Lent: Remembering MY impermanence

I have written about impermanence for two days now. It occurred to me this morning that my writing has been about the impermanence of others. I, too, am impermanent. Several years ago I read a book, A Year to Live, an interesting book about how you might approach your life if you had only one […]

Lent: Losing your faith

Most of my Lenten entries have been about suffering, loss, and unlearning. As I was reading and writing this morning, I thought that perhaps anyone who has been keeping up these entries might be saying, “Enough loss and suffering already!” Yet, these are all necessary and unavoidable parts of life, and to me, frankly, the […]

Lent: Leg aches and growing up

I had intense leg aches when I was a kid. I did not feel them during the day when I was up, active, running and doing all the things that kids do during the day. But when I got in bed, stopped moving and tried to relax, my legs began to throb. I sometimes cried, […]

My friend, Karen

My friend, Karen, died a few weeks ago. She went in for a routine heart catheterization, an exploratory procedure prior to a scheduled open-heart valve replacement. Despite the routine nature of the procedure, she died. Despite intense efforts to revive her, she died. Despite an emergency surgery team scrambling together, she died. Her friends who […]

The Season of Lent: paying attention

If you are like me, much of life is lived on automatic pilot. I don’t pay attention to many of the routine things I do each day. I can go through a meal without really paying attention to what I am eating. I can get through a long conversation and remember very little of what […]

Eulogy for Patsy

This is the eulogy I delivered at the funeral of my mother-in-law, Patsy Wilcoxen. When I have attended funerals of teenagers and young adults, there is always a sense of tragedy that life was cut short, so much life was left unlived.  It’s unusual to have those same feelings about someone who has lived almost […]

Patsy’s Graveside Service

Reflections of Patsy Jim Powell We are here, together, taking the next step on our journey, learning to live with our grief.  This is a significant step, for we are literally and symbolically putting Patsy to rest, marking a place where we are able to return and remember.  It’s significant that within a few feet […]

The world gets smaller

Being with Patsy on a daily basis during her declining health, I was struck in a new way by an old thought.  We spend much of our adult lives working to expand our world.  The expansion begins slowly at birth, but once we achieve a certain level of adolescent independence, the expansion gets real traction.  […]

Grief: “It comes in waves”

Jeannie slumped forward in her chair, her forearms on her knees, her eyes fixed on the few square feet of carpet between her shoes and mine.  She had been away for the weekend and had driven through the early morning hours to get back to campus for a 9:00 class with mandatory attendance. When she […]

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 […]