Grief

 
I didn't know a heart could die before it stopped beating. I didn't know a life could cease before it stopped breathing. I didn't know how devastation could wend a living soul I didn't know how death could make one lose all self control. I didn't know the pain of loss was so intense and sharp. I didn't know the depth of void death leaves within the heart. I didn't know how often tears would redden hurting eyes. I didn't know how hard it was to say one's last good-bye's. I didn't know that pain would come and go as it well pleased....
 

On Empathy

 
The Encyclopaedia Britannica (1999 edition) defines empathy as: "The ability to imagine oneself in anther's place and understand the other's feelings, desires, ideas, and actions. It is a term coined in the early 20th century, equivalent to the German Einf—Ćhlung and modelled on "sympathy." The term is used with special (but not exclusive) reference to aesthetic experience. The most obvious example, perhaps, is that of the actor or singer who genuinely feels the part he is performing. With other works of art, a spectator may, by a kind of introjection, feel himself involved in what he observes or contemplates....
 

Grief Support: The Don'ts

 
1) Don't try to make the grieving person feel better. YOU CANNOT. For many grievers it only serves to make them feel guilty or worse. Grievers MUST experience the pain of grief for healing to ultimately occur. 2) Don't tell the griever to give it time. Time has stopped for the griever. Life proceeds in slow motion. Life is too surreal to be identified with time. 5) Don't be frightened by tears? the griever's or your own. Tears are apertures of release and help the griever express their sorrow in healthy ways with your presence as a cushion of warmth and empathy....
 

Then and Now

 
However, during that same era, no person of breeding or gentility would ever openly mention sex! Even any reference to gender was carefully couched in delicate terminology. Arms and legs were referred to as "limbs" and they were covered almost completely. Any form of touching or even intimacy of language was carefully proscribed by the customs of the time. Sex was a taboo subject, and it was largely considered to be dirty, shameful, disgusting, and for most women, barely tolerable! How different it is now--over one hundred years later!...
 

Suicide - An Eternal Pain

 
Suicide is the one form of death that has quite a stigma attached to it. It brings with it a feeling of shame and betrayal. It is not the same as saying to someone "My father died in a car crash" nor is it the same as saying someone died from a heart attack. Having to explain that someone took their own life can be quite a difficult thing to do as we have no explanation as to why this dreadful occurance took place. Suicide amongst young men is currently growing quite significantly around the world and I hope that by reading my poem people can see the effects that suicide has on those that are left behind....
 

Am I a Mother - Tips for Handling Mother's Day After Miscarriage

 
Are you spending this Mother's Day wondering if you are, in fact, a mother? 900,000-1 million women in the U. S. alone face this question every year after suffering pregnancy loss. "For women who experience a miscarriage during their first pregnancy, the question of motherhood is an even greater one," says Lisa Church of HopeXchange, a company dedicated to the support of women and their families facing pregnancy loss. Mother's Day is the most difficult holiday a woman must face after pregnancy loss....
 

The Walking Wounded

 
When my phone rang the other day, it was a call from one of the "walking wounded," not unlike many that I have received during the years I have been interacting with the bereaved. I have often spoken with people who are feeling much like this caller was. The gentleman's adult son had died in an accident, and when I innocently asked how old his son was, he bristled and told me the question offended him. He said it didn't matter how old the person was who died; the question created barriers and suggested different degrees of grieving....
 

Grief & Loss - Healing Your Broken Heart

 
What is it about Grief & Loss that upsets us so much? Is it the heavy duty emoting that we have to do to get through our suffering? Is it the fear we have about opening ourselves to all this pain? Because, let's face it, it's hard down there, in the land of grieving where all those emotions toss us around like a cork on a stormy sea. We understand that this is necessary, at a surface level, but how we are feeling is what really counts. In that place we call Grief & Loss, is where pain dominates our life and where suffering is the paramount teacher....
 

Tenderizing

 
Recently, the magazine I own and edit got a hate letter that was so full of venom and hostility, it gave me shivers. The ultra-religious lady who wrote it is young and passionate about her beliefs. She was quite critical of those who express their grief pain, because she doesn't believe pain is necessary in grief. She evidently thinks that if we would just trust God, we would not be suffering. She is not bereaved, and it would appear that life has not yet delivered to her the kind of agony that so many of us have experienced....
 

What this Rabbi Learned from Not being Re-hired

 
It's a familiar story, and I have been through it before, and so have you. In January the Synagogue Personnel Committee told me that they were recommending that the synagogue not renew my contract. I had been here six years, and now they said it was time to go. I could have contested their decision by going public to the entire congregation, but I decided that if my leadership didn't want me anymore to be their Rabbi, that I was leaving. And then came the grief... So, I had lost something, a piece of myself, my dignity, my honor, my feeling of job satisfaction....
 
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