Grief is a sacred journey

Bereavement and End of Life

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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Please Leave Love Notes When You Die

A small group sat around a table in the Watkins Glen Public Library. They’d come to hear me read from Leaning into Love. I told stories and read for forty minutes and then turned it over to anyone who

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An Uncommon Caregiver: Florence Nightingale’s Feathered Nursing Assistant

I’m honored to introduce you to Ann Marie Ackermann. A mutual friend introduced me to Ann Marie because of our interest in owls as well as books. I told Ann Marie I’d had two powerful encounters with owls. She said she knew a wonderful story about

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An Unexpected Gift

He was lucky to get a teaching job when few were available in 1973. I was lucky to have his financial and emotional support. We were both lucky because we were in love. I was also pissed

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