Grief is a sacred journey

Bereavement and End of Life

In the Company of Friends

“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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Walking Each Other Home

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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When Dads Die Young

My Father’s Day story, “Running from Dad’s Death,” was posted at Open to Hope today. It’s about the last time I saw my dad, just a few days before his death. I was fourteen and scared, unprepared for death in a way I can hardly

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Bloom Where You Are Planted

“Bloom where you are planted.” ~Fortune Cookie My husband Vic died in early June 2008. Even though I was newly widowed, I was grateful for long days and spring green. Nature made it clear there was more than death

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Mother-Daughter Healing: An Alzheimer’s Story

Hill Haven Skilled Nursing, 1999 My healthy sun-browned body lies in a hospital bed with railings. My pale mother lies facing me. I often feel like her mother now, holding and caressing her like a sick child. Mom and I became comfortable with

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Snapshots: Photographs to Heal the Heart

Vic got serious about photography in 1990 after a borrowed camera malfunctioned and there were no photos of our first trip to India. In his usual style, my husband turned aggravation into action. He bought a high quality Nikon

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The Abandoned Table: Changing Places after a Death in the Family

We ate dinner at the antique oak table. Vic’s stepfather had given it to us when we bought our home in 1972. We each had our place—me closest to the kitchen, David to my left, Anthony across the table, and my

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Learning to Forgive

Where is my Victor?” my mother-in-law asks. “He died, Virginia,” I tell her quietly. Her face scrunches into a grimace. She throws her head back to the right as if to shake something off.  An insect? A

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Dizzy, Deaf, and Determined

“I have to lie down right now,” I tell my daughter-in-law Liz as I stretch out on the floor near the wood stove. Who is this woman who has to lie down in the middle of making dinner?

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