"But first and foremost, I remember Mama” - the concluding lines of “Mama’s Bank Account” the lovely story about a Norwegian family in San Francisco in the early 1900s. For those of us whose mothers are gone, we too will always remember Mama. This Sunday as we celebrate Mother’s Day we can celebrate our memories of our Mothers. Tell stories, wear her favorite color or a piece of her jewelry, frame a favorite picture of her and give them as gifts to your children –bake her favorite pie or...
She lived a colorful life. And we will miss her.
Our dear friend Jane liked to keep it simple in life, and she made it clear to all of us that she intended to go out the same way. No fuss, no funeral, no casket, no traditional burial.
With her typical humor she wondered if she could simply be buried in her friend’s garden - which eventually led to a discussion about green burial options. The idea appealed to Jane-a simple return to the...
I sobbed myself to sleep the night after my brother Jim’s memorial service. The huge gathering went smoothly, including my reading, but something gnawed inside.
In the middle of the night, I woke up with a knot in my belly. Not simply grief, a feeling I know well. Not exactly dread or fear, but I couldn’t take a deep breath.
“We’re OK,” I told the feeling as I opened a window. “I need to sleep.”
“That’s bullshit,” my body said. “I’m not OK.”
After a few hours of...
Caring for Yourself When Your Grief is Real
Take care of yourself first before helping others
Listen to your body, take time to rest
Give yourself the gift of healing tears
Doing less will help your more
Be realistic in our expectations
Talk or write about your many Christmases together
Tell family or friends what you need – ask for their help
Light a special candle or visit a special place new or old to...
“Your task is not to seek for love,
but merely to seek and find all the barriers within
yourself that have been built against it.” ~Rumi
On June 3, the ninth anniversary of my husband Vic’s death, I created a ritual of remembrance. It’s something I do every year.
“Aren’t you done with that by now?” you might ask. It’s a question I ask myself.
I’ll be done when I stop thinking of Vic when I see Swallowtails dining on Dame’s Rockets in early June. I’ll be...
“Yes,” I said in May 2014 when I received a red-lettered invitation from TEDx Chemung River I had applied the month before. “Sure, I’ll figure out how to give a TEDx talk. November 8 is five months away. Plenty of time. I’ll get help. I can do this.”
The next morning, I wasn’t so sure. What could I say about grief in under eighteen minutes with no notes or prompts? What could I say that mattered? I wrote, rewrote, deleted, erased, tossed, started over, and wrote again. I talked with...
Albert J. Lewis was born to Elvina Broussard and Paul ‘Ben’ Lewis in Lake Charles, Louisiana on June 26, 1936. The family moved from Louisiana to California in 1947. As a child, Al’s gift for music was already evident, playing accordion for family functions as early as age 12. Al formed and led multiple Rock-N-Roll bands playing lead guitar and vocals. He played with some of the early R&B legends such as Bobby Freeman and Big Mama Thorton. Al was extremely proud of his military service...
Go outside and plant, a wise voice in me said. You need flowers.
Garden plants sat on the porches and at the side of the house. They were hardened off and ready to go in the ground. Part of me thought I had better things to do than plant a garden, but that wasn’t true. There was nothing better to do.
My husband Vic and I spent May 18, 2008, our fortieth anniversary, in the hospital. I bought him decaf cappuccino and read our favorite love poems out loud. Our life centered...
I arrive at the Unitarian Fellowship in Big Flats, NY a little early on Sunday morning. I need spaciousness and inner quiet to set up and lead a Ritual of Remembrance for this community. This is my second visit as their guest service leader.
Inside, a few people unstack chairs and mingle as I set up a round table for an altar. I place one red candle in the center surrounded by thirty unlit votive candles.
When I was here in March, it was below zero. This November day is mild...
My mother-in-law Virginia was present during every conversation the last few weeks. She was alert when the public health nurse evaluated her condition and approved the application for skilled nursing care. She watched her health aide and me write her name on her clothing with permanent markers and place a neat stack of shirts and pants in a bag.
Even though we explained what was happening, she kept forgetting. That’s not surprising since she’s 102
A week earlier, our Hospicare...