Articles

  • The Chauffeur’s Flower: Memories of an Early Loss

    July 26, 2014

    The day of my father’s funeral stands out in my mind. I remember blue sky and sunshine. It was six days after my eleventh birthday. At the end of the day, the chauffeur from the limousine handed me a carnation he had been wearing. I took it home, pressed it and always remembered the kindness […]

  • Colors of the Spirit: We Are All One in Grief

    July 24, 2014

    Embracing Sacred Law From July 11, 2014 through July 13,2014, I attended the 37th National Conference of The Compassionate Friends in Chicago, Illinois.I have been attending and presenting workshops for this great organization whose focus is to provide hope and support to families who have experienced the death of a child, since 2008. I always […]

  • Grief Down Under: Australians React to Malaysia Airlines Crash with Compassion

    July 24, 2014

    I arrived in Belgium on 9-11-01, a visitor in a foreign country during a tragically tumultuous time of loss and confusion. Last week, I awoke in Australia to another civilian disaster — the shooting down of the Malaysia Airlines plane — with the same ingredients linking global grief and sorrow. Outcries once again echoed across […]

  • How to Live Through Intense Grief

    July 22, 2014

    Loss has been a prevalent theme intersecting with my life over the past six weeks. In this time, there have been four deaths of people whose lives have touched me warmly: my sweetheart’s precious mother; a beloved cousin; a compassionate former colleague; and, a man whose contagious smile I first remember when we were both […]

  • Heaven…When Malaysian Plane Arrives

    July 21, 2014

    Darkness spread throughout heaven…and, all of heaven was filled with sadness…the moment when God heard his children on Malaysia flight number MH17 cry out for help…and, the angel choirs were silent…and, God wept openly for his children… God wept openly as he heard from the pilots, flight attendants, and passengers on the plane that was […]

  • Teens and Homicide: Interview with Dr. Tashel Bordere

    July 19, 2014

    At the annual ADEC (Association of Death Education and Counseling), I spoke with Dr. Tashel Bordere about her work with teens and the effects of homicide on their lives. In the video below, Tashel shares some of the most important things she has learned during her work with teens and homicide. Here are some key […]

  • Uncovering The Richer Connections in Our Signs

    July 16, 2014

    An Empirical Man For the majority of my life, I never bought in to the idea that our loved ones could survive death by communicating their continued existence to us. I was too busy trying to handle my day-to-day responsibilities of being a son, husband, father, and addictions counselor to give much thought to what […]

  • Life Moves Ahead: Discovering the Freedom to Go With It

    July 12, 2014

    This article was written by Charles W. Sidoti and Rabbi Akiva Feinstein.  It is an excerpt from Living at God’s Speed, Healing in God’s Time. Our world and our individual lives are in the process of evolving.  It is not a question of rejecting the past but of letting the past flow into the present […]

  • The Hand-Knit Shawl, a Linking Object and Labor of Love

    July 11, 2014

    My husband was in the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit for weeks. Our minister came to visit him and she had two bulging gift bags. One contained a brown, hand-knit shawl for my husband and the second a blue hand-knit shawl for me. Anonymous members of the church Caring Crafters group made the shawls and the […]

  • My Sister Died and I Waited 16 Years to Deal With It

    July 7, 2014

    I never expected to make a documentary film about my family. I didn’t think of myself as someone who had a story to tell. My sister had died when I was ten years old and by that time her illness seemed pretty normal to me. Aimee was diagnosed with leukemia when I was two years […]

  • Victory Over the Pole: Learning to Let Go

    July 7, 2014

    An intimidating 30-foot pole occupied a notable spot on the challenge-learning course. The facilitator explained that we were to climb the pole. The pole was manufactured with heavy metal staples that created a “ladder”-effect. Once we reached the top of the pole, we were supposed to mount the disk that was attached at the top, […]

  • July 4 in Minnesota Lifts Spirits

    July 4, 2014

    With the grueling winter behind us, I, like most Minnesotans, cherish these hot days of summer. Families gather for picnics, hang out at their lake cabins, and squeeze in every bit of outside time they can. Minnesota may be known as the “The Land of 10,000 Lakes,” but on America’s Independence Day, it becomes “The […]

