Fund Me Too

The original concept of crowdfunding was to get people to fund artistic ventures like movies, and not, as it has become, a way to get others to help with the expense of everyday choices like moving.

To my surprise, when I wrote about being appalled by this high-tech panhandling — getting others to fund things we choose to do — many people agreed. In fact, some readers went one step further and included Facebook’s fundraising platform as an example of this egregious exploitation, and I have to admit, those readers have a point. Like them, I don’t understand the reasoning behind setting up a fundraiser for one’s birthday (it sounds too much like asking for a gift), but considering the number of such fundraisers that end up in my FB feed, many people don’t find the practice objectionable.

What I didn’t realize was that one could use the FB fundraising platform to try to get money for anything. All you have to do is set it up in a few easy stages. Just what I need — more people asking for money I don’t have.

In a wonderful show of irony, Facebook flagged my article about crowdfunding with a note suggesting I ask my community for support with a fundraiser on FB, which shows that their bots pick up words in articles but not necessarily intent. Below is the screenshot of this note above my fundraising post:

 

Needless to say — or rather, “needful to say” since I’m saying it — I won’t be taking FB up on their kind offer.

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Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

Spam

I wonder how many people fell for the following bit of emailed spam. It’s cleverer than others I have seen, but still obviously a scam. I’ve printed it exactly as I received it, though I must admit, I itched to correct the punctuation:

Greetings to you.

Please I am writing to you out of despair.

I was living with a foreign contractor ,I know he is not related to you but he is of the same last name with you ,I got a child for him, in the same year he was attacked by pirates on the coast of Island of Malta.

Before the attack, he shipped (Bucyrus continuous miner with other refurbished mining machines) to a firm based in Brazil on an agreement to be paid after confirmation of the functionality of the machines (which precisely was to be within November 2013).

Because of attack incident, they did not pay as at the stipulated time. I decided to wait ,hoping that the family of my daughter’s father would contact me ,thus we can make a claim to be paid. but ever since ,they never contacted us ,which prompted me to call the company’s lawyer that drafted the contract agreement.

He spoke with the company and invited me to come ,I have met with the company ,after our deliberation ,they said they prefer to pay the money to the family directly since I am not legally married to him.

Their lawyer asked me to invite the family for the money or let them call him for directives .and sincerely ,I am helpless with their decision ,because I don’t know his people ,they never contacted us since the incident. which is extremely understandable that they don’t know about us.

Therefore please ,I wish to beg for your cooperation to stand as his relative since you are bearing his same last name please so that they can release the money to you and you transfer back to me.

Please I pray you to help me for the sake of my child’s support please ,even if you can take 30% please.I beg you o help me.

I am worried with a hope that you reply so soon please .

Miss Suzy Bikam

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Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

Being Clever

When I first started participating in the online world twelve years ago, I was unimpressed by the trivia of it all — the posts about what someone had for lunch, what their dogs or cats did, all the day-to-day things that make up the social aspect of networking.

Since I was trying to establish myself as an author, I tried to take a more grande-dame-ish approach. I wanted to be respected, to be seen a someone with dignity and grace, someone who had something to say and had the power to say it.

To that end, I tried to keep my clever, craft-oriented side to myself.

The whole great lady idea went out the window after Jeff died. It’s hard to try to maintain the appearance of being a grande dame when one is screaming their pain into the blogosphere. Still, I did try to maintain a bit of dignity and grace through it all. Now that my grief has been subsumed into my new life as homeowner and no longer brings me close to the great mysteries of life, what I’m left with is . . . whatever is the opposite of grande dame. Unsophisticated, maybe. Inelegant, perhaps. No high-blown thoughts, for sure.

There’s certainly no reason to keep my cleverness under wraps, especially since it’s about all I’m left with to blog about.

The truth is, I’ve always enjoyed being clever when it comes to small things. I’d prefer, of course, to be brilliant, but cleverness will do. It’s also nice to have a reason to be clever. Considering all the activities I am involved with, such as supplying treats for programs or creating something interesting for potlucks, I have ample opportunities to be clever. Like this little giveaway I thought of:

A Christmas Eve teabag on one side, a Christmas morning teabag on the other.

See? Clever.

But not at all grande dame-ish.

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Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

I Am an Escribitionist

Escribitionists are those who blog about themselves, their experiences, and their reflections. It sounds like such a bad thing, connoting, as it does, exhibitionism, but it’s simply a way of distinguishing the diary-like bloggers from those who write from a more journalistic point of view.

