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.


A Month of Thanksgiving – Resolve to be Thankful

8 11 2017

Today, a friend lost her husband to the serial killer that is cancer. I want to tell her to be grateful for the numbness she is surely feeling at this moment – the continuation of that feeling of non-reality that sets in when you realize that your beloved will not leave the hospital with you.

I know that feeling. I remember, too well, those last merciless days before Hodgkin’s lymphoma took my daughter from me some seven years ago.

I also know what is to come.

My heart aches for my friend. I know the road forward for her – and there must be no mistake – she MUST proceed forward – is filled with pits and obstacles and things that bludgeon and bite.  I also know that, after she has stumbled, groped, crawled, and wallowed her way along the path for what will seem like forever, the way will become less perilous. Her footing will be surer. She will, to her surprise one day, realize that she is again seeing beauty around her. She (as do I) will still occasionally go sprawling on her face into the darkness of grief, but she will know that she can and must right herself and go on. It is the only way to respect and remember the precious ones lost; to quit would be to dishonor all they saw and loved in us.

Today, I am thankful for resolution. Don’t dare call it closure, because that is not at all what happens when you lose the most precious thing in your life. Resolution, to me, does not mean “getting over it” or “moving on” – it means having made an affirmative decision and commitment to continue to live, not in spite of loss, but because of love.

I wish you all more love. Peace.


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!

Boy, am I Full!

16 07 2014

My heart is broken. That’s surely an odd phrase; what does it mean?

For me, when I lost my sweet Jessica, it meant I needed to wear a cast made from the love of my family and friends and a sling of fond memories until it healed.

My broken heart has mended. There is still a big nasty scar and I find I rely on that sling when it feels particularly heavy, but it works.

My heart works.

When we feel the wound of great loss, for a while, it surely seems as though it could be a mortal blow, but it isn’t. Our hearts are not meant to die with our loved ones; they are meant to rebound with renewed appreciation for what we had, what we have, and what is yet to come.

My heart is full.  This is an equally interesting one.

To me, it means to be so aware of all the love around and within us that, like a toddler with a full glass of juice, we can’t help but slosh some out and get it all over the people around us. That’s why hearts full of love always have the ability to hold more.

Splash that love around.

Jump into it with both feet.

Litter your neighborhood with it like cosmic confetti.

Even if your heart is broken, the exercise will do it good.

My broken-mended heart is full.  If your heart needs some love, I hereby give you some of mine.

purple pavement a 6-24-14

This post is dedicated to a dear friend and his sweet mother.  Love and strength and peace to Big Henry and his family.