Joe Biden's Wisdom to American Families

Joe Biden's Wisdom to American Families

In Joe Biden's very public journey through grief, he inadvertently gave a lasting gift to Americans by addressing common experiences  in living with loss. His wife Neila and 13-month-old daughter Naomi were killed, and his sons Beau (2) and Hunter (3) suffered severe injuries in a tractor-trailer ac...read more...
Hear Blessings Drop their Blossoms

Hear Blessings Drop their Blossoms

  The great Sufi poet Rumi wrote,  "Hear blessings drop their blossoms around you."  In the past few days I've been hearing blossoms all around.  Ironically, it's happening as I am trying to de-clutter my home office.  Never easy, because I'm finding treasured letters, notes, emails...often ...read more...
A Mother's Day Vision

A Mother's Day Vision

  The Sunday before Mother's Day, while visiting our daughter Susan's family in Boston, I worshipped in their beautiful church with our 7-year-old Vietnamese granddaughter, Quinlen.  Born premature and abandoned at birth, she grew up in two rooms of a crowded orphanage until almost two. &...read more...
Four Reasons to Befriend Grief

Four Reasons to Befriend Grief

  Can grief actually be a friend after losing one we love?   "You won't always feel this bad."  This was the quiet assurance a friend gave Babs a few weeks after her 16-year-old son died while rolling his truck on a mountain road.  Reeling from the loss of her only child, she ...read more...
The Mystery of Easter

The Mystery of Easter

EASTER, 2015     In a Palm Sunday service, our Episcopalian preacher quoted from novelist Jeanette Winterson's memoir, "What we notice in stories is the nearness of the wound to the gift." During this liturgical season of Lent, the forty days of remembrance beginning with A...read more...
When Love Returns: A Mother's Valentine Story

When Love Returns: A Mother's Valentine Story

Sometimes an almost miraculous moment gives peace to a broken-hearted mother.   When Cathy Bobb learned her beautiful 20-year-old daughter Mary was murdered while closing up the video store where she worked, her heart shattered.   Already emotionally vulnerable when she struggled with bou...read more...
Four Ways Exercise soothes Grief

Four Ways Exercise soothes Grief

      Grief often affects our bodies as well as our spirits.  My first inkling of the value of exercise to soothe grief came when my friend and faculty colleague, Jerry Sittser, lost his wife, mother, and daughter in one car accident.   A few months later, in the aftermat...read more...
Getting Grief Right: New York Times

Getting Grief Right: New York Times

  Hello again!   An important article in the Sunday New York Times, "Getting Grief Right," addresses how harmful the myth of closure and stages becomes for persons living with profound sorrow and loss.  While listening to parents across the nation, I often hear them describe t...read more...
A Modern Day Christmas Miracle?

A Modern Day Christmas Miracle?

Christmas morning.   It's 5 a.m. and I am awake, not to the sounds of Santa Claus visiting our two 'heart grandchildren,' but to a growing sense that Jim  and I are living within the true Christmas miracle, "Emmanuel," God with us.   We are visiting  at the Seattle home of Aaron Ausland w...read more...
"Be Not Afraid": Rituals that Heal

"Be Not Afraid": Rituals that Heal

Do you find that family rituals during holidays often increase joy, but also have the power to accentuate sorrow?   One of my favorite family traditions is the lighting of our five-candle Advent wreath on the four Sundays before Christmas.  Advent comes from the word "adventus," meaning '...read more...
Simple Pleasures on Thanksgiving

Simple Pleasures on Thanksgiving

        A favorite quote.....   For all that has been, Thanks. For all that will be, Yes!                                                                                                           Dag Hammarskjold, Secretary General of the United...read more...
Veterans Moral Injury: Another Kind of Grief

Veterans Moral Injury: Another Kind of Grief

  Does serving in war have potential to cause "moral injury" to our soul?  As our nation grapples with the escalating suicides of over 22 military men and women each day, this is a question both troubled veterans and a growing group of PTSD counselors are seeking to understand.  I had never ...read more...
Remembrance and "Book of Life" Film

Remembrance and "Book of Life" Film

    Do you long for "built-in" ways of remembrance for someone you love?   The most common lament I hear from families is frustration over the subtle, and not-so-subtle silencing that emerges after the death of a loved one.  "Don't talk about your sorrow," counseled a widow in a ...read more...
Condolence Letters in an Online World

Condolence Letters in an Online World

  A favorite condolence note included only nine words. "Heart shattered lives….by no means escape God's notice."   After our daughter died in Bolivia, Suzette wrote this contemporary translation of Psalm 51 on a simple ecru card with her beautiful personal handwriting and signed it.  For yea...read more...
Helping Siblings Face Sorrow

Helping Siblings Face Sorrow

  Are there healing ways for all in the family to remember an infant who dies?     This was Ashlee Hammac's question last October when their baby Ryan died just five days after his birth from Hypox-Ischemic Encephopathy.  Though in shock and heartbroken, this mom  also recognized her t...read more...
Healing Gardens, Sunflowers, and Peach Pie

Healing Gardens, Sunflowers, and Peach Pie

Why are gardens so universally healing?  This morning, after harvesting sun-ripened peaches, Japanese finger eggplants, heirloom tomatoes, kale, sunflowers and more, I felt profound gratitude.  Truth is, I still live in awe of seeds.  How a bland black/brown seed planted last spring emerges as an...read more...
Naikan: A Japanese Art of Gratitude

