In Search of Lost Loves

by Barbara Donsky

Ah, when to the heart of man
Was it ever less than a treason
To go with the drift of things,
To yield with a grace to reason,
And bow and accept the end of a love or a season?
~ Robert Frost

Barbara Donsky
Barbara Donsky

Who among us has not known the death of someone near and dear? Death can come in an instant as it did at the hands of terrorists, for those who had gathered for a holiday party in San Bernardino, California. Or it can linger painfully long, as it does for so many fighting the arduous battle against cancer. No matter how it comes, the cultural expectation today is that we grieve for a while and then we move on. But that is not the case. At least, that’s not the way I see it.

There is no love as strong and unconditional as that of a mother for her child. For proof of that, we need look no further than the animal kingdom. At the fastidious care and grooming given young chimpanzees by their mothers. At the extraordinary mourning rituals, the sorrow palpable, upon the death of a young elephant, the mother gently tending the body of her dead baby for three days, the rest of the herd disconsolate nearby. It would seem that instinctively elephants know that mourning requires others, that mourning requires rituals to mark the passing of a loved one. Continue reading

Grief Keeps Odd Hours

by Ashley French

French_1The kids slept in a bit today, and so did I. My husband awake, already working, and making breakfast.

“I decided to make blueberry muffins this morning!”

He’s the cook in our home. I like to cook, but it doesn’t seem to come naturally, or even with lots of practice, for me. But we’re lucky because he’s a flawless cook. I used to crave eating out, but his meals are so good, I tend to crave certain dishes he makes as much or more than favorite restaurant meals these days.

When we were cleaning up the kitchen after breakfast, he asked, “What did you think of the muffins? I think the recipe from the One Girl cookbook recipe is the best.”

“Me too.” I replied. “Blueberry muffins are my favorite muffins.” Continue reading

Not A Matter of Choice (adult child suicide)

by Carol Loehr

Keith and Carol_1Our son Keith was 29 years old when he decided to end his life. Keith’s death was a suicide. Suicide is a frightening word and it is not only ignorance but fear and stigma that keep people from understanding why someone would take their life. In a way it is easier to think that a person made a “choice”, freeing us from knowing the truth.

The word, “choice”, continues to perpetuate the stigma of suicide. The definition of “choice” is “the freedom in choosing, both in the way one chooses and in the number of possibilities from which to choose.” In a presuicidal state an individual is overwhelmed in a given situation. They suffer extreme mental anguish and a painful sense of hopelessness. Their sense of judgment is distorted, and they do not have the ability to make “choices” or options. They literally want to kill the pain and not themselves. Continue reading

Tomorrow Never Comes

by Norma Cornett Marek

poem

If I knew it would be the last time that I’d see you fall asleep, I would tuck you in more tightly and pray the Lord, your soul to keep.

If I knew it would be the last time that I would see you walk out the door, I would give you a hug and kiss and call you back for one more.

If I knew it would be the last time that I’d hear your voice lifted up in praise, I would videotape each action and word, so I could play them back day after day. Continue reading

I Had a Dream

I Had a Dream
by Donna Fields

Sharin Childress
Sharin Childress

On Monday, February 23, 2015, as Sharin Childress drifted off into a deep sleep, she was having a dream of dreams. She was at the Orange County Beach standing by the shore where she stirred the darkest waves. As she reached for that far tide with its powerful sweep, Sharin buried her troubles in the shore where no mortal could see. Sharin began to pray, humbly making her supplications known. While making her supplications known, she began to imagine Heaven and what it would be like.

Sharin began to walk along the shore. As she walked the shore, she noticed a set of footprints in the sand. She followed the path. The footprints led her to the end of the Orange County Beach. Upon reaching the end of the shore, Sharin saw a Fisherman. He was gathering fish from the shore. Continue reading

In Search of Lost Loves

by Barbara Donsky

Ah, when to the heart of man
Was it ever less than a treason
To go with the drift of things,
To yield with a grace to reason,
And bow and accept the end of a love or a season?
Robert Frost

Barbara Donsky
Barbara Donsky

Who among us has not known the death of someone near and dear? Death can come in an instant at it did at the hands of terrorists, for those who had gathered for a holiday party in San Bernardino, California. Or it can linger painfully long, as it does for so many fighting the arduous battle against cancer. No matter how it comes, the cultural expectation today is that we grieve for a while and then we move on. But that is not the case. At least, that’s not the way I see it.

There is no love as strong and unconditional as that of a mother for her child. For proof of that, we need look no further than the animal kingdom. At the fastidious care and grooming given young chimpanzees by their mothers. At the extraordinary mourning rituals, the sorrow palpable, upon the death of a young elephant, the mother gently tending the body of her dead baby for three days, the rest of the herd disconsolate nearby. It would seem that instinctively elephants know that mourning requires others, that mourning requires rituals to mark the passing of a loved one. Continue reading

When Someone Takes His Own Life

An excerpt from The Healing of Sorrow
by Norman Vincent Peale

pealeIn many ways, this seems the most tragic form of death. Certainly it can entail more shock and grief for those who are left behind than any other. And often the stigma of suicide is what rests most heavily on those left behind.

Suicide is often judged to be essentially a selfish act. Perhaps it is. But the Bible warns us not to judge, if we ourselves hope to escape judgment. And I believe this is one area where that Biblical command especially should be heeded. Continue reading

The (Formerly) Silent Men and (Formerly) Talkative Women of My Grief Group

by Fran Gerstein

I facilitate a group for parents who have lost children to drugs and alcohol. The stated purpose of this group is to offer support and insight regarding the grief process.

Fran Gerstein and her son, Daniel
Fran Gerstein and her son, Daniel

Initially, my group had only one member named Annie. It seemed it might just be the two of us indefinitely. Each week I would greet her by saying “Hello Group” and she would greet me in kind. She and I had a contract – I agreed to run the group if she showed up and she agreed to show up if I ran it. Because it was only the two of us, we got to know each other pretty quickly. Rather than my taking a classical group therapist role with her, I opted for a supportive role since we were in the same boat. She shared her grief experience and I shared mine. We talked our heads off like many women do. Continue reading

Your Wife Has Cancer, Now What?

by Carson Boss

Carson and Cindy
Carson and Cindy

Upon my wife, Cindy’s, diagnosis of breast cancer in early 2011, I began to reach out to other husbands I knew whose wife had gone through cancer. I started writing down the counsel they gave me, and other bits of information I gleaned from my own research and pamphlets we received early on. It dawned on me after I had accumulated about 40 pages of notes and directions that it would have been nice to have been given a book dealing with all of that information at our very first appointment. Continue reading