Are You Preoccupied with Guilt?

Posted on Aug 5, 2013 in General Grief

GuiltDo you have a list of things you “ought” to have said/not said or done/not done near the time of your loved one’s death? Everyone feels inadequate when a loved one is dying, but some of us just can’t seem to take ourselves off the hook.

“Ought” Implies “Can.”

At least admit that your “ought” is a judgment, not a fact. Are you sure you are comfortable believing that you could have

  1. acted perfectly,
  2. known what you couldn’t have likely known, and
  3. controlled what you couldn’t have likely controlled:
    • your loved one’s life choices and thought processes,
    • the medical community, and
    • life, in general?

The fact is you can only do what is in your power to do.

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A Memory of Mother

Posted on Jul 30, 2013 in General Grief, Parent Loss

You might be interested in subscribing to Garrison Keillor’s Minnesota Public Radio’s Writer’s Almanac. It’s a wonderful way to begin the day, along with our daily quote of course!

The Almanac always leads with a poem. You can listen to Garrison (or his current summer stand-in, the wonderful poet Billy Collins) read the daily poem or silently read and contemplate the poem’s spare words.

Today’s poem, Mediterranean, was especially sweet. Poet Rosanna Warren visually sees her young mother walking ahead of her 38 years before: “the mystery was not that she walked there, ten years after her death, but that she vanished – and let twilight take her place.”

Click here to read the entire poem.

Mediterranean Poem by Rosanna Warren

To subscribe go to Click on “newsletter” in upper right of website, and add your email.

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What Good is Grief?

Posted on Jul 26, 2013 in General Grief

toddler-cryingAs children we grieve when we have to give up what we have made our own, be it a toy, a tricycle, a best friend or a teacher. There is the sudden upsurge of emotion over the loss, followed by a tearful wail, and then the ritual trot to find a loved one to help us resolve our pain.

With age, our losses become more significant, our practice more rigorous, and final resolution more difficult. To meet our needs, societies historically provided an honored space for us to practice our emotional skills.

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What does age have to do with it?

Posted on Jul 25, 2013 in Spousal/Partner Loss

youngoldhandsWhether you are in your 40 and 50’s or in your retirement years, each age group has its own challenges.

The younger you are, the more time you have to create a new life. On the other hand, the younger you are, the more likely you are to have school-age children at home. Because the death of a parent is a life-shattering event for a child, you might subordinate your own grieving to care for your grieving child. In addition, you carry the stress and ultimate exhaustion of trying to fill the roles of both mother and father. Neither situation lends itself to getting your own needs met.

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Forgetting Your Loved One

Posted on Jun 10, 2013 in Parent Loss, Sibling Loss

col_dogsResolving your grief does not mean forgetting your loved one    

Resolving your grief does not mean that you will not feel deeply sad about your loss in the future. To the contrary, remembering your loved one and being able to connect to your sense of loss in the future is normal, healthy and desirable.

Satirist and TV host Stephen Colbert addressed this continuing presence of loss in a recent magazine interview*. Colbert was 10 when his father and two young brothers were killed in an airplane crash while on their way to enrolling the two young men in private school. When the interviewer asked Colbert if his grief had dissipated in the 40 years since the accident, he said it “was as keen but not as present.”

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