Robbie Miller Kaplan's Blog (187)

How To Comfort When a Pet Dies

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Pets share a special place in our lives and become a member of the family. They’re good for us, bringing pleasure, companionship, comfort, and love. So it should be no surprise that when they die, we grieve for them.

There was…

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Added by Robbie Miller Kaplan on May 25, 2016 at 6:30am — 1 Comment

A Lasting Legacy – All That Remains

When a parent, spouse, sibling, child, or friend dies, we grieve for our loss. As we continue to mourn, we wonder if we will ever find the love, companionship, or support that is now lost. While our loved one is physically gone, we cherish the memories of our time together. As…

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Added by Robbie Miller Kaplan on May 3, 2016 at 7:00am — No Comments

Seasons of Grief

The season has changed and the days are longer and warmer; new blooms rise from the ground each morning, and tree buds are bursting. Nature is at its glorious best, and the days hold the promise of what is to come. How can anyone be sad at this…

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Added by Robbie Miller Kaplan on April 11, 2016 at 8:30am — No Comments

How To Write Condolences on Facebook

Facebook has become a major channel for your friends to share and mourn the death of their loved ones. Unlike obituaries that follow an established format, there are no standards or rules for Facebook death announcements. Friends might write an actual death announcement, a…

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Added by Robbie Miller Kaplan on April 1, 2016 at 10:30am — No Comments

What Not To Say to the Bereaved

You’ve heard it before: It is important to make contact with the bereaved and acknowledge their loss. And yet many people stay away, fearing they will say the wrong thing – and, their fears are well-founded. The bereaved frequently share hurtful things friends and loved ones…

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Added by Robbie Miller Kaplan on March 17, 2016 at 9:00am — 1 Comment

How To Be a Supportive Listener

A week after my friend’s baby died, her mother-in-law appeared at her door. My friend told her she wasn’t up for a visit, but her mother-in-law assured her she would just sit and keep her company. And that’s what she did. She sat quietly in a chair near my friend. After a…

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Added by Robbie Miller Kaplan on March 2, 2016 at 2:30pm — No Comments

What Exactly Is a Loss?

When my friend returned to work following the death of her dad, her supervisor told her, “It is now time to put this chapter behind you and get on with your life.” 

Get on with her life? My friend had yet to mourn the death of her father or…

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Added by Robbie Miller Kaplan on February 16, 2016 at 3:00pm — 1 Comment

Must the Obituary Include a Cause of Death?

When I checked the obituaries in my local newspaper today, I found four out of the 33 stated a cause of death. Of the four, only one was specific. While it is customary to state the cause of death in an obituary, not every family is comfortable doing so. Or, the family is…

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Added by Robbie Miller Kaplan on February 3, 2016 at 11:00am — 1 Comment

Condolences When a Friendship Is Strained

I t’s hard not to feel sorrow when a friendship flounders. Maybe you are experiencing a difficult time and a friend vanishes; or, a friend experiences life changes and seems to drop out. It can be hard to pinpoint what has happened and if you are uncomfortable asking, you can only speculate.

This happened to…

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Added by Robbie Miller Kaplan on January 19, 2016 at 9:30am — 1 Comment

New Year, Fresh Perspective: 4 Timely Tips

The news was horribly sad: The mother of my daughter’s best friend was terminally ill and in hospice care. She and her husband had retired two years ago and relocated to a community nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It was a new beginning with different friends and adventures awaiting;…

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Added by Robbie Miller Kaplan on January 4, 2016 at 12:00pm — No Comments

Our Cherished Objects

My daughter inherited my mother’s strand of pearls. They were housed in a silk case that was very worn and I replaced it with one of mine, more worthy of the cherished heirloom. I was then faced with the dilemma; what to do with the silk case that my mother’s hands touched every time she…

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Added by Robbie Miller Kaplan on December 21, 2015 at 10:30am — No Comments

When a Sympathy Note Is Belated – and You Never Met the Deceased

Oh dear – the days and weeks have passed, and you never wrote the sympathy note. You meant to do it, but it was too hard. You don’t know the bereaved well, and you never met the deceased; nor do you know anything about the relationship between the bereaved and the deceased. How can you…

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Added by Robbie Miller Kaplan on December 1, 2015 at 8:00am — No Comments

Bereaved at the Holidays

Mourning the loss of a loved one is hard work and it can feel even tougher when you add holidays into the mix. Our holidays are laced with traditions, memories, and familiar faces. When someone is missing, what do you do? Celebrate as you always did or bury your head under the covers and hope the day and season quickly pass?

The holidays will come and go whether you feel like…

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Added by Robbie Miller Kaplan on November 10, 2015 at 6:00am — 2 Comments

How To Deal With Insensitivity After a Death

There seem to be no conversational boundaries when it comes to death. The bereaved are often subjected to inappropriate comments and questions that can shock, hurt, or leave us speechless. We are often left wondering, how can friends, family, colleagues, neighbors, and even acquaintances say or ask…

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Added by Robbie Miller Kaplan on November 2, 2015 at 10:00am — No Comments

Healing With Stories

The son of a public figure had lunch with several of his father’s former colleagues following his dad’s death. The stories they told painted a vivid picture of a father he did not know. He was so grateful to better understand his dad that it motivated him to seek out even…

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Added by Robbie Miller Kaplan on October 23, 2015 at 9:30am — No Comments

How Best To Communicate With the Bereaved

It’s so important to reach out to the bereaved in the weeks and months following a death. Loss is painful and the bereaved can feel isolated and lonely while mourning their loved one. Connecting to someone who is so very sad can be complicated…

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Added by Robbie Miller Kaplan on October 12, 2015 at 12:00pm — No Comments

No Cancer Is a Good Cancer

A young woman shared with friends and family that her mother was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. She became frustrated when many of them told her “At least your mom got a good cancer.” While it is true that thyroid cancer has a very high survival rate, the young woman wondered, “How can any cancer be…

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Added by Robbie Miller Kaplan on September 24, 2015 at 3:30pm — 2 Comments

Regaining Control in Difficult Times

When illness, death, or another of life’s crises strikes, most of us crave normalcy; we want to once again feel in charge of our lives. What do you do when life feels like it is spinning out of control?

My family knows that in times of difficulty one of the first things I do is load the washing…

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Added by Robbie Miller Kaplan on September 15, 2015 at 12:00pm — No Comments

Will You Get To Say Goodbye?

This morning I read in an obituary that a woman in my community “Left this life peacefully in the arms of her husband, children and grandchildren.” Another obituary stated, “She died peacefully surrounded by her loving family.” 

The deaths described sound almost surreal. Is it realistic for us to want to have this type of death experience with our own loved ones? And if so, are we setting…

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Added by Robbie Miller Kaplan on August 18, 2015 at 4:30pm — 3 Comments

Extending Sympathy When You’re out of Touch

When I opened the morning newspaper, the death of a former school superintendent was front page news. I worked for the schools during the superintendent’s tenure and his widow had been in my book club. I had not seen either of them in over a decade.

Later that day I remembered that my former…

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Added by Robbie Miller Kaplan on August 10, 2015 at 12:54pm — No Comments

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