Loss of a Parent

Just Tulips

Dedicated to: My Mom Last week in my chaplaincy internship, we were asked to select a photo from a spread on the table, and write a story. Afterward, we each shared with the group and discussed how the story reflects our theology and style of chaplaincy. Here is my photo, here is my story: My Mother often brought tulips home from the market. My favorites were the bright red ones with the

To Hold Death in One’s Hand

Today, I found a bird on my porch. It must have flown into the window and suffered enough damage to not wake up again. A fitting day with death, I thought, just days before I depart on my journey toward chaplaincy. I am going to spend the next several years becoming more and more comfortable with death, so why not now? “What are you going to do with it?” Also with

Spreading Ashes: A Poem

As we delve into a series on the world of grief rituals, I wanted to begin by offering this poem that was written by a dear friend, Lauri Stock, after a weekend spent spreading her mother’s ashes with her family and mother’s friends. I asked if she would write about her experience to share with the Peace Through Grief community, and she replied with this beautiful poem. They spread a portion of

The Art of Grieving

photo courtesy of www.tnhtour.org A year and a half after my mom passed, I attended a 7-day meditation retreat at Deer Park Monastery in Escondido, CA with Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh (or “Thay”, as many affectionately call him, which is Vietnamese for “teacher”.) My first exposure to Thay’s teachings was in an Eastern Philosophy class in college. I always found his writings to be healing and accessible, so when I heard about his retreat, I signed up

Continuation

I wrote this last week on my Dad’s 63rd birthday. 5/20/14 It’s a beautiful Spring evening in the Pacific Northwest. Sunshine is penetrating my skin, eased by a gentle breeze. Bird songs fill the air. I’m grateful to breathe in this air, grateful to see the Puget Sound through the evergreens. I look down at my feet and see my dad’s long toes peeking through the grass. I smirk his little

Motherless Day

Tonight I am enjoying a quiet night in with my sleeping niece while my sister enjoys a (rare) evening out with a friend. It’s Mother’s Day Eve, our third since our mom passed — and the second since my sister became a mother. With days like these on the horizon, I wonder, “What will it be like? A day of celebration? Or sorrow? Will I cry? Or get angry? Will I feel peace? Will I

Six Steps for Saying Goodbye to Stuff

Saying Goodbye to Stuff: Six Steps for Letting Go After Loss Sorting through our loved one’s  belongings can feel daunting and overwhelming, not to mention emotional. We often find ourselves clinging to their material items because we no longer have their physical touch. Every “thing” seems to hold a story. But deep inside, we know we don’t want to haul around a truckload of stuff for the rest of our lives. So we embark

Nature Heals (Part 3 of 4): The Desert

This is part three of a 4-part series: Healing with Nature. If you missed the first two, check out Part 1 of 4: The Forest, The Trees and Part 2 of 4: The Falling Leaves. — A month and a half after my mom’s passing I really needed some alone time, so I borrowed my friend’s car (I only had a scooter at the time) and headed East to Joshua Tree National

Letter to My Mother

I wrote this letter to my mother in my journal while sitting on the above rock. It had been a month and a half since she passed, and I took a solo trip to Joshua Tree National Park. Dear Mom, I miss you so much. I miss your laugh. I miss you in the morning when I visit, in your robe or pjs, making toast, sipping coffee or tea, so

Nature Heals (Part 2 of 4):

Falling Leaves “Nature Heals” is a four-part series exploring how the forest, ocean, and mountains can help develop a deeper understanding of peace through grief… Last weekend, my sister and I dove into the last of my parents’ personal “stuff” – the final drawers to discover since my mom passed. It had taken us a while to build up to this task. We peacefully explored the contents which ranged from hand-written

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