Good Grief - Our Blog

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...

Jane Fox

9.30.47-4.6.18

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 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...

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...

I know two things about my death:

I know I’m going to die.

I also know that when the time comes, it will likely come as a surprise to me.

Death is usually like that; it arrives as a rude interruption—leaving work undone, conversations unresolved, plans unfinished, dreams unfulfilled.It rarely lets you wait until you’re fully ready to go.

Death leaves permanent ellipses where we’d have placed periods.

We will all be in the middle of something, of many ...

Today is Rare Disease Day. Our sweet Magglio lives with Pompe Disease, a rare and brutal genetic disease that affects his ability to move, breathe, eat and talk. Despite this disease, and maybe because of it too, Magglio is full of courage, strength and heart. For all his physical limitations, he smiles and laughs and has more love to give then anyone I know. His disease is rare and his amazing attitude of positivity, love and courage is rare too. He inspires me and teaches me daily what it...

THE DEATHCARE INDUSTRY IS CHANGING, AND WITH IT ARE THE WAYS WE DISPOSE OF OUR BODIES.

Situated just south of San Francisco, the small town of Colma, Calif., has become famous, or perhaps infamous, for its motto: “It’s Great to Be Alive in Colma.” Which is ironic, given that the town’s population of dead people far outnumbers its living residents by nearly 1,000 to one. 

Among the living is Joe Stinson, 72, a funeral director and owner of Colma Cremation and Funeral Services....

David R. Hardcastle (1946-2015)

"I feel my story, which is one of thousands of veteran stories, isn't all that important except for maybe it will reach one veteran who will understand and be comforted by what I say," David Hardcastle said in an April, 2014 interview with Pacifica Tribune writer Jean Bartlett.

David was in his words, "blown up" on July 31, 1967, when his troop's Second Lieutenant got his foot caught in what he thought was a vine. David, who...