Writers Who Grieve

Stack of assorted hardback and paperback books or journals - some with bookmarks - closeup detail with selective focus

As a young clinician and grief therapist (and bereaved parent), I read every clinical book I could find about the experience of grief and loss. I believed I could find solutions to the anguish my clients and I felt by reading the experts in the field. As my understanding about grief changed from a … [Read more...]

Moments of Grace

Grace Image

A widow recently described a trip she took shortly after her husband’s death. “I wanted to have a private retreat, so I booked an Airbnb in a small town in the mountains. I expected to be alone for several days to mourn in private, and for the most part I was alone. But the owner of the cabin came … [Read more...]

Bearing Witness

dreamstimelarge_114050183 2

The legal definition of bearing witness means to attest to something that is true. If you are called to court to testify, you bear witness to the truth of what you saw or what you know. If someone is telling you their story of loss, they are bearing witness to you about the truth of their … [Read more...]

Another Layer of Grief

rosesforblog 2

A grieving man described the sadness he experienced due to the behavior of some family members after his wife’s death. “My adult step-children asked me about our wills before the day of her funeral had ended. I could not believe what I was hearing. How could they be so insensitive on this of all … [Read more...]

The Shadow of Suicide

Version 2

The recent reports of well-known celebrities dying from suicide have brought this topic to our national attention. The statistics are stunning – 43,000 suicide deaths in 2016 make it the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., and in the 15-34 age group, the second leading cause of death. These … [Read more...]

A Broken Heart

132922595_f860a8aa20_b 2

“My heart is broken” is a lament often spoken by those who mourn. While that description is poetic, rather than literal, what is the physical impact on the heart and the rest of the body when a loss occurs? The day after the funeral and burial of former First Lady Barbara Bush, her husband was … [Read more...]

No Words

A silhouette of someone in despair on a bench against the setting sun

A bereaved father whose daughter died in a car accident described an experience to me that frightened him. “It was a surge of feelings that started in my feet and traveled through my whole body and came out in a primal sound that did not seem like my voice,” he said. Anthropologist Renato … [Read more...]

Continuing Bonds

Baby hand holding mother's hands

In a bereaved parents’ meeting, I recently spoke about the desire many parents have to continue the emotional bond with their children who have died. The signs of relief were audible. “I am tired of the pressure to ‘get over’ the death of my daughter,” one mother said. “I will love her and feel … [Read more...]

A Cookie on Christmas Day

Christmas or New Year composition with cocoa, marshmallows, gingerbread cookies and christmas decorations

“May we do something from my culture today?” our Japanese daughter-in-law asked us last Christmas day. “On holidays, we take food to the cemetery and leave it on the graves of our relatives.” And so we did. We loaded up the cars and drove to the cemetery where several of our family members are … [Read more...]