iOS app Android app

Claire Bidwell Smith
GET UPDATES FROM Claire Bidwell Smith
Claire Bidwell Smith lives in Los Angeles. She is a therapist specializing in grief and author of the books The Rules of Inheritance and the forthcoming After This.

Entries by Claire Bidwell Smith

Disney Finally Tackles Grief in Cinderella

(5) Comments | Posted March 12, 2015 | 5:37 PM

Parental loss is a theme that has played out heavily in Disney films, but in the new version of Cinderella, a little grief is finally on display as well. What this says about how we as a culture are headed towards a more open acknowledgement of how death affects our...

Read Post

What I Know About Being a Daughter Now That I'm in My 30s

(8) Comments | Posted May 8, 2014 | 8:18 AM

My mother died when I was 18 years old. We were just beginning to know each other as adults, finally leaving behind the drama of my adolescence and the tedium of childhood. On the cusp of now turning 36, there is so much my mother didn't get to see me...

Read Post

Dear Girls: On Half a Lifetime Without My Mother

(25) Comments | Posted January 24, 2014 | 7:24 AM

Dear Girls,

This week marks 18 years since my mother died. Exactly half my life ago. Every day after January 24th, 2014 will mean that I have been alive longer without her, than with her.

My mother, my beautiful, glowing mother. It seems impossible that she's been gone for so...

Read Post

Objects of Loss: Overcoming Grief in a Material World

(156) Comments | Posted October 1, 2013 | 1:15 PM

In the months and weeks following my mother's death, my father and I carefully pulled apart the pieces of her material life. We sorted through her closet, threw away her cosmetics, gave away her cookbooks, her shoes, tossed away the little scraps of paper that ran rampant on her desk,...

Read Post

On Being a Motherless Mother

(51) Comments | Posted May 8, 2013 | 12:18 PM

One of my favorite memories of my mother probably isn't one she would want me sharing as often as I do, but it so perfectly sums her up that I can't help but revisit it.

In the memory, I'm about 13 years old. We're living in Destin, Florida, and we're...

Read Post

Beyond Words: Struggling to Comprehend the Newtown Tragedy

(5) Comments | Posted December 17, 2012 | 12:00 PM

I have so much to say and nothing at all to say.

I feel that, as a grief counselor, and as someone who has experienced an incredible amount of personal grief, I should have comforting words to offer, but the truth is that I do not. I have been writing...

Read Post

The Good, the Bad and the Filtered: Truth About My Postpartum Life

(216) Comments | Posted August 15, 2012 | 12:16 PM

Every day I take photos, probably several dozen. I capture little moments of my life and post them on Instagram. The bright, blue California sky. My two girls holding hands, my 3-year old in her underwear helping me make muffins. They are sweet, colorful and poignant pictures, snapped carelessly sometimes...

Read Post

Pregnancy: My Friend Was Having A Baby. Why Couldn't I Be Happier For Her?

(46) Comments | Posted May 24, 2012 | 9:29 AM

When I was 26 years old, two of my best friends became pregnant within a month of each other. Upon word of their news, I promptly burst into tears -- and was surprised to find that they weren't the happy kind. Instead of feeling excited for my friends, I somehow...

Read Post

The First Year

(1) Comments | Posted May 10, 2012 | 6:59 PM

Greg and I got married on a hot July day on Cape Cod. Two months later, I walked into the bathroom of our Chicago apartment and took a pregnancy test.

You're not pregnant, Greg called through the door.

When I came out of the bathroom, I handed the test to...

Read Post

Redefining the 5 Stages of Grief

(2) Comments | Posted May 10, 2012 | 5:49 PM

When people ask me what I do and I reveal that I work as a grief counselor, they often recoil in horror, ushering forth a series of well-meaning exclamations.

"Oh, isn't that hard?"

"That seems so sad!"

"I couldn't do that."

The truth is that I don't find it...

Read Post

What We Can Learn From Teen Readers: A Conversation With 16-Year-Old Book Critic Robby Auld

(6) Comments | Posted May 9, 2012 | 5:18 PM

He may rock a Justin Bieber haircut and have to sit through 11th grade biology class, but teen book critic Robby Auld can certainly hold his own when it comes to the book world.

In the last year he's gone from penning a blog he thought no...

Read Post

Recovering From Loss: Coping With Cancer at Age 14

(2) Comments | Posted April 30, 2012 | 1:14 PM

I was 14 when both of my parents were diagnosed with cancer at the same time. Being an only child, the ensuing years of hospitals, surgeries and chemo treatments were lonely ones. When I look back I don't recall there being many choices about the way things unfolded.


Read Post

The Rules Of Inheritance

(158) Comments | Posted February 9, 2012 | 7:02 AM

A few months ago I began seeing a shrink. I like her. She's older and British and sharp, and I like her office. I like the chairs and the light and the slanted ceiling. I see her on Friday mornings.

The subject I spent the majority of our first few...

Read Post

Taste of the Nation Chicago Tries on Food Trucks

(2) Comments | Posted August 16, 2010 | 9:48 PM

As if it weren't already the most talked about subject in Chicago right now, chefs from across the city gave us their best attempts at street food during last Thursday's Taste of Chicago held in the Aragon Ballroom. The event benefited No Kid Hungry, Share Our Strength's campaign...

Read Post

Where Are Chicago's Food Trucks?

(4) Comments | Posted June 7, 2010 | 10:38 AM

Two weeks ago at the annual National Restaurant Association show I ducked into what would turn out to be one of the most popular talks of the weekend: Mobile Restaurants -- Restaurants Get Rolling: Chefs Take It to the Streets.


The room...

Read Post

Chef Frank Brunacci on Cooking for the Trump Family and the Quintessential Chicago Ingredient

(0) Comments | Posted May 14, 2010 | 1:52 PM

It was recently lobster week in Chef Frank Brunacci's kitchen.

What does that mean? Only that he featured an entire menu based around lobster for one week in May at his restaurant Sixteen, on the 16th floor of the Trump Tower in Chicago.

After cutting his...

Read Post

Chef Rick Tramonto on His New Cookbook, Chicago Cuisine and How to Cook for The Modern Family (Recipe)

(0) Comments | Posted May 11, 2010 | 6:25 PM

Chef Rick Tramonto is a busy guy these days. With his latest cookbook Steak With Friends debuting, a stint on Top Chef Masters and taking care of his restaurants Tru, Tramonto's Steak & Seafood, Osteria di Tramonto and RT Sushi Bar & Lounge, he somehow managed...

Read Post

Mercadito Brings A Little Heat To Chicago

(0) Comments | Posted December 1, 2009 | 10:30 AM

Shouldering in a new restaurant in the City of Big Shoulders is never easy, but the Sandoval brothers have not only found some space on Kinzie Street for Mercadito, but they're widening their stance. (Never mind the one-star review by the Chicago Tribune, this place is bouncing and...

Read Post

Breast-Feeding in Public: Natural or Indecent?

(22) Comments | Posted September 8, 2009 | 2:30 PM

Last week a Chicago woman named Lauren Trost was scolded by another woman in the Lincoln Square shopping district for nursing her baby in a public place. The woman told her what she was doing was indecent and illegal. She threatened to call the police and she tried to rally...

Read Post

Stephanie Izard on Her Wandering Goat Dinner Series, Twitter and the Many Uses of Bacon

(1) Comments | Posted August 25, 2009 | 1:42 PM

Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard is set to open her second restaurant, The Drunken Goat, in the West Loop in January of next year. In preparation for the opening she has been hosting traveling dinner parties in secret locations around Chicago called The Wandering Goat Dinner Series.


Read Post