16 09, 2020

Why You Should Cry Today: Rui-katsu & the Tear Teacher

By | 2020-09-17T00:14:13-07:00 September 16th, 2020|General, Self-Help|0 Comments

This week my husband sent me a short video produced by the BBC entitled, "The man teaching Japan to cry." I had goosebumps just a few seconds in and was deeply moved by the sweetness of the "tear teacher," Hidefumi Yoshida. He claims to have brought over 50,000 people to tears and believes that the heart-felt act of crying has tremendous health and life-style benefits. This practice of crying is called "rui-katsu" which translates to "tear activity". People attend seminars and practice rui-katsu with the purpose of relieving stress and being refreshed. Pause a moment with me. When you think [...]

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 & 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 05, 2016

Forget About Closure: A New Way to Look at Grief

By | 2016-05-19T07:31:55-07:00 May 19th, 2016|Self-Help|1 Comment

  The word “closure” is a tricky and usually misused word. Taken from it's Latin root "clausura," literally meaning "to close," the word is often used to signify what we expect or hope people are feeling at the end of a funeral - but in my experience, very little is truly closed for the family, except the lid of the casket. The most common places I hear the word "closure" pop-up are: Funeral ceremonies are often designated as closure-bringing events, when the truth is, most of these ceremonies follow just days after the death. Great losses like these ought not to be thought [...]

3 02, 2016

How Long Does Grief Last? The Surprising Answer

By | 2016-02-03T07:00:16-08:00 February 3rd, 2016|Self-Help|2 Comments

We all want to know how long something terrible is going to last, knowing gives us a sense of control over the unknown and comforts us with the confident knowledge of an end. But grief is very different. We know that a trip to the DMV or a root canal at the dentist will end, but grief, grief exists because of an end ... an end we never, ever wanted to know about. Ever since I heard Dr. Bill Hoy, a few years ago, talk about the portrayal of bereavement on television I've started paying attention to how long it is [...]

21 10, 2015

A Crash Course in Listening: 3 Do’s and Don’ts

By | 2015-10-21T22:42:25-07:00 October 21st, 2015|Inspiration, Self-Help|1 Comment

  One of the biggest concerns people have when they encounter a bereaved individual isn't (strangely enough) how the bereaved person is doing, but "what do I say to them?" The secret to "what to say" is simple in theory, but ironic in reality because honestly, "saying something" isn't the key. We feel a lot of pressure to say something but the best thing you can do is to listen with compassion. When you feel the pressure to open your mouth, start with a simple but sincere question, "How are you holding up?" and then ... listen. Listening is THE KEY when it comes to talking to someone who [...]

25 06, 2015

After They Die: Sorting Through Their “Stuff”

By | 2015-06-25T00:00:30-07:00 June 25th, 2015|Self-Help|3 Comments

  Getting rid of someone’s stuff after they die is tough. It is an admission. For some people, it is the ultimate act of reconciling the permanence of a loss. A lot of “stuff” – baseball cards, the shirt from the family portrait, a picture they painted or a lucky sock – it all gets left behind when someone dies. For many people the thought of “getting rid” of these items they touched, wore and loved is nauseating, inconceivable. When there is a loss of life there is a creation of meaning that soaks into places, symbols, objects; and immediately [...]

8 05, 2015

Mother’s Day Without Mom

By | 2015-05-08T17:31:26-07:00 May 8th, 2015|Ceremonies, Inspiration, Self-Help|5 Comments

Mother's Day without Mom, it changes everything. What do you do? How do you "celebrate" the day? It is my mom's first Mother's Day without her mom. None of the usual, sweet birthday cards came from my grandma last month when we celebrated 3 family birthdays. Since she died a few months ago, small things have changed in my world, but much bigger things have changed in my mom's world. Talking to my mom the other day she said, "I'm just really missing her. I feel like I should call her because I haven't in a while - and then [...]

12 02, 2015

Grieving Non-Death Losses

By | 2015-02-12T09:06:37-08:00 February 12th, 2015|Self-Help|8 Comments

Last year I attended a conference where the topic of a panel was the significance of grief connected to non-death losses. The researchers focused their sites on college campuses and found that many students were ranking break-ups, friendship changes, divorces and stress over poor grades as more painful than deaths they had experienced. This study was fascinating. Not only were these students connecting grief specifically to a non-death loss, they were saying that they were more significant than their prior experiences with death. Grief accompanies many, many experiences and nearly every change we encounter. We may experience grief when we [...]

17 12, 2014

Handling the Holidays: Adjusting to the Loss

By | 2014-12-17T23:15:22-08:00 December 17th, 2014|Inspiration, Self-Help|7 Comments

  For some of you, this is not the first holiday where you will be missing people you love. You "survived" the holidays last year but maybe just barely. Perhaps you feel like you can't get in the spirit of Christmas, you feel like a desolate place and everyone around you is putting on bows and smiling. Yes, you've made it through one round of the holidays but that doesn't mean this will be easy. In some ways, the second year of grief can be more difficult as the permanence of the loss begins to really sink in. For others, [...]

13 08, 2014

What to Tell Children About Funerals

By | 2014-08-13T21:37:59-07:00 August 13th, 2014|Resources & Information, Self-Help|42 Comments

  I was recently browsing through the new gift shop at Mission San Juan Capistrano, admiring the jewelry and slowly making my way to my favorite corner of the store; the book section on Grief. I'm always finding new and intriguing titles there and this time, I stumbled upon a series of children's books on grief that deeply impressed me. We hear the debate about children being at funerals pretty often around here and while we always encourage people to bring their children, they don't always agree with us. Well, to my surprise, in the book What Happens When Someone [...]