Tag: Loss


When Sadness and Joy Co-Exist

Have you ever picked up a book knowing that its arrival in your life at precisely this moment was a gift? That was my sense when I held Jay Michaelson’s The Gate of Tears, subtitled “Sadness and the Spiritual Path.” As I delved into the book (out this month in paperback), that sense only deepened. “Joy and sadness are not opposites,” Michaelson writes. “Sometimes, they coexist, like two consonant notes of a complex yet harmonious chord.” And he observes: “At our contemporary moment, the ordinary sadness that is part of a life......

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Who Would You Wish to Spend One Last Day With?

If there were any person in your life, living or dead, with whom you could spend one last day, who would it be? And how would you spend that day? No, I’m not stealing this question from college applications. I’m feeling the pain of the mass murder at Umpqua Community College in Oregon and the killings of Eitam and Na’ama Henkin in Israel. The deep desire to hold close those I love is definitely part of my response. The preciousness of those we love shouldn’t be a function of their absence, or......

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Can You Learn to Love Navigating Transitions?

When I was the parent of a toddler, I learned that transitions are hard. Toddlers don’t have a clear sense of time, so hearing “the playdate will be over at noon” doesn’t necessarily help them prepare. They may not have much agency in their lives, so acceding to changes may feel like yet another place where they aren’t in control. And they don’t have the life experience to know that everything ends – so to them, every ending is a new heartbreak. Now that my child has grown a few years older,......

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Why Don't Men Cry More Often?

Why do so many people in our culture still buy into the notion that “real men don’t cry”? In a recent piece on Aeon, writer Sandra Newman raises this question. And she suggests that there may be some utility in men containing their tears in certain situations. But she also points out that it’s a relatively recent concept to equate masculinity with dry eyes – an idea that’s ultimately more unhealthy than not. Newman cites scientific research showing that crying opens pathways of connection and healing in unique ways; it often includes......

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Gratitude The Greatest Medicine?

Substituting for a colleague who leads a grief group, this reflection on coping was shared by someone in the group. Written by Dr. Murray Feingold, it suggests that by focusing on how fortunate we are to have had lost love ones in our lives, we can help ourselves to feel better about the loss. But is that true? For me, the answer is yes… and no.? That response will probably not surprise any TWD readers who have followed my reflections on how I have dealt with my dad’s death, and here is......

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Glen Campbell Sings Poignantly of Loss and Healing

Glen Campbell’s newest, and likely last, song will make you cry and give you comfort, especially if like me, you know people with Alzheimer’s Disease, or other forms of dementia. Titled “I’m Not Gonna Miss You”, the song invites us to think deeply about what it is we really mourn as we see a loved one drift out of the world. Is it their pain, or ours? I wrestled with that question a lot as my father was dying, and wrestle with it still as others I love suffer with dementia. How......

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9/11: How We Feel Today

As we observe the 13th anniversary of 9/11, we feel a range of emotions. We feel sad and heartbroken for those who lost loved ones. We are grateful, if not surprised that there have been no terrorist attacks on our soil. We feel betrayed that after all the lives and treasure sacrificed to fight Islamic terrorists, there seems to be more terrorists, terrorizing more people, doing more terrifying things. We are confused about what we should do, politically, militarily, and morally as historical fault lines unravel and failed states become sites of......

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The Illusion That We Suffer Alone

Years ago, during the time that my father was struggling with Alzheimer’s, I happened to catch an interview with the son of Christopher Reeve on television. He was overjoyed that his dad had been able to move his pinkie, a feat he’d not accomplished before. I watched, in awe, as this son described in triumphant detail how amazing it was what his father had done. It put my own pain and struggle into immediate perspective. Thinking about this today reminded me that no matter what kind of burden we may be carrying,......

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When a Friend Is Suffering, How Do You Help?

How do you comfort someone going through a really hard time in life? Recently, I received an email from someone describing how his very good friend’s 42 year-old daughter (a woman with two young children, age 4 and 6 – his grandchildren) was diagnosed last year with cancer and just entered hospice. This man lost his only son 12 years ago in an auto accident. And on top of all this, his brother, with whom he’s extremely close, just had major heart surgery. He asked me if The Wisdom Daily had any......

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Can the Death of a Parent Bring Families Together?

Few moments in life are as difficult as losing one’s parent. In the swirl of sadness and mourning, a parent’s death can unify or further divide the surviving family. In some cases, the highly charged emotions may amplify issues between siblings. But this can also be a remarkable opportunity to heal some of those long-standing hurts and wounds that are part of every family I know, including my own. There can be a positive potential for healing in this otherwise excruciating moment. Certainly, there are always reasons to resist coming together, especially......

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