Part of your family wants traditions to stay exactly the same, others want to change everything. Conflicting desires, broken hearts, lots of attention when you'd rather just hide in your blanket fort until the whole thing is over -- it's too much.
Late at night in my bunk bed while I immersed myself into those ghost stories, I was secretly jealous of the characters that were alive. They had the chance to see an actual ghost, something that was definitely on my very short bucket list by the age of 10.
On Super Bowl Sunday 2002, my husband didn't wake up. He died of a heart attack in his sleep. I was devastated. I became a suddenly single mom, left to raise my six-year-old and eleven-year-old sons, while managing a demanding career.
Allow your body, allow your mind, allow your heart, allow your soul. Rise to your knees or stand and run, out of the shadow and into the light. It is your gift to move. To mourn. To speak. To breathe. To run. To love. To be. To live.
Perhaps the most vivid aspect of Julianna's story is not that this is a 5-year-old who wants to go to heaven. No, what really struck me as most impressive about her story -- and most unique -- is that she has a team of physicians and family members who are helping her to make the right decision.
I am writing this blog as I sit here, in my warmed robe, in a soothingly decorated waiting room, waiting for my mammogram results. My mind is reviewing how it will handle hearing quite possibly the most dreaded words in the world: "You have cancer."
Instead of concentrating on my time with my mother, I spent most of it worrying. It's not the inevitability of the outcome that matters in these situations, it's the little bits of control we are given in times where so much of it has been taken away. And that would have changed so much.
This year, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) put out a revolutionary report about improving quality of care at end of life for all Americans, including children. Despite these important advances, we still have a long way to go in ensuring that palliative care becomes a human right for all.
Caregivers play a huge role in the coping journey of teens grieving the loss of a sibling. Understanding why a teen might be reacting to grief in a troubling way is the first step on the road to better coping and a brighter future.
Pain simply is. It's a natural, normal response to loss. But the literature in the self-help world, in the therapy world, and sadly, yes even in the world of spiritual guidance, is heavy on blame. Grief is considered unhealthy. A "bad" experience.
By being aware of these simple things to do or not do, you will be a much more appreciated and valued comforter in this dark time. You will be truly supporting and helping the person you care about in their hour of need.
Those dummies may be hard to abide because they confront us with ourselves. Some of us may prefer to avert our eyes because of what lies within. The dummies are too much like us. Like us, they are but a gesture apart from the darkness.
Saying goodbye to Killian was one of the most painful days of my life -- a tie with losing my dad. We were lucky to give Killian a dignified, peaceful way to Heaven. Even though I still feel him with me when I need him most, the pain is so gut-wrenching and the grief is so real.
I don't think there is anything that can prepare you to lose a parent. It is a larger blow in adulthood I believe, because you are at the point where you are actually friends with your mother or father.
Along the road somewhere, deep into the night, I began to reflect on why it was so important for us to be there. Why were we making such an effort to see someone who would neither know we were there, nor have any chance of speaking to us? Was there any logic to it?