Experiencing the Presence of Absence

Posted on Jun 11, 2017 in General Grief

While listening to a struggling mother talk in my counseling office recently, I had a flashback to my own teen years.

My mother was strict, but she gave me a long leash. As a result, I always thought I was very independent of my family. As I drove home that evening, however, I remembered a pattern of mine that showed how connected and dependent I was to those people.

Knowing wasn’t enough

I was fortunate to be somewhat talented on the bell-curve of my small town high school student body. And each year I participated in many solo and group performances.

The memory that flashed into my consciousness was that I never performed without simultaneously scanning the crowd for my family. Never.

I knew they were there. So why wasn’t just “knowing” enough for me?

The experience of being watched vs. being seen

Read More

Not Every Dead Person Was a Loved-One

Posted on May 14, 2017 in Fresh Grief, General Grief

What if your deceased parent was hell on wheels behind closed doors, and God’s gift to the outside world when they were alive?  What if they were consistently uncompromising, selfish, and neglectful… possibly cruel and abusive to you?

How do you cope with the death of a parent who was a hypocrite and/or a bad parent?

Read More

Why Losing a Dog Can Be Harder than Losing a Relative

Posted on Mar 25, 2017 in Fresh Grief, General Grief, Pet Loss

I recently read an article (link below) entitled “Why Losing a Dog Can Be Harder than Losing a Relative.”

If you can’t understand the phenomenon, you likely haven’t experienced 15-18 years of sweet, eager, unconditional love from a pet. Nor have you experienced your own sweet, eager, unconditional love for your pet.

Lost and found

I have had clients who have deeply grieved the death of a spouse, but admit that losing their beloved dog was tougher experience to tolerate. It is not surprising as we aren’t often loved without expectation, i.e., without someone wanting us to look, act and think a certain way.

On the other hand, I have watched in amazement as a struggling bereaved individual comes alive and starts to rebuild their life – after getting a new pet.

Honor the loss

So if a family member, friend or co-worker is grieving the death of a pet, bite your tongue before you say “it’s just a dog, for heaven’s sake.”

Enjoy the article and the latest research on our relationship to our pets!

>read article

 

 

Read More

Featured Book: Insomniac City, New York, Oliver and Me.

Posted on Feb 26, 2017 in General Grief, Spousal/Partner Loss


The late Oliver Sacks’s life partner, Bill Hayes, has written Insomniac City, New York, Oliver and Me. It is an incredible memoir and honors his relationship with Oliver, Oliver’s decline and death, and Bill’s love of New York City. The writing, the telling, pulls the reader into a place that is quietly special.

I suppose it’s a cliché to say you’re glad to be alive, that life is short, but to say you’re glad to be not dead requires a specific intimacy with loss that comes only with age or deep experience. One has to know not simply what dying is like, but to know death itself, in all its absoluteness.

 

After all, there are many ways to die — peacefully, violently, suddenly, slowly, happily, unhappily, too soon. But to be dead — one either is or isn’t.

 

The same cannot be said of aliveness, of which there are countless degrees. One can be alive but half-asleep or half-noticing as the years fly, no matter how fully oxygenated the blood and brain or how steadily the heart beats. Fortunately, this is a reversible condition. One can learn to be alert to the extraordinary and press pause — to memorize moments of the everyday.

 

I highly recommend the book – for many reasons – but it shines in its ability to remove the reader from the current political intensity. It reminds us that we can be inspired. It reminds us that the world at large doesn’t need to change who we are or how we chose to be. It reminds us to pay attention to what brings us joy.

Found on Amazon.com

 

Read More

Teen Suicide: A Life Worth Living

Posted on Jan 15, 2017 in Child Loss, General Grief, Suicide

We are featuring a recent video, “A Life Worth Living”, made by the NYC support agency, OHEL.

The Roth family shares their experience of losing their son, Jonathan, to suicide.  The video is particularly important because it emphasizes how easy it is to ignore, and/or miss signs that a teen is suicidal.

Watch Video>  A Life Worth Living

For more info on OHEL:  www.ohelfamily.org


 

If you want to access free audios by Vicki to quell your anxiety, deal with your grief, find sleep or just become motivated, go to her YouTube Channel, ComfortCareConnection.

If you liked this post, please forward! Thanks!

Vicki Panagotacos PhD, FT is a grief counselor and life transition coach.  She writes for her blog, TalkingGrief.com, is founder of BestGriefBooks.com, and author of Gaining Traction: Starting Over After the Death of a Life Partner.
Subscribe to Blog

 

Read More

Will Trump Presidency Be a Razor Blade in the Hands of a 3-Year-Old or Not? *

Posted on Nov 30, 2016 in General Grief, Uncategorized

trump

“To learn which questions are unanswerable, and not to answer them: this skill is most needful in times of stress and darkness.”Ursula LeGuin, The Left Hand of Darkness

In the last weeks, clients have asked me, “What were people thinking when they voted for Trump? My answer has been some form of: “They weren’t thinking, they were feeling. If a person doesn’t feel safe, they are less likely to be able to think –  so they take a stab in the dark.”

They did and now we shall see.

The Mourning After the Election

Many agree with David Remnick, editor of the New Yorker, who said in his Nov. 13th online comment: “(Trump’s) level of egotism is rarely exhibited outside of the clinical environment.”

  • Few voters are aware of recent research showing roughly 20% of CEO’s are psychopaths – the same rate found in the prison population.
  • US Emory University researcher Scott Lilienfeld found that psychopaths are over-represented in the fields of politics, business, and high-risk sport. UK Oxford psychologist Kevin Dutton’s research showed that CEO’s, lawyers, TV/Radio media, salespeople and surgeons are the professions with the highest number of psychopaths.

How does a psychopath behave?

Read More
Page 1 of 1012345...10...Last »