In preparation for Transgender Day of Remembrance, those who celebrate and survive may draw from ancient traditions of world cultures that meditate on death as a way that the living can not only mourn but embrace a deeper gratitude for life itself -- both the lives of those lost and our own.
How sad to live in a lie at the end of one's life. How sad to risk regrets, not realizing the blessings that come with the alternative -- a depth of intimacy that we may never have experienced before and that will never be available again.
Death reaches us in different ways, at different times of our lives. Some funerals might call for a piñata donkey, others for a sexy selfie in the bathroom. Do not stand at my grave and weep, goes the line. It's okay to weep, though. It's also okay to laugh. Honestly, what else can you do?
Though many people are familiar with Day of the Dead as celebrated in Mexico every November, the truth is that most cultures and religions -- from the Amish to Vietnamese -- use food in their funeral rituals in some way.
Annie O'Flaherty's body is gone, but her tone is still resonating. I am changing every day as this glacier of grief moves through the landscape of me.
I believe that we souls learn something significant from all of our experiences, no matter how grand or small. Each experience changes us. When someone in your life transitions to a spiritual form, they never go without leaving gifts behind.
Holidays are a mixed bag. A griever can't help but have mixed reactions to certain accessories that characterize Halloween and Dia de Los Muertos. If you know someone who is grieving, be sensitive to their perceptions and reactions.
Here I was, on a retreat with my daughter, trying to grasp what just happened. I had lost my mother. Although it was expected for a long time, it is quite a big thing when it really happens. In that moment the world changes and things will never be the same.
I have so many pictures from vacations and parties. I should have taken at least one picture of her brushing her teeth before bed. But that won't happen. All I have left is 782 pictures and regrets I can't even begin to count.
Hospice is a difficult decision for anyone, but it allowed me to bring my late husband home, somewhere he desperately wanted to be.
When shaping that wild and precious life, it's good to remember that there's so much to see out here in the light -- nature, beauty, the blue sky, the trees, music, art, sex, laughing, good food.
It's impossible to believe, but in less than three weeks, it'll be Halloween again. It's impossible to believe because it's nearly 80 degrees and instead of being blistery cold, it's like another August, but of course it's not.
It would have been easy for me as the officiating rabbi to try hide my emotions. However, when I revealed a layer of my soul I offered comfort and ignited the souls of everyone in the room.
I admit that I would feel much less pain over all this if I didn't care about the bowl in the first place. But I also think that there would be far less beauty in my life if I didn't care about it.
"She's gone, Dani," he said just before bursting into loud sobs. His hand rose to cover his face. We had never shared any kind of physical contact, but I didn't hesitate to reach out and touch his shoulder; it seemed the most humane of all my available options.
I got the call at night. My 86-year-old father Morry, a man so full of energy and life that he worked full-time until he was 76 years old, had overdosed on pain medicine. They pumped his stomach, but they couldn't tell yet whether he would live.
I count it a lucky break to have been born in a day and age when answers to the question "Why do I have to die?" were still looked for in the experimental laboratories of art and literature as well as in the teachings of religion. The problem hadn't yet been referred to the drug and weapons industries, to the cosmetic surgeons and the neuroscientists.
A friend died of cancer a few weeks ago. That, of course, in itself is unsettling, heartbreaking, emotional. But I knew almost immediately that it wa...
I learned compassion. I learned that you cannot do life alone. I learned that pain is part of life and it cracks you open in ways that make you a more compassionate person. I learned that the obstacles on the path ARE the path.
Just because someone is struggling with new and potentially overwhelming challenges doesn't mean the tenor of your relationship with your friend has to change. Allowing her to continue being that friend can be its own form of compassion.