From the Heart

Molly Keating, MA, CT

About Molly Keating

Hello and welcome to From the Heart. My name is Molly and I have the great privilege of writing this monthly blog for O’Connor Mortuary. This wonderful work has brought together two of my deep passions, writing and grief education. In 2016 I earned my Certification in the field of Thanatology, the study of Death, Dying and Bereavement and I hold a Masters degree in English Literature from Cal State Long Beach that I earned in 2011. I had the rare experience of growing up in a funeral home and having a father as a mortician, making my proximity to these topics, experiences, and ceremonies first-hand and life-long. It is an honor to share with you my thoughts, but most importantly, current academic thinking on taboo topics such as funerals, grief experiences, and the importance of having lasting, healing traditions.

Thank you for reading, my hope is that you find this an open place full of meaning and hope as you walk the road of grief.

20 11, 2019

When People Die During the Holidays: Brutal & Beautiful

By | 2019-11-20T23:48:11-08:00 November 20th, 2019|Grief and Healing|2 Comments

I was a week shy of being a year old when my grandpa died unexpectedly on Thanksgiving. While I don’t remember the tragedy of the day or his lovely, southern accent, Thanksgiving has always been a time when we’ve talked about him. Growing up, I have a vivid memory of my dad playing “Silent Night” from a Manheim Steamroller Christmas album over the stereo and finding my mom with tears in her eyes telling me that this song always made her think of her dad. It was an unspoken and informal way that my dad remembered my grandpa and my [...]

17 10, 2019

Claim Your Grief Space

By | 2019-10-14T20:12:58-07:00 October 17th, 2019|General|1 Comment

First of all, let me say that this "grief space" is going to look different for everyone. We all know there is no one-size-fits-all way to approach grieving (though it would be so nice if there was!), and so this process is something that will require you to consider ways that you process and incorporate change. We've all seen examples of unresolved grief on television - just watch any episode of Hoarders or Kitchen Nightmares. The horrific scenarios in these shows are often the result of a traumatic event or death in the person's past. Often, the loss was never [...]

9 09, 2019

Grief and the Need for Sacred Space

By | 2019-09-11T22:22:22-07:00 September 9th, 2019|Ceremonies, General|3 Comments

It seems impossible that 9/11 happened to us 18 years ago. EIGHTEEN years. To me, this is proof that time is in fact, not a healer, but a carrier. We are held and carried by time further and further away from the moment of anguish. I think this is as comforting as it is terrifying for a grieving person to comprehend. To move away from the day is to move away from "them".  And while distractions, acceptance and changed habits slowly move us into less-pain-filled-space, our grief will remain and our wound stays tender when touched. Grief requires a sacred [...]

25 04, 2019

When Your Grief is Invisible: Infertility and the Grief Experience

By | 2019-04-25T17:36:18-07:00 April 25th, 2019|Child Loss, General, Perspective|1 Comment

This week is Infertility Awareness week. Infertility has an invisibility to it that few other griefs do. When someone dies, people notice. But what if there is no body to bury or no name to say? What if the loss is invisible? Infertility has both male and female victims and is a term applied to women who can get pregnant but not sustain the pregnancy. So the little lives that are lost to infertility either exist only briefly or in the hearts of the people seeking to create them. Let's face it, our society struggles enough to talk about tangible [...]

28 03, 2019

Seeing Signs: Love From Beyond the Grave

By | 2019-03-28T22:43:48-07:00 March 28th, 2019|Grief and Healing, Inspiration, News|1 Comment

Ok, so this title may sound a little ... different - thanks for clicking anyway : ) Have you ever wished for a "sign"? I know I have. "If this is what I'm supposed to do, please give me a sign".  We offer this thought to God or the universe and hope that something - anything divine will happen. Whenever we want a sign, what we really want is peace. After all, a "sign" represents supernatural reassurance that we are not alone or adrift.  It is a divine symbol that brings reassurance and peace to your heart and mind. Many [...]

26 02, 2019

The BEST Sympathy Cards and What to Write in Them

By | 2019-02-26T22:57:43-08:00 February 26th, 2019|General, Resources & Information|1 Comment

The personal touch of a sympathy card is a warm and thoughtful way of continuing to reach out to someone you love. But so many of us are intimidated by any sort of expression of sympathy, worried we'll say the wrong thing or - a concern I've heard often - that we'll just be reminding them of their loss - AS IF they have forgotten! It's worthwhile, kind and thoughtful to reach out to people we know that are grieving. While many of us might text our sympathy these days, there is a lack of weight to the receipt of a text [...]

23 01, 2019

Gently “Tidying Up” After a Death: Using the KonMari Method

By | 2019-01-24T09:31:29-08:00 January 23rd, 2019|Grief and Healing, Inspiration, Self-Help|0 Comments

Perhaps you've seen the new show on Netflix, Tidying Up or you've heard of Marie Kondo and her philosophy of how to go through your home deciding what to keep and what to let go. In her "KonMari Method" she speaks about honing our sense of what brings us joy. So the idea is we hold an item in our hands and if it brings joy, keep it. If it doesn't, we thank it for what it gave to us, and we let it go. This isn't an easy task to take on. Perhaps some areas of your home or life [...]

19 12, 2018

It’s OK to be Sad at Christmas

By | 2018-12-18T22:05:51-08:00 December 19th, 2018|Grief and Healing, Seasons of Life|4 Comments

If you are sad this Christmas, it is ok. We tend to feel that the holidays aren't a time for sadness. That we should magically "feel better" or at least pretend to be doing fine. And while around some people it may be easier or best to pretend, it is important that with ourselves and our trusted friends, we be honest. Share your sorrow with someone who also shares it. If a friend or family member has died this year, others are also missing them. Reach out, be a connection and remind them - affirm for yourself - no one [...]

19 11, 2018

Grieving Through the Holidays

By | 2018-11-16T15:55:20-08:00 November 19th, 2018|General, Grief and Healing|3 Comments

Grieving Through the Holidays For so many families the holidays hold the promise of togetherness, familiarity, tradition and comfort. But for the grieving, every one of these words is shattered and opposed by new words like, apart, strange, broken and grieved. So what does this "grieving through the holidays" look like? Feel like? What are your expectations? Fears? Anxieties? Considering in advance what these holidays might be like for you can be one of the greatest helps to getting yourself through these days that feel emptied out of their usual joy.   Here are some things to consider in preparation: [...]

24 10, 2018

Making New Memories from the Old (Up-cycling & Great Gift Ideas!)

By | 2018-10-24T23:10:42-07:00 October 24th, 2018|General, Grief and Healing, Inspiration|1 Comment

One of the often unaddressed issues families face after a loved one dies, is what to keep and how to keep it? Often times we feel inclined to keep a LOT - sure we can donate some things or divvy them up amongst family - but the need to preserve and hold on is a part or phase of grieving for many people. Over time, as we begin to identify the items that hold the most meaning for us we can begin to alleviate ourselves of the less significant items. Eventually, these can be given away or donated without pain. [...]