Tag Archives: Grief

The Goldfinch

24 Feb
“Goldfinch” © Chickens in the Trees, Flickr Creative Commons

“Goldfinch” © Chickens in the Trees, Flickr Creative Commons

It’s not often that I recommend a book so unilaterally. Frankly, I don’t recommend most books I enjoy because they’re usually too far in the realm of classic on the one end or fantasy on the other.

Not true with The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. Whether you’re man or woman, adventure lover or philosopher, page skimmer or word obsessor, it’s well worth your time.

In truth, what kept me reading was the mystery of the story. But what made it unforgettable? What so compelled me to share it? Continue reading

Hope and Hard Truths

6 Feb

Greenlake Seattle SunsetRegardless of your political preferences, this is a refreshingly honest talk on grief (see video below) from Joe Biden to military families in mourning.

For anyone coping with a loss, I hope it will bring you some peace during this reflective time of year.

“There will come a day, I promise you, when the thought of your [lost loved one] brings a smile to your lips before it brings a tear to your eye. It WILL happen. My prayer for you is, that day will come sooner than later. But … I’m telling you: It will come.” ~Joe Biden

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The Hard Part Begins

12 Dec

Last Photo of SueAs many of you know, this blog began because of Sue. I needed a positive way to cope with grief, new motherhood, and the task of teaching my child about the amazing grandmother she’d never know. My hope was to help other parents as well.

Szaba was five months old when Sue passed, so for several years, that task as been a goal and a commitment, but not a tangible, everyday reality.

Granted, we talk about Sue—and Shirley—daily. We share our memories about them, reassure Szaba of their love, and weave special things about them into our daily joys and values. But now, three years later, the hard part begins. Szaba is asking questions. And I don’t always have the answers.

It started at bedtime one night when she was asking who had gotten her that book or that stuffed animal or that blanket. Some were from her Grandma Cathy or Grandma Kristin. Some were from Grandma Suzy or Great Grandma Shirley.

That prompted Szaba to ask why she hadn’t seen Sue or Shirley since she was a baby (evident from several pictures around her room).

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10 Things in Honor of Sue

2 Dec

sueszaba_small.jpgThree years ago today, we lost Sue. It hardly seems real when stated so bluntly. And yet there it is. The facts belying a long journey of emotional pitfalls, resilient hopes, and surprisingly strong motivation.

On the first anniversary, I wrote that it “wrung my soul out to dry.” That emotion has mellowed over time, though it remains poignantly poised at the heart of today. And I still “wander through those last hours like the abandoned sets of a movie.” I don’t know when or if there will ever be a year where that’s not the case.

But I do know that Sue wouldn’t want anyone to waste valuable time mourning. Alive. In this moment. Together. That’s the mantra she’d want us to have.

So rather than throwing a pity party, I do the following 10 things every year on this anniversary, in honor of her life, not death.

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Breast Cancer Awareness

24 Oct

Minnesota 3 Day Supporters 2011I hate breast cancer. Granted, most would say they don’t like it, but let me be clear: I LOATHE it.

I hate what it does to people. I hate what it does to the people who love those people. I hate that it’s taken so many lives not yet fully lived. But most of all, I hate that it hasn’t been cured—so it will go on hurting and taking more lives.

This data sheet shows all of the startling stats.

My first tangible (and seemingly unfightable) villain was breast cancer. It took my grandmother when she was only in her forties. I was seven and vividly remember Continue reading

Louis CK … Zen Master?

7 Oct

Louis_CK_ZenMasterAs I mentioned in my post last week, I’m expecting my second child now, which has brought a vast range of emotions, along with a profound appreciation for both the good and the bad of pregnancy … and life in general.

One day, while crying over, oh I don’t know, the way the morning light played upon the smiling face of a grandma and child in the coffee shop and a certain nostalgic briskness in the air (hormones), I texted my friend: “What the hell is wrong with me?”

She pointed me to the following video. Seeing Louis CK and Conan O’Brien staring back at me, I seriously thought she sent me the wrong URL.

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Great Expectations

3 Oct

Expecting
“That was a memorable day to me, for it made great changes in me. But, it is the same with any life… Pause, you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day.”
– Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

I remember finding out we were pregnant with Szaba like it was yesterday. We had just returned from Spain. It was a rainy October day like this one. I told Ryan when he came home from walking Pavlov. We immediately called Sue.

Newborn OnesieA few weeks ago, days before Ryan’s birthday and our tenth anniversary, I discovered I was expecting again. I wrapped a little onesie in a box and gave it to Ryan, whose eyes lit up with hope and disbelief when he opened it. It was the world’s best gift, a surprise from the universe to us both.

And what was the very next feeling we felt after that joy? Continue reading