Out of Order

16 05 2018

Someone I know just lost his twenty-four-year-old son. It is a shocking, awful, unimaginable thing.

I am someone who has lost a child, so I know, with searing clarity, the horror of outliving your child.

What do you say to someone who has lost a child?

You should probably NOT say the first six thoughts that come into your brain. Don’t mouth the empty platitudes. Don’t babble to fill the silence. You should probably not say anything for a while. Try to just BE with the person. Let their suffering flow out of them, absorb it, and neutralize some of it simply by giving your quiet support.

After the shock of the reality subsides, and you’ll feel when the time is right, you can offer heartfelt encouragement. Hearing this simple, but important truth made an enormous difference in my healing and continues to light a path through grief.

You lost someone you loved more than anyone in the world, but there are others here who love you and you love, so you must keep going for us.

I wish peace to the wounded heart of my colleague.

I wish compassion, patience, and perseverance to his friends.

Be kind. Keep being kind.



25 10 2017

Did you ever read some little something that made you nod in agreement, only to find yourself feeling a little bit ill-at-ease about it in the next moment?  Happened to me this morning.

This quote appeared in my morning reading:

Grief, I’ve learned, is really just love. It’s all the love you want to give, but cannot. All that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in that hollow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go ~ Jamie Anderson

At first, I thought, “Yep, that’s it, exactly!”

Almost as quickly as I read and responded favorably in my head, my heart cried out, “What is WRONG with you???”

Well, let me tell you, I was taken aback.  I am one who usually relies on the voices in my head, not my heart, but she was insistent. She was also right.

This quote, attributed to Jamie Anderson (there are many folks with that name, so I was not able to verify), is only partly correct.

Grief is not love with no place to go; grief is love pining to be shared.

When I fall into the darkness of missing my beautiful daughter – when my heart aches and my throat constricts and I feel the despair about to splash down my cheeks – I remind myself that the love I can no longer give to her is perfectly useful to give to others, so I do.  Whether it’s extra treats for our diva guinea pig, paying someone a sincere compliment, or laughing with my sister, I release some of that love and I feel better.

Grief remains a part of life for anyone who has lost someone they love.  Love is like that, too – there’s no expiration date. It never gets too old to be given as the valuable gift it is.  I think that when we hold in our grief, it’s like holding our breath – it hurts, but we have the power to relieve it.

Every day, I take a deep breath, remember all the joys of my life, and open my heart to release that painful pressure of all that “unspent” love. It is not always easy, but it is always right.

Peace to every grieving heart. Open yours. You’ll feel better. I know I do.




Grief and Gratitude

9 08 2017

When we lose a loved one, there is an enormous hole left in our hearts – in our lives – that we know will never be repaired.  What we don’t know until it happens in us is that, while the wound  is never healed, it does get filled up with the love and support of our families and friends and even people who were strangers before we were so grievously injured.

Today marks the seventh anniversary of the day we lost our dear daughter Jessica.  The pain of that loss will always be with us, but the kindnesses shown to us every day by all of you helps keep it manageable. It keeps the rest of our lives in perspective.

I have said it before, but it bears repeating, especially today:

When we lost Jessie, we lost the person we loved the most in the world, but we did not lose the only person we loved, so we continue on. We celebrate her joyful (too short) life and we celebrate the life that we continue to live with the help, encouragement, and comfort of our friends.

Love one another.

Be kind, always. 

Don’t miss a thing life has to offer you.

Smile from your heart, like my Jessie did.



With best cousin ever, Katy Little, when they were both little.


Happy. Up to no good. Happy.

March to your own drummer – Be your own drummer!

Ready to roll with Grandma – always.

Not spoiled, just loved!


8 05 2013

How is it that a heart that is broken can remain so full of love?  It surely is one of the miracles of human being-ness.

As Mother’s Day approaches, I find myself in a kind of emotional riptide that alternately pulls me under into the salty dark of tears and loss, only and always, eventually, throwing me back to the warm safety of happy memories and loving family.

Grief comes and goes as it pleases; we cannot control it. We can and we must remember, though, that the   magnitude of our grief is the mirror image of the magnitude of our love.  I hold tight to that fact and I know I am fortunate to have loved so deeply.

My grief is different than yours, but the same.

It is born of loss.

The nature of the loss is different than yours, but it is the same.

It is born of love.

Although it is broken, my heart is truly full of love, so this Mother’s Day, I wish you a heartful of love, too.

bleeding hearts caught dew 4-8-12


10 08 2011

Summer Vacation

Note: Miss Muse has had a rough week.  Today begins a new year without my beautiful Jessica.  For those readers who never met Jess and don’t know her parents, I offer this brief explanation of the post to follow.  Jessica was a very happy girl.  She often reminded us, “Laughing is fun!”  Her father and I fell in love, endured hardships, and are surviving the enormous tragedy of losing Jess because of our shared sense of humor.  In the spirit of laughter – and with the little energy Miss Muse has – here is this week’s post.


10. Mom’s Away!  This was her warning to the guinea pig when I dropped carrots into the cage.

9. Let’s see what Miss Chris did.  Every Wednesday, she’d rush up to her room, knowing Chris had cleaned it – and created something wonderful with her stuffed animals and toys.  For over ten years, she was NEVER disappointed.

8. .  .  .  and one for Katy. This was Jess’s workaround when I said she could have just one of anything.

7. Daddy has a long nose.”  Warning Rated R.  She, at about age 2, surprised her dad in the bathroom.  Mommy corrected her. “It’s not that long.”

6. He’s the one with the curly hair. Jess loved High School Musical’s basketball song, especially Chad Danforth.  It never occured to her to describe him as “the black one.”  Race did not matter. Troy had straight hair; Chad had curly hair.

5. Annoying, annoying, annoying.  Usually directed at slow-functioning electronics.

4. Just stay home and be bored.  Her conversation-ending response to my requests to please get dressed/take medicine/put on shoes.

3.  Walk the plank, maybe!   My favorite malapropism; Daddy calls her the ambivalent pirate.

2. Grandma!  The first response to the question “Daddy, Mommy, or Grandma?

1.  Laughing is fun!

.  .  .  and one Mommy-ism for my beautiful girl.

I love you better than anybody.