Grief & Coping


Grieving Loss Before a Death

I foolishly thought burying my almost 91-year old father would have been easier than what my siblings and I went through in saying goodbye to my mother who died prematurely at the age of 68, five years ago. After all, my mother was supposed to live long enough to see my still small children grow, become Bar/Bat Mitzvah, graduate and perhaps, get married. No, she died at an age which nowadays is considered young. Her loss was devastating. It took a lot of time and work to integrate her death into my......

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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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The Hardest Person to Forgive

Who is the hardest person to forgive? An abusive parent? A partner who betrayed you? One who shattered our world with mass violence? Well, according to Google, based on the volume of responses to this question, the answer is: yourself. But is that true? I’m not challenging the accuracy of the claim that self-forgiveness is the hardest to practice. Far be it from me to challenge Google’s all-knowing, all-powerful algorithms, and their power to shape our lives! Well, perhaps I should (at least the latter) but that is for another time. For......

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