  • In Grief and in Joy, Tell Your Story

    July 3, 2014

    “ People are hungry for stories. It’s part of our very being. Storytelling is a form of history, of immortality too. It goes from one generation to another.” —Studs Terkel Recently, I attended the funeral of my uncle, though I found myself making excuses for dismissing my obligation to go. When I read his obituary in […]

  • Five Years After Son’s Death, Dad Wonders if ‘the Blue Skies are Coming’

    July 2, 2014

      As the weather finally begins to catch up with the seasons, I find myself looking back. Beyond the still blue waters and flowered meadows. Back to the time when the only contrast to the vast expanses of ice were the dirt streaked mountains of accumulated snow. When I think about this year’s record snowfall […]

  • Malaysian Airlines Aftermath: A Grandmother’s Perspective

    July 2, 2014

    As soon as I heard a Malaysian Airlines flight 370 had been shot down, I thought of the survivors. I have some understanding of traumatic death because our daughter, the mother of our twin grandchildren, suddenly died in a car crash. The cause of death was “blunt force trauma,” three words I didn’t want to […]

  • Lord, Help Me Let You Be the Shepherd of My Life

    July 1, 2014

    This article was wrtten by Charles W. Sidoti and Rabbi Akiva Feinstein.  It is an excerpt from Living at God’s Speed, Healing in God’s Time. The Psalms are unique among the books of the Bible, revealing a mysterious healing quality in their ability to connect with us at a personal and profound level.  It is […]

  • Declaring Independence From Grief

    July 1, 2014

    Here in the U.S. we celebrate the Fourth of July as Independence Day. It is the day that Congress approved a Declaration of Independence from British rule. It marks the birth of our nation as a free, self-governing entity. The Declaration asserts that everyone has the right to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” […]

  • Breaking the Rules of Grief

    June 30, 2014

    An excerpt from the Introduction of Breaking the Rules of Grief, A Bereaved Mother’s Journey.  By Shannon Harris I should begin by warning you that there will be no substantial evidence supporting the ideas in this book. These are all my conflicted thoughts in black and white, perfectly spaced in Times New Roman size 12. Should […]

  • Do You See the Mystery?

    June 24, 2014

    The first time I saw the ocean, I was fifteen. I walked up a slight hill. The water was not yet in view, but the sky already seemed different, as if it knew what I was about to behold. No buildings, no trees obscured my view. I reached the top of the hill and there […]

  • I Found Hope, Healing and Grace in the Humanity of Christ

    June 24, 2014

    An excerpt from Fortune Cookie Wisdom: a contemplative perspective This reflection is about how we discover the truth in our lives. “From error to error, one discovers the entire truth” – Dr. Sigmund Freud, Austrian psychologist (1856-1939).  Could Jesus, while he walked the earth, identify with Freud’s statement?   If the words are applicable to the human […]

  • God’s Plan in the Grocery Store

    June 24, 2014

    With my whole heart I can say that I am not afraid of anything in life now that I’ve watched my son die.  Nothing can ever be harder than that moment in time; therefore, I have nothing to fear.  Death itself no longer scares me, either, knowing he is waiting for me on the other […]

  • Reflections of my Independence as a Widow

    June 20, 2014

    I consider myself an independent woman, something that when I was a young girl I would have been very proud of.  I would have been proud of the fact that I had a good job, proud of the fact that I had my own place, proud of the fact that I supported myself, and that […]

  • Father-Daughter Bond Continues Beyond the Grave

    June 15, 2014

    My last visit with my father began three days before his passing. I had known him as a man of few words, so the intensity and depth of the conversation we shared about the life we had spent together marked me indelibly. He emphasized that he wished he “had been able to do more [for […]

  • Resilience After Death of a Daughter

    June 14, 2014

    Life did not prepare me for August 15, 2001. In one moment on a very ordinary day, the world as I knew it inexplicably changed. I answered the phone to the panicked voice of a friend telling me that my 18-year-old and only daughter Ashley had been killed in an automobile accident. Little did I […]

  • My Father’s Final Gift

    June 14, 2014

    I would like to share my father’s final gift with you – a gift he unknowingly gave to me in death.  I received this most precious gift on a beautiful sunny day in April.  I’ll never forget the sky, it was so blue and the air was so crisp – God had created a simply gorgeous […]

