I’m very excited to announce that I’ve been asked to be a Contributing Author for Open To Hope, a site focused on supporting bereaved family members after the death of a loved one. Open To Hope is an extremely comprehensive site with sections on Pregnancy Loss, Death of a Child, Death of a Spouse, Death of a Sibling, Hospice and much more.
This is such an honor, as I’m joining the ranks of renowned authors, PhD’s, Grief Counselors, Professors and people like me, who have brandished themselves against the stone of grief to glean what gifts they could.
I’m very grateful to have one more outlet for sharing my “Gifts of Grief” that I’ve learned along this journey through loss and life, and look forward to publishing articles several times a year there.
My first article was recently published – an oldie but a goodie, “My Baby Died, and Taught Me Faith.” In it, I share my experience with a devastating miscarriage and how I trusted the voice within, keeping faith, and believing what that voice was telling me – that I would have another baby! In the end, the miscarriage was just a part of my journey to my beautiful son, Kanon, and I couldn’t help but find the timing of this article quite auspicious when I found it it was going to be posted on his 2nd birthday!
I feel humbled to be on the contributing end of a website like this, after the experiences I’ve had, knowing how much a site like this would have helped me earlier in my own grief journey.
When my nephew died ten years ago, the whole Facebook/Twitter age had not yet begun and Grief Support sites like this, in my opinion, were far less comprehensive. I found sites solely focused on the death of a child, but there was little for people like myself, who did not fit into any specific grief category. I wished back then, for something like this site – a community of loving individuals sharing and supporting each other on their journeys through the pain, and the pursuit of peace, after a death of a loved one.
We will all face the death of a loved one at some point in our lives. Although it may be an uncomfortable topic to embrace when you are not in the thick of it, I believe we can all benefit greatly from consciousness and awareness on this subject. Grief has been a very taboo subject in American culture, and it is, in part, one of my goals to bring light to this topic so that those who are wrangling through the experience of bereavement can receive more support from friends, family members, employers and society in general.
French Philosopher Michel de Montaigne was one of the most influential writers of the French Renaissance. After a dear friend of his, humanist poet Etiene de la Boetie died, he began to write even more. I found this beautiful quote on this lovely website, and bookmarked it immediately. It seems fitting to share now.
“Men come and they go and they trot and they dance and never a word about death. All well and good, yet when death does come – to them, their wives, their children, their friends, catching them unawares and unprepared, then what storms of passion overwhelm them, what cries, what fury, what despair!…….
To begin depriving death of its greatest advantage over us, let us adopt a way clean contrary to that common one. Let us deprive death of its strangeness, let us frequent it, let us get used to it, let us have nothing more often in mind than death … we do not know where death awaits us so let us wait for it everywhere. To practice death is to practice freedom … a man who has learned how to die has unlearned how to be a slave.”
I have found that facing my own mortality in the “near-death experiences” I’ve had of being near death repeatedly, has brought me a great sense of peace regarding my own mortality, and others. I have developed my own set of beliefs and ideas based on my personal, intuitive experiences, and those of others who have had true near-death experiences (NDE), and returned to tell the tale.
I’ll never forget hearing Ben Breedlove‘s teenage version of an NDE, gripped at the keys of the computer, squatting next to my husband, sharing our computer desk chair with jaws dropped to the floor. Four times he died, and three times came back. He said the last time he came back, he’d woken up wishing for nothing more then to go back.
So, this endeavor of mine is not just for those who have been affected by the death of a loved one, it is for every person who is mortal like me. As poet, Bunan, once said…
“Die while you’re alive
and be absolutely dead.
Then do whatever you want:
it’s all good.”
— Bunan (1603 – 1676)
If you enjoyed “My Baby Died, and Taught Me Faith” the first time around, which I know many of you did, or if you haven’t read it yet, will you please take a moment to hop over to Open To Hope and leave a comment or a like there?
Thanks for sharing this small step in my journey with me!