“Tough Stuff”

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 [...]

17 09, 2015

Seeing is Believing: The Empty Caskets of 9/11

By | 2015-09-17T06:00:07-07:00 September 17th, 2015|Ceremonies, News, Perspective|2 Comments

There's the age old phrase, "seeing is believing" and for so many of us, it rings true. At O'Connor we've seen families testify to this truth over and over, telling us that seeing their loved one at peace helped to bring home their new reality. Seeing gave them a physical object and an image to process in the future as a mental touch point and marker of what has happened. It doesn't seem like looking at someone who has died should be comforting, but so many people describe it that way and my own personal experience tells the same story. But what [...]

8 05, 2015

Mother’s Day Without Mom

By | 2015-05-08T17:31:26-07:00 May 8th, 2015|Ceremonies, Inspiration, Perspective, 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 [...]

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|News, Perspective|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 [...]

6 08, 2014

Admit It … You Deserve a Funeral

By | 2014-08-06T22:19:17-07:00 August 6th, 2014|Inspiration, Perspective, Planning Ahead|28 Comments

If you’re like me you’ve heard many of the older people in your family say things like, “Don’t fuss over me when I die,” or, “When I’m dead just throw me in a ditch.” We accept their statements as expressions of not wanting to burden their family with the planning, cost, etc ... but what are they really saying to us when they throw these quips out? I think what they're really saying is … “I’m not sure if my life mattered enough … I’m not worthy of anyone's time … Would anyone go to my funeral? … Will someone [...]

6 05, 2014

Mother’s Day for the Grieving

By | 2014-05-06T22:07:17-07:00 May 6th, 2014|Inspiration, News, Perspective|42 Comments

I recently came across a friend requesting prayers for a family in her community. When asked about what happened she shared the news that the family's oldest child, a 5 year old boy, had died the day before. As I read through the shock wave of reactions and felt my own sorrow and nausea overwhelm me, and then I realized that Mother's Day was just 8 days away for this poor mother. While she has 2 other children who will wish her a "Happy Mother's Day" there will be a horrible emptiness where that other sweet little voice should be. [...]

22 04, 2014

A Cancer Journey: Lou Goes Home

By | 2014-04-22T22:00:29-07:00 April 22nd, 2014|Inspiration, Perspective, Seasons of Life|57 Comments

This is the final installation of our Head of Accounting's story as she watched her husband's life come to an end almost a year ago today. To read all of her story, click here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.   Part 4: Lou Goes Home "Happy Birthday, Babe!  The day this blog posts will be your first birthday in heaven,  and my first without you.  I think I will go to Dana Point with Bella and April if she is free. Then have the family over for pizza.  You know we lost Molly the first Sunday in March, so [...]

24 12, 2013

My Grandpa Died Yesterday: When Christmas is a Blur

By | 2013-12-24T00:01:28-07:00 December 24th, 2013|Perspective, Seasons of Life|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 [...]

10 12, 2013

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

By | 2013-12-10T22:00:57-07:00 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 [...]

20 11, 2013

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

By | 2013-11-20T18:52:43-07:00 November 20th, 2013|News, Perspective|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 [...]