Monday, September 23, 2013

Achievement after tragedy, continued...

Photo from; cover design by Jay Highum, Action Graphic Design, Rochester, MN

Click on the below article link for background information to this blog post:

Harriet Hodgson continued the interview.

In her words, “Because I’m a non-fiction writer, I searched for resources that might help me. But I didn’t find much practical information about coping with multiple losses. I wasn’t looking for someone’s PhD thesis, I was looking for information to help me make it to the next hour. Since I had experienced the death of my parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends, I was familiar with bereavement and knew I had to start with the pain. I faced the pain of multiple losses head-on. One week after my daughter and father-in-law died, I sat down at the computer and made two promises to myself. One, grief would not be the winner of the joust; life would be the winner. Two, I would write my way through grief. Writing helped me identify problems, find solutions, and move forward on the recovery path.”

She discussed her busy life. “Raising teens while grieving for four family members has been the greatest challenge of my life, a challenge I accepted gladly. Still, providing healthy, made-from-scratch meals, attending gymnastics meets, high school concerts, and other events, required a tremendous amount of energy. Some of my friends told me I would have to give up writing in order to care for my grandkids. I loved to write and refused to do this. Instead, I got up at the crack of dawn, around 4:45 a.m., wrote for an hour, gave the twins breakfast, and resumed writing after they had gone to school. My husband drove them to school in the morning and I picked them up in the afternoon. After the twins had their driver’s licenses they drove their mother’s car to school."

Harriet is appreciative of her relationships with her grandchildren.

With a renewed spirit, she persevered, “The minute I said, ‘You’re coming home with us,’ I knew my life had changed forever. My husband and I realized that raising our grandkids was our new mission in life and it was, and continues to be, a sacred mission. Seeing life through a teenager’s eyes again has been an amazing experience. I don’t take a minute of life for granted. Though our guardianship was rescinded when the twins turned 18, we are still involved in their lives. Our home is the home they return to and now enjoy. I never had any computer training and it’s been wonderful to have two computer “technicians” in the house.”

Her advice for others suffering loss, “I think they have to start with the happiness decision and believe they can be happy again. People who have experienced tragedy also have to take steps to help themselves. In order words, they identify their “grief work.” Writing is one of the best ways to do this. You don’t have to be a professional writer, you just have to write regularly. Over time, this helps you see where you are on the recovery path and identify the proactive steps you need to take.”

Harriet’s advice for who are raising their grandchildren, “I think GRGs (and there are millions of them) need to remember that they are not parent substitutes or trying to replace parents. They are grandparents and doing what grandparents do – protecting and loving the next generation. Keeping a sense of humor also helps.”

Her closing words, “I’ve written hundreds of grief recovery articles and they’re posted on  I also serve as a Forum Moderator and Contributing Writer for I’m the author of eight grief recovery resources:

·      Seed Time: Growing from Life’s Disappointments, Losses, and Sorrows, in production now and available in late Oct. from Amazon.
·      Help! I’m Raising My Grandkids: Grandparents Adapting to Life’s Surprises, available from Amazon
·      Happy Again! Your New and Meaningful Life After Loss, available from Centering Corporation, WriteLife, and Amazon.
·      The Spiritual Woman: Quotes to Refresh and Sustain Your Soul, available from Centering Corporation.
·      101 Affirmations to Ease Your Grief Journey: Words of Comfort, Words of Hope, available from Amazon.
·      Writing to Recover: The Journey from Loss and Grief to a New Life, available from Centering Corporation.
·      Writing to Recover Journal (with 100 writing prompts), available from Centering Corporation.
·      Smiling Through Your Tears: Anticipating Grief, Lois Krahn, MD, co-author, available from Amazon.

           I also give grief recovery talks and workshops and have spoken at The
           Bereaved Parents of the USA national gathering, Association for Death
           Education and Counseling national conference, and The Compassionate
           Friends national conference.”

Harriet’s contact information:
Email:    Phone: 507-252-5939   
Readers may learn more about my eight grief resources by visiting    

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