With families settled all over the country, even the world, it can be difficult for them to come together to mourn a death. That’s what happened to a friend when her nephew died in Alaska. Her immediate family was spread out on both coasts and a funeral in Alaska was logistically impossible. Her nephew’s death was a devastating loss to my…Continue
Added by Robbie Miller Kaplan on February 24, 2015 at 11:30am — No Comments
It does not matter how long it has been, the date a loved one died is a sad day. When that date occurs, however we choose to spend it, eventually we all remember and reflect on our loved one and the void their death created in our lives.
Grief is a lonely experience so it is very comforting when others remember our…Continue
Added by Robbie Miller Kaplan on February 5, 2015 at 11:00am — No Comments
The telephone was once the culprit. When it rang at 2 or 3 a.m., you knew it meant bad news. Now, in the era of 24/7 communications, we receive bad news at any time and in any form, whether it’s an email, text message, Skype, Facetime, Facebook post, Twitter or even Facebook messaging.
The telephone is no longer the…Continue
Added by Robbie Miller Kaplan on January 21, 2015 at 2:00pm — No Comments
My mom was an English teacher who taught for several years in an inner-city school. Many of her eighth-grade students read on the third-grade level, and my mom said if she taught one child to read each year, it was a successful year. She taught many children to read, but that wasn’t her only achievement. Her friends and family repeatedly…Continue
Added by Robbie Miller Kaplan on January 3, 2015 at 5:30am — No Comments
Death is an inevitable part of life and it’s something we will all experience. Even if we understand that death is unavoidable or we anticipate the death of a loved one, it is still a shocking and painfully difficult experience. No one is truly prepared to mourn the death of a loved one.
The bereaved need our support…Continue
Added by Robbie Miller Kaplan on December 10, 2014 at 9:00am — No Comments
The period of mourning is sad enough but when holiday season hits, it can be harder to cope. Holidays are laced with memories; it’s not just the actual day that is difficult but, it’s the days and weeks leading up to the holiday that are filled with reminders in the foods, smells, music, store displays and activities. You really can’t…
Added by Robbie Miller Kaplan on December 1, 2014 at 6:30am — No Comments
A family in my neighborhood has been quietly struggling for months. The mom has a stubborn virus that is taking a long time to heal and the dad is shopping, cooking, cleaning, and ensuring his kids get wherever they need to go. When he finally shared his family’s situation, neighbors quickly offered to prepare meals. I asked him why he didn’t ask for…Continue
Added by Robbie Miller Kaplan on November 17, 2014 at 8:00am — No Comments
In the best of circumstances, life is not easy. And we all experience rough patches, some harder to navigate than others. When life feels overwhelmingly difficult, a kind gesture can feel like a lifeline.
I have two friends who were feeling overwhelmed, as caregivers for their elderly mothers. I interviewed them…Continue
Added by Robbie Miller Kaplan on November 3, 2014 at 9:00am — No Comments
When we hear sad news we want to help, but we often do not know how. Instead of figuring out a way to help we say, “Call me if you need anything.” Individuals facing difficult times frequently find it difficult to put one foot in front of the other; they do not have energy to call and even if they did, they probably would not know what to ask for. So…Continue
Added by Robbie Miller Kaplan on October 14, 2014 at 7:00am — No Comments
When we think of the bereaved, we most often include the primary relationships, such as: husband, wife, mother, father, sister, brother, son or daughter. Other family relationships that may come to mind include grandmother, grandfather, aunt, uncle or cousin as well as godchild, godmother or godfather.
It is these…Continue
Added by Robbie Miller Kaplan on October 6, 2014 at 11:00am — No Comments
When a friend gave birth to a stillborn baby her granny told her, “Now you have your own angel.” This comment upset my friend and yet her granny repeated it every time they spoke. My friend shared, “I love my granny but my baby is dead and what she is saying to me is no comfort.”
It is rare to hear that a baby…Continue
Added by Robbie Miller Kaplan on September 18, 2014 at 12:30pm — No Comments
My grandmother was born in Austria and when I visited there this summer I felt an immediate connection. When I had my first bite of apple strudel, it triggered a flood of memories. The last time I ate apple strudel was when I was a child and my grandma made it. I posted a photo of the apple strudel on Facebook and my cousin asked, “Is grandma…Continue
Added by Robbie Miller Kaplan on September 3, 2014 at 7:30am — No Comments
When someone dies, they leave behind a footprint. In years past you most likely found old photographs, letters, greeting cards, and maybe gifts that were reminders of the deceased. Nowadays the deceased leave behind extensive evidence of…
The death of a family member is more than painful; the absence of a parent or a child throws the entire family out of kilter. Roles are changed, schedules must be realigned, and financial circumstances may be greatly altered. The middle child may now be the youngest, or the eldest child may become an only child. How does one manage the car pool with just one parent? What…Continue
It happens every time I call the bereaved; they sound dreadful when they answer the phone. When they hear my voice and realize I’m calling to say hello, their tone miraculously changes and their gratitude seems to seep through the phone line.
The fact is, our phones rarely ring and when they do, it’s often a sales pitch. Phone calls are like mail; the personal…Continue
Added by Robbie Miller Kaplan on July 23, 2014 at 10:00am — No Comments
Sympathy notes are not easy to write; it’s difficult to know what you can possibly say to comfort someone who is so profoundly sad. And yet we work hard to write them knowing how important it is to acknowledge a loss and comfort the bereaved.
Despite our efforts to send condolences, it might be a shock to learn that a note may not be enough; the bereaved need more than…Continue
There was a time when mourning rituals were steeped in etiquette. You knew exactly what to expect and how to demonstrate good manners. But all of that has changed with social media, emails, texts, and ever-evolving communications.
When a college student died unexpectedly, all of her friends replaced their…Continue
Death is a devastating experience, and it is hard to know what words or actions can possibly ease the loss. When the bereaved is a child, it is even more challenging to know what to say or do. As difficult as it may be, “Try to act like things are as normal as possible,” says a friend whose mom died when she was 13. “No one wants to be treated…Continue
Added by Robbie Miller Kaplan on June 6, 2014 at 12:00pm — No Comments
While chatting with a friend I mentioned that my good friend had died this winter. She asked, “Is that your friend who was terminally ill?” When I answered yes, she said, “Well you knew she was going to die.” Speechless, I thought, what an insensitive thing to say to someone grieving a loss.
Anyone who has…Continue
There is so much lost when you no longer have your mom. Who will ever remember your favorite cookie, cake or entrée? Not only remember it, but get pleasure in making it for…Continue
Added by Robbie Miller Kaplan on May 1, 2014 at 9:30am — No Comments