Meet Cindy Maxted from Mid-Atlantic Mindfulness

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I am so excited to welcome Cindy back to southern Maryland for the “Finding and Sharing Peace with Mindfulness” program on Friday, October 18th. If you’ve heard about mindfulness but you’re not sure what it is or how to start practicing it, this program is for you! Consider joining us at the Old Village Barn in Mechanicsville for an evening of serenity and learning. Just follow the Register link to reserve your space!

Here’s some info about Cindy Maxted:

Cindy Maxted has spent her life in the mind, body, spirit field. She has over 25 years of experience working with children and families as a registered nurse in the neonatal ICU, Operating Room, and School Nursing with a degree from Georgetown University. As a certified Mindful Educator/Yoga instructor in conjunction with Johns Hopkins D-stress Baltimore, she has taught over 400 young people, teachers, and parents in Baltimore City schools. As a nurse, coach, and yoga teacher she has integrated Mindfulness throughout her career. Currently, Cindy is teaching meditation and mindfulness in schools, corporations, and both individual and group settings. Cindy has an interest in advancing the health and well-being of individuals and communities by bringing awareness, compassion, and joy to their lives. Mindfulness gives you the skills to thrive in all areas of life, even the very challenging ones.

It’s Summertime and Someone is Missing

What comes to mind when you think of summertime? Picnics, road trips, family reunions, a trip to the ocean or lake…or simply a break from normal routines. But for those grieving the loss of a loved one it can feel like the absence of their special person is magnified. Many summertime activities focus on being with family and friends and building memories. Of course everyday life is hard enough when you’re missing someone but something doesn’t feel quite right when the focus is on togetherness and fun. It’s blatantly obvious that someone is missing and that life will never be the same.

So what do you do about it? Do you cancel all future summer plans? Do you never again rent the same beach house that your family has enjoyed for the past 10 years? Do you stop attending every gathering, pool party or picnic? Well, if that’s what you need to do, do it. If you need to change things up or take a break this summer (or the next or the next…) or start new traditions at some point, do it. I am a firm believer in nurturing yourself and validating your grief. Making space for your grief is essential to your healing. It can be so tempting to isolate and avoid anything that makes us feel too sad-while there is validity in doing so sometimes, it’s also important to balance these feelings. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, I like to think of it as “making adjustments.” You’re adjusting to life without a loved one and it’s unbearable at times. Even if you’ve experienced the loss of  loved ones before, each relationship was unique therefore each grief experience is unique.

Summertime may look and feel completely different for you now. Be gentle and kind with yourself, make those adjustments as you navigate unchartered territory.

Experiencing The Loss of a Loved One Who Is Still Alive

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A few days ago I posted about dementia on my professional Facebook page. It was evident that this is a topic that affects many people. How can it be that we grieve the loss of someone with dementia while they are still here?? I know from personal and professional experience that this is real-almost surreal. This is a very unique type of grief and loss that deserves it’s own category. Not only are people who have a loved one with dementia dealing with stressful care giving, they are trying to wrap their minds around the unpredictability and frustration that accompanies a diagnosis of dementia. Watching their person slip away before their eyes and knowing that they won’t “recover” is heart wrenching. This type of grief is experienced by care givers, friends and family twice, once as they person exists with the disease and again when they die. I wish that I had some super hopeful words of wisdom to make it all better but this is just so very difficult. One thing that is helpful is being able to appreciate the times when a moment of clarity appears and the person with dementia returns to their old self and remembers a name or memory. These are like little gifts although they may feel like a tease also. Laughter is also helpful, sometimes being able to laugh at something in the moment can alleviate some stress. What’s that old saying, “Sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying?” Crying has it’s place too, it can help relieve stress and force us to be in the moment. Finding a friend who will be present and listen (not try to fix it) is probably one of the most effective things you can do. If you would like to share your experience of grieving the loss of a loved one who is living with dementia, please share here. You never know, someone reading may need to hear your story…..If you would like to schedule a complimentary in person consultation with me, I can be reached at melinda@melindaruppert.com or 240-298-2442.

Loving, Remembering and Honoring

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You may have seen my posts for “An Evening of Remembrance” at Flora Corner Farm. This program is on Sunday, June 9th from 6-7 pm. Over the past few years I have met people who either did not have a chance to attend a funeral ceremony for a loved one (or there was not a ceremony to attend) or they have had a desire to set aside a special time to honor the memory of a loved one but they weren’t sure how to do that. I thought that this type of program may be a nice way to honor our loved ones through music, solitude and memories all in a beautiful and serene setting in the country.

A few weeks ago I wrote about signs and symbols and how those things can keep us connected to our loved ones. This is another one of those ways. A common concern among grieving people is that they fear that they will forget certain things about their loved one as time goes on…the sound of their voice, what their laugh sounded like, special memories or milestones. Setting aside a time devoted to thinking about them in this way is something that I often recommend. Looking at pictures, watching videos, listening to their favorite music or reading texts or love notes or simply just connecting with them in whatever ways appeal to you. It doesn’t matter how many years your loss has been, you can still practice this. Memory can be a gift yet it can also be very painful too at times.

If you would like to connect with your loved one through honor and memory, consider joining us for “An Evening of Remembrance.” There is no fee for this program but I do ask that you register here on my website. The evening will include a special reading of names, music, desserts and a small remembrance token. We will have a place to display pictures of loved ones if you would like to bring a picture (maximum size 8 x 10 and unframed). I will also have a memory tree to display special memories. Please share with anyone who may be interested!

So what about cardinals, feathers and pennies?

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The topic of “signs and symbols” has been on my heart for a long time. So many times when talking with a client who is grieving the loss of their loved one, this inevitably comes up. I feel honored to hear these stories of ways that people connect with the loved one they are missing. Over the years I have heard many accounts of mysterious “coincidences,” things that are really hard to explain in a logical sense. Stories of coins that appear out of nowhere, butterflies that land on someone’s shoulder and stay there for a long time, dragonflies that seem to suddenly appear and follow someone around. So many fascinating and moving stories…..And my own story, my husband and I were in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina a few years ago and we happened to end up a random casual restaurant for lunch. We were told to seat ourselves at an outside patio. After debating between two different tables, we sat down at the one my husband preferred (THAT never happens!). Once we were seated, my husband looked down and right in front of him on the table was written “Brogan.” Brogan is the name of our son who passed away in 2012. Brogan also happens to be a fairly unusual name, right?! Here’s a picture:

Brogan MB

These signs and symbols can feel like little ‘Hellos” from your loved one! They are a wonderful way for us to stay connected to them; these are the things that forever link us to them and them to us. After all, death does not end a relationship.

PS. My logo has a little bee in the center of the design. We used to call Brogan “Little B” and we often have bee encounters. I would love to hear some of your stories of connection! Please feel free to share!