Is it OK to Feel Joy During the Grief Process? No Comments

The journey after the death of a loved one is emotionally draining and physically exhausting, particularly in the early stages of grief (which I see as minimally, two years). It is also easy to feel some guilt because of the moments of joy we do experience during early grief. We may question whether it is ok to experience joy because of the thought that we are dishonoring our deceased loved ones. Those moments of joy will present themselves whether we want them to or not…

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The Letter No Comments

It was August 30, 2006 and there it was. The article on fatal off-campus house fires was on the front page of that day’s edition of USA TODAY. I had been so pleased to receive a call, some three weeks earlier, from a reporter working on the story. They had done extensive research on all the fatal off-campus house fires across the country since 2000, and the article would run just in time for college students moving into off-campus housing for the upcoming school year. It was everyone’s hope that this article would keep other college kids from making the mistakes of…

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The Role of Faith: Where Is She? No Comments

They say fools rush in where angles fear to tread, and I have done just that most of my life with mixed results. Here I go again. One of the reasons I give my email on this site and in other media as well is to give me fresh insight and to find out what the real questions are on the minds of folks in grief. Most of what I know about grief I know from listening to the stories of folks in the throws of the journey. One of the bottom line questions I hear over and over concerns what happens when we die? Last week a wonderful woman…

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To Have or to Hold—Letting Go of Rummage and Grief No Comments

It’s rummage sale time of the year again in our township. This is more than just a weekend de-cluttering project…it’s an EVENT! Big time! Our entire township hosts the event every year at the same time and it’s become notorious for bargains, socializing, and clutter control. Hundreds and hundreds of people swarm the streets for 2-3 days and bargain for every imaginable item. It’s about repurposing someone’s obsolete items into something perfectly useful for another period of time in someone else’s home…

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The Journey of Grief: Cleaning Out the Closets No Comments

One of the analogies about grief that I think sums up the experience the best is, “Grief is like peeling an onion, it comes off one layer at a time and you cry a lot.” I have used that in speeches and articles for years and have not found a better or more succinct picture any where. There are many ways to use that analogy and we will explore them in future posts, but for this post I want us to think about, “When should we clean out the closets?” I happen to think we tend to do so far too soon and in doing so we miss the chance…

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Does Time Heal? No Comments

I discovered this quote from singer/songwriter Jack Johnson: And if they tell you love fades over time, tell them there is no such thing as time. His quote also got me thinking about the passage of time as it relates to our grief journeys. Many in our society believe that there is a set time period for resolving our grief. In six months to a year, it is generally expected that one should be “over” his/her grief and return to life, as he/she knew it. What is also implied is that there are practical solutions to the losses that we experience…

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Do I Ever Stop Being a Bereaved Parent? No Comments

I was asked by a friend of mine if we ever stop being bereaved parents. My friend is also a bereaved parent. It was an interesting question, because approximately two years after my daughter Jeannine died, I decided that I didn’t want to be a bereaved parent anymore. The daily pain and suffering became too much for me. I wanted my life to be the way it was before Jeannine died. I stopped going to my parental bereavement support group and tried to not think about the pain of losing my precious daughter…

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Learning How to Smile Again No Comments

When my daughter died, the pain was so overwhelming, the thought that I could ever feel any ounce of happiness again seemed ridiculous. In those early days of grief, the mere idea of being happy didn’t just feel impossible, it felt wrong. During the first year after her death, I recall an evening when my husband insisted I sit down with him and our three boys and watch a funny show on TV that we had watched regularly as a family for years. My husband was able to recognize that in the wake of their sister’s death, our boys needed life to return to as “normal” as possible…

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Getting on With Life: What Does it Mean? No Comments

Of all the statements and spiritual platitudes quoted to me since my son, Daniel’s, death the phrase that I hear most frequent makes me squirm the most. “You have got to get on with your life.” Recently, I quit squirming long enough to ponder the meaning behind this phrase that is usually said to the bereaved in the form of a command. Exactly what does this phrase mean? What are people implying when they say it? I was pregnant when Daniel died and three months later, I gave birth to a baby girl…

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Learning to Dance in the Rain No Comments

The loss of a child is beyond comprehension for those who have not experienced it; no words can adequately describe the pain and agony that tears through your body. Most parents consider the possible death of their child as the worst fate imaginable; however, unless they are faced with the unfortunate circumstances personally, it is impossible to fully understand. Outside of those who have experienced it, many have no idea how common loss of a child actually is. Before losing my daughter, I was completely unaware of the vast number of bereaved parents all around me…

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