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 [...]

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 [...]

25 03, 2015

There was Glitter in Her Hair When Grandma Died: The Construction of a Death Story

By | 2015-03-25T06:00:20-07:00 March 25th, 2015|General|10 Comments

I was speeding by cars on the freeway driving like a maniac; my mom needed me at the hospital. My grandma had just been admitted, maybe had a heart attack – no one knew – but my mom had simply texted “come” and so I was. I’m still not sure exactly where I was on the 405 when I got a text message that at a glance looked like an update on grandma’s situation. I asked Siri to read the message to me since I was driving. She read the words, “… Grandma died a little while ago …” without [...]

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 [...]

2 09, 2014

When Our Heroes Die: Grieving On-Screen Strangers

By | 2014-09-02T10:22:05-07:00 September 2nd, 2014|General|30 Comments

  It has been a terrible year. I have a background in theatre and I tended to compete with the actors I saw on stage or screen, wondering how or if the “job” could be better. Three of my theatre/acting/film heroes have died this year. These 3 kings, I like to say, (Robin, Philip, and Harold) have crushed me in every competition I have tried to will myself into creating when I watch their work. There is no way I could have voiced a better Genie, portrayed a more flawless Capote, or even come close to writing a script like [...]

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 [...]

16 04, 2014

Stubborn Love | The Power of Lyrics

By | 2014-04-16T19:57:22-07:00 April 16th, 2014|Inspiration|52 Comments

“Its better to feel pain, than nothing at all. The opposite of love is indifference.”   It was around 10:30 on a Wednesday night, and there I was, driving out to Laguna Hills to bring someone who had passed away into our care. Only this time I was not going to be calling a stranger to let them know their loved one was in our care. I was not going to fill out any paperwork with a strange name at the heading, nor was I going to be setting up an appointment for the family to meet an Arranger. The [...]

11 02, 2014

A Tale of Two Grandmas: Alone & Loneliness

By | 2014-02-11T20:45:53-08:00 February 11th, 2014|Inspiration|35 Comments

My grandmas lost their husbands within 6 months of each other. One of them had, in her lifetime, sailed across the Pacific Ocean taking 4 years to do it with my grandpa at the helm. The other had lived a quiet & uneventful but very happy life in Leisure World with a few friends & a very happy marriage. They lost their husbands slowly, each to different illnesses, each having a different world crash down around them as they faced the same husband-less reality. Photo Courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/RusN In the throws of widowhood, my sailing grandma began to [...]

20 11, 2013

We all have dates that changed our lives. This is mine.

By | 2013-11-20T18:52:43-08:00 November 20th, 2013|General|44 Comments

August 2, 2000 – We all have dates that changed our lives. This is mine. My mother, brother, and I were pulling in the driveway from the grocery store, when my grandmother, Aunt, and Uncle came walking up. Photo Courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/bestdesigns Every one of them had a look of pain in their face, and my grandmother’s eyes were red and swollen. I remember my grandmother asking to speak with my mom in private.  So my brother and I stayed and put the groceries away. I vividly remember looking at my brother, who was only 7 at the [...]

12 11, 2013

“Their house is gone”: Lessons in Facing Tragedy

By | 2013-11-12T22:00:54-08:00 November 12th, 2013|Inspiration|24 Comments

I'll never forget hearing that phrase, "Their house is gone." I had been watching news coverage of the Silver Fire in Banning, CA all day long, vigilant because of dear friends living in that area.  With my calls going straight to voice mail  I decided to go to bed. The phone rang an hour later.  It was a brief call because I had no words, my boyfriend only knew that our friends were able to save their dogs & themselves.  I fell asleep in tears, unable to process the news just yet. Post fire pics of the Anderson's home [...]