After a death and a funeral, people return to their normal lives. But for families who have lost a child, life as they knew it stopped on the day their child died. They need to work through their grief to be able to heal.
Although they may still savor some semblance of family togetherness, holiday joy becomes tempered by the acute awareness of the missing parent -- absent due to death, divorce, substance abuse, mental illness, even incarceration.
My best advice to clinicians, to the press, and to the general public -- be skeptical and don't follow DSM-5 blindly down a road likely to lead to massive over-diagnosis and harmful over-medication. Just ignore the 10 changes that make no sense.
It's uncanny that Mum died the day before we were scheduled to depart. I ate volumes of candy during that long train ride. Nobody suggested I shouldn't. And I've always suspected that a lifelong pattern of episodic over-indulgence began that day.
I met Jonieke in 1989. We were interns at the Peggy Guggenheim Museum in Venice, Italy. Jonieke and I belonged to a group of 20-somethings who assembled on that magical group of islands in a museum that had been the home and private collection of an eccentric heiress.
Between my scientist and my cousin Donald I realized what "giving thanks" really means. It means looking in someone's eyes until you can see their vibrant colors beneath the chlorophyll, beneath the mask or the bravado or the prickly personality.
November 15 is National Children's Grief Awareness Day. At the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, we take today to recognize the special challenges that military children face after losing a parent, and the strengths they carry that can help them cope with loss too.
Causes of vacancy come in endless iterations and are particularly poignant during the holidays. You may be left staring death in the face. Or, perhaps your loss involves a loved one that lives far away and finances are insufficient to bring them to your door.
At the time that Sue and I lived together in our 20s, there was no test for the disease, as there is now. She had no way of knowing if she would begin to lose her physical and mental capacities in 10 years -- or never.
The Department of Defense has approved a groundbreaking study examining the unique grieving process of survivors. Maybe this is a positive step toward building a stronger military community and a stronger nation as a whole.
There are several ways we can become more comfortable with death, the dying and the dead. The first is to being open to talking about it. There needs to be an open dialogue and expression of the fears and concerns that we have about death or dying or the dead.
Beginning in 1994, I began a 14-year project to document an unknown body of folk art found in the cemeteries of the San Luis Valley. Simplicity, expressiveness and a transformative use of common materials were found in the most evocative grave markers.
We seem to think that we need to have the answers for people's pain and sadness. We don't. What we need to have is the ability to sit with someone and not say anything. Nothing you can say will make them feel better.