Life Without Judgment

On resolutions

I’m a fairly regular runner. I started running when I was on the field hockey team in high school, adopted it as a solo exercise habit while in college, and barring a hiatus or two for pregnancies, sciatica, and cancer treatment, I’ve been running ever since. I brought my running clothes, warm ones for cold weather, to my parents’ house when we visited over the holidays. It has been warmer than usual in the Northeast and as I got dressed for a pre-cookie-binge run, I thought to myself, “I should wear lighter layers, leave off the gloves, I know from experience that after about ten minutes I’m going to be too warm.” I stepped outside to check the temperature and a much louder voice in my hea

Of holidays and anniversaries

Last Sunday, December 21, was the 6-month anniversary of my brother’s death. It was also the Winter Solstice. It was also someone’s birthday, someone’s wedding anniversary, the day someone’s life fell apart, the day someone died, the day a new baby was born, and for some people, a day that meant nothing in particular. For me and my family, this coming December 25 will be the first Christmas that we will spend without my brother to be with or talk to. For some it will be a joyous day of Christmas celebration. For others it will be a holiday that doesn’t live up to expectations or to the memory of past Christmases. For some it will be Thursday, with no significance whatsoever. For others it w

Life has seeds.

Two days ago I opened the refrigerator and found a little melamine bowl with fruit in it. Several slices of banana were artistically arranged with sections of tangerine, all not covered of course (I have repeatedly failed to communicate to my family the value of covering food when putting it in the refrigerator, although I continue to try). I knew that the “artist” was my younger daughter, who enjoys putting together various combinations of fruits in visually-pleasing patterns, often while talking aloud to an imagined audience as though she is on a cooking show. Usually she consumes her creations right away, so figuring she must have gotten interrupted somehow and would come back for it, I l

More on response to crisis, inspired by your comments.

Your responses to my last blog, 10 things people say to people in crisis, have brought additional important ideas to the forefront. I was compelled to share them in this addendum post. The variety of your responses further shows how people cope with crisis in unique ways, individual to each person and situation. As an example, one responder was in complete agreement with a statement in the list of 10 that the next responder completely disagreed with. Both had coped with life-changing challenges, buoyed by completely opposing ideas. Both are here to tell the story. Each has a unique recipe for what helps. Each has what she needs. So, more to think about: Making comparisons with other experie

10 things people say to people in crisis. And thoughts about how to handle them.

When a crisis happens – a serious illness, catastrophic injury, end to a relationship, loss of a loved one, financial disaster, or anything else that turns people’s lives upside down – responses come from those surrounding the person or family in crisis. Some people respond with kind words and embraces in person or loving letters and e-mails from afar. Some people bring food. Some set up helping networks to provide day-to-day task assistance. Some back off, unsure of what to do or say. Some support without judgment. Some judge, and even if they help out, their judgmental opinions may infuse their actions. I’ve compiled a list of things that people say to others in crisis. I offer my thought


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