Category Archives: Coping

Save yourself

Words that delivered

In her memoir, Lucky, Alice Sebold said, “No one can pull anyone back from anywhere. You save yourself or you remain unsaved.”

It is true.

You have to save yourself (no one can pull you back from this place). You have to trust yourself. You have to be the expert on you, and your grief.

In my case, after the sudden death of my son, I withdrew, cocooned from the world, and ignored those who told me to do otherwise. I was the expert on my grief. This was my way.  Continue reading

Finding New Meaning

He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.

– Friedrich Nietzsche

How Do We Go On In The Aftermath Of Pain And Traumatic Loss?

The answer offered by well-known author and Holocaust survivor, Victor Frankl is consistent with positive psychology, definitions of post-traumatic growth and the nature of the human spirit to hope.

Book Life

He suggests that we find new meaning in life, something that he recognizes as difficult in face of the tragic aspects of life–pain, guilt and death.

Frankl suggests that it is not a search for happiness, but for a reason to be happy despite suffering.

In his wisdom, Frankl clarified that finding a new meaning in life does not mean arriving at a single goal that will direct the rest of your life, or make sense of evil. Rather finding new meaning in life should be translated to finding a reason to go on, to having a purpose, to feeling valuable in the hour, the day, the week.

There is considerable power found in re-framing suffering into meaningful action. Be it walking for a cure, helping others with similar illness or turning suffering into human achievement.  Continue reading

On Keeping Belongings

On Keeping Belongings – The 10th Anniversary of Gili’s Death.

By Henya Shanun-Klein, Ph.D.

If you ask a bereaved parent: “What would you have saved first (assuming that there were no people nor animals in the house) if your house was caught on fire?” My guess is that the parent’s response would be: “I’d try to save my (deceased) child’s belongings.”

Why? Because the bereaved parent is left with ‘lasts’, with ‘neverness’.

Each object – a symbol, not a replacement, of your child who once touched it or produced it. You can put your hand on the place that once was touched by your child, and symbolically your hands now touch. This ‘neverness’ then, for a fleeting moment, becomes more tolerable.

Keeping these last belongings – all or some – are important then to the bereaved parent. The attachment the parent feels toward these objects, which became symbolic representations of the deceased child’s life and the relationship the parent had with this child, enables the grieving parent to transcend his or her pain into a more evolved level of grieving. Which in turn facilitates the process of readjustment to living in this new reality.

Henya Shanun-Klein, Ph.D. is a bereaved mother, widow, psychologist, author, and speaker. 

To read this entire article, go to : On Keeping Belongings

We change, and cope, and grieve in our own time

With the passage of time, we change. For better or worse. And we learn to cope. Though each of us copes and grieves and changes in our own way, in our own time.

As the days turn into years we learn to push away the painful memories so we can function, and breathe, and walk, and drive…

Writing our stories as we go, revising them, deleting, then rewriting again.

From With time, and lemons, we learn to change, posted March 21, 2013

Weeping willow

Claude_Monet_-_Weeping_Willow_(1918)

The weeping willow symbolizes beauty and melancholy and has long been associated with death and grief. The willow, tree of tears, tree of enchantment, intuition and dreams, tree of life, muse to poets and artists, rich in folklore and mythology, is a mysterious tree. With its flexible branches it inspires us to move with life’s experiences, rather than resist. To cope, to adapt, to grow and thrive in less than perfect conditions.

Image source: Claude Monet [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

With time, and lemons, we learn to change

Everything must change
Nothing stays the same
Everyone must change
Nothing stays the same

The young become the old
Mysteries do unfold
‘Cause that’s the way of time
Nothing and no one goes unchanged

There are not many things in life
You can be sure of
Except rain comes from the clouds
And sun lights up the sky
And hummingbirds do fly…

– Bernard Ighner, singer-songwriter-arranger-producer-multi instrumentalist

2007, TIME STOPPED

Einstein said “the only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.” But on the day of my son’s sudden death everything did happen at once. Time stopped and our world collapsed. My son was gone and so I needed to go too. I lay down beside him, his sleeping body, closed my eyes, disappeared into oblivion, and slept. Time turned its face, wringed its hands and waited while we slept. But eventually, governed by deadlines, time turned back and muttered at me, “It’s time to go,” then reset itself, whirled around and went on without me. I knew then that I was dead but left among the living. Continue reading