Grief is a sacred journey

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The Comfort of Small Things

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Chickadees throw back their heads to praise the dawn. Bring us morning. Bring the light. They bring me faith in exchange for seeds. Mexican music blasts over the driving range loudspeakers. A tiny brown and white pup nibbles my pudgy five-year-old fingers. Hello, new […]

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An Unexpected Gift

At home 1998

He was lucky to get a teaching job when few were available in 1973. I was lucky to have his financial and emotional support. We were both lucky because we were in love. I was also pissed […]

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When Dreams Tell Our Future

Still strong during earlier cancer treatment

“I had a dream last night,” Vic said in a thin raspy voice. “Really?” I said. Although he’d experienced a lifetime of vibrant dreams, he’d had few during recent months fueled by prednisone, codeine, and Ambien. “Yeah. I dreamed the […]

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I Thought I Could

Tampa sunset on day before flight

My flight home from Florida was threatened by another winter storm on the east coast. How I miss my husband Vic at times like this. “It’s in the hands of nature and United Air,” he would say, “so we […]

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Living with Impermanence

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“You likely have cancer,” the oncologist said to Vic. With those words, my husband and I landed in a world of crisis care and lost dreams. I was (and still am) part of a women’s mythology class that had […]

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My Grandma’s Juicy Secret

Wedding portrait Welling

After Mom entered an Alzheimer’s residence in 1995, I received two cardboard boxes of mementos. Her husband had found the musty crushed cartons in the basement when cleaning out Mom’s possessions. Since Mom no longer recognized what she […]

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How My Dog Taught Me the Power of Ritual

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Our ten-year-old Lab left the car reluctantly. Instead of running ahead and waiting on the dock for us to throw a stick, our water boy stood near the car door without a wag. “He has cancer,” the vet […]

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When We Had Plans

Vic & Elaine 1981

When our two-hundred-year-old barn was in danger of falling down in 2005, we built a new one. We put large windows in the southwest corner and added pipes for plumbing. We imagined Vic would have cabin fever if he […]

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TEDxChemungRiver: Good Grief! What I Learned from Loss

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There is power in grieving intentionally and purposefully. Telling her own story of loss, Elaine Mansfield explains the use of ritual as a tool for empowerment during life’s most challenging times.

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Twelve Rituals That Marked My Way: 2014

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Rituals focus my attention and bring a sacred sense to life. Personal rituals help me honor the things for which I’m grateful–friendship, family, the earth, and bereavement and grief work. In this spirit, I look back at rituals […]

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