And bust stigma about pregnancy loss while they're at it.
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Everyone is allowed to have a bad day. Actually, even two.
Losing a brother or sister doesn't just have emotional consequences.
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I pray to God that I gave to you even a fraction of what you've given me. But now I will give you the most difficult thing I will ever have to give.
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I want you to know that you are not alone. Through your grief and pain and loss you have joined the club that no one wants to be a part of. But the most astonishing thing is that this club is made up of some of the most powerful, compassionate, and inspiring women.
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These are the moms who have outlived their children. They are mothers without official titles and have concocted clever ways to answer, "how many children do you have?" when asked by well meaning folk. These mothers cling to old memories, photo albums and painful frequent visits to cemeteries.
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Loss hammered you incessantly. Grief hollowed you out until you were gasping for breath, empty and fully spent. Your heart was broken and battered into a heap of crumbled bits and pieces. And still, you stood.
It's exhausting having to constantly point out privilege, what it is, how it operates and how it's insidious and thus extremely hard to see or understand when you have so much of it; which is precisely why even those feminists with the best intentions can get caught up defending their own story instead of listening to the stories of those more oppressed.
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I'm a professional family photographer and I have one beautiful son. But I've been pregnant three times. Last year I endured two miscarriages in the span of 10 months. My weariness was palpable. It lay on me like a thick heavy blanket. So many questions arose. So much soul-searching. It felt like a crisis of my spirit.
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When someone we love dies, we experience many different emotions, such as sadness, anger, shock, guilt or helplessness to name just a few. But everyone experiences grief differently. After someone close to you dies, you may have good days and difficult days. And, they can be impossible to predict.
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This is the perfect time for pure, unadulterated optimism. In order to hone in on the power of collective hope, we gotta get intentional. Not only dream big, but pull up those gumboots and get ready to get dirty, cuz creating change requires creating some mess. Oh yes.
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As a therapist, I help people to recognize their patterns of defense, their habitual ways of responding: their default mode. We all developed ways of adapting and protecting ourselves in our early years when our brains and nervous systems were developing. These ways of coping can become hard-wired.
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It is Saturday night and I am rebounding on my mini trampoline (so good for the body and mind), watching a movie on www.Gaia.com. The main character just broke his neck in a car accident, lost his job...
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While everyone else throws back rum and eggnog and busies themselves with holiday shopping, those of us in grief are doing our best just to get through the day. Hearing a holiday song, smelling a familiar scent or walking by a decorated store window can be all it takes for us to come undone. So, what can you do? Well, quite a lot. Below are my suggestions for how I plan to get through -- I hope it's of help to you too.
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I am terrified that tens of millions of Americans came out in spades to support a man who is endorsed by the KKK, a known terrorist group. Trump is an admitted sexist, a liar, cheat and alleged rapist. A man(child) with zero political background -- completely and entirely unqualified for any position of stature. He is Hitler 2.0, and he now represents the most powerful country in the world. It is, in a word, devastating.
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I am a non-binary trans person. I know that many people do not yet understand what this means. Many people refuse to acknowledge my existence. Being seen as I am by people is a remarkable feeling, and my grandmother gave this gift to me in the most unexpected moment. My grandmother spent her minute of clarity, while suffering in a state of almost perpetual dementia and physical exhaustion, to give me a beautiful gift of cross-generational respect as a trans person. To see me as I am.
I hear this same deeply unsettling story again and again from women who experience loss. Women who are left with a profound sense of loneliness and isolation. So, let's talk. If you know someone who has experienced a miscarriage, later pregnancy or infant loss, here are three things you should do.
On the night of Tuesday April 28, 2009 our son died by suicide. As the shock lifted we began the agonizing process of trying to comprehend our new reality. Our 23-year old son had lived with a robust disease that had been brewing for years. He was a strong, intelligent young man; however, even he could not see where his path was headed. Mental illness is a formidable foe. Our tragedy is his absence from our ordinary lives. We are now referred to as survivors. What exactly we are surviving is unclear. We are broken in so many places; trying to put the puzzle that was our life back together. Only now, the pieces do not match.
