Category: Grief

Those who grieve can also smile

I’ve been thinking a lot about grief lately. From bombings and school shootings to the relentless beat of people around me dying, it is a season of loss. If grief were a color—somewhere between black and white—then I would be seeing the world in grayscale. We tend to be gapers at other people’s tragedies. We... Read more »

This is what an addict looks like

It’s a strange sadness to lose a student. After 25 years I’ve lost a few. One to cancer and one to a heart attack, one to suicide and another to the flu. On Friday I got word that a former student died from an overdose. He was addicted to opioids. I didn’t know he was... Read more »

How could I forget you?

You say, “Don’t forget me.” It takes me by surprise. I suck in my breath and try to keep myself calm. The last thing you need is to comfort me. The truth is you don’t need anything. Your vision is tunneling so that you can only see your family, and they love you with ice... Read more »
Advertisement:

The last ones standing: the price of life and love

Today, as I walk my dog through the neighborhood, I see the world through a lens of loss. The next door neighbor lost her husband about 9 months ago. The neighbor down the street lost her son a year ago December and then her husband the following January. It is only a bit below freezing... Read more »

Being a witness to one wild and precious life: in memory of Beth Caldwell

Being a witness to one wild and precious life: in memory of Beth Caldwell
My go to in times of grief is poetry. “Tell me,” Mary Oliver wrote, “what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life.” We get just this one life, this one here and now, this one body and this one mind. Sometimes what we planned to do with our lives... Read more »

To the woman at Starbucks: your mom deserves better than your contempt

Dear Woman in Starbucks, I’ll own the fact that I was in a judgmental place a few days ago when I saw you and your family at Starbucks. Your story is, no doubt, complicated and full of gray. I can never know what your lives are like, what you’ve suffered and how you’ve struggled. All... Read more »
Advertisement:

When I'm sick I want my mom

I’ve been taking a new medication that makes me sick to my stomach. The other day at a lunch to honor a student, I had to push past the person next to me and get to the bathroom. I almost didn’t make it before being “sick.” This is the British word for vomiting, tossing your... Read more »

The blur of grief: in memory of Brian Bard

The blur of grief: in memory of Brian Bard
Brian Bard died from pancreatic cancer on February 7, 2017. His loss is profound for his wife and three children, ages 6 to 16. No matter what your beliefs, loss leaves a yawning gap in our present lives. I didn’t know Brian personally, but I feel like I met him through his wife, Jennifer Bannan.... Read more »

Remember the thousands who will die this month of metastatic breast cancer: in memory of a former student

Remember the thousands who will die this month of metastatic breast cancer: in memory of a former student
I remember the first time I saw Sondra. She was sitting at the back table of a small classroom. She had a copy of the syllabus already printed out from Blackboard and had her books and pens and her Dunkin’ Donuts coffee all ready to go. She had twinkling eyes and she was engaged in... Read more »
Advertisement:

Coming to terms with limitation and failure: my running days are over

Coming to terms with limitation and failure: my running days are over
I wanted to be a runner. Ever since I completed my first Couch to 5K class six or seven years ago, I caught the bug. I remember the first day that I was able to run for 30 minutes, the feeling of exhilaration and freedom. It was so empowering. Once I was diagnosed with cancer,... Read more »