Life Without Judgment

The shadow side of survivorship

You may have heard of the phenomenon known as “survivor guilt" (described at this link by What's Your Grief). It’s fairly well documented that many survivors of traumatic events – wartime violence, natural disasters, mass shootings – feel guilty that others died when they did not. The guilt can be especially crippling when something a survivor chose to do, or not do, somehow contributed to the death of one or more people in the situation. Survivor guilt also occurs in people who have come through a health crisis while others have succumbed to the same illness or injury they faced. Less well known or understood is survivor guilt experienced by people like me – people who have no connection wi

The ongoing work of coping with loss

Would that the work of grieving were more like shoveling snow... This past weekend brought the biggest snowfall of the winter so far, about 4-5 inches, for the area where I live. On Saturday afternoon I spent an hour shoveling show off our large driveway (large because it used to serve as a parking lot, put in for the medical office of a podiatrist who lived and worked in the house years ago). Yes, it was exhausting, and snow continued to fall while I shoveled, and I came into the house damp and trembling a little from the physical exertion. However, I have to confess something: I love snow shoveling. Many people think I’m nuts, and maybe they are right, but it doesn’t change how I feel. To

It's New Year's Day. Grief doesn't know, or care.

Grief follows no timeline. Grief follows nothing. Grief forges its own path. Once again it’s January 1 — traditionally, a day people use to get a fresh start. We make resolutions to improve our health, our habits, our financial situations, our work status, our relationships. We see New Year’s Day as the beginning of things, a clean slate to write new stories on, an opportunity to take the messy old slates with the messy old stories and toss them in the trash. What’s on the messy old slates? For so many of us, it’s grief, in every possible form — grief for the loss of loved ones who have died, of relationships we thought we could count on, of beloved pets, of cherished celebrities, of ideals,

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