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, October 19, 2016

Chrysalis of Grief

I want my wife’s death to never have happened. Since this can’t be undone, I want grief to be over and never return. This is taking some time.

I want to write about the happy side of life without always seeing the shadows. I want friends who have lost children, parents, or siblings to laugh again without tears reminding them how deliriously delightful their lives once were, even if this isn’t completely true. There was enough joy to hold the darkness at bay.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Light Of One Star

Anne Fischer Juhlmann has published the online journal she kept of her daily life taking care of her two sons, Zach and Sam, who developed Mitochondrial Disease when they were young and died within a few years. It’s a story of strength, heartbreak, and love. It will make you laugh and cry and hurt.

Anne’s book joins other moving accounts of parents writing about the death of their children. I’m thinking particularly of Emily Rapp’s (Black) account of her son Ronan’s death to Tay-Sachs at age two (Still Point of the Turning World), and Elea Acheson’s blog posts and writings on the Huffington Post about her son Vasu dying of kidney cancer at age six.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Hug the Grieving

Grief and the Body

Grief assaults us physically as much as it implodes our hearts and minds.

Grief hits with the force of a dump truck, leaving us battered and achy for months. Every morning when we wake up and remember that our loved one is dead, the truck runs over us again.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Grief: Compassion vs. Bitterness

Bitterness is a bale of barbed wire. After someone we love dies, we wrap it around to protect us from ever getting hurt again. Life can’t get in, but we also can’t get out.

Bitterness has razor sharp edges. At a time when we aren’t able to feel anything else, we can feel this.

Bitterness is different than sorrow. Bitterness is sorrow covered with the jalapeno of anger and the habanero of rage.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Grief Is Wild

It’s the Wilderness. Or maybe it’s just Chaos.

We like the idea of the wilderness because it’s unknown, and because what we know isn’t enough to calm our monkey minds. We need to believe there is more.

Grief is a wild place. Uncontrolled. Fearsome. Deadly.

Or it seems to be such. We like the unfathomable. We like having mystery around that we will never understand, as long as it’s friendly. Some of us also like to take risks and be where we can die if we make a mistake, either from wild animals with larger teeth, or from losing our balance and tumbling off the side of a mountain. We like being surrounded by something larger than ourselves, something wonderful and grand because grief has compressed our world small.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Lost Before Death

A year ago, after several years of increasing forgetfulness, my mom had trouble remembering anything that had just been said. Her long-term memory was good, and I could ask her about events in the past. But she no longer wanted to work on a new painting. We were beginning to lose her.

Six months ago, mom no longer wanted to talk about memories. I don’t know if she didn’t care or it was too much work. I could joke around with her in the morning, but by the afternoon she just stared out the window, lost somewhere inside. And I began to grieve.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Dating After Death

Sometime after the death of your spouse, you will think about dating, especially if you liked being married. This may be in a month; it may be in five years. Whenever you start, you’ll probably feel guilty.

My essay at the Huffington Post: