Permission to Grieve

Our culture gives so little permission to grieve.  Except in the confines of a visitation or funeral, most of us feel little permission to express our grief in public places or with people other than our closest friends.  Yet the feelings that accompany significant loss come when they come, often during “inconvenient” times.  The university […]

Grief is a process, not an event

“It was so helpful to be in a group where people weren’t in a hurry for me to get better.” “What a relief to have this time each week when I didn’t feel like I needed to get over it.” These were the two most frequent responses when I asked students to talk about what […]

You’re not crazy, you’re grieving

Grief can make you feel crazy.  Grief is disorienting.  What was once normal is no longer normal.  Feelings bubble up that shock you.  Thoughts arise that alarm you.  Behaviors seem to belong to someone else. I met with a group of college students who had gathered after the sudden and tragic death of a friend.  […]

Shaped by grief

I have done the “Time Line” activity many times and I have led many groups in the activity, but I am still amazed at what new discoveries are unearthed each time through it.  The activity is simple. 1.  Draw a line on a piece of paper, from one side of the paper to the other.  […]

Grief at an early age

As I stood silently, my candle in hand, I looked around at the faces of about a hundred twenty-somethings at the candlelight vigil. The evening air was heavy with sadness as they gathered to commemorate the life and death of their friend.  Her death was tragic.  She was pulled from a house fire too late.  […]

Grief: our sobering kinship

I was always nervous as I prepared to meet with more than 100 university students, leaders of the campus fraternities and sororities.  The topic was “Helping students through grief.”  On a large campus with an active Greek system, it was not unusual for someone in the house to experience the death of a parent, sibling, […]

Mothers as people

In William Manchester’s novel, So Long, See You Tomorrow, the main character makes the observation, “When my father was getting along in years, and the past began to figure more in his conversation, I asked him one day what my mother was like.  I knew what she was like as my mother but I thought […]