My childhood home has been in my family for over 60 years. Located in the suburbs of San Francisco on a lane with nearly identical houses all around it. They each have a small porch, large square window, and a smaller hexagon portal like window near the garage. Some are two stories, ours is only one. Plus an attic which holds decades of treasures mixed in with receipts and old Christmas decor. I loved the attic as a kid. I still do now. Being up there has always made me feel like a detective. That up there, breathing in the…
When my mother died people would say, “I can’t imagine.” The truth is that we don’t want to imagine. It is unfortunate we do this.
There is no up without down. No life without death.
Ignoring this fundamental duality does not allow us to be fully vulnerable.
Currently, all humans face a global pandemic. An invisible and nefarious virus threatens to overwhelm health care systems, kill people, and destroy our economy. We are vulnerable. This reminds me of grief. Specifically, anticipatory grief.
We anticipate change, pain, and death. The path forward is not clear.
Death is final. Pandora’s box is…
Lies built white walls
Walls for card homes
Homes we thought we needed
Needed to fulfill the dream
Dreams not dreamt but sold
Sold in supermarkets
Super markets make foundations
Foundations can only crumble
Crumble with reality
Reality creeps into our souls
Souls only have truth
Truth not acknowledged kills
Kills our souls
Souls only have truth
Truth about inevitable human pain
Pain we hide behind white walls
Walls built of lies
Lies that divide
Divide and teach us to want
Want because you are not enough
Enough is not enough, we pledge allegiance to what we lack
Grief over the death of my mother is different than I anticipated. There is no other experience in my life where I have been so clearly aware that I would never be the same as I was before. They talk about “getting through” hard things. Getting through the grief. Which implies grief is like a tunnel. You start out in the sunshine and for some undetermined amount of time you are in this dark sad place and then you make it to the other side the same you as before.
(you) → (you + grief) → (you)
The idea that…
I took a public speaking course in college. I was abysmal. I trembled from head to foot each time I gave a speech. Despite my best intentions, I rambled and never improved substantially.
Now I am an advocate of making spontaneous and public toasts. What changed?
At 25, I wrote and delivered my mothers eulogy. There were around 500 people in attendance. At least 10X larger than any audience I had previously spoken in front of. I calmed my nerves and delivered the speech with grace. I could feel in my bones that I did right by my mom.There …
This is my mother’s journal entry following her mastectomy. She was 35 with stage 4 breast cancer.
February 28th, 1997 has come and gone. It was a lovely, sunny, blue day. Diane, Dee Dee, Jan, and Dave were with me to check in and wish me well. When I woke up, the hospital room was filled with people. It felt so good. I can’t remember clearly, but I felt love around me. It’s amazing how great I feel after surgery. It was much easier than delivering Melanie and Mattie, although they were worth all the aches and pains!
Our society loves simple cliche phrases and happy endings. Reminders that life is unfair, random, and ends in death are hard to grapple with. We are busy and not prepared to make space for something so vulnerable and confusing. This makes supporting someone that is dealing with grief a challenge. We do not have a good grief vocabulary in America. This has led me to feel like the Grief Police. A job I didn’t want and no one asked me to fill. I create my Don’t List to feel less grumpy, lonely, and to help create more productive and supportive…
I was wandering the aisles of this beautiful nursery trying to find flowers for the ceremony. Centers for the tables specifically. I entered the store stoic — playing this role of a responsible 25 year old. One that knows how to pick out her mother’s funeral flowers. The store spun like a merry go round as I searched.
Are these orchids to tall? Will they match the room? Didn’t she hate roses? What about tulips? What about a mix of flowers? Why didn’t I listen to her on the importance of flower arrangements.
My “I know how to plan my…