The social behavior researcher Brené Brown writes that to be fully human, we must be willing to show our vulnerable side to others. The best way to do that with a bereaved friend is to admit the obvious: "I hurt for you. I wish I could fix this for you, but I can't."
"When a person says to a friend, 'I'll see you later,' or a parent says to a child at bedtime, 'I'll see you in the morning,' these are statements, like delusions, whose validity is not open for discussion.
Nothing seems to shock us more than a diagnosis of cancer. I suspect it's terrifying because, deep inside, each of us knows it could happen to us. We pause when a friend or family member is stricken, our frightened minds turning to mush. Oh, no, we think. Am I next?
You have them right in front of you. Savor them. When you know someone you love has cancer, you are on notice. Fight hard to take advantage of each moment spent together.
Jeanne and I are left feeling strangely off balance. I imagine a three-legged stool, and how each leg is essential for its function. Over our lifetime, my siblings and I learned how to continually interact as a unit, calling upon our very different talents and personalities.
When I realize that recently I observed my own 91st birthday, and that Kirk never made it past 40, I am unable to do the math or come to any easy conclusion. I am in strange, uncharted new territory. Dying always seems to involve me in taking a trip of some kind, except there are no reservations.
I detest the news. In fact, the news has become so frightening to me, especially now that I have a son, that I often avoid it. I know it's not the responsible, civic thing to do, but sometimes, it's the only way I stay sane.
The experience of being a remainder is central to bereavement. A person left behind by the death of a loved one is often called the survivor, but remainder better captures the emotional experience.
The DSM-5, the most recent version of psychiatry's diagnostic bible, makes it possible to classify grieving that endures beyond a rather brief span of...
I'm not sure why I walked into Barnes and Noble that afternoon, except that the "self-help" aisle seemed like a logical place to be as I pushed the wheelchair of my four-year-old son who had just been diagnosed with a rare, degenerative brain disorder.
until our eyes meet again, dearest mother, until I am where you are -- above, beyond and over the clouds -- until then, know your heart beats in mine.
The friend who gave me the book knew that I had been investigating and writing about the phenomenology of traumatic loss since the death of my late wife in February of 1991 shattered my world.
Support for Death With Dignity from across the ocean is encouraging. And when it comes from Desmond Tutu it carries a particularly gratifying weight.
The death of two parents spread over such a chasm of time reassures me that I have grown up. had feared the brutal spectacle and harsh rattle of death. I had feared being alone with her at the final judgmental moment of leaving, feared I would abandon her and not offer a last comfort, that split second of reassurance as she left. Yet none of those fears came true.
One of the greatest lessons in life is that everything is impermanent. All things come and go. We live in such a structured society, where everything is broken down into steps or organized in a rational way. But there is no rationalizing grief.
Going back to school is a tough time for bereaved parents and siblings. Leaving the familiar and going to a new experience or even going back to a setting or school one has already attended can be tough.
I laid there in the dark for a moment, almost upset that I'd read it. I didn't want to go. I didn't want to be there for this -- the end. I didn't want to see my dad like that. I didn't want to do any of this.
When someone you love loses a baby, you may feel helpless and uncertain about how to respond. And you might not get it right. If you've never experienced such a loss yourself, how can you know what your friend or family member needs at this terrible time?
I realize nothing can replace a face-to-face goodbye. But I believe the digital clues I've been able to piece together give me the memories I need, and I'm grateful that I was able to witness his life -- even in death.
I can still picture the bright Sunday afternoon my friend Melissa, also known as "Aunt Melissa," surprised us with the red betta fish.