Aging: Balancing Loss…

Posted on May 30, 2015 in General Grief

Doing Things on a Want To, Choose To, Like It, Love It Basis

Photo by Michael Grab

Photo by Michael Grab


I can be changed by what is happening to me, but I don’t have to be reduced by it. Maya Angelou

If you reflect back on when you felt stuck and in despair, you were likely being challenged by loss. Whether it is the loss of innocence, friendship, employment, a major relationship, or a dream—the impact can be significant.

The worst loss you can experience as you age, however, is the loss of your sense of self—the inability to see who you are outside of your circumstances. I am not talking about your ego-driven identity, but who you are without your roles and personal bells and whistles.

What is your perception of aging?

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My Mother’s Shoes

Posted on May 9, 2015 in General Grief, Parent Loss

Mother's Shoes

Those shoes “above” are my mothers.

She wore them in 1917, two years before her father fell ill after inhaling hay dust during “haymaking season.” He died of pneumonia two weeks later. The death was not unusual as penicillin was yet to be discovered. What was unusual was my grandmother putting my 4-year old mother on her father’s bed and telling her she that she could make him well.

Obviously she failed.

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Why We Should Always Go to the Funeral

Posted on Apr 30, 2015 in General Grief

Why Go to Funeral

Every once in a while we feature someone else’s writing, and are pleased to share Deirdre Sullivan’s thoughts on why we should always “go to the funeral.”


by Deirdre Sullivan

I believe in always going to the funeral. My father taught me that.

The first time he said it directly to me, I was 16 and trying to get out of going to calling hours for Miss Emerson, my old fifth grade math teacher. I did not want to go. My father was unequivocal. “Dee,” he said, “you’re going. Always go to the funeral. Do it for the family.”

So my dad waited outside while I went in. It was worse than I thought it would be: I was the only kid there. When the condolence line deposited me in front of Miss Emerson’s shell-shocked parents, I stammered out, “Sorry about all this,” and stalked away. But, for that deeply weird expression of sympathy delivered 20 years ago, Miss Emerson’s mother still remembers my name and always says hello with tearing eyes.

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It is a Beautiful Day to Die

Posted on Apr 2, 2015 in General Grief

Recently I was standing at a friend’s open kitchen window drinking a cup of tea while she was at the barn talking to the farrier who had put special shoes on her 35 year old horse, Charles. Sound travels easily across pasture, and I heard the farrier say, “I don’t know… sometimes I stop and notice the day and think it’s a beautiful day to die.” I had no idea what was being discussed, but he had my attention.

Later during dinner my friend mentioned the conversation with the farrier. They had been talking about Charles, who struggles to get to his feet after lying down as a result of severe arthritis. She then said what I had heard earlier: “the farrier said sometimes he stops and notices the day and thinks it’s a beautiful day to die.”

Tears welled in her eyes as she added, “Well, it is another perspective, isn’t it?”

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Death of a Bad Relationship

Posted on Feb 24, 2015 in Caregiving, General Grief

Liberating Losses - Part 2

In Part One of “relief grief” we talked about how the death of a child, sibling, parent or partner can bring relief to family members. However, such relief is most often hidden to escape community criticism. That said keeping quiet does nothing to help a family work through the emotional scars they have often inherited.

If you have experienced ongoing psychological and/or physical abuse, you need to keep a few things in mind:

  • You are entitled to accept and explore whatever you are feeling.
  • Forgiveness is pure gold, but don’t rush into it. At first just notice what takes place in your body when a memory creates a physical “charge.” Take some time to sit down, close your eyes, connect to your breath and allow your anger and/or fear to drain from your mind and body.
  • Accept that while you had little control over the deceased’s behavior, you do have control over how you interpret the affect of their behavior on your future.
  • Be wary of giving the experience so much power that you become a permanent victim.
  • Consider seeking professional help to work through your resentment.
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Not Everyone Grieves

Posted on Jan 25, 2015 in Caregiving, General Grief, Spousal/Partner Loss

jan_2015Death ends a life—not a good or a bad relationship

The bereaved often find first-year support group sessions comforting because they are with others who also feel the pressure to hide their sorrow and pretend they aren’t disoriented, sleep-deprived and anxious. While it is common to hear people express relief that a loved one no longer has to suffer, seldom do individuals say they feel set free by a death.

The book Liberating Losses: When death brings relief by Jennifer Elison, EDD and Chris McFonigle, PhD opens up the subject of “relief grief” and supports those who live in silence for fear of being judged and ostracized.

Not every death is tragedy

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The Loss of Chipper, a Golden Retriever

Posted on Dec 30, 2014 in General Grief, Pet Loss, Uncategorized


Marty Tousley, author of, is the giant on whose shoulders other grief blogger’s stand. Instead of our intended post, we have decided to end the year with her post Voices of Experience: 7 Things Chipper Taught Me about Life and Business.

Most of us have had our hearts broken by the loss of a pet, but I wonder how many of us have the wisdom to allow our pets to teach us how to live a richer life.

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