How a Random Act of Kindness Helped Me Heal

Posted on 02/21/2013 by |Volunteering | Comments

Your LifeIt 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

Posted on 12/26/2012 by |Volunteering | Comments

Your LifeBefore 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

Posted on 12/24/2012 by |Aging, Home & Family Expert | Comments

Caregiving  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

Posted on 09/21/2012 by |Aging, Home & Family Expert | Comments

Personal HealthTwo 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?

Posted on 03/29/2012 by |Personal Health and Well-being | Comments

Bulletin Today | Personal HealthThe 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 …

Grieving the Loss of My Niece

Posted on 02/28/2012 by |Aging, Home & Family Expert | Comments

CaregivingIt was a late night phone call while I was away on business travel. I immediately felt a knot in my stomach, fearing it would be about my parents in Arizona. But it wasn’t. It was worse. It was a family friend. “Shaelee is dead,” she said. Just like that. The sound of those words is harshly embedded in my memory; a constant reminder of our instantly new reality. She was gone. Nothing we could do would help her anymore.