedding Sept 2017

by Mary Beth Del Balzo, LCSW, CHt

If you are reading this, you may not know that this has been a tough year for me and my family.  I lost my Dad Ernie at age 86 in March and my husband Jim at age 62 in September.  In struggling to find meaning in their deaths, as well as my feelings of being the one to survive, I was rendered exhausted and without thoughts, but full of feelings that were inexpressible.  Actually many still are.  A little over three months later, I am just beginning to actually accept that Jim is not coming back to the physical realm.  

However, as a person who believes that life goes on after we leave our body, I know that Jim is around.  

I have two adult daughters who are also shaken and missing their dad fiercely.  We are working hard to get through the Christmas holidays.  We are not trying to fill the time with false joyfulness, while at the same time we are finding moments of love and tenderness.

Crosspost - 5 Hard Lessons I Learned About Life after my Husband Died at 35

Me, Julia, Jim and Jess in July 2018

By Christina Rasmussen

used with kind permission of Christina Rasmussen

In the days, weeks and months that followed my 35-year-old husband’s death, I swung between mind-numbing grief and an insatiable search for him, for his essence.  One moment I was painfully sad, the next moment I was hunting for his ghost, spirit body, soul—anything that was him.

Even though I’d been brought up Greek Orthodox, my religious background didn’t help me.  In fact, immediately trying to apply my faith to my dire circumstances actually deepened my doubts about what faith really meant to me, my two young daughters, and life in general, that someone we loved dearly was now in a place called heaven, or the afterlife.

The journey that started the day my husband died has been the most important journey of my life.  I spent those first few years after his passing barely surviving.  Living day in and day out inside a  (more…)

Seeking Peace & Energy During the Holidays

Chan's PooPoo Platter!

by Mary Beth Del Balzo, LCSW, CHt

During this holiday season in particular, the usual traditions have been difficult to maintain.  So, I realized that it is just not necessary to stick with the same old.  

I felt it might be a good idea to change things up this year.  I always hosted Christmas Eve for family.  My daughter Julia ( offered to host this year, and I am grateful to be playing clean up.  Shout out to my son-in-law Theo who generously went along with whatever we girls have decided.

My sisters & family have been a source of comfort and help, and dear friends reach out to check in.  Love and blessings to you all!!

For Christmas, we are going to see the new movie Mary Poppins Returns and eat dinner at Chan's in Ridgefield, NJ

Making these plans have allowed me to feel a little less stressed.  This in itself has allowed me to feel less exhausted which we all feel during "normal" holiday times.

I have also allowed myself extra time to send out thank you cards, and have opted out of sending holiday cards this year too.  How do you cope during the holidays?  

Jess and Eli by the tree!

Jess and Eli by the tree 2018


Me Karen and Nancy at Jenn's wedding!

Me, Karen and Nancy at Jenn and Brent's wedding