Grief is a sacred journey

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Sunshine on the Wedding: June 2013

We wake up to blue skies, our weather prayers answered. Friends arrive to do the set-up postponed by yesterday’s storm. Men roll up the sides of the reception tent to air out the sandy soil and then

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The Day before the Wedding: Chop, jive, and remember the missing

The morning before David and Liz’s wedding, Tropical Storm Andrea dumps six inches of rain on northeastern North Carolina. Water floods the drainage ditch, pours over the driveway, pounds the oak trees, and pools under the huge

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Gifts of the Heart: Volunteering at Hospice

The lights darken on viewing night for senior project documentaries created by Ithaca College Journalism majors. The well-done films cover topics from musicians to foreign language instruction for young children. I came to see the documentary about

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My Mother’s Rules: Good Grades and No Babies

Don’t get pregnant and get good grades. When I was in high school, these rules were unspoken, but I knew what mattered to Mom. After Dad died when I was fourteen, Mom worried about restarting her own

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Social Media for Authors: Jill Swenson interviews Elaine Mansfield

Jill Swenson of Swenson Book Development interviewed me about my use of social media to build an author’s platform. Here are her words followed by the interview. “Elaine Mansfield is a writer, blogger, and bereavement group facilitator

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The Cancer Survivor: Hope Lodge Hospitality House 2007

“Congratulations,” Mark said as I packed up my food in the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge kitchen. Mark was the caretaker of the hospitality house where I stayed while Vic had a stem cell transplant at Strong

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Dressing Up the Mother of the Groom

This body likes hiking boots and jeans. It digs deep wide holes for plants and spades out dandelion roots. It likes broad brimmed hats and Vic’s old broadcloth shirts instead of sunscreen. In winter, it pulls on

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Remember What You Love: Deep Friendship and Thriving Plants

“Do something you used to love, even if you don’t care about it right now,” my son David advised the spring after his dad died. “Then something you always loved will be waiting for you.” Gardening has

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For the Love of Trees: 2005

“Come on, Elaine, let’s dress up in our Hector regional costumes and take a photo for the party invitation.” “I have gardening to do, Vic. Let’s do it tomorrow.” “No, today,” Vic insists. “It’s a perfect day.

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Writing through the Rough Spots: Healing through Story

“Write a list of questions,” Ellen instructed. “Anything that comes to mind. Just let your pen flow across the page.” I sat around Ellen’s cozy table with a small group of students and began. “Will I ever

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