Every Wednesday

Every Wednesday I will post a reflection on grief as I continue to explore its landscape and listen to you. In the sharing of our stories with each other, we find encouragement and build a community of support.

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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

The Body and Grief

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

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Talking with Our Dead






Sometimes I hear the voice of a family member who has died, or I feel their presence. Is it real?

Out of the blue, I will think to send something to a friend in another state. When it arrives three days later, it’s exactly what she needed that day. How did I know? Is something going on beyond coincidence? We are more connected to each other than we think, both to the living and the dead.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Community of Grievers

When someone we love dies, friends tend to disappear, and all our memories with the person who died avalanche down around us. It’s easy to feel abandoned.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

The Darkness of Grief

When grief comes, sounds go mute, the world fills with shadows, and we feel cold all the time. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Connected by the Threads

Because we are busy with goals, deadlines, and responsibilities, we often treat objects like objects. We don’t pay attention to their origins, nor do we honor them. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

The Landscape of Grief

When someone we love dies, we not only lose them, we also lose the world they lived in. We lose our sense of PLACE, and no longer know where we belong in the world.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Grief of Dementia

We grieve when someone we love dies. We also grieve when a loved one is disappearing into dementia.

Leaving Tinkertown, written by Tanya Ward Goodman and published by the Univ. of New Mexico Pressis a brutally honest account of how a family fought against the incursions of Alzheimer’s, and their anguish at being unable to stop the disintegration. It’s also heartwarming to read because we see the family’s love for each other bringing them strength to endure when little else did.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

The Longing of Saudade

Nine years after Evelyn’s death, I stood on the coast of Maine at dusk looking over the Atlantic Ocean, feeling what I have come to know as saudade, a Portuguese word for profound melancholic longing. I desperately yearned to see Ev again, knowing that I never would. She died suddenly, and I didn’t have the chance to say goodbye.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Cooking with Grief

Everyone once in a while, a book on dealing with a life-threatening illness catches my attention because it deals with anticipatory grief. Recently it was Karen Babine’s All the Wild Hungers: A Season of Cooking and Cancer, published this year by Milkweed Editions.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Faith and Grieving

Helping people who are grieving is a matter of compassion, not theology.

If you’re grieving and a person of faith, no matter what religion you follow, you probably feel torn between how you think you should feel and how you actually do. You feel the distance between the assurance of faith and the stark, raw emotions of death. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Gothic Rock Grief: Nick Cave

“grief is also tidal. In time, it can recede and leave us with feelings of peace and advancement, only for it to wash back in with all its crushing hopelessness and sorrow. Back and forth it goes, but with each retreating drift of despair, we are left a little stronger, more resilient, more essential and better at our new life.” - Nick Cave

I hadn’t paid attention to musician Nick Cave until he was quoted in a recent Brain Pickings post by Maria Popova. He is a member of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, and apparently that’s a post-punk or gothic-rock band.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

An Honest Journey Through Grief

What we want from a memoir when matters of life and death are involved is honesty. We don’t want sugar. Sugar doesn’t give us real hope. Sugar melts away when tears begin to fall. We want truth because we know that one day we will face what they have gone through, and we want to know how to survive. 

Elaine Mansfield’s book, Leaning Into Love, is honest about her husband’s struggles with cancer and chemotherapy, and honest about her struggle with grief and beginning a new life alone.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Introverts and Grief

If you’re an introvert like me, you find it hard to share strong emotions even in the best of times. This presents a problem when we’re faced with grief, which is the worst. If left alone, we will choose to close the drapes and hole up until grief is gone. The problem is, grief isn’t going to leave without work.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

The Stone Monastery of Grief

To many people, the world of Grief seems like a big void, a large cavern of terror that everyone wants to flee, a place filled with utterly depressing chaos and rampaging emotions. It is. It’s also filled with amazing heart.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Breadcrumbs

As you start to walk on the way, the way appears. Rumi

We don’t get through grief by sitting on our butt. Well, okay, sitting is fine for a time, but grief is not going to leave on its own. We have to pay attention to what it is doing inside us. We have to walk with grief and listen to what it is saying.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

New Year of Grief

The first New Year’s after a loved one dies, the future looks like a lonely, rocky coast. There is no celebrating. No late night dancing. No sparklers or blowing of horns. No party.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Winter Prayer


In the turning of the natural world back towards light,
may we so turn.

May we be grateful for what we have,
and mindful of the refugee, the battered, the widowed, the abandoned. 
May we realize when we have enough and share the rest.

Friday, December 21, 2018

10 Holiday Survival Tips

for Grievers and Friends

1  If you’re grieving, you don’t have to celebrate the holidays. Seriously. It’s your life. Go to parties only if YOU want to. If you don’t, turn the invitations down, and try to do so without swearing. It’s good to be invited, but you may not feel ready.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Mindfulness










I come to this season needed to slow down. Life has become too hectic again. There is so much that I have to do, and too much that I want to do. The holidays only add on extra chores and more activities. 

I need time to do nothing, at least for a few days, and move at nature’s pace. I want to be mindful of what I’m doing and speak only from my heart in my interactions with others. I don’t want to bounce through every day like a ball in a pinball machine. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Grief Doesn't Take a Holiday







(Baking Soufflés Against the Daleks)

If you’re grieving, the holidays are the worst time of the year. You’re expected to be happy, and if you aren’t, you feel even worse. Even if your someone died a few years ago, going through the holidays can bring their absence and your sorrow right back. 

Then smiling people in green elf hats and reindeer sweaters try to cheer you up, saying it’s not so bad. Sigh