Naikan: A Japanese Art of Gratitude

At the heart of healing, many persons speak of how practicing gratitude proves life-giving. I learned about Naikan, a fascinating Japanese spiritual practice of gratitude this past weekend while speaking at an international Sage-ing Conference in Seattle on Pilgrimage through Loss.  Barbara Sarah le...read more...
A Year Out...Creating Rituals of Remembrance

A Year Out...Creating Rituals of Remembrance

How can families remember one we have loved?  This was Nancy Spencer's question as she neared the one-year anniversary of her husband's death.   Rather than seeking illusive closure, many families are creating rituals of remembrance.  When Don Spencer, a good friend of ours was diagnosed ...read more...
Living Their Daughter's Bucket List

Living Their Daughter's Bucket List

Hello again,   Have you ever written or dreamed of a "bucket list"….things you hope to do before you die?  When Kristina Chesterman's grieving parents began the painful process of  cleaning out their daughter's apartment, they discovered a rare treasure tucked away in a make-up bag.   To their great...read more...
From Shipwreck to Joy: Living with Resilience

From Shipwreck to Joy: Living with Resilience

    Less than three years ago, a life-threatening illness left University of Washington junior Olivia Arguinchona barely able to walk 10 yards, unable to attend classes, and unsettled over her career goals.  Facing an abnormally complicated case of  Minimal Change Disease, the au...read more...



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  • Many years ago I was presenting information to a large group of religious booksellers about a wonderful new book on spirituality that I had just edited and published. In a phrase I described what I thought can happen with some books, that some books are “more than a book” and become powerful change agents. Of course, not all books can be or do that. But Linda Hunt’s forthcoming book, Pilgrimage Through Loss, gets inside your heart and mind in a way that is uniquely “more than a book.” Even though I have not lost a child, it has been a season of loss for me. Three male friends, one who was like a brother, all younger than me, have died in the past six months. Sometimes I just have to sit still and hold my grief so it doesn’t knock me over. Linda’s thoughtful and well-crafted narrative has been a great comfort to me during this season and it makes me very grateful for the power of story and the comfort of experiential wisdom. This book will work for many in all kinds of seasons, and we can all be grateful that she and her husband, Jim, have wrestled grace out of grief.

    • I have been so grateful that you read the early drafts on Pilgrimage through Loss, especially with your years of background in successful publishing and psychology. To lose three close friends in six months must be devastating….another kind of shipwreck…and it heartens me to find that the pathways surely apply to many kinds of loss whenever we lose one we love. Just as parents speak of forever love for a child, this same powerful bond exists with friends, parents, spouses and others we lose. I’ve been encouraged by how many early readers say they want to share this with friends facing a variety of losses. Jim loved your comment about wrestling ‘grace out of grief.’ Thanks for writing!

  • Congratulations on this blog. You’ve written well and worked hard on this project.

  • Although I didn’t know Krista, I can’t help but imagine that she is so proud of you for the work you have done to share your own pilgrimage. It takes real bravery to keep Krista’s memory alive all the while grieving your loss.

  • Linda,
    This obviously represnts hours of very thoughtful and heartfelt work. Thank you for being willing to share your ongoing explorations of this life-altering but often silenced reality in which many live. What a gift it will be. I look forward to following it and sharing it with others.

    • Hi Lorina,
      Thank you! I’m wondering if your mom and dad would like to see it since a part of their story of losing your brother is in my upcoming book. Please feel free to pass it on to them.

  • Thank you for this important work. As a young woman who is no stranger to loss, I find conversation is so vital to healing and dealing with pain. I have not lost a child, but in my early 20s I lost my mother. Finding respite with other 20 year olds without mothers was one of the most valuable communities I found. Beautiful writing, thank you.

    • Hi Amanda,

      Thanks for reading and writing. When I was a college writing prof, students in their twenties often wrote about their great sorrow after losing a parent and how this affected them through the years. I’m so glad to hear you found a community of other young adults where you could share your experiences. How did you find this community? Was in through a local college or church or counseling program? Or did you all just find one another?

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About Linda
For everyone, life sometimes brings shipwreck moments.

Ours happened when four friends woke us one beautiful May dawn to break the news that our 25-year-old married daughter Krista had died 7000 miles away while volunteering in Bolivia. Our hearts shattered, much like the shards of her bus that plunged over a mountain cliff.
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Follow our path…


Get your copy now!

Pilgrimage through Loss can be purchased from your favorite independent bookstore OR
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Read early reviews.
Available now…

Desperate. Determined. Unwaveringly confident. In 1896, a Norwegian immigrant named Helga Estby dares to cross 3500 miles of the American continent to win a $10,000 wager. On Foot. BOLD SPIRIT: Helga Estby’s Forgotten Walk across Victorian America introduces readers to this fascinating journey of an audacious act of courage and love of a mother trying to save a family farm.

“You absolutely do not want to miss this book!” ~Mitch Finley, Auntie’s Books

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Support for Parents

+ Alliance of Hope for Suicide Survivors On-line forum and website www.allianceofhope.org

+ American Childhood Cancer Organization (ACCO) (Formerly Candlelighters Childhood Cancer) www.acco.org

+ Compassionate Friends www.compassionatefriends.org

+ First Candle: www.firstcandle.org Support for Stillborn and SIDS deaths

+ Loving Outreach to Survivors of Suicide (LOSS) www.catholiccharities.net/loss

+ MISS Foundation (also in Spanish) www.missfoundation.org On-line support groups : Infant & toddler death and advocacy

+Parents of Murdered Children www.pomc.com

+ TAPS: Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors: www.taps.org 1-800-959 3277 for survivors of military deaths