  • Letter to a Lost Father

    June 13, 2014

    Dear Dad, It’s been 26 years since we last celebrated Father’s Day together. I think about your time here on Earth and I rejoice in your spirit. Born in the early 1900’s, you saw so many things. You were raised Jewish, yet you chose to let us be who we were; it did not matter […]

  • Surviving Grief without Losing Your Mind

    June 12, 2014

    Losing someone you love is like having part of your heart ripped out. Whether death came through sudden catastrophe or a drawn-out disease where there was time to prepare, grief often leaves us with more questions than answers. •What do I do with all the regrets? •Why do people say crazy things when they’re trying […]

  • Sitting in the Dark with Maya Angelou

    June 11, 2014

    Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud. ~Maya Angelou~ I’ve always had the feeling that life loves the liver of it. You must live and life will be good to you, give you experiences. They may not all be that pleasant, but nobody promised you a rose garden. But more than likely if you […]

  • Lucky Charms: It Isn’t Just a Cereal

    June 10, 2014

    LUCKY CHARMS: It isn’t just a Cereal “See a penny, pick it up and all day long you’ll have good luck.” “Don’t step on a crack or you’ll break your mother’s back.” “When you see a hummingbird, think of me.” I grew up hearing the first of these two “sayings” from my father, which resulted […]

  • Grief and the Loss of Control

    June 9, 2014

    Possibly one of the hardest aspects of grief for me has been that I can’t control it. I spent the majority of my life trying desperately to control everything in it. I wanted life to be predictable and – above all – peaceful. The problem has been what I tried to control and how I’d […]

  • Finding a Larger Meaning: Suffering Can Open Us Up

    June 9, 2014

    Challenge is a necessary part of life. And no one is exempt. That includes people like author-teacher extraordinaire Jean Houston. Being “famous” didn’t allow her to opt out of the process. So here are some of her conclusions after meeting difficult times: 1. “It is absolutely essential to look at what happened in fresh ways. […]

  • Comedy About Widowhood

    June 9, 2014

    Marriage jokes about her late husband’s snoring. Widow jokes about their one-sided conversations. This and more when memory artist, Nancy Gershman talks with standup comedian and attorney, Anita Milner about roasting beloved partners who die. Anita works with many widowed men and women – from the well-adjusted to the lonely hearts. Visit Anita on www.anitamilner.com. Passing away quickly? […]

  • A Marriage Survives the Loss of a Child

    June 4, 2014

    We have been traveling this grief journey after the death of our son, Clint, for seven years. We didn’t know what to expect along the way for ourselves or for the marriage. In the beginning, we stayed together because we had no energy to do otherwise. Then the suggestion was offered, to stay together because […]

  • Messages of Love

    June 3, 2014

    Over the years since my son’s death by overdose in 2004, I have received many messages and signs from him. Some have come in dreams, some through songs on the radio. Perhaps the most powerful of all have been the heart-shaped stones and shells washed up by the sea to remind me that love never […]

  • Unravelling of Life … My Sweater

    June 3, 2014

    The sweater clothed me It sheltered me daily It covered my wounds It kept me safe It was comfortable   The occasional yarns that dangled or sprout forth Were quickly yanked away or shorn down No need for them. What I had clothed me   One day Father Jim hugged me A priest on a […]

  • Make Time Matter: A Lesson from My Dad

    June 2, 2014

    My father died from complications of bowel cancer, and I held his hand as he took his final breath. Being there, as hard as it was to experience, was a gift to me, and he told me that it was also a gift to him. He endured some very real physical pain and also the […]

  • How to Feel Better in Less Than an Hour

    May 31, 2014

    I often read internet postings from fellow bereaved parents expressing the terrible pain they are feeling after the loss of a child. I hear it in support groups and have lived through it myself. My son, Anthony, died when he was five years old to leukemia four years ago. As I hear and read these […]

  • In Praise of Friendship: Maya Angelou and Mrs. Flowers

    May 30, 2014

    Sometimes gifted writers, like Maya Angelou, feel like a friend because they invite you into their heart and mind with such a generosity of spirit. It’s no wonder that millions around the world are grieving her death. Though we didn’t ‘know’ her, we came into her world through the 31 books, essays, plays and poetry […]

