Grief is a sacred journey


My Lover’s Hands

Vic's Italian hands, 1991

We stood with three other couples, anchoring our side of the square. They were much older, at least in their forties. The sun-baked men strutted in shiny cowboy boots and red bandanas. The women twirled layered white […]

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Do You Trust Your Creative Self?


I walk along a country road with a woman writer, a seven-year-old girl, and a boy who is three. The children run ahead, down a steep dip in the road, out of sight. A huge truck comes from […]

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Ritual at the Crossroads


“A ritual would help,” I said to my friend Pat. “I’d love that,” she said. “I’ll think about it. I want to be near water.” I’d just arrived at Pat’s home. She and I met in 1970 […]

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Traveling Solo But Not Alone: Managing a Meltdown

With Pat and Anthony and a hang glider. Or is that an angel?

My plane left San Francisco at 6 a.m. I curled into a window seat with Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver. When I arrived in Newark, I read the departure board. Flight to Ithaca canceled due to air traffic […]

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Disco Balls and Candles: Grief Ritual in Unusual Places


On Saturday, July 25, my son Anthony Mansfield hosted a Leaning into Love reading at Monarch, a dance club in San Francisco. The reading was set for early evening in a downstairs room under the main bar, a place […]

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In the Company of Friends

Lauren at Vic's memorial service 2008

“Are you OK?” Lauren asked when she called the morning after Vic died. Lauren Cottrell Banner is one of a few friends who attended Vic’s death. She helped me swab his mouth, chant prayers, and read passages […]

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She’s Seven Now: When Dreams Lead the Way

Elaine at 6 or 7

On June 3, I planned a quiet day to take stock of my life. It was the seventh anniversary of my husband Vic’s death. I wrote about the ritual aspects of the day in a previous blog, […]

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Walking Each Other Home

Alyssa Duncan

Sharyn and I met in 1973. I’d moved to Hamilton, NY with my husband and our three-year-old son after Vic got a teaching job at Colgate University. I was pregnant and mad. I didn’t want to move away […]

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Soul Care in Hard Times


“No detectable disease on CAT scan. Better than last time.” I received this text message from my brother Jim as I loaded my car to drive to his home seven hours away. When I read the message, I […]

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Finding the Sacred Feminine in Nature and Friendship


My friend Gail stopped me at the check-out at Wegman’s Grocery a few weeks ago. She beamed love at me and told me she’d just bought another copy of my book to give as a gift. Of course, this makes […]

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