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, [...]

3 12, 2014

Deleting “Shoulds” from Your Grief Vocabulary

By | 2014-12-03T23:06:09-08:00 December 3rd, 2014|Ceremonies, Inspiration|9 Comments

One of the most problematic phrases in our culture's grief vocabulary are the words, "You shouldn't be ... (fill in the blank with whatever makes them uncomfortable)." In general, our human nature is uneasy around sadness or any deep emotional pain that cannot be comforted. We fight to control or avoid grief in ourselves or others at all costs. We pick up this message subconsciously from the media, movies and even TV shows that don't generally make time to illustrate grief but push on to the next shocking plot-twist or scandal and meticulously edit out the pain. The worst though, [...]

1 10, 2014

Taking the Urn Out of the Closet

By | 2014-10-01T16:43:54-07:00 October 1st, 2014|Inspiration|26 Comments

A short story: Mary spent that last 3 years of her life in an Alzheimer's home. As the memory of her friends and family faded from her mind, so the number of her visitors dwindled down to just one; her daughter, Joan. Joan tried to check in every few months but the visits weren't easy and usually she left feeling more guilt than when she had walked in. Mary and Joan had never had an easy relationship and for both of them, Alzheimer's signaled the doom of their secret, but mutual hope that someday it might be easier. When Mary [...]

16 07, 2014

Meaning-Making: The 3 Acts That Give Purpose to Pain

By | 2014-07-16T22:41:45-07:00 July 16th, 2014|Inspiration|30 Comments

I recently saw an instagram post that wasn’t a weird selfie or amazing plate of food, but was in fact, something far more sad. It was a picture of a darling little red-headed boy with the hashtag #redballoonsforryan. A friend of mine had posted it with the story that Ryan had died from being hit by a car while playing at a friends’ house. Let me tell you, no matter how long you work at a mortuary and no matter how many stories you hear, you never stop feeling them – especially when there is tragedy and especially when there [...]

29 05, 2014

Grief A Year Later … What Helped & What Didn’t

By | 2014-05-29T07:30:49-07:00 May 29th, 2014|Self-Help|48 Comments

Photo Courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/taratata I write in a journal to Lou (my husband) since he has been gone and it has been very therapeutic. When he was alive we talked all the time about everything. I’ve found that writing to him has helped appease that need for conversation, so I write. When you experience a death of someone very close, your whole life changes. So much in the day-to-day was incredibly painful. Slowly, I found ways of dealing with challenges that started to help. I think many people experience the changes I faced … Here are some things [...]

14 01, 2014

“I Would Think Your Job Would be Very Depressing”

By | 2014-01-14T16:11:40-08:00 January 14th, 2014|Inspiration|29 Comments

  I recently sat with a lady who is trying desperately to reconcile the unexpected death of her husband. She nervously fidgeted and took notes on each of the points we discussed on who she should contact now that she was being given his death certificates. I asked her questions about her husband and their life. I wanted to know how long they had been married, how many children and grandchildren they have, what their favorite vacation spots were and what the last thirty-three years has looked like for them.  She lit up as she told stories of their wonderful [...]

24 12, 2013

My Grandpa Died Yesterday: When Christmas is a Blur

By | 2013-12-24T00:01:28-08:00 December 24th, 2013|General|34 Comments

Some of us have been dreading Christmas this year. Photo Courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/hayesphotography Seeing the happy commercials on television, hearing people talk about holiday parties and gift shopping has felt empty and foreign. It's as though the world is spinning around you as you stand still. There's the temptation and perhaps the need to put on a face as you see certain people or go to different events, but nothing can budge the grief you are feeling or the dread as Christmas stands immovable, like some strange monument, to remind you, as if you could forget, that you're [...]

22 10, 2013

Saying Goodbye to “Amber, Pamber, Peaches, Pumpkin, Pie” & 5 Ways to Pay Tribute to Your Beloved Pet

By | 2013-10-22T23:25:43-07:00 October 22nd, 2013|Inspiration, Self-Help|64 Comments

I call my friend Betty my “California Mom”. We met over seven years ago serving together at church. One of many reasons we bonded immediately is due to our love for dogs.  Neither of us would be offended if you call us crazy dog ladies, because quite frankly, the name fits. Betty had adopted Amber from a lady who could no longer care for the precious pup.  Due to the color of her coat and many of us like to give our dogs endearing nicknames, she became “Amber, Pamber, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie”.  Betty became skilled at rambling off her full [...]

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 [...]

25 09, 2013

It Started with An Earthquake: A Cancer Journey

By | 2013-09-25T05:00:08-07:00 September 25th, 2013|Inspiration|58 Comments

  I t    S t a r t e d   w i t h    A n   E a r t h q u a k e   Photo Courtesy of iStock/sb-borg Thursday, January 3, 2013, 5 am. I am awakened out of a deep sleep to the sound of Lou’s voice, rather urgent.  The room wasn’t shaking. It couldn’t be an earthquake.  “Babe, you need to wake up.  We’ve got a problem.  I think you need to go to the hospital with me.  I am coughing up blood. “ I jumped out of bed in [...]