The Moth – Satori Shakhoor

Posted on Oct 6, 2013 in Child Loss, Parent Loss

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Performer Satori Shakoor talks about how she came to life after her mother and son died within a 9-month period.

This post features one of the live performances from NY’s McArthur Award-winning The Moth Series.  Some of the presentations take your breath away. Here is Shakoor’s story of loss told through the lens of humor.

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I Wear My Father’s Coat

Posted on Sep 27, 2013 in Parent Loss

bigstock-Male-Long-Overcoat-9048025“Wearing my father’s coat. He has died. I didn’t like him, but I wear the coat.”

The poet, Marc Smith, delivers his poem “Wearing My Father’s Coat” in the video below. It is a surprisingly honest commentary on the kind of ambivalent grief many of us experience after the death of a parent.

Have you ever said to yourself, “I hated it when my mother (or dad) did such and such” and yet you find yourself “wearing their coat?”

Why do we emulate what we disliked about a parent? Best answer: because our early life depended upon it. The truth is your parents’ life strategies and perspectives needed to be “right” – and remain unquestioned – in order for you to feel safe as a child.

But you are now grown up.

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Difference Between Grief and Clinical Depression

Posted on Sep 18, 2013 in General Grief

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The role of anti-depressants

Contemporary society is addicted to speed, and sometimes I find I am just as bad as the next person. Unfortunately our current addiction doesn’t just encompass such things as fast computers, fast food and fast trains. It also includes fast grief.

The need for fast grief, which usually means medicated masked grief, is becoming the norm. My concern is that medically masking, delaying, or bypassing the grief process will only increase the likelihood of serious clinical depression later.

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Nobody Loves Me as Good as You!

Posted on Sep 10, 2013 in Pet Loss

The death of a pet can be devastating for anyone, but the loss is often monumental for a person living alone.

I am convinced that my dad wouldn’t have agreed to open heart surgery if it hadn’t been for his cat, Misty. My mother had died and in many ways he wanted to die as well. But he wondered aloud, “Who will take care of Misty?”  When I said I would take her, he insisted that I couldn’t take care of Misty like he could. He was right. Misty was in love with my dad not with me, so nothing I did would ever be as good.

Thankfully my dad survived the surgery and the two of them took care of each other until Misty was put down at 18 because of stomach cancer. It was difficult to watch my dad pretend he wasn’t crushed. Soon a picture of Misty appeared on top of the television, and anyone who watched TV in that house had to watch Misty as well.

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When You Should Seek Outside Support

Posted on Sep 5, 2013 in General Grief

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Research has shown that online grief support sites help grieving individuals. Still, there are times when it is wise to seek one-on-one counseling. If any of the following apply to you or your loved ones after the first month (post-loss), take action.

  • You are having trouble functioning on a daily basis.
  • You view life as hopeless.
  • You can’t get out of bed in the morning.
  • You reject all invitations.
  • You don’t leave the house unless it’s an emergency.
  • You overeat, over-drink, or abuse prescription drugs.
  • You have panic attacks on a regular basis.
  • You don’t sleep for days on end.
  • Your children are acting out, getting poor grades, or not talking to you.
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Anger After the Death of a Loved One

Posted on Sep 1, 2013 in General Grief

angryAs a child I learned it was shameful to “throw a fit and fall in it.” That was my grandmother’s expression. While it is refreshing to hear young parents request their toddlers use words instead of bad behavior to express their anger, we have generations of adults who still believe anger in general is bad.

Being a grief counselor, I often ask clients about their feelings of anger. It is common for them to say they’ve felt a lot of different emotions since the death, but they aren’t aware of feeling anger.  I believe them.  They aren’t aware.

As homework I ask them to keep a one-week daily diary of their head chatter and when they do, they are surprised to learn that they are downright mad—about a lot of things. The realization, however, usually brings remorse: “How could I possibly be angry at someone for dying? That sounds awful!”

Angry because of the death rather than angry at  the person for dying.

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