Grief is a sacred journey

Bereavement and End of Life

The Memory Game: Sharing Our Secrets and Wounds

58 “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

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My Lover’s Hands

161 2 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

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Disco Balls and Candles: Grief Ritual in Unusual Places

88 32 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,

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In the Company of Friends

77 30 “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

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Walking Each Other Home

110 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

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Soul Care in Hard Times

6 “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,

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When Dads Die Young

205 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

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Bloom Where You Are Planted

60 “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

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Mother-Daughter Healing: An Alzheimer’s Story

165 46 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

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Snapshots: Photographs to Heal the Heart

52 34 2 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

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