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Why didn't you answer our calls that night? We couldn't figure out why you hadn't come home for dinner. When did you last think about your family that terrible night? Did you consider, even for a moment, that our lives would be a living hell after you were gone? Why didn't you tell us that you hated who you had become? You had lost hope. Despite all of the good in your life, I think there was a layer of fear and uncertainty that left you adrift.
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It's hard to imagine there is life beyond your exploded heart. How can you possibly merge back into the cacophony of dailiness and demands when your life has been captured by grief? The hollowness, the memories, the break-downs, the images, the gut-wrenches, the what-ifs have kneed you into a tight, dark corner. You can, and will, get out, but it cannot be rushed. Here's how.
For anyone who's lost a pet, the heartache is significant and can last a long time. Feelings of grief can cause mental distraction, loss of appetite, bouts of extreme sadness and even lasting depression. Why, then, are we expected to get back to work after the loss of a pet without being allowed to take time off?
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This is death. This is the heartbreak that inevitably comes for all of us when we open our hearts to receive love from another sentient being. From someone we showered with affection from the moment we first met. From someone who shared so much of our joys, sorrows, and laughter, and was ever supportive of us, unconditionally. From someone who we will miss with every fibre of our being from this moment on.
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Nothing feels safe. Nothing feels right. And there is the "who-cares-anymore" well of depression. You are in a place you never imagined, much less prepared for: you are in hell. Dealing with this anguish and sorrow is a rocky, uneven road. Eventually, you manage to put one foot in front of the other, even if you have been robotic and numb.
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When my dad died I asked the rabbi 'why' and 'how' this could have happened. He said in time we would come to see it the other way around. Instead of looking at why did we lose him so soon, we would see how lucky we were to have him so long. It took a while to get there, but we have arrived.
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Petronella's foot was injured in a chicken tractor accident. Around here the protocol for any injured or sick bird is to separate them from the rest of the flock and make them as comfortable as possible. Usually they pass on in a day or two. Not Petronella.
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Love is doing acts of service and kindness. That goodness, compassion, generosity of spirit is a kind of light. And the more light we share on this planet with one another the more darkness is diminished.... We love by showing compassion, tolerance and acceptance as we strive for peaceful co-existence with one another.
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I resented the man you became, Dad. I truly resent you, even to this day. But I will use your failures as a way of guiding myself through fatherhood. Consider it your contribution to my life, years after you had given up on me, that I will never end up alone and away from the people I love.
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My dad died a decade ago -- in the sixth month of the year '06. It didn't feel like my dad was gone, his presence was so strong. My children probably felt this too. They say energy doesn't die, it transforms. My dad knew about energy, as his early vocation was as an electrical engineer.
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How do you deal with emotional pain? The kind of pain that sits in your heart and occasionally (sometimes without warning) breaks your heart just a little bit, and you feel an overwhelming urge to cry. Many of us can relate to that.
Though assisted death is now officially legal in our fair country, we have yet to formalize a national framework and the debate over the specifics of the regulations seem to omit the most critical voice -- that of the individuals and families who have and continue to be subject to archaic mindsets that deny certain patients the right to end their own life, and control their own destiny. It is imperative we hear these voices -- and so here is mine.
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The vet prepared the needle that would put Lily to rest. She gave Lily the needle and to everyone's astonishment, Lily got up and walked towards my husband. The vet has only seen this happen one other time in her 26 years as a vet. So she turned to my husband and said, "You have to tell her that it is time to go. She doesn't want to leave you so you have to tell her that it's ok."
Parenting a child after the loss of a child is a daily struggle. You do your best to cherish every second, because who knows better than you how fleeting it can be? While your head is cherishing away, your heart is heavy with the feeling of abandoning your lost child's memory by being happy.