All the Lonely People

I received word the other day that a long-time acquaintance had died. We had worked together in the beginning years of my newspaper career, and while we hadn’t been that close, he nonetheless had represented a link in a circle of friends that was growing smaller every year. I was losing my history. Join the discussion: Grief and Loss – How do you cope? We were a hard-drinking, cigarette-smoking, fun-loving bunch back then, not eating right or exercising or generally …

How a Random Act of Kindness Helped Me Heal

It was my first trip to Pennsylvania since Pop Pop passed away, and I was equal parts excited and apprehensive – excited because it was (and is) my favorite place on the planet; nervous because my favorite person wouldn’t be there. My grandfather, the Bernie in my blog Arthur & Bernie, wouldn’t be in his chair in the living room, or a short walk away at the nursing home, where he spent his final year. Would it be depressing? Would …

The Gift I Didn’t Know I Needed

Before my Pop Pop died, we had a conversation about our conversations. “I miss our talks,” I said one night, sitting by his bed. It was August and, though the doctors said he was in good health, he was miserable. During the day, the pain consumed him and I wondered where my grandfather went, but for an hour or so at bedtime, the Pop Pop I knew came back. “I know you’re hurting, and it’s hard to think about anything …

Grieving Through the Holidays

  Christmas is upon us and I am both relieved and apprehensive. The holidays this year are especially difficult for my family because they are the culmination of our first year of grief. My niece, Shaelee, lost her life to suicide on Jan. 4 at the age of 19.  She suffered from bipolar disorder for much of her life. It has been a rough year – to say we miss her terribly is such an understatement.We also have the challenge of ongoing grief and loss as my …

From Grief to Wellness: Amy Voelker Wins a Fitness Makeover

Two years ago, Amy Voelker, 50, and her husband were enjoying the fruits of 20 years of marriage. Her two stepsons were married with kids. Her youngest son was doing well in his first year of college. Then tragedy struck this family when a drunk driver broadsided the car, instantly killing her husband and all three sons. After a lengthy trial for the drunk driver, Amy was at a turning point. “I was trying to figure out my future; I …

Grieving for Pets and Humans: Which Hurts More?

The day after my mother died, an acquaintance earnestly told me, “I know just how you feel. My beloved dog passed away last month.” I admit I was insulted. I know she was trying to be empathetic, but really, how can grief over a pet be the same as grief over a parent? But perhaps I was wrong. Washington Post food editor Joe Yonan wrote a moving story this week about his grief over the death of his dog, Red, compared to …