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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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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Oliver Sacks Gets Personal

When world famous neurologist Oliver Sacks, explainer of things human, writes – as he did recently about family, faith and his own impending death – it pays to pay attention. Okay, I admit, I’m biased by virtue of the fact that this amazing doctor and author was the friend and colleague of another doctor and author I respect: my late father-in-law, Dr. Harold Klawans (equally as esteemed around the world by colleagues and fans of his murder mysteries, albeit not quite as well known, as Sacks). They blurbed each other’s books, spoke......

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Another Mass Shooting in the Land of the Free

From Odyssey Networks’ Faith on the Record series: This time, it was an audience enjoying a comedy in a movie theater in Louisiana. Another mass shooting in another public place, here in the United States – adding to the long list of 2015 mass shootings in America. Many were wounded, and three lives ended, including the gunman. But the rest of us are all stuck in a cul-de-sac in this country, and none of us has the solution by ourselves. In order to forge a path to greater public safety, we need......

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The Amtrak Tragedy, and All That Faith Can't Explain

From Odyssey Networks’ Faith on the Record series: Since the Amtrak train derailed in northeast Philadelphia, I’ve been asked numerous times to answer the question, “Where was God?” I understand that not everyone is comforted?when tragic deaths are explained as part of a grand plan. But we can all be comforted by remembering “God is wherever people discover that no matter what, we are never alone.” Watch my video for more insight and discussion.     Odyssey Networks tells the stories of faith in action changing the world for the better. Their......

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From Standing By to Understanding: Black Lives Matter

I have been in and out of sleep all night. I wake automatically reaching for the remote to see if it has gotten any worse. I hold my blanket up so that only my eyes can see, pretending somehow that if I cover enough of myself, only parts of the news will infiltrate my soul. It’s too late, though. All of me is infected. All of us are infected. Baseball, the telltale sign of hope springing eternal, played in a silent Camden Yards – fans locked out for fear of violence. Curfews......

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