The danger of being an escribitionist is that it leaves a blogger vulnerable, not just emotionally, but also physically. People have been known to retaliate offline for online disagreements and, more commonly, people with a felonious bent will take advantage of those bragging about being the Bahamas for a week. So not a good idea to advertise when your house will be vacant!

In the beginning, I was very careful not to say anything of a personal nature. I didn’t make my birthday known, where I went to school, where I lived. For a long time, I didn’t post photos of myself, and I protected my gender (some people were shocked when they found out I wasn’t who they thought). I even refrained from offering opinions about anything but writing and books (but even then, I sometimes got an argument from those who misunderstood what I was saying. See: “Ah, the Difference a Comma Makes!”)

I was especially careful during the years of Jeff’s illness, particularly the last few months when he was so bad off, not to write anything about my life. I was trying to establish myself as an author at the time, perhaps with a male pseudonym, and we both agreed a professional demeanor would be best. Besides, I felt it would be a betrayal of him to talk about what we were going through, and he was afraid I would seem pathetic.

After he died, though, all that care we had taken in laying the groundwork for my career as an author no longer mattered. I was in such terrible pain and so bewildered by what I was feeling (I’d never before encountered even a mention of the utter mental, physical, emotional, spiritual agony of profound grief), that my pain burst out of me. First I screamed my pain offline (I was pacing the house one day, feeling as if I needed to scream; when I realized no one could hear me, I just let the pain rip out of me). Then I spewed my pain onto this blog.

That’s when I discovered the adage “we all grieve differently” is wrong. Many people told me that they experienced the same thing that I did. We might show our emotions differently, but the pattern of grief for a spouse, life mate, or soul mate often follows the same timeline.

By the time my pain became manageable, I was in the habit of talking about my life, so I wrote about my experiences taking care of my nonagenarian father and my frustrations with my abusive homeless brother. I wrote about my travels (making sure always to post after the fact so that no one would know where I was at any given moment).

If I made a mistake and gave too much information, it didn’t matter because I was never in one place long enough for my indiscretion to catch up to me. But now that I am in my final home and not going anywhere, I can’t run away from the mistake of giving out too much information, though I fear it’s too late.

I do try to be careful, but any hope of anonymity (at least pertaining to geography) is long gone. Too many online friends have become offline friends. Too many offline friends have become online friends. Anyone who is paying attention can string together the crumbs of my life that I scatter online, and find me if they really wanted to, though why anyone would want to go through all that trouble, I don’t know.

Still, it is a concern. Unfortunately (fortunately?), it’s way to late to change my ways. If we writers are supposed to write about what we know, well, I know writing, grief, and me. Few people like to read posts about writing (they are either writers themselves who know it all already or non-writers who don’t want to know). I’ve said all I can possibly say about grief in my five hundred grief posts (https://bertramsblog.com/archives-grief-posts/) and my two books about grief: Grief: The Great Yearning and Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One.

So that leaves . . . me.

It’s always hard to admit the truth, but there’s no getting around it. For better or for worse, I am an escribitionist.

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Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

Who Visits My Blog

Well, yes, of course, you visit my blog. But so do people from all around the world.  Most come from the USA and other English speaking countries. Others come from countries I’ve never even heard of, and yet, someone in those countries has heard of me. What an amazing thing the internet is!

Here is a map showing where my visitors originate:

Pink shows visitors, and the darker the pink, the more visitors. Apparently, if I am reading the map correctly, the only places from which no visitors have come are Greenland, Svalbard, Turkmenistan, Western Sahara, Guinea-Bissau, Chad, and Central African Republic. I find this utterly astonishing. Not to be disingenuous, but I simply can’t imagine being interesting enough to attract so many different people.

Here is the incredible list of countries where visitors have come from. (The number represents visitations only, not views, since often people click on more than one blog entry, and each click is a view):

