Robbie Miller Kaplan's Blog (195)

Turning Grief Into Purpose

While grieving a loss, you learn a lot about what helps or hampers healing. That’s what happened to Laurie B. following the death of her beloved husband. Despite a wide circle of friends, she often felt alone and saw a need for sensitive support. She approached her pastor and suggested they start a shawl ministry, a support group where members would knit shawls…

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Added by Robbie Miller Kaplan on September 20, 2016 at 8:00am — No Comments

Texting Support During Trying Times

We all know the importance of being supportive during troubling times, and yet it can be challenging despite our best efforts. One of my friends is facing that dilemma right now. Her dear friend’s mother is dying of cancer, and my friend has…

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Added by Robbie Miller Kaplan on September 1, 2016 at 9:30am — No Comments

Every Kindness Helps Following a Death

A friend of a friend died last week. We hadn’t been in touch with the family in 10 years, and I vacillated on whether to attend the visitation. I not only decided to go, but I also encouraged my spouse to go. We were surprised and humbled when the daughters of the deceased…

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Added by Robbie Miller Kaplan on August 17, 2016 at 1:00pm — 1 Comment

Healthy Grieving

A friend in her early 30s grieved the loss of both her mother and father who died just one year apart. My friend chose outlets for her grief that helped her process and mourn the deaths of her parents. After a year had passed, her older sister confided that she was concerned in…

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Added by Robbie Miller Kaplan on August 10, 2016 at 12:00pm — 2 Comments

Eight Surprising Things You May Feel After a Loved One's Death

We’re all familiar with the five stages of grief and we have come to expect that at some point following a death we might feel denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and ultimately, acceptance. So it may be surprising to learn that other feeling might appear that can be downright unexpected and…

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Added by Robbie Miller Kaplan on July 27, 2016 at 1:00pm — No Comments

Our Collective Grief – Mourning for Those We’ll Never Know

It’s not that we’re no longer shocked; it just happens so often that we feel numb in its familiarity. Another day, another shooting, and more tragic loss of life. We’re still grieving the heartbreaking loss of the victims murdered in Orlando and now we add to those the deaths in Minnesota, Baton Rouge, and Dallas. How do we process the loss to our national…

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Added by Robbie Miller Kaplan on July 11, 2016 at 9:00am — No Comments

Suicide - How To Help the Bereaved

It happened again in my community. A young man died by suicide. No matter how many times it happens, suicide is a sudden, unexpected, and tragic death that leaves the bereaved and the community badly shaken.

The bereaved not only feel the raw grief of sudden loss, but may wrestle with the question, over and over…

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Added by Robbie Miller Kaplan on June 13, 2016 at 6:30am — No Comments

Missing Dad on Father's Day

It’s been over five decades since my father died; so long that the searing pain following his death is a distant memory. I’ve lived my life without him and I long ago left behind any yearning for the experiences I’ve missed.

That’s not to say there is no sadness in his death, but I have accepted it and moved on. And yet…

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Added by Robbie Miller Kaplan on June 2, 2016 at 3:00pm — No Comments

How To Comfort When a Pet Dies

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 a time when pet owners got little support after their pet’s death. It was highly unlikely…

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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 the weeks and months pass, we may find ourselves wanting to make new…

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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 time of year?

The spring blooms that bring so much…

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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 tribute message, or share the obituary of a deceased family member or friend.…

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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 tell them while mourning their loss.…

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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 while, she fixed them some tea. My friend now…

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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 even begin to process the loss and what it would mean to live her life without her…

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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 willing to state in general terms, but…

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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

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