“Tough Stuff”

22 10, 2013

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

By | 2013-10-22T23:25:43-08:00 October 22nd, 2013|Inspiration, News, 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 | 2013-10-01T11:40:32-08:00 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 | 2013-09-25T05:00:08-08:00 September 25th, 2013|Inspiration, Perspective|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 [...]

11 09, 2013

9/11 || Why We Remember Even When It’s Hard

By | 2013-09-11T05:00:11-08:00 September 11th, 2013|Ceremonies, Perspective|24 Comments

I was just in high school when 9/11 happened. Just a naive 15-year-old. I saw the second plane hit, I ran back to tell my mom what was happening. I remember her curling her hair with tears streaming down her face. That day I shared in the shock with the rest of America, I prayed for people, I cried and felt sad. But a month later I was "fine" and couldn’t understand why people were still so upset. The trauma and grief that surrounded me then was too huge for me to understand then and  it's taken years for me [...]

14 08, 2013

“So, Who Was the Funeral For?” | Creating Sacred Moments

By | 2013-08-14T05:00:08-08:00 August 14th, 2013|Ceremonies, Community, News, Planning Ahead|29 Comments

  I recently attended a service where the officiant said, “funerals aren’t for the person who died, they are for the living.” I initially disliked this idea, feeling that it sounded vastly self-serving at a time that was set-aside for someone who had died. This same officiant then proceeded to talk about himself and his own grief experiences, sharing almost nothing about the person who had died. My mind drifted off until a slideshow began playing and jogged me back to why I was there. This officiant’s failure made a sad event even worse. The service he performed wasn’t for [...]

7 08, 2013

Finding Comfort in Words, Not Possessions

By | 2013-08-07T05:00:43-08:00 August 7th, 2013|Inspiration, News, Seasons of Life|37 Comments

I have been in spring-cleaning mode all the way through summer. Photo courtesy of http://stat.ks.kidsklik.com After my mom died four years ago, our family kept our house like a museum. I don't mean that things were neatly organized and everything was nicely displayed. I mean that all my mom's items were left exactly where they were. Grocery lists still hung on the refrigerator. We gave away only a couple of her clothes, but anything that I remembered her wearing or still had a faint scent from her perfume was stuffed in my drawers. To make more room, I [...]

15 05, 2013

“This is How We Die”: A Morning with a Hospice Nurse

By | 2013-05-15T05:00:16-08:00 May 15th, 2013|News, Planning Ahead, Seasons of Life|23 Comments

On Tuesday morning all I knew was that I was setting up an O'Connor table at the Heartland Hospice event that we were co-hosting. I got the table cloth & brochures all set out, greeted the attendees, and sat down in the back intending to "work" on my computer when the speaker, Barbara Karnes, a hospice nurse of 32 years, began speaking. She said, "I don’t want to pretend that this is all Truth with a Capitol T. This is MY experience. Dying is the hardest thing we live through." (and you do live through it, that is, until you [...]

9 05, 2013

When Mother’s Day is Hard: For Those Who Have Lost Their Mother or Child

By | 2013-05-09T05:00:44-08:00 May 9th, 2013|Ceremonies, Seasons of Life|11 Comments

  Mother’s Day.   Perhaps at one time, maybe just last year, this was a day full of flowers, hugs, laughter & good food. It’s astonishing what a death can take away from us, that even a holiday like this, once so simple and sweet, can become dreaded and excruciating days of mourning. Photo Credit: kayumac.tumblr.com Writing for a mortuary blog, I feel I have the special privilege to get to speak to the bereaved, to write about, confront, and open up these sorrowful topics that are so tremendously important. There are two main groups of people I [...]

3 04, 2013

Why Too Many Funerals Aren’t Worth Going To (& How To Fix That!)

By | 2013-04-03T05:00:30-08:00 April 3rd, 2013|General, Planning Ahead|3 Comments

  Photo Credit: www.typohgram.com If you’ve ever attended one of Dr. Bill Hoy’s seminars, you’ve inevitably heard about the importance of ceremony, how he attends every funeral he can, and why he thinks funerals are so important. Most of us are probably not as enthusiastic as Dr. Hoy when it comes to planning, much less attending a funeral. Well, why do you think that is? I’ll tell you what I think. I think it’s because the funeral profession has been doing funerals badly for a very long time. Think about it, go back to the last funeral you [...]

14 03, 2013

How to Grieve on Facebook: Wearing Black in A Virtual World

By | 2013-03-14T04:00:02-08:00 March 14th, 2013|Community, News, Resources & Information|10 Comments

The internet has changed our lives so much. From the way we interact, to the way we learn, and even the way we shop. You can do ALMOST anything online, and now we’re beginning to see people grieve there as well. Photo Credit: www.mothernewyork.com I recently read an article that advocated for the return of the traditional act of “wearing black” when in mourning. While I don’t think the idea will quite catch on again, this sense of needing to be known in the public as someone in grief is a very important idea and one that social [...]