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FitBloggin’ & My Podcast With Kimberly Snyder

Deepak Chopra MD with me in New York City - June 8, 2016

 Deepak Chopra, MD, FACP & Kristin Meekhof – New York City, June 8, 2016

Dear Friends,

I’m excited to share with you that I will be sharing I.L.L.U.M.I.N.A.T.E. – 10 Pillars For Overcoming Any Setback at the annual Fitbloggin’ conference. During a June podcast with New York Times best- selling author Kimberly Snyder, I spoke about I.L.L.U.M.I.N.A.T.E. and how integrating even one of the pillars will open the door to abundance.

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Intent.com

Kristin Meekhof writes about her experience as a panelist at The Parliament of World Religions, and shares a bit about the valuable conversation she had with Dr. Robert Gunn in this Intent.com blog.

A few weeks ago I had the honor of being a panelist at The Parliament of World Religions conference in Salt Lake City. The Parliament of World Religions held its first conference in 1893, and since this date has attracted such remarkable speakers including: His Holiness The Dalai Lama, former president Jimmy Carter, Dr. Jane Goodall, Dr. Vandana Shiva, and Dr. Eboo Patel.  [Read More]

Interview with Kristin Meekhof

Kristin Meekhof was interviewed by Super fab magazine and talks about the physical effects of grief in general and then discusses how her own lost impacted her health. Interview is in this link.

Can you die of a broken heart? At first, this might sound like a song title or dramatic story line. In actuality, there is such a thing as broken heart syndrome and author Kristin Meekhof knows it all too well. [Read More]

Refinery 29

I was honored to be included in Refinery 29 ‘s piece, “What to Say in Life’s Most Difficult Situations.” They featured five troubling situations and offer words of wisdom on how to handle these sensitive situations.  We all know that it is often a struggle to come up with the right words to say and just as tough to show support. My thoughts were included in the fifth situation, What to Do and Say When Someone You Know is in Grief. You can read the piece here .

Psychology Today

Hello Friends, I am honored to announce that I’ve started writing for Psychology Today. A few of my pieces have been featured as Must – Reads. Here is one of my recent pieces “9 Things Success- Oriented People Do”. You can read the piece here and then visit me here as well. I’d love to address any issues or topics that you are curious about. Please contact me at Kristin@kristinmeekhof.com

Gratitude and Grief: Kristin’s ThankList

When we launched the ThankList, we knew that we would likely hear compelling stories of gratitude from others. Once the concept of a ThankList is explained, it’s hard not to start creating the mental list of those who have had an impact on our lives. But the outpouring of support for our mission and desire from our fan base for their stories and voices to be heard has been truly humbling.

One of those conversations revealed a compelling, inspiring story that we wanted to share here with you.

In 2007, Kristin Meekof’s husband Roy was diagnosed with advanced stage adrenal cancer. Yet somehow, despite the grim prognosis and enduring an aggressive treatment schedule, Kristin found Roy not only accepting of his diagnosis, but relishing in moments of gratitude for the life he’d been given.

He never said, “Why me?”. Instead, he said, “Why not me?”

Despite being widowed at age 33 only 8 weeks after his initial diagnosis, it was Roy’s open heart and attitude of gratitude that has stayed with her. She says that he taught her that gratitude is the answer to nearly every question. Inspired by both his spirit and her ability to turn something tragic into something beautiful, we had a few questions we wanted to ask about Roy and his legacy.

Q: Tell us a little about your husband Roy.

Kristin: Roy was a middle school teacher, a veteran, and a gentle soul. My husband lived with an open heart and very much believed in living in the light, literally and figuratively. Before we were married we exchanged gratitude lists with each other via email, so thankfulness wasn’t something foreign to him. It was part of his being.

{Gratitude when you are diagnosed with terminal cancer

is bringing light out of a very dark well.

In this light of gratitude is the place that he dwelled. }

 

Q: Do you think he knew how he changed you? Did you ever get to say thank you?

Kristin: I would like to think that he knew that his presence, our marriage, our friendship changed me, but I don’t know if he knew how deep it was. Since we were in the habit of exchanging gratitude lists, something we started before we were married, I did say thank you.

And since my late husband’s death, I make it a point to give a handwritten thank you cards to my dear friends because their kindness matters to me. It is important to put these things in writing and thank you cards are a beautiful gesture of kindness.

Q: How has your life changed because of his perspective?

Kristin: With gratitude comes an openness and a sense of bravery. About three years ago, I decided that I wanted to co-write a book for widows of all ages, and I interviewed many widows about their experiences. The widows were incredibly generous with their time and thoughts and for each of them I am eternally grateful. It is all bittersweet because the impetus for this research and book is loss, but gratitude made it possible. Gratitude opened the door for this book project and as a result I’ve formed some incredible friendships.

