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.

27 02, 2018

Should Funerals Be Honest?

By | 2018-02-25T21:38:40-08:00 February 27th, 2018|General|9 Comments

Should Funerals Be Honest?   A couple of days ago marked 4 years since I went through the training to become a Certified Celebrant with the Insight Institute. It was a perspective-altering experience that brought up a lot of uncertainty and discomfort with the way I had always seen funerals done. We’ve all heard the phrase, “Don’t speak ill of the dead,” a wise and kind principal, but an old and superstitious one too. This idea combined with our cultural avoidance of reality when it comes to unfixable pain, often resolves in nothing really true being said about a person at [...]

30 01, 2018

Life Lessons from My Mentor, Patricia Kolstad

By | 2018-01-30T12:34:31-08:00 January 30th, 2018|General|6 Comments

my mentor & friend THE (famous) HAIR Well, she FINALLY, and ACTUALLY retired. After 25 years Patricia Kolstad has found a new, brilliant and lovely chapter in her life - unexpected, unlooked for, and completely deserved. She has been "Aunt Pat" to me for as long as I can remember and over the years has truly become a valued mentor in my life. This blog is a small tribute to the extraordinary career of Patricia Kolstad and a guide for the kind of mentor we should seek to be and seek to have in our own lives. Mentors [...]

16 11, 2017

Talking with the Dead

By | 2018-01-31T09:16:33-08:00 November 16th, 2017|Community, Inspiration, News|0 Comments

I have learned so much from grieving people and I continue to be amazed at the creative, meaningful, and symbolic rituals they take on in the journey of missing their loved one. Recently, I came across a story deeply grabbed my heart and that I am so thankful I listened to. From the podcast, This American Life, I listened to Episode #597, "One Last Thing Before I Go." To paraphrase the story for you, in Japan a man's cousin died. Desiring an outlet for his grief, he found an old phone booth and installed it in his yard. The phone was old, [...]

18 10, 2017

Why We Should All Celebrate The Day of the Dead

By | 2017-10-18T22:59:28-07:00 October 18th, 2017|News|0 Comments

Why we should all celebrate the day of the dead // What do you do throughout the year to honor people in your family who have died? Do you mark their birthday? Deathiversary (yes, that’s a thing)? Do you gather together with others to remember and share the love that person? Maybe you do, maybe you did something like this for the 1st year of life without them – but I would venture to say that you don't and that generally, American culture is more comfortable pretending these days don’t need permanence in our calendar. Disney/Pixar has captured my attention [...]

31 08, 2017

The Compounded Grief of Premature Deaths

By | 2017-08-31T06:43:25-07:00 August 31st, 2017|Child Loss, News, Perspective, Seasons of Life|0 Comments

There are no easy deaths - there are no situations where the grief experience isn't difficult, complex, and sad. That said, there is a generally accepted threshold where lives are deemed as having been "lived, good and long." When 90 year olds die, we grieve but we do not grapple with a sense of injustice. But there are some (too many) deaths that are non-sensical, tragic, and far too soon. I think of the anniversary of 9/11 and the tradition of reading of the names of those that died - it gives me chills every time and is a witness [...]

23 07, 2017

My Favorite Advice About Time

By | 2017-07-23T23:13:13-07:00 July 23rd, 2017|Inspiration, News, Perspective|0 Comments

I recently finished a podcast called S-Town that featured the true & tragic story John B. McLemore, an astoundingly brilliant horologist - that is, someone who has studied time. The narrator and John begin to discuss sundials together and I learned that most sundials feature a latin inscription about time. Some of them stole my breath, Hora fugit, ne tardes. The hour flees, don't be late. Festina lente. Make haste, but slowly. Lente hora, celeriter anni. An hour passes slowly, but the years go by quickly. Sic vita fluit, dum stare videtur. Life flows away as it seems to stay the same. Ultima latet [...]

14 06, 2017

If Your Father has Died, If You are a Grieving Father … The Shadow Side of Father’s Day

By | 2017-06-14T22:04:47-07:00 June 14th, 2017|Child Loss, News, Parental Loss|0 Comments

Dads. They've got their own unique hold on each and every one of us. With Father's Day on the horizon, I am always drawn to thinking of the people whose voices will struggle on this holiday with what to say. How do you go through the day if your father has died or if you are a father missing a child? If you are on this shadow-side of Father's Day this post is for you. If your dad has died ... I'm so sorry. I hear many people refer to their dads as anchors or guides in their lives, light [...]

16 05, 2017

Heart & Soul Award: Congratulations Noreen Carrington, LMFT, FT

By | 2018-07-03T13:28:47-07:00 May 16th, 2017|Heart & Soul Award Winners|0 Comments

Noreen Carrington, is a licensed marriage and family therapist and a fellow in thanatology, who has worked in the fields of death and dying and grief and loss for the past 19 years. Noreen’s extensive experience in the field includes creating and directing a comprehensive educational and clinical rotation for marriage and family therapist graduates and post-graduates in the specialty of grief and loss. Currently she is the Regional Director for the Volunteer and Bereavement Programs for Health Essentials LLC and is a faculty member at the CSU Institute for Palliative Care at California State University San Marcos which trains [...]

16 05, 2017

Heart & Soul Award: Congratulations Nancy Colocino, PhD.

By | 2017-11-19T07:15:28-08:00 May 16th, 2017|Heart & Soul Award Winners|0 Comments

Nancy has a heart for children, values diversity and equality, and is motivated to help make the world a better place. She has been involved in the Irvine community for over 30 years. She is the executive director of Irvine Prevention Coalition a.k.a. Irvine Community Drug Prevention. This nonprofit coordinates with community partners to enhance prevention services, decrease substance abuse, and increase youth resiliency. Current programs include Red Ribbon Week, Pennies for Prevention, Red Ribbon at Ruby’s Diner, Coordinating meetings and general meetings of Irvine Prevention Coalition, and Outstanding Supporters of Prevention Awards. Nancy has over 40 years’ experience in [...]

16 05, 2017

Heart & Soul Award: Congratulations Linda McMahon, RN

By | 2017-11-19T07:21:02-08:00 May 16th, 2017|Heart & Soul Award Winners|0 Comments

Linda McMahon, MS, MA is the Bereavement Services Manager at VITAS Innovative Hospice Care in Orange County. She has an extensive health care and pastoral care background. Her undergraduate degree, a BSN, is from the University ofPennsylvania. And, her graduate degrees are a Master ofScience in Nursing and a Master ofArts in Theology from Texas Woman’s University and Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College in Texas and Indiana, respectively. She has completed an Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE) Chaplain Residency program (in acute healthcare settings) in San Diego and also Continuing Education courses through the National Center for Death Education (NCDE) and [...]