Funeral and memorial services can be “by the book” with very little personal input or take-aways for friends and family, but, increasingly, eulogies may include some pointers on moving forward.
Here are some examples of how obituaries and memorial services speak to us and what we can learn.
Be an organ donor!
A celebration for the life of …Continue
Added by Susan Soper on March 19, 2013 at 10:00am — No Comments
One of my resolutions this year is A Drawer A Day – trying to weed through and edit out clutter – clothes, kitchen utensils, books, cosmetics, candles, shoes, scarves, CDs, old tax returns and even photographs. You know how you might have five versions of the same photo, with only slight variations? I now sit in front of the fire and MAKE myself pick one!
Because I am an inveterate clipper, my files on death, funerals, grieving, obituaries, rituals,…Continue
Added by Susan Soper on February 19, 2013 at 1:00pm — No Comments
When my children were young we visited my mom on Valentine’s Day. My mom lived in a retirement community and I knew many of her neighbors probably wouldn’t be celebrating Valentine’s Day so I thought we’d do something thoughtful. I had my daughters help bake and decorate valentine cookies and we packed them with ribbons. While visiting my mom, the girls walked…Continue
Added by Robbie Miller Kaplan on February 13, 2013 at 9:30am — No Comments
The New Year inspires us to begin anew; to assess how we can start the year in a positive state that will hopefully set the tone for the months ahead. In this frame of mind, I began the morning by dumping my in-box on my desk and sorting through all the items that were not priorities in the busy weeks and months that ended the year.
Buried in the heap was a holiday…Continue
Added by Robbie Miller Kaplan on January 3, 2013 at 9:00am — No Comments
Many studies show that losing your mate affects your own health. Most recently, a 2011 study at the University of Pennsylvania Population Studies Center found that widows had a 47%…Continue
Q. My husband was killed in a job-related accident, and I can’t get past the responsibility I feel for letting him go in to work that day, which was his day off. We needed the extra money, but I keeping asking why didn’t I say, “Stay home. We’ll manage.” How do I cope with the guilt?
Who doesn’t have thoughts of “would have, should have, could have” when grieving for someone we love? It’s common to beat ourselves up obsessing over “what if” and “if only,”…
Several new movies being released this fall feature individuals and families facing illness and death.
One receiving a great deal of positive attention from critics and moviegoers alike is 50/50, the story of a twenty-something coping with cancer. Based on screenwriter Will Reiser's own experience with cancer, the movie stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the lead role and Seth Rogen as his funny and supportive friend. For…Continue
As anyone with an eye for pink has deduced, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Here in Chicago, the night skyline – from the Hancock Building to the Willis Tower (a.k.a. the Sears Tower) – is aglow with rose-colored lights. These blush beacons are reminders of the loved ones lost and the work yet to be done to understand, combat and prevent breast cancer.
The displays of pink that appear each October are intended to draw attention to breast cancer, but they…Continue
My caregiver experience was short. My 86-year-old mother was not recovering from surgery and began to fail. Despite competing pulls, an ailing parent, a job, and a teen preparing for senior prom, I rushed to my mother’s side and helped her stabilize. Ultimately, I felt quite fortunate to have had that special, loving time with her as my mom died just seven months later.
A friend became a caregiver to her mom after she was diagnosed with dementia. Her mother lives in an…Continue
I have been living away from my family for seventeen years as of this month. I had wanted to leave my home state of Illinois since I was thirteen and finally managed it (thanks to graduate school) in 1994 when I moved to New Mexico. I missed weddings and baptisms. While funerals were arranged based on when I could make it into town, it didn’t occur to me in my twenties, or in my thirties (as I exit them in just a few short months), that being so far away could be a detriment to…Continue
Overwhelmed with stress after her mother’s death, a reader wondered if it was okay to email her friends to let them know her mother died. A caring friend felt it was fine and offered to do the emailing. This helpful gesture relieved the bereaved daughter of a tough task.
Anyone who has had to cope with a loved one’s illness or death is well aware of the added stress in keeping family members and friends informed. The flashing message light on the answering machine becomes…Continue
Added by Robbie Miller Kaplan on July 12, 2011 at 3:30pm — No Comments
Last week, Canada lost a national heroine. Betty Fox began her time in the spotlight simply as the mother of one of Canada's best-remembered heroes, Terry Fox, who, after being diagnosed with cancer in his late teens, attempted to run across Canada to raise money and awareness for cancer research. An amazing story made all the more…Continue
This week my thoughts will be devoted to the upcoming birthday of my German Shepherd dog Daisy who died a year and a half ago. Daisy came to me as a puppy at a 5K-road race. It was the last one I attended, realizing that entrance fees would get expensive if I kept bringing stray dogs home.
Although I didn’t realize it at the time, she was a very special dog, the kind of dog that we feel lucky to have in our lives. She didn’t ask for much. She wasn’t a fan of being…Continue
Added by Michelle Linn-Gust on June 20, 2011 at 2:00pm — No Comments
Ryan Means had dreamed of joining the Army since the age of six, but it was not until his childhood playmate and best buddy Adam White was killed in the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers that he was mobilized into action. The despair of riding his bike around New York City, posting flyers, checking in with hospitals, and, finally, accepting that Adam was dead were…Continue
Sometimes it’s pretty hard to find a silver lining in a tragic event – particularly the loss of a valued friend or family member. But time, the most enduring healer, and patient reflection can often point to something positive that resulted from a terribly sad time.
A little over a year ago, a college friend, Sally Chambers Bond, was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. She was devastated. She was brave. She was hopeful. With courage and grace she took on the treatments we…
Added by Susan Soper on April 18, 2011 at 11:30am — No Comments
Someone, at some point, will say something inappropriate and potentially hurtful when you’re dealing with illness or death. There’s no getting around it; it happens. Maybe we should just face the reality that it’s part of the process.
I’ve learned through my own experience that most people truly do not mean to hurt us; they just don’t know what to say and through either their discomfort or lack of experience with loss, they say something totally…Continue
Upon hearing difficult news, we instinctively want to comfort. It’s a logical response since the word comfort means a relief from sorrow and pain. Our family experience and cultural heritage shape the ways in which we comfort. Often the women in our families, our mothers, grandmothers, and aunts, used some form of food for consolation.
It seems only natural that when we look to extend comfort, we most often think in terms of food. And the foods we choose…Continue
During my siblings’ annual New Year’s Eve celebration in Bluffton, S.C. several years ago, my brother, Mike, pulled out a tattered, red spiral notebook he had discovered in a box. The distinctive handwriting was unmistakable – our mother’s script, written in a sort of back-slanted, left-handed style unlike any other. The pages were filled with her thoughts, life lessons and musings written about a year before she died at age 45.
My sister Wendy took the notebook…Continue
It happens. Seeking solace, you call a trusted friend or loved one and share some sadness; a family member’s diagnosis or a colleague’s death. But instead of consolation, you’re told a story of greater loss, even more disturbing than the one you’ve shared. You’d hoped for comfort but the conversation leaves you frustrated and feeling…Continue
How will getting organized now benefit you over time, time after time?
When my mother died, I was awash in questions, grief, tasks, decisions—and all of that layered on top of my already-busy life far from Mom’s home. I decided then that I will not put my loved ones through the same ordeal when I die. I went home and…Continue