Loading...

We Are All Bereaved

All the flags are flying at half-staff this week, and we are all in mourning. Not just for those massacred in Sutherland Springs but for our own loss. When a gunman invades a church and cold-bloodedly sprays everyone with bullets, we all feel robbed of our safety. There but for…

 

The Winters of Our Lives

What a surprise! What a blessing! And what a learning experience for me. Last month on Nantucket, I led a conversation on moving from discouragement and loss to joy during four Tuesday afternoons of Porchtime at the Parsonage. Our small group turned to the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Philippians…

 

Whatever Happened to Widow’s Weeds?

A portrait of my great-great-grandmother Aurelia Smith Davis Ripley Smith Woodward hangs in the Cabildo at Jackson Square, New Orleans, part of the Louisiana State Museum collection. Neither Aurelia nor the artist was famous. The primitive painting hangs to illustrate a widow in lavender half-mourning attire in the mid-nineteenth century….

 

A Memoir of Grief and Gratitude

The Light of the World, a memoir on love and death and grief by the prize-winning poet and Yale professor Elizabeth Alexander, was published April 21 and quickly made best-seller lists. I have been reading memoirs by widows lately, and I wanted to compare Alexander to two literary giants a generation older than she,…

 

How Do You Show You Care?

Recently, Janet Daniel posted a link from the Los Angeles Times: “How Not to Say the Wrong Thing.” While the roughly drawn concentric circles of relationships that surround the person(s) undergoing difficulties is difficult for me to understand, I have thought a lot about the text that accompanies it. It…

 

What Do You Say When There Are No Words?

Before Lev died, when I didn’t know what to say or do, I stayed away. I went to the service. I sent flowers or a donation. I wrote a note. But I learned the hard way that the ministry of presence is the greatest gift that one can give someone…