Every Wednesday

Every Wednesday, I will post something about grief. Sometimes it will be a reflection on an aspect of grief’s landscape. Now and then I will share from my own journey of grief, because in the sharing of our stories we find strength and build a community of people that support one another. To follow, please leave your email address.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Children Want the Truth

Death Is Stupid
by Anastasia Higginbotham, Feminist Press, 2016

The things we tell children about death can make them think there is a terrible force in the dark that snatches people away, or worse, make them think that they killed grandma because of something they said or did.

Anastasia Higginbotham lays out the problem in her new book — adults want the illusion; children want the truth.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Kindness of Cemeteries

I went over to the graveyard. … This grief had something in it of generosity, some nearness to joy. … This country would always be populated with presence and absences … the living and the dead.    

                                                Wendell Berry, Jayber Crow

Fingers brush the rough stones and find names my eyes cannot. Faint chisel marks and lives have eroded to sand in this old part of the cemetery. Syllables of Alpha and Omega. The beginning and the last. Reminders of what has been. Hope for what might yet come. Their bones now a paler shade of white. The cold, tattered scraps of sorrow drift away on the wind. The knock, knock, knocking on Heaven’s door.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Lost to Suicide

Robin Williams died two years ago in August from suicide.

He was dealing with Lewy body dementia that progresses quickly and is marked by depression, anxiety, paranoia, and hallucinations. His death brought light to a difficult subject, and the discussions I heard afterward spoke of the mental illness aspect of suicide. They took the blame off those who kill themselves, and removed the guilt from family and friends who felt there was something they could have done the night before that would have saved them.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Rituals of Grief

People circle around a center altar, and then kneel in the darkness of a cathedral as a candle is processed in by a dancer to the middle where a circle of candles is lit. A bell rings, and we open ourselves to the mystery of this moment, not knowing what we will discover tonight. A cello plays a meditative melody. A loaf of bread is broken and passed among the people. The bell rings again.

No words have been spoken, but the gathering is filled with symbols. It is ritual, and we feel something rise within us, something we had forgotten was there, something that quickens our pulse and draws us in.

We want to be embraced by the mystery, not explain it away.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Do Not Go Quietly

Grief will hit you like a bear. Do not go quietly into the darkness of night.
Rebel. Fight.

a short essay at Mindful Matters

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Inspector Lewis

After being gone for a while, the PBS mystery series Inspector Morse came back, but with Lewis taking over the lead role. During the time the show was off the air, Lewis’s wife has died in a car accident. Not only does Lewis have to learn to do a new job without his mentor’s advice and his wife’s support, he also has to carry on in the midst of his grief, and deal with unresolved anger at the driver who killed her.

The Morse-Lewis character pairing was complementary. Simplistically speaking, Morse worked from his mind while Lewis worked from his heart. Morse was known as the brilliant, although eccentric, solver of crimes that perplexed everyone else, yet half the time it was something Lewis noticed that was the key for solving the mystery, something he felt wasn’t right.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016