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

Famous Last Words (video)

by Brian Boye
Filmmaker based in Kansas City.

Summer 2000 I made an epic 36 hour road trip with some of my Fraternity Brothers, from Omaha to Chicago and back. We sang the National Anthem at a White Sox game, and four of us alumni drove back to Nebraska overnight be cause we had jobs to get to.

I dropped off my friend Bill Rundle, who was one of my 2 best friends in the world. I hadn’t seen him in a while, and as we were departing I said, “Buddy, I haven’t seen you in a couple of months. We’ll get together in August, drink some beers and catch up. I miss you. I love you.” Bill said “I know.” And we went our separate ways. It was the last conversation I ever had with Bill Rundle.

Fast forward about 10 years.  I move to Kansas City and join the IFCKC, a filmmaker networking group.  I begin my career as a filmmaker.  Fast forward a second time to Spring of 2011 and I decide it’s time to tell Bill’s Story… and share other people’s stories of last conversations with a loved one.  4 years later, Famous Last Words debuts at the KC Film Festival.  ~ Brian Boye

Click on the image to view the trailer.
Click on the image to view the trailer.

Visit Famous Last Words on Facebook.

Clichés to Avoid When Talking to the Bereaved


Sasha J. Mudlaff, M.A.

“It was God’s will”
“It’s a blessing”
“God needs him/her more than you do”
Human beings do not have the omniscience to determine the will of God, and most bereaved will not care anyway. Such  statements paint God as a cruel and vicious force that would tear a person away from those who loved him/her without any consideration for the survivor.

“I know just how you feel”
Each person is unique, and every relationship is also one-of-a-kind. We cannot possibly know how someone else feels when a death occurs because that is a relationship we will never experience.

“It has been three weeks since he/she died. aren’t you over it yet?”
There is no way to put a time limit on grief. It is generally agreed that the grieving process takes six months to two years, although some may grieve for longer or shorter periods of time.

“Be grateful you still have other children”
A grieving parent will always miss the child who died, even though there are other children present. It does not take away from the love given to the living children; it simply reflects the loss of that particular relationship.

“God picks the most beautiful flowers first”
This implies that those of us who are still living, including the bereaved, are not beautiful in the eyes of God. It also shows, again, that God is uncaring about the pain inflicted on the survivors. Continue reading

Passed vs. Passing

divine wisdom

Our show focuses on living life simpler by exploring the deep and spiritual realities so many often overlook. The focus of the show is You! We will explore how to reach your true inner self and how to face the real you with love and acceptance. Your host for today’s presentation is Vanisha’Bella Izerelli. In this episode, Vanisha talks about loved ones passing on and what really happens and how to deal with that. Continue reading

Give Thanks!

prayer by Harley Pebley_2

by Chris Christopherson

Arlyne and Chris Christopherson

While Corrie Ten Boom was living in a German concentration camp, her entire body became infested with lice, making a bad situation worse. She was complaining about it one day, and her sister reminded her of the Bible verse that says “In everything give thanks,” and she challenged Corrie to give thanks for the lice. Corrie’s response was “How can I give thanks to God for lice?” But she made a choice to offer thanks for the lice anyway. Later, she found out that the lice had actually protected her from the assaults of the German soldiers. Continue reading

Finding Connection

by Deedra Climer

My only son, Joshua Muñoz, 23, died on April 30, 2014 in a motorcycle accident. He was truly a light that shined on all who knew him.

Deedra Climer
Deedra Climer

Social gatherings when you’re grieving can be overwhelming, but I looked forward to a day with friends, beers, and a pig on a spit to usher out summer. Over the seventeen months since Joshua died, I’d developed a ritual to help me figure out whether a new person is someone who will pass quickly through my life or someone who can handle a woman who is teary, forgetful and more than a little angry. Grief is not everyone’s cup of tea, after all, and my energy is sparse. It’s only fair to get it out of the way early on.

Here’s what I do: I simply tell them my kid died, then stand back and watch. Continue reading

Ten Hard Truths About Grief

by Thom Dennis

number 1 hard truth
We would all prefer to live with the illusion that we are in control of our own lives, but a sudden change in the weather, an unwelcome diagnosis or a random act of violence reminds us that no one is the master of their fate. The truth is: In this life there is very little of real consequence that we can control. The challenge is to accept this reality and refocus attention on what is within our power to change. We can acknowledge our feelings and choose how we will respond to whatever life has thrown in our direction. Continue reading


Called Home
A True Story of Overcoming Grief after Losing a Child
by John and Deborah Giles

gilesDeath seems so final, but is it really the end?

Micah was only nineteen when his Jeep was hurled off the highway only four miles from home and crashed into a cement bridge pillar nearly seventy feet below. Although he died instantly, he was missing for three days. His family and friends were left with the crushing pain of losing a friend, a son, and a good Christian brother.

John and Deborah Giles recount the dark days after Micah’s death and the very precise decisions they made that saved them from spiraling down into a pit of despair. No ‘what ifs’ and no ‘self-pity.’ In Called Home, they teach us all how to come through the most heartbreaking defeats of life and find new joy in God’s greater plan.

192 pages – $12.99 (paperback) Order here.

Hope and Emergence

by Kirsten Falsey

In memory of my wonderful, funny, brave, inspirational Mom.

Patricia Rose Forgacs  8/22/1946 - 01/01/2011
Patricia Rose Forgacs 8/22/1946 – 01/01/2011

Grief is a universal emotion. But how each of us navigates the grief process is very personal and private. Some people may grieve for weeks, months, or years. Others may handle it alone, seek out friends, or professional help. No matter how one goes through the process, the most important thing they need is support from non- judgmental friends and family.

Growing up the oldest of two children in Tucson, Arizona I had a very close relationship with my wonderful Mom. We laughed often, took long walks together, and enjoyed frequent shopping trips to the mall. Our happy world was turned upside down when she got diagnosed at the age of 62 with stage 4 cervical cancer. It was a confusing time with too many doctors appointments and chemotherapy treatments to count. I had a career as a registered nurse in California and the flexible schedule allowed me to visit with her often. My husband and I learned we were pregnant with twins, (our first children), about a year into my Mom’s diagnosis. She was so excited about our pregnancy and continued to fight hard. Continue reading

Through a Glass Darkly: A Eulogy for Pastor John


by Doctor Phil Lineberger, Senior Pastor
Sugar Land (TX) Baptist Church

Editor’s Note: On February 9, 2011, Pastor John Petty died by suicide at the age of 42. John was married and had two young children. He also had a large church family and many friends, all of whom were stunned and confused by his death. Pastor Lineberger, in his eulogy, addresses the topics of depression, forgiveness, and healing grief.

Phil formalJohn Petty and I were wonderful friends through the years, he was like a son to me really. I’m old enough that he could have been my son. We spent a lot of time together. We were recently with each other at the Baptist Children’s Convention of Texas. I knew John was struggling. I called him and said, “Let’s go to the convention”. He said he didn’t want to and I said, “Neither do I but let’s go anyway”. I flew down to Harlingen and met him. We rented a car, had some good Mexican food, and some good time together. I tried to encourage John as best I could.

There is an overwhelming sense of loss in John’s death. John Petty is gone. He’s not going to come through those doors anymore. He’s not going to bring his bible up here anymore to preach anymore. He’s not going to baptize anymore. Continue reading