Life Without Judgment


A week ago this morning, I set myself up on my deck with a cup of coffee, the day’s newspaper, and my computer, thinking I would catch up on the news and do some writing. Then I opened my Facebook feed to find a post that seemed so impossible I thought someone had hacked a friend’s FB page as a prank. I was wrong. As the post reported, the oldest son of dear friends from college was killed at age 20 in a horrific five-car wreck on a highway in Pasadena, CA. Stunned, I sat and cried. I am not sure how long I sat there. I called my husband (who was driving at the time) and my parents, but no one picked up. At some point I walked into the kitchen, and the next thing I knew I began to clean. Soo

On cancer and courage

When you are diagnosed with cancer and go into treatment, people often find you courageous. It happens all over, with every type of cancer. In fact, a Google search for cancer and courage generates over 28 million hits. I struggled with the cancer-courage link when making my way through diagnosis, surgery, chemo, and radiation – because I didn’t feel courageous. Yes, I did whatever I could to stay alive. When you know you have cancer and you want to keep living, you choose a course of action and follow it. I didn’t connect this determination to courage – it felt like pure survival instinct. As I went to infusions and appointments, took medications, and attempted to function, friends and fami

Hope, for no reason

I’m a critical thinker. Whether it is more a result of nature or nurture I do not know. I suspect that it may be primarily nurture, as my parents are educators, and a lot of off-the-clock educating went on in my childhood home. My father focuses on metacognition in his work and has invented thinking structures and strategies used in classrooms all over the world. I’m pretty sure that dinner table conversations were subconsciously built on “thinking scaffolding.” As a matter of fact, after college when I announced to my parents that I intended to get an apartment with my then-boyfriend, they sat me down for a conversation and presented me with a pen and paper on which to create a table with o

The chance to say goodbye

This past weekend I attended the National Gathering of the Bereaved Parents of the USA. The organization also serves bereaved siblings, and I am on its Board of Directors as the Sibling Coordinator, a position I have held since last fall. I am spearheading BP/USA’s effort to increase support for siblings, both at the Gathering once a year as well as at the local chapter level throughout the year. There were over 150 people in attendance, mostly bereaved parents but some bereaved siblings and grandparents. Their children, grandchildren, and siblings who had died represented every possible way to lose someone. Cancer, car wrecks, long-term illness, homicide, SIDS. Choking, suicide, overdose,


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