It’s bound to happen. After the death of a loved one, life goes on. Life cycle events and milestones continue to happen; children graduate, go to college, marry, have children, and continue to grow. Life doesn’t stop with the death of a loved one.
So, how do we handle those sweet and happy moments, knowing quite well that someone is missing?
Some families have rituals. I know our family did. When my father died, he left four children, ages eleven to twenty. He…
Added by Robbie Miller Kaplan on August 22, 2012 at 8:00am — No Comments
I learned to be comfortable with the bereaved because at a young age, I was the bereaved. I witnessed firsthand how young friends, their parents, my neighbors, teachers, school officials, relatives, and family friends treated me and interacted with me upon learning that my father died.
And yet it was my mom who taught me how to comfort the bereaved. She connected by phone, cooked a meal, visited the bereaved, and continued to help long past when others ceased to…Continue
Added by Robbie Miller Kaplan on August 8, 2012 at 2:00pm — No Comments
My father died when I was little so I don’t have many of the memories that most people have. I don’t know his favorite expression nor do I know what advice he may have given. I don’t even recall particular facial gestures. But what I do vividly remember are solo adventures with dad and they all involved sports.
My dad was a wonderful athlete and he was tall and handsome. He would pack three or four of us kids in the car on Saturday or Sunday and we were off for some kind…
Added by Robbie Miller Kaplan on June 13, 2012 at 11:30am — No Comments
It’s hard not to think about my mom on Mother’s Day but this year, it would be impossible. Not only is it the day of the year that we honor our mothers but this year, Mother’s Day falls on my birthday, so it’s the day my mother gave birth to me.
So how am I remembering my mom? Lately, I’ve been thinking about her wisdom. How wise she was and what wonderful advice she gave. When I had a problem, she listened. In my younger days, she had a habit of telling me what to do and…
Added by Robbie Miller Kaplan on May 7, 2012 at 8:30am — No Comments
My father died decades ago and he was part of my life a very short time. My siblings and I don’t talk about him much yet his death was probably the most formative experience of our lives.
Our family had a joyous event last week when my nephew married and it pulled us together from near and far. The bride and groom honored family members who had died in their wedding program. I expected to see my mother included but finding my dad’s name surprised me. That, and the groom’s…Continue
Added by Robbie Miller Kaplan on November 1, 2011 at 10:00am — No Comments
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
It's become hard to escape Father’s Day, as the holiday, like Mother's Day, has taken on a commercial spin. You’ll find restaurants touting special menus, stores producing Father’s Day catalogs, and every type of greeting card you can imagine, for dad, grandfather, son, uncle, cousin, friend, or you name it.
So if you can’t escape it, how do you take the sting out of the first, or second or third for that matter, holiday that a friend or loved one experiences without their…
Every Memorial Day, I look for red poppies; the crepe paper variety, sold by veterans. I usually find mine outside a grocery store. And I wear it all day.
The poppies evoke such a special time in my life that I usually find a visible place to display them long after the holiday. And when I see one around the house, it brings back vivid memories of my father and the Memorial Days we shared while I was a little girl.
My dad was a veteran of…
In the scheme of things, we expect to outlive our parents. It is in the natural order that we anticipate that our parents will die before us. And yet it seems that nothing prepares us for the loss – the void we feel following their deaths.
When my last parent died, I felt I had lost my buffer. Without my mom, there was no longer a layer that protected me. When she was alive, no matter what happened or what curve life threw my way, I had someone older and wiser to lean on and learn…
We’re often shocked and hurt by the insensitive and inappropriate things people say and do. But lots of people get it right and seem to have a sixth sense when it comes to supporting and comforting the bereaved. I’m going to start the New Year off on a positive note and share some of the real-life kindnesses you’ve reported to me:
• “In the year since my husband died, my daughter gives me a surprise every month on the anniversary of his death. It might be a candy bar on my…
Added by Robbie Miller Kaplan on January 4, 2010 at 8:00am — No Comments
I saw Billy Crystal in his one-man show “700 Sundays” and was deeply touched by his personal story. He relates how his father’s untimely death at age 54, when Crystal was 15, set him apart from his peers and forever changed him. He tells of looking in the mirror shortly after his father’s death and seeing a man instead of a 15-year old.
Crystal’s story resonated with me because I share the same legacy; I was 11-years old when I too lost my 54-year old father. When Crystal relates…
I see my mother everywhere. Though I never looked like her, I can now see a physical resemblance and so many of my qualities remind me of her. Not so for my dad. Everyone said I looked like him but I no longer can see the resemblance. I never had the good fortune to get to know him and he wasn’t part of my life long enough for me to emulate him in any way.
My father died when I was eleven. While his death was devastating, my mother dedicated herself to raising four…
My daughter visited this week and when she arrived she had a twinkle in her eye. She extended her hand and there was a card I had never seen. “I found this while I was cleaning and it’s from Grandma,” she said.
I sat on the couch in front of the fire and opened the card. I’ve re-read notes and letters from my mom many times since her death, but this was a message I hadn’t read before. The note was written just four months before she died and as I began to read, I could…
Added by Robbie Miller Kaplan on March 17, 2009 at 4:00pm — No Comments
When someone dies, all we have left are our memories. Sympathy notes that express your condolences bring comfort to the bereaved. The most meaningful ones include your thoughts, personal memories and, if possible, a treasured story. Photographs are especially appreciated.
Expressing condolences can be a challenge when you never met the deceased. Instead of first hand observations, you can draw on the…Continue
Added by Robbie Miller Kaplan on November 20, 2008 at 2:00pm — No Comments