Grief is a sacred journey

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Persephone: Finding Myself in Her Story

I wore a paper crown. Thick glasses concealed crossed eyes. My head tipped away from my mother, she who pretended everything was fine. Just five, I felt cornered by a dark threat I couldn’t see or name. My parents

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The Half-Life of Love: Eight Years Later

The half-life of love is forever.  ~Junot Diaz, This Is How You Lose Her Eight years after my husband’s death, I carry our love in my heart pocket. I’m used to the ache. Longing doesn’t surprise me. I don’t

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The Caregiver and the Hero: Who’s in the Driver’s Seat?

Six weeks after my husband’s stem cell transplant in 2007, he drove our Subaru west on the New York State Thruway. A stocking cap covered his hairless head. I sat in the passenger seat. His jaw muscles popped

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The Problem with Preferences

I saw a bluebird couple yesterday. “No, NO!” I wanted to yell. “Don’t sit on that nesting box. The tree swallows live there. Try the empty box closer to the house.” They wouldn’t have listened. So, I watched through

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Three Life-Affirming Lessons from Death

1. Death makes us value life The death of someone I love reminds me of my own impermanence. The loss of their familiar presence makes me consider what matters most to me. In my twenties, I read The Teachings of Don Juan by Carlos

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Coming to Carry Him Home

After nearly three years of cancer therapy, my brother’s body was exhausted. There were no more options. Jim was dying. The previous week, I spent four days with him in his hospital room. We were often alone then. When

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Planting Life at a Time of Sorrow

My brother Jim seemed steady and a little stronger last week. There was talk of releasing him from the hospital to rehab, so I drove seven hours home to deal with what I’d left behind. I needed

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Holding Hands on the Threshold between Life and Death

My brother’s cell phone sings its song. He slowly picks it up from the tray table and leans back into white pillows with closed eyes. He seemed close to death a few days ago, although he’s stable

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My Lover’s Mama and the Negative Mother Archetype

After I’d known him almost a year, Vic took me to Connecticut to meet his mother Virginia. I was a love-soaked girl of twenty-two. “She can be rough,” Vic warned me. “She has a temper.” “It will be

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Poems to Soothe a Grieving Heart

Grieving allows us to heal, to remember with love rather than pain. It is a sorting process. One by one you let go of things that are gone and you mourn for them. One by one you

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