Making Friends with Death

In September, I was asked to be a guest on a radio show hosted by the amazing Janet Conner. Both of us are great lovers of the work of John O’Donohue. She had decided that in the month of Samhain and Halloween (October) she would have a weekly guest who would talk about “Making Friends With Death.” I was to be the guest on the third week. At that time, I was in a joyful place anticipating the marriage of my son Christopher and his beloved Annie. Though I teach and coach people through grief, this was a step deeper then I had ever gone. Make FRIENDS with death? Really? And then I re-read John O’Donohue’s beautiful book “Anam Cara”, which translates as friend of the soul, where he proposes that death is born with us–though ignored in the celebratory surroundings of birth–and walks with us through our life. I began to […] MORE

Finding the Gift in Grief

Small Griefs Add Up

Today I am having to deal with the grief that comes with a health challenge facing a loved one.  In loving this person, I go to the compassionate place in my heart. But as  Miller Williams talks about in his poem “Compassion”–we cannot know what goes on down where the blood meets the bone. This is a place we cannot go, no matter how we empathize with someone. We can’t be “in” the person, experiencing their focus, their reservoir of fear or sadness. We see the friend or loved one from our own perspective–not theirs. In this place, we can’t possibly know what choices they “should” make in their medical care, their communications with family, or any of a dozen other decisions they are making. And yet in this world of  brain dominance, we are encouraged to prioritize, put things in perspective, stick with the left brain and don’t let the emotions […] MORE

Global Grief in America

“Wild Sage” by Catherine Tappouni Burkee Every single day we are inundated with the tragedies and sorrows of people around the world. Recently, several tragedies have come to us in our home, the United States. Boston has been added to the burden of grief we carry after Newtown and Hurricane Sandy and Colorado. It is impossible to watch and listen to what is happening around us without taking the emotions of grief, sadness and loss into our bodies. Our cells store these emotions, often with our personal emotions of grief learned throughout a life of losses. We feel what the survivors are feeling, and we grieve with them. This connection with others is part of our human-ness, but it’s important that we recognize when we are accepting more than our body can handle. We Signs that this is true can be as simple as finding ourselves sighing deeply throughout the day […] MORE