this week's refuge in grief newsletter
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Hello dear one.

It's Memorial Day weekend in the States.

For most people, that means cookouts, barbeques, parades, and a day off from work.

For the widowed community, and for families grieving the loss of a family member, it's just one more day on the calendar we have to endure, rather than celebrate. It's one more gigantic "festive" event that we're called to either ignore, or attend while pretending it isn't just torturous to be there this way: without the ones we love.

And of course, the actual meaning of the holiday is rooted in grief: it's meant as a weekend, a time, to remember those who have died in service to their country, or died after service to their country. We have parades and fireworks to celebrate, or we get into heated political debates as to whether war should be happening or not, but both those ends of the spectrum miss the point:

People have died, and we miss them. People have died, and we need to remember who they were, where they were, why they died.

Whether we agree with the "why," the facts still remain. Someone died. And they left behind people like us, people like you: people with broken hearts, shattered lives, and empty spaces that cannot ever be filled.

In a sense, Memorial Day weekend should usher this country into our world: the every day reality of grief. Memorial Day should (or could) be a time when the whole nation bows its collective head to its collective heart, and says: ow. Ow. OW. This hurts.

It could, or it should, be a time when the whole country stops arguing and debating and generally just being jerks, and stands, silently, in awe of the lives that are gone, the lives that have been taken, and stands in respect for the broken hearts still beating, still living here, even after the one they love has died.

Acknowledgement. It could be a day of acknowledgement. Of entering into grief, if just for one short day. Beyond all the politics, beyond all the partying. Just one day, where we all bow our heads and say: you were here, you lived, and you're gone.

Just one day to feel into the reality of that grief. And just say - thank you.

As always, I love your questions and your comments. What is Memorial Day for you? Remember, when you hit "reply" to this newsletter, your email comes right to me. I'd love to hear from you.

Talk soon,

PS: One more week left to register for the summer session of the Writing Your Grief e-course. Not sure what the group will be like? Check out what one writer had to say: "I've learned that in this writing group, I am safe. It is one of the safest and least judgmental things I've been part of since my husband died. There are no expectations in regards to what is 'required.' The respect in this space has been sacred to me. It's a place to share what I cannot share with anyone else."

Even if you're not a "group person" (and trust me - I am not a group person, myself!), you'll find connection and kinship within this course. Join us. It's an incredible place.

Do you know one or two people who might benefit from this newsletter? Please pass this message along, either by forwarding this email, or by using the share buttons at the bottom of this post. Thank you.

Registration is now open!

The Writing Your Grief e-course allows you
to enter into conversation with your own heart, finding new stories inside your grief.

Join our growing group of writers exploring grief - and love - inside a private, online community. We'd love to have you.

(click on the image for more information)

around the web: people and resources you should know

I spend a lot of time following links, reading blogs, searching for words and images that help people in pain. I also pick up tools for those witnessing grief in those they love. When I find things that are useful, I pass them along.

I have not yet seen the movie Return to Zero, but I've been talking with many of you who have. I've also connected with the people whose lives are the root of this story. Return to Zero will be playing several times on Lifetime over the next five years. The DVD will be available through Amazon beginning in June. If you don't know about the film, or would like more information about it, please check out their website: It looks like the site has some additional resources for baby-lost families as well. Do head over and explore.

Every day I want to speak with you.
And every day something more important
calls for my attention—the drugstore, the beauty products, the luggage
I need to buy for the trip.
Even now I can hardly sit here
among the falling piles of paper and clothing, the garbage trucks outside
already screeching and banging.
The mystics say you are as close as my own breath.
Why do I flee from you?
My days and nights pour through me like complaints
and become a story I forgot to tell.
Help me.
Even as I write these words
I am planning to rise from the chair
as soon as I finish this sentence.

~ "Prayer" by Marie Howe

(come write with us: don't let this be a story you forgot to tell)

Grief support services by phone & Skype.

Finding a therapist who can help support you in your grief rather than try to fix you can be challenging. Sometimes you just need a little check in with someone to help you get your bearings. If you'd like to talk, you can schedule a free 30 minute phone call with me. It's a chance for us to connect, for you to be heard, and to see what resources might be most nourishing to you at this time. There are still some spots open in the coming week, so be sure to claim your time.

Click right HERE to access my on-line calendar.

     this week's blog posts at refuge in grief

Monday's post for those in pain
Revealing something like this can go so badly, can divert even the most normal of conversations into strained territory.

But today, the awkward scale tipped, and I went with the awkwardness of saying “my husband died” rather than continue the missed beats and odd silence.

If a relationship is going to continue, I can’t keep evading such a large part of who I am. At some point, things get stuck and can go no further without feeling false. 

continue reading...

Witness Wednesday
Who needs love? Well, we do.

The tricky thing is that Wednesdays, for the time being, are no longer a New Post day.

But how about this... if you think of it, take a moment each Wednesday, or here when you read this blurb, to send out love and support to all of those sitting with broken hearts today. Call them into your heart and your mind. Call yourself into your own heart and mind.

Imagine holding everyone in love, deep and fierce and beautiful.

Every Wednesday. Or right now here, today.
Friday's personal grief journal post
I find myself saying this to people a lot: what you’re living makes absolutely no sense at all, it’s utterly illogical, and your brain cannot make it make sense.

Grief, and this daily life you’re living, seems surreal. Dream-like. Like you should just be able to shake yourself and wake up.

 continue reading...

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