When parents experience the devastating loss of a child, we need the nectar of sustaining friendships, inspiration, and reliable information as we enter this life-changing journey.
My hope is this blog becomes a community of encouragement for all families who now travel in this unknown territory. Whether the death is an infant filled with the promise of life, or a 55-year-old beloved son of aging parents, such losses cause profound sorrow.
“To grieve,” means to “bear a heavy burden” and we need others to help carry the load.
So, Pilgrimage through Loss will also offer insight for friends, family, clergy, counselors, and medical staff who walk with us. Stories from parents will show how your companionship and tangible actions make a significant difference, but also ways unintentional hurt added to their pain. Your desire to help ease our days proves pivotal as we seek renewed strength, peace, and a vibrant savoring of life again.
I like the term pilgrimage because it implies a long journey. When Krista, our 25-year-old married daughter was killed in 1998 while volunteering in Bolivia, (see A Terrible Beauty at www.kristafoundation.org), I read what I could on parental grief and loss. I found helpful writing on the early acute months when parents wonder, “Will I always feel this bad?” …[continue reading...]
April 11th, 2014
Hello from Costa Rica! The New York Times published a fascinating article on how social media is changing the way Millennials respond to grief. Text message condolences, announcements of deaths on Facebook, funeral pages to express feelings, the author demonstrated in "A Generation Redefines Mourning" that this first generation of "digital natives" are bringing their ease with social media to America's ill-at-ease culture around death. ...[read more]
March 30th, 2014
Hello again! I've recently returned from a very stimulating book tour in three Southern states where I spoke about Pilgrimage through Loss at a variety of venues, from cancer centers, a medical school, several church Lenten events, the State Botanical Garden of Georgia (about my other book Bold Spirit). What struck me and proved so affirming was the sheer appreciation from audiences of being in a community where persons felt fre...[read more]
February 28th, 2014
"One small step can change your life," believes Dr. Robert Mauer, a clinical professor at UCLA School of Medicine and author of The Kaizen Way. He consults internationally with organizations and people teaching the potent force of kaizen, the Japanese concept of achieving great and lasting success through small steady steps. This idea, coupled with the wisdom shared from a grieving widow to "Just Do the Next Thing" offered a way of living durin...[read more]
February 20th, 2014
"The Art of Presence", a column by New York Times columnist David Brooks, seemed so wise I wanted to share this with you. Because deep trauma often leaves others unsure on how to respond, this beautifully reinforces that families are usually grateful for all acts of kindness in the long pilgrimage of loss. Brooks shares the story of the Woodiwiss family who lost their 27-year-old daughter, Anna, who died in Afghanistan after being thrown from a ...[read more]
February 15th, 2014
Will the small shimmers of love we share on days like Valentines ever have enduring life? Sometimes they really do. In talking with parents who lose a child, they sometimes share with me a moment of grace when they experience an event that gives them a sense of reconnection. Here's a true story that happened to a family eight years after losing their daughter. One of our daughter Krista's closes...[read more]
February 8th, 2014
Hello again, We are back from Asia just in time for the official "launch" of Pilgrimage through Loss at Auntie's Bookstore tomorrow. I started working on the research and writing for this book over nine years ago, so it's deeply satisfying to see it finally emerge! We cheered the Seattle Seahawks from a hotel in Bali with an alumni group from the University of Washington….you can imagine how excited these Seattlelites were for ...[read more]
January 21st, 2014
Best of 2012: GoodTherapy.org’s Top 10 Websites for Grief and Loss January 4, 2013 • A GoodTherapy.org Announcement My understanding of the value of websites for persons in grief first came from a neighbor who suffered many miscarriages. As Vice President in a major corporation, she didn't feel comfortable sharing the personal trauma that was marking the days in her mid-thirties when she suffered multiple mis...[read more]
A special thanks to photographer
Mickey Shannon for his beautiful
image of Mt. Rainier National Park,
a special place for our family.