United States 364502
United Kingdom 64705
Canada 42126
India 35091
Australia 25092
Philippines 7152
Pakistan 6247
Ireland 6045
South Africa 4668
New Zealand 4236
Malaysia 4145
Singapore 4003
Germany 3227
European Union 2448
France 2093
Netherlands 1982
Indonesia 1657
United Arab Emirates 1556
Brazil 1364
Hong Kong SAR China 1318
Italy 1317
Spain 1283
Norway 1262
Russia 1258
Saudi Arabia 1091
Denmark 1085
Thailand 1053
Japan 1012
Sweden 1002
Turkey 957
Lebanon 939
Bangladesh 881
Vietnam 875
Romania 834
Mexico 827
Belgium 822
South Korea 799
Switzerland 739
Nigeria 733
Poland 714
Kenya 711
Greece 709
Argentina 685
Israel 589
Nepal 570
Egypt 561
Jamaica 556
Sri Lanka 510
Portugal 490
Finland 462
Trinidad & Tobago 444
Austria 415
Taiwan 406
Hungary 353
Ukraine 337
Jordan 330
Cambodia 319
Malta 316
Ghana 298
Qatar 292
Czech Republic 278
Bulgaria 278
Serbia 271
Mauritius 261
Kuwait 260
Morocco 252
Croatia 244
Slovakia 236
Puerto Rico 231
Colombia 226
Slovenia 194
Oman 185
Tunisia 171
Albania 162
Algeria 158
Chile 156
Iraq 153
Cyprus 153
American Samoa 150
Bahrain 141
Bahamas 141
Lithuania 138
Estonia 131
China 126
Uganda 124
British Virgin Islands 121
Iceland 119
Zimbabwe 119
Tanzania 117
Latvia 115
Georgia 112
Myanmar (Burma) 110
Peru 108
Ecuador 102
Venezuela 101
Macedonia 100
Botswana 96
Guyana 96
Costa Rica 94
Palestinian Territories 93
Panama 91
Armenia 91
Belize 88
Brunei 85
Barbados 80
Maldives 79
Fiji 77
Bosnia & Herzegovina 76
Isle of Man 74
Luxembourg 73
Jersey 71
Azerbaijan 70
Bhutan 69
Dominican Republic 64
Afghanistan 63
Namibia 62
Antigua & Barbuda 59
Yemen 55
Syria 55
Zambia 55
Kazakhstan 54
Grenada 54
Moldova 53
Malawi 49
Papua New Guinea 49
Guernsey 49
Ethiopia 48
Guatemala 47
Belarus 47
Macau SAR China 46
Bermuda 46
Guam 44
St. Vincent & Grenadines 44
Cayman Islands 44
St. Lucia 43
Cameroon 41
El Salvador 37
Libya 35
Uruguay 34
Curaçao 32
Laos 32
Bolivia 31
Lesotho 30
Gibraltar 29
Honduras 28
Paraguay 27
Mongolia 26
Nicaragua 26
Montenegro 26
U.S. Virgin Islands 25
Swaziland 25
Rwanda 25
Aruba 24
St. Kitts & Nevis 20
Suriname 20
Mozambique 20
Dominica 19
Monaco 19
Côte d’Ivoire 17
Northern Mariana Islands 16
Sudan 16
Seychelles 16
Åland Islands 14
Senegal 13
Congo – Kinshasa 12
Somalia 10
Kyrgyzstan 10
Angola 10
Madagascar 9
Vanuatu 8
Djibouti 7
Uzbekistan 7
Réunion 7
Guadeloupe 7
Anguilla 7
Liberia 6
Caribbean Netherlands 6
Solomon Islands 5
Faroe Islands 5
Haiti 4
Cook Islands 4
Turks & Caicos Islands 4
Benin 3
Iran 3
Burundi 3
French Polynesia 3
Cuba 3
Liechtenstein 3
Gabon 3
Sierra Leone 3
Timor-Leste 2
Martinique 2
Mali 2
Tajikistan 2
Micronesia 2
Vatican City 1
Burkina Faso 1
South Sudan 1
Congo – Brazzaville 1
Falkland Islands 1
St. Helena 1
Marshall Islands 1
Mauritania 1
Netherlands Antilles 1
French Guiana 1
Montserrat 1
Kiribati 1
Cape Verde 1
Niger 1
Samoa 1
Sint Maarten 1

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Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

 

Happy Twelfth Bloggiversary to Me!

I created this blog exactly twelve years ago today, back when I hadn’t yet become a published author, back when I had just acquired my first computer and didn’t even know what a blog was. I had read how important blogging was for authors, both as a way of getting known and as a way of connecting with readers, so I decided to “act as if” I were going to be published in the hopes of making it happen. I had nothing to say, no one to say it to, no reason to say anything, but I didn’t let that stop me. I started blogging on September 24, 2007, and haven’t stopped since, though admittedly, I don’t post as much as I once did.

Did acting as if I were going to get published work? Perhaps, though there is no direct connection that I know of. Still, one and a half years after starting this blog, my first two books were published. I now have eight books available: five suspense novels, one mystery, and two non-fiction books about grief.

