Grief is a sacred journey

Bereavement and End of Life

“Part of Living is Dying”: Interviewing My Sick Husband for StoryCorps

Vic and I waited in a quiet room in our friend Steve’s house while the sound engineer set up his recording equipment. Vic wore thick layers of bulky clothing over his cancer swollen body. Four months before, after a severe drug reaction, he’d

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A Word that Changes Everything

“I’m sure it’s cancer,” the oncologist said in an I’m-telling-it-straight voice in 2006. He forced himself to look into Vic’s eyes and then mine. “We don’t know what kind, so we can’t treat you until we figure

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We Are Not Alone: A Community Ritual of Remembrance

I arrive at the Unitarian Fellowship in Big Flats, NY a little early on Sunday morning. I need spaciousness and inner quiet to set up and lead a Ritual of Remembrance for this community. This is my

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Disbelief

“Embrace your grief. For there, your soul will grow.” Carl Jung Yesterday my husband’s mom looked up at me with her nearly blind milky brown eyes and asked, “Is Vic dead?” “Yes,” I said quietly. “He died seven years

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The Woman Wants Red

I drove blindfolded or without headlights at night. I lost my way without a map or GPS. I panicked as my car slid backwards into deep ditches. Roads were blocked and I couldn’t get home. After my

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Dancing with My Mother’s Death

Three months after my husband’s stem cell transplant, he had wispy dark hair and terrific energy. I needed a break from cancer and care giving. He needed a few days alone. I signed up for a week-long Body/Soul

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Mythology, Nature and Healing: Daphne meets the Green Man

Eight days after my husband’s death, I dreamed of the Green Man, a pre-Christian northern European god of death and rebirth. Consciously, I knew him as a face on a garden gate, but the dream made me feel

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The Memory Game: Sharing Our Secrets and Wounds

“Tell me the first thing you remember,” I asked my boyfriend Vic. I wanted to know everything. His jaw tightened. He hesitated. I saw I’d hit a raw place, but it was too late. We were sitting upright in bed, leaning against

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My Lover’s Hands

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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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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