Q: If you could speak to him today, what would say?

Kristin: I would tell him that I still think of him daily and continue to love him. I would thank him for teaching me that gratitude is the answer to nearly every question.

I think he would be surprised to know that I co-wrote a book, and then I’d explain that I decided to write the book for widows so that they would feel less alone. Then, I would talk about all of the beautiful people who helped me with this three year project, and some of the gorgeous opportunities that I’ve been given.

Kristin is a Huffington Post contributor and co-author of the book A Widow’s Guide to Healing: Gentle Support and Advice for the First 5 Years. As a part of her dedication to helping grieving widows around the world, she’s traveled to Kenya with a charity organization.

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5 Things Not to Say to a New Widow

“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.” — C. S. Lewis, “A Grief Observed”

Death is a topic that can clear out a room of even the most kindhearted people. Just mention any of the following words — passing, mortality, funeral, burial, death — and people get nervous. Very few individuals are comfortable with holding an honest conversation about death, and even fewer know what to say to a new widow.

In 2007, I was just 33 when my husband, Roy, was diagnosed with adrenal cancer. About eight weeks later he died. Although I knew that his death from advanced cancer was inevitable, once he died, my entire being became depleted. I learned that death is like an amputation, and new life does not just grow back. Death does damage and at times for a widow, the grief is unspeakable.

Over three years ago, I decided I wanted to write a book for widows of all ages so that they would feel less alone. However, I didn’t want this to be a typical book about grief and loss. Instead, I wanted to learn first-hand from other widows from all different backgrounds about their experiences. I along with my co-author psychologist James Windell spent over three years talking with widows about their initial moments of grief and then their long-term emotions accompanied with loss.

Although each widow’s experience at her husband’s funeral or memorial service is unique, there were common things that I, along with other widows experienced. One of the common threads that all widows experienced were having to bear witness to uncomfortable comments. Sometimes, people do say the wrong things, and it stings.

5 Things Not to Say to A New Widow — These Are Not In A Particular Order

1. “Your husband is no longer in pain.” This is a case of stating the obvious. No matter what disease a widow’s husband may have endured, the fact of the matter is that a widow is well aware that he is not in pain. However, she is in unrelenting pain. A type of pain that pushes her to the outermost limits of her being and keeps her there with no immediate relief. She is in a very dark passage of hell. The emotional pain is that intense.

2. “You are not alone.” In so many ways a widow is alone. There can be a room full of family and close friends and yet not one person is experiencing exactly what she feeling at that moment. My late husband was my best friend and my main emotional support. We were a couple, and then I was alone. In my case, two minus one equaled one thousand. Those days and weeks following his funeral felt like an emotional ground zero. The loss was that deep. I felt that I was in a distant world far removed from all others. It is not a world that once a widow enters she can’t easily exit.

3. “I know what you are going through, Joan.” I’m making up this name, so you can go ahead and replace it with any widow’s name. Unless you have been widowed and even then each circumstance by which a woman is widowed is so unique, please refrain from this comment. If you have said this and the widow give you a blank stare, it is not because she agrees with you it is because she is using every ounce of restraint she has not to give you a piece of her mind. And for the common good of all concerned, please under no circumstance try to one up her with some loosely related story of a widow you once knew.

4. “He is in a better place.” I heard this over and over again. And I know other widows heard similar things. All religious beliefs set aside, the only place a widow knows is the one she is presently in. And it is without her husband. This place that a husband’s death has taken a widow is to one of vast isolation where the sounds of loneliness are inaudible.

5. “Give it time and you will feel better.” I’ve learned from widows that grief doesn’t have a finish line. The husband’s death will always be a part of her. I’ve found in talking with widows that many professionals and non-widows believe that grief is over in one year. However, I’ve found in doing research that quite the opposite is true. During the first year, widows are just trying to survive their first sets of holidays and cope with the daily stressors of widowhood. The second year, widows are deeply assessing all that is lost. They realize that it is so much more than their husband that they lost. They lost their emotional security, many friendships, perhaps even a home. These secondary losses, as many call them, are painful and compound the grief process.

There are few words to adequately describe the grief a new widows endures. If you must say something, be honest and offer, “I don’t know what to say. I am so very sorry. I am here for you.” And then for the widow’s good be there. Sit next to her. Hold her hand. Hug her. Bring her whatever she wants and don’t judge. Put your arms around her and listen to her. Don’t be afraid of her tears or silence. Sometimes the deepest laments are silent.

Kristin Meekhof is a Licensed Master’s Level Clinical Social Worker. She graduated from the M.S.W. program at the University of Michigan. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in psychology from Kalamazoo College. Her forthcoming book, “A Widow’s Guide To Healing: Gentle Support And Advice For The First Five Years” can be found here