Sweet Lorraine

Posted on Dec 5, 2013 in Spousal/Partner Loss

Sweet Lorraine

96-year old Fred Stobaugh writes a song to his deceased wife

Green Shoe Studio sponsored a songwriter contest asking people to submit videos of their original songs, promising to professionally produce the winner. Fred Stobaugh read the contest ad in his Peoria newspaper and decided to participate. Unable to send a video he mailed the lyrics of “Sweet Lorraine” to Jacob Colgan at the Green Shoe Studio.

When Jacob received Fred’s entry he couldn’t resist: he decided to put Fred’s lyrics to music. The rest is history. Below is the link to Diane Sawyer announcing Fred had been chosen as the ABC News Person of the Week.


After “Sweet Lorraine” was produced Fred said, “The song really helps me. It really helps me. It just seems like she’s just sort of with me. I know she’s smiling, she’s smiling down and she likes that song, I know.”

View this Tribute of Love on YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xN8B0gCpi3o


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Why Holidays Aren’t Always Holidays!

Posted on Nov 28, 2013 in General Grief


Understanding the Holidays

This is the first in a series of posts about understanding and coping with the holidays. Dr. Gerald Stein makes some interesting points about why the holiday season is often difficult for all of us.

Even though everyone usually tries to be on their best behavior, old wounds can be quickly opened by a word or two. If you have recently experienced the death of a loved one your grief likely overwhelms any sense of gratitude or joy—or willingness to put up with anything less than peace and quiet. If the truth be known, you might choose to skip the holidays entirely.

Why the Holidays “Bum You Out” and What to Do About It.

The following is an excerpt from retired psychiatrist Dr. Gerald Stein’s post Why the Holidays “Bum You Out” and What to Do About It.  While it does not specifically address coping with the holidays after the death of a loved one, it is a good start to understanding why the holidays are stressful for most everyone.

  • We enter the darkest time of the year as we enter the holiday season and yet are expected to feel great about it, yet most of the world tried to look upbeat despite the suffering inside.
  • Fall and winter is a time of things dying. Nature is cold and wet, not warm and bright. Driving takes longer and is more dangerous. .
  • People have less time for you, and you have less time for yourself.
  • Gifts much be chosen, crowds endured, food purchased and prepared. Budgets are stretched: planes are costlier, while airports and train stations are more crowded.
  • You often dread the fact that you have to see family members you would never see if you had a choice – yet you are expected to smile through it all.
  • TV and internet show inescapable images of other people having a wonderful time – which means there is something wrong with you because you aren’t sharing their wonderful time.
  • It is the end of the year so you might be wondering where the year went, and reflecting on all the things you had hoped to accomplish that you didn’t.
  • The media will talk about New Year’s Resolutions that you know you didn’t fulfill last year and now you are expected to set new ones and look forward to the process.
  • Much of the holidays involve shopping, one of the emptiest, soul-slaying activities ever invented for many. It might give you a “sugar rush” but the thrill soon is over.
  • New Year’s Day: You have a full 24-hours to reflect on your existence, compare your life to others who live in sunny California… and as you watch everyone having a wonderful time at the Rose Bowl you as you decide to do something more interesting, you pass a mirror, stop, look and realize – as Dan Greenburg and Marcia Jacobs say in How to Make Yourself Miserable:

…every year you get to look less and less like the little kid with the diaper and the banner across his/her chest and more and more like the old guy/gal with the beard and the hourglass and scythe.

To read original blog post:


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Why You Need to be Touched and How to Make it Happen

Posted on Nov 23, 2013 in General Grief


Missing the touch of our loved one

Yearning for physical contact with the deceased is not limited to partner loss. After the death of a parent, sibling or child, the desire to touch and be touched by our loved one remains—yet we seldom mention it. Why? And what exactly are we missing, and how can we compensate for it?

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Why Do You Feel Like Strangling People Who Try to Console You?

Posted on Nov 19, 2013 in General Grief, Pet Loss


The following are a few of the comments you may have received from genuinely caring people after the death of your loved one:

  • “At least they are no longer suffering.”
  • “You are strong, you’ll get through this.”
  • “The Lord had another plan for them.”
  • “You are young; you’ve got a lot of life to live.”
  • “It is good that you didn’t have children together.”
  • “It is good that you had children together.”
  • “You were lucky to have had so many years together.”
  • “It was such an ordeal, now you can move on.”
  • “I know how you feel. I…”
  • “You were lucky to have had such a happy marriage.”
  • “You have plenty of time, you will have more children.”
  • And if a pet has died, “You will get over this. The best thing you can do is get another dog.”
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Dr. Ira Byock Talks about
How to Die Well

Posted on Nov 13, 2013 in Facing One's Own Death


NPR Radio Series On Being: Contemplating Mortality

This week Krista Tippett interviews Dr. Ira Byock, physician, early advocate for hospice and author of several books focused on end of life issues. Byock talks about his maturing view of death and his evolving belief that we need to get back to accepting death as more than a medical experience.

Other topics explored in the interview:

  • Death is not usually a medical mistake.
  • Dying isn’t simply to be suffered; rather it is a gritty difficult unwanted vulnerable and valuable human experience.
  • We need to understand the distinction between healing and curing, and that a person can be well as they die.
  • If we can be present with the dying experience of another, we are sharing a sacred experience.
  • The four most important sentences in any language are:
    • “I forgive you.”
    • “ Please forgive me.”
    • “Thank you.”
    • “ I love you.”

Listen to the full 51 minute interview.

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For Those Experiencing Fresh Grief

Posted on Oct 8, 2013 in Fresh Grief, General Grief

woman_cryingI often hear my clients say: “Why should I care about my health when I’m not sure I care to live?”

Because I am asking you to care, that’s why. And, further, I want you to agree to something else as well.

I can hear the pushback: “I no longer have a sense of purpose, little matters, nothing motivates me, I can’t move and I have lost my appetite”

Yes, and you are most likely numb and disoriented as well. Understand that I am not going to ask you to get motivated or reconnect to life.

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