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Create meaning

After tragedy, you don’t find meaning, Elaine Pagels, a professor at Princeton, told an audience at Arts & Letters Live in Dallas recently. “You create meaning.” Pagels writes about the death of her 6-1/2-year-old son and her husband in her new book Why Religion?

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Sense of interconnection

Elaine Pagels, a professor at Princeton, writes about the death of her 6-1/2-year-old son and her husband in her new book Why Religion? The two deaths happened about 30 years ago, but, only now, she says, is she able to write about them. “You don’t get over tragedies,” she told an audience at Arts & […]

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Personalization, pervasiveness, permanence

Psychologist Martin Seligman found that the three Ps can stunt recovery after the death of someone you love, the loss of a job or any other catastrophe. • Personalization is the belief that we are at fault. • Pervasiveness is the belief that an event will affect all areas of our life. • Permanence is […]

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Life goes on

My friend Olga told me about her friend who just died. She was a woman who had seen much and done much—and, for Olga, she had been more family than friend. I could feel Olga’s sadness when she concluded, “Life goes on.” It’s true. Robert Frost once said: ‘In three words, I can sum up […]

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Remembering Patti

I’m still overwhelmed by sadness when I remember Patti, my good friend and business partner in my real estate business. But, even though I’m grieving, I can’t keep from smiling when I think about Patti’s laughter and her loyalty and her many kindnesses. I’ve been thinking about Patti constantly since she died earlier this month. […]

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A tribute to Roxie

Fayteen and her family are still grieving for their beloved dog, Roxie. Since Roxie died recently, we have been thinking about how much our animals teach us about life and love. They are always eager to greet us in the morning, always ready to sit quietly by our side, always ready to comfort us when […]

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So many amazing things

I just read Wild by Cheryl Strayed again before my book club discussed the book. I was impressed by Strayed’s tenacity. Even though her boots were too small and her backpack was too heavy and the snow was too slippery, she kept hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. On her journey, she remembered her mother’s death […]

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How suffering takes place

A very good friend died yesterday, and I have been feeling sad and thinking about the sadness her family is feeling. Recently, when I heard Natasha Trethewey, this country’s poet laureate, read a poem by W.H. Auden on National Public Radio, I knew exactly what Auden was writing about. I listened and remembered clearly one […]

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The first lesson of grief

A friend died. She was past 100. She was a friend, but not a close friend. I still felt sad. As I thought about my friend’s death, I remembered my mother’s death. In her book She Matters: A Life in Friendships, Susanna Sonnenberg writes that the first real lesson about grief is “its disorganizing confusions, […]

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Accepting your limits

How do you react when you fail or are disappointed? When something bad happens over which you have no control? I was sad when I heard of a friend’s friend who gave birth to a stillborn baby. I remembered my own sadness when I struggled with infertility for four years before my daughter was born […]

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