9 05, 2018

Intentionally Commemorating Mother’s Day

By | 2018-05-09T18:56:21-07:00 May 9th, 2018|Ceremonies, General, Grief and Healing|0 Comments

Whether this is your first Mother's Day as a bereaved person or your 50th, Mother's Day brings all of us pause. As we take time to think about our own mothers or perhaps the children we are missing that made us mothers - it's important that we be present with the reality of those relationships. If you can be with your mom and your children are well - you should freely have the full joy of this day. Take pictures, speak from your heart, and try to make clear memories of the sweetness of health and family. If your relationships [...]

17 04, 2018

Making Meaning by Donating Life: Register to Donate

By | 2018-04-17T10:07:21-07:00 April 17th, 2018|General|0 Comments

A friend of mine shared that April is National Donate Life Month and pointed the way to the Donate Life Registry page. I registered. It felt so right and good to register myself as an organ and tissue donor. I was surprised at myself for not having done this before because I believe it is incredible. Organ and tissue donation is something we see regularly at the mortuary and I've always been so moved by the choice to donate in the ultimate way. I took this photo at the OC Coroner's office a few years ago, the mural is depicting [...]

27 03, 2018

Making Sense of God and Death

By | 2018-03-27T23:42:09-07:00 March 27th, 2018|General, Grief and Healing|2 Comments

I have written and re-written this post so many ways. I don't know why it's so difficult to talk about God and Death - perhaps it's because so few people do. They are HUGE subjects for a small 600-word blog to tackle, but I think the real challenge I have in writing about them is that God and death don't lend themselves to tame, easy answers I can layout in bullet points. They are uncontrolled. So, what am I writing about? Well, for the first time in my life I heard a lecture that discussed God and death and, though [...]

27 02, 2018

Should Funerals Be Honest?

By | 2018-02-25T21:38:40-08:00 February 27th, 2018|General|8 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 [...]

13 07, 2016

Keeping the Grief Box Open

By | 2016-07-13T07:00:06-07:00 July 13th, 2016|General, News|0 Comments

|| This month's blog looks at unique and proactive ways to unpack the closed grief boxes in order to help create connection and more meaningful support.                         3 Ways to Keep the Grief Box Open In my last post I wrote about the idea of pursuing an open relationship with grief vs. seeking the "closure" that society seems to prefer. I used the idea of a box that has been packed up and filled with our memories and tokens of the person who has died. Generally, as a society, we are expected to and [...]

10 12, 2013

Not an Earthquake After All, Just a Nightmare: A Cancer Journey

By | 2013-12-10T22:00:57-08:00 December 10th, 2013|General, Perspective|39 Comments

This is Part II of my story. To read Part I, click here.   Lou, my husband, not only had an inoperable tumor on his lung, he also had a brain tumor that had metastasized to the cerebellum.  It was all through his blood stream and would continue to settle where it wished. Photo Courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/Roob “How long do I have?”  Lou asked.  “8 to 12 weeks” she said gently.  2 to 3 months??  This could not be real.  We walked to the car, and I said, “We take longer than that to plan our trips to [...]

29 10, 2013

How Halloween Came to Be

By | 2013-10-29T23:20:06-07:00 October 29th, 2013|General, Seasons of Life|43 Comments

 **For a great listing of local Halloween festivities, click here or here. Halloween-time is my favorite time of the year. Admittedly, I’m more in love with the harvest look that shakes the trees, the colder weather, and the infamous PSL, but I also relish the spooky-murky-creepiness of the only holiday that fits my love of X-Files, Harry Potter, and Tim Burton all into one day. Photo Courtesy of ©Stockphoto.com//gianlucabartoli But besides making the mortuary a “cool” place to work for a month, this holiday is also the only one that actively recognized the dead in its celebration. Do [...]

1 10, 2013

Put Me In The Corner: Brawling with Grief

By | 2013-10-01T11:40:32-07:00 October 1st, 2013|General, Inspiration|44 Comments

Imagine for a moment that you are a professional strike artist. A master of the body shot, and a prolific producer of the “right hook”.  You’re fast, strong, and calculating. Anybody who has ever stepped in the ring with you has found defeat, whether it be by knockout or unanimous decision. You’re unstoppable, unbeatable. The ultimate fighter. Photo Courtesy of iStock/thaddeus_griffin Now imagine you step in the ring, just like any time before, and as you turn your gaze upon the foe in the other corner, you are crushed by fear. Your chest tightens as you see that [...]

28 08, 2013

“How Do You Handle Working at a Mortuary?” | A Labor Day Special

By | 2013-08-28T05:00:14-07:00 August 28th, 2013|General, Perspective|21 Comments

I often wondered what Labor Day was as a kid, what did I care, I got time off from school was my thinking. As I got older I began to understand the reasoning behind the three-day weekend. Other then the unofficial end-of-summer, this day was a chance to stop and celebrate the everyday heroes of this country. This country was not built by the Rockefellers or the Carnegies, it was built on the backs of the everyday laborer. These are the people that sacrifice for their families and their country to work as a team, to build or do something [...]