Category: grief

Shimmer and Dance

One of my earliest memories occurred when I was about two years old.    My family lived near the town of Port Elgin, a small tourist destination on the shore of Lake Huron, in a two-story apartment. The apartment comprised the front half of an old farmhouse, typical of those one finds throughout southern Ontario, Canada.  The farmhouse apartment had a stairway from the kitchen to the second floor. There were two steps to a small landing and about eight more steps leading to three small bedrooms and a bathroom on the second floor. A window at the top of the

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The Dance: Why the Pain of Losing a Pet Is Worth It

“Looking back on the memory of the dance we shared…” Garth Brooks’ much-loved song “The Dance” reminds us that the best things in life sometimes lead to painful endings. The song is about a person who realizes what he would have had to miss to avoid the pain often associated with the end of a relationship. Today, the song was on my mind for other reasons. This morning, my s.o. Alan’s beloved Australian Shepherd/Border Collie cross, Topper, who’d worked his way into my heart to a degree I never imagined possible, crossed the rainbow bridge. He was 14, give or

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Why Being Not Okay, is Okay

It is okay not to be okay. This I have learned from two friends and my significant other who have lost children to terrible diseases in the recent past. I don’t know that anyone can truly “get” the enormity of the grief that comes with losing a child unless one has actually lost a child. However, I believe my friends and partner when they talk about how heavy that grief is at times. It sounds unbearable and yet it must be borne. People say the most insensitive things to parents who’ve lost children. More often than you’d imagine, people (and

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Guest Blog: A Letter to a Friend by Michael Cameron

This week my significant other lost his 17-year-old son–a cancer warrior. Grief is a suffocating, all encompassing emotion that I am just now realizing I know nothing about. My friend Michael, though, does know a thing or two about grief. His girlfriend, Colleen, who was also my junior high friend and track teammate, was murdered by an ex-boyfriend in 2015. Michael wrote the following blog entry sometime thereafter. I have found and continue to find Michael’s post one of the best things I’ve ever read about grief. Only now, though, am I turning to it for my own purposes rather than

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“I Can Only Imagine”

“I Just Can’t Imagine” When bad things happen to other people, we often say “I just can’t imagine….” Usually, we say this to acknowledge that something bad has happened and to express sympathy or regret. However, the phrase “I just can’t imagine” does neither of those things. In fact, saying “I just can’t imagine” is a bit of a cop-out. Our language needs to align more closely with our intentions. So, instead of saying “I just can’t imagine,” we should say “I can only imagine.” Whatever our intentions, words speak for themselves. “I just can’t imagine” is code for “I

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Can’t Move On After a Trauma? Then Step to the Side!

Several years ago a very traumatic event dropped me to my knees. didn’t think I’d ever be able to move forward. “I just don’t know how to go forward,” I said to my good friend Erica. (Yes, the same Erica from my last blog post about not settling for a life you don’t love!) “I just don’t know how to move on” I explained. “So don’t” she replied. “Just step to the side.” Step to the side? Really? That wasn’t an option I’d even considered. No one “steps to the side” in a crisis. Isn’t that against the rules? You

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