  • Why Happy New Year is Tough on Bereaved Parents

    May 30, 2014

    When the ball at Times Square drops, champagne corks pop. Ample hugs and kisses are dispensed all around. A new year, new hope, new ventures, new possibilities. Wow, it’s all so exciting! However, for the parent who has lost a child in the previous year, the dawning of a new calendar year can be rough. […]

  • Maya Angelou’s Death: Navigating the Loss of a Favorite Writer

    May 29, 2014

    I have been positively imprinted by so many wonderful writers that I am also impacted when they die. When Frank McCourt died, my friends & I, all authors, each read excerpts from his books at a cherished, independently owned, local bookstore. I read from Angela’s Ashes. This was our way of paying tribute to Frank, […]

  • When a Mentor Dies

    May 29, 2014

    A special kind of pain is felt when your mentor’s time on earth is through. Whether the person is famous (like writer Maya Angelou) or a family member, the loss can throw you into a tailspin of sadness. Often times, when we are grieving a great teacher or guide, we are not only grieving the […]

  • Death as Part of Who We Are

    May 29, 2014

    We hear a lot about befriending unwanted parts of ourselves. So I wondered if this same language could be applied to our own awaiting destiny. After all like any part that makes up a whole, death is born with us and dies with us. It is an intricate part of who we are and has […]

  • Maya Angelou’s Death: Grieving Someone You’ve Never Met

    May 29, 2014

    With the death of Maya Angelou this week, millions of her advocates and fans will be mourning the loss of an exceptional woman. This grief may, to some, seem misplaced. Because, when any public figure passes a wave of “grief judgment” often follows, from family members, the media, even friends. People question the validity of […]

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  • Navigating Grief and Trials: Kathleen D. Hamilton

    July 24, 2014

    Kathleen D. Hamilton has suffered a number of tragedies including the deaths of her mother and twelve year old daughter.  She has coped with a brain-injured son and has grieved two broken marriages. Reaching out to help others she has been a facilitator with “The Compassionate Friends” and has worked in the funeral industry. She […]

  • The Death Class: Erika Hayasaki’s and Norma Bowe

    July 17, 2014

    Dr. Norma Bowe, RN Ph.D. is a tenured Professor in the College of Education at Kean University in Union N.J. She developed the course curriculum for Death in Perspective which has a three year waiting list and is the subject of the book The Death Class: A True Story About Life, by Erika Hayasaki a […]

  • Finances after Loss: Aaron Britz

    July 10, 2014

    Aaron Britz was 6 years old, when he lost his 62-year-old grandfather to a brain tumor. During the days and years that followed he watched his grandmother struggle with finances. This experience inspired him to become a financial planner specializing in helping people in grief, loss, or transition.  He is the President of Legacy Wealth […]

  • Jill Kraft Thompson Rebuilding A Life After Losing Five People

    June 19, 2014

    Jill Kraft Thompson had a life filled with love: an adoring husband, two young precious sons, a devoted mother, and a close extended family. Jill’s story begins as everyone’s worst nightmare. In 2002 she lost five close family members in a car crash that she survived. Her beloved young sons, husband, mother and niece were […]

  • Brenda Marshall Ph.D.: Death of an Adult Sibling

    June 12, 2014

    Brenda Marshall Ph.D. is a speaker, coach and educator in the field of bereavement. Her interest in providing help to others, who have lost a sibling, came after the sudden death of her younger brother Brent. She is the author of Adult Sibling Loss:Stories, Reflections and Ripples.

  • Danita Ogandaga: Overcoming the Orphaned Spirit

    June 5, 2014

    Danita Ogandaga is the founder Hope Starts Today and the Orphan No More podcast. She lost both of her parents by the age of twenty-one. She teaches on the topics of grief, restoration, hope and resilience. She is the author of the audio book Overcoming the Orphan Spirit.

  • Getting Out of Bed in the Morning

    July 10, 2014

      Written in devotional format, Getting Out of Bed in the Morning is a companion for those going through sorrow associated with loss–whether brought to the journey through the death of a loved one, failing health, job loss, broken relationships, or weakened family ties. Written by Alice J. Wisler, author, speaker and writing workshop instructor, […]