Nine and a half years ago, my life mate/soul mate died, and his death catapulted me into a world of such pain that it bled over into my posts. This blog became a place where I could try to make sense of what I was going through, to offer comfort and be comforted, to find my way to renewed life. This blog sustained me during the years I cared for my father, and it gave me a place to rest after my father died, when I was thrown out into the world, alone and orphaned. And this blog offered me a place to call home when I set out alone on a five-month, 12,000 mile cross-country road trip, gave me a place where I could talk about all the wonders I was seeing. Often on that trip, when I was between visits with online friends, I thought of William Cowper’s words: How sweet, how passing sweet, is solitude! But grant me still a friend in my retreat, whom I may whisper, solitude is sweet. And this blog became a place where I could whisper, “Solitude is sweet.”

Currently, as I am settling into a home of my own, it’s nice to know that whatever life throws at me, whatever problems I encounter, whatever challenges and adventures — and joys — come my way, this blog will be here for me.

Although I’d planned to post every day when I started blogging, during the first four years I only managed to blog three or four times a week, but exactly eight years ago today, I made a 100-day commitment to post a daily blog, and once that initial commitment was fulfilled, I continued to post every day for four and a half years. I probably would still be blogging every day except I got out of the habit of daily posts while on my great adventure because so often on the road, I had no internet connection, not even with my phone. And now that I am embarking on the new adventure of homeownership, complete with internet, I have few internal (or external) conflicts to give me blog topics.

But still, the blog is here, always welcoming me when I do find something to say, generally once or twice a month, but perhaps, when I get tired of my new offline world, I’ll be back here every day.

During the past twelve years, I have written 2,480 blogs, received 17,489 comments, and garnered 780,711 views. It amazes me that anyone wants to read anything that I write here. This is so much a place for just letting my thoughts roam, for thinking through problems, and (I admit it) for pontificating a bit. It’s been a kick, writing this blog, and I want to thank all of you for indulging my whims and whimsys.

Thank you for reading. Thank you all for your comments, your likes, your support. They have meant more to me (especially this past nine and a half years) than you can ever imagine.

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Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

Spreading the News

I’ve joined a new online site, Quora.com, to help spread my message of the importance of grieving and perhaps to find readers for my new grief book: Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One.

Much of what is written about grief is either shrouded in dense scientific terminology or filled with meaningless platitudes and slogans. Very little relates to the lived experience of grief, leaving many bereaved bewildered and troubled by the unhelpful advice they are given, which makes my book — and my mission — so important.

Quora is a question and answer site where anyone can ask a question, and anyone can answer.

For example, someone asked: How do you stop missing deceased loved ones? I responded:

I don’t think you ever stop missing deceased loved ones because they are always gone. The miracle of grief is that grief will diminish with time, rather than continue growing. Since every year takes us further from our beloved mate, it would seem as if the pain of loss should deepen, like layers of watercolor washed one on top the other until the shape of the missing part of one’s life is darkly hued. And yet, through some miracle of grief, our pain does not increase through the years, but instead, the watercolors lay softly on our lives, reminding us of what we had, reminding us of the loved one we still yearn for.

However, that being said, one way to stop missing them so much is to do new things, things you would not have done while that loved one was alive. Travel someplace you would never have gone with the deceased. Try something you would not have done if they were alive (in my case, it was dance classes). Every new memory you make takes you one step further from the past and one step further into a future where you can still miss the person but live a happy and fulfilled life. For example, if you have strong memories of the loved on Christmas, create a new tradition for yourself alone.

My profile on Quora is: https://www.quora.com/profile/Pat-Bertram-1 If you too are on Quora, please follow me so I can follow you.

Another way you can help me spread the news about Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One is to post a review on Amazon after you have read the book. The more reviews, the more Amazon’s algorithms kick in, and the more people see the book.

Thank you, as always, for your support.

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Pat Bertram is the also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Twitter. (@PatBertram) Like Pat on Facebook.

Wishing You A Day Filled With Light And Lightness Of Being

The internet, especially the social networks, has made me aware of the entire world, not just my local hemisphere. (That’s a phrase you don’t hear everyday — “my local hemisphere”. ) I used to think today, the winter solstice, was a natural day of celebration since it signifies the end of the creeping darkness. For the past six months, ever since the summer solstice, darkness has been creeping into our days and stealing our light. Today we have reached the end. Tomorrow the light begins to grow, but only in the northern hemisphere. Down under, they begin a time of creeping darkness.

Still, since I live in the northern hemisphere, this is a day to celebrate the growing of the light.

S

Wishing you a day filled with light and lightness of being.

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Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels UnfinishedMadame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am IBertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

Dona Nobis Pacem

Thousands of bloggers from all over the globe are Blogging for Peace today.

One subject. One voice. One day.

Words are powerful . . . this matters.

May the Light of Peace Shine Upon You.

 

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Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels UnfinishedMadame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am IBertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.