What Floats your Boat?

The Polynesians who first paddled to Hawai’i filled their canoes with the necessities of creating a new life on an unknown island. In the modern era, similar outrigger canoes with six seats race sprints in bays and long distances across ocean channels. Since the first six ‘Ohana Oasis retreats I facilitated took place in Hawai’i, I incorporated aspects of the culture into some of the activities. Using this Polynesian history as a metaphor for life, a retreat cohort was gathered around the dining room table working through an activity called, “What Floats Your Boat?” They were tasked with identifying who or what filled each of the unique roles of the environment, the canoe itself, and the six team members paddling in it. 

Grappling with Guilt

“Mom!” I didn’t answer immediately as the kids had all just got tucked in and I was trying to catch the opening dialogue of the newest episode of Alias. “Mom, come here please…” Alison called out.  “Coming!” I replied, heading in during a commercial. Bedtime was easy in our home, everyone knew the routine and … Continue reading Grappling with Guilt

Communicating with Your Child

Grief is “deep sadness or sorrow” caused by a loss. The sadness and sorrow come from the severed connection. When we lose someone we can’t finish the conversation or resolve the disagreement. Often things are left unasked, unsaid, or unanswered. Even when all the things are said and the parting is sweet, there is deep sadness because the chance to start a new conversation or simply being in the presence of one another isn’t possible. Although it still hurts, we expect to face the loss of our grandparents, parents and others of an older generation. Likewise, we aren’t sure how it’ll shake out, but we know the possibility of out living our significant other, siblings, and other contemporaries is real. What parents don’t anticipate is giving up the presence of their children. When a child comes along, parents figure on being stuck with their child, for better or worse, for the remainder of their lives. Parents plan on being the ones to make the permanent exit. Living without their children feels unnatural and just plain wrong to grieving parents. Click on title to read more

Choices in Coping

Today is a good day. I’ve chosen to take on an old pattern in a new way and while, incredibly scary, it’s also freeing. It’s an affirmation of the work I’ve done over the years to build an effective and healthy toolbox that works for me. It brings me increasingly closer to living my day-to-day life in an emotional state I want, regardless of external circumstances. I want to share with you two brief stories contrasting how I coped with my grief and offer a powerful tool to sort out what works best for you.

Telling Your Story

The Importance of Telling Your Story

Storytelling is a time tested way humans connect with one another. Telling stories and listening to them has been an important part of the human experience for thousands of years. Unfortunately, for those of us in the Grieving Parents Club, we often find it especially hard to tell our stories.

Who I am & Why I do What I do

I live in arguably one of the best places on earth, leading a pretty satisfying life...good friends, work with a purpose, playing in the ocean several days a week, and beautiful views right out my door. But it’s only through losing absolutely everything that I eventually made room for this life. Growing up I never once thought, “I want to dedicate my career and time to growth through grief.” Instead I spent my childhood yearning for the golden era of adulthood. I foolishly thought that’s when I’d finally be in control of my own destiny. As an only child of divorced parents, all I ever hoped for was a family of my own with a handful of kids. For the twenty-two year old version of myself, marrying a man and inheriting three-step children all aged six and under, whom I loved as my own, actually seemed like a good idea. Four years later, I gave birth to my one and only biological child, Alison Belle. How’s that for a big family to call my own? This is when I knew I was finally living my dream.

reasons not to journal

Reasons Not to Journal

Besides a nine year gap, I’ve journaled from the age of ten to my current forty-seven. I had reasons for not doing it. During those years, I stopped because I was in relationship where I didn’t trust my writing would be sacrosanct. I doubted it would be for my eyes alone.  Unfortunately this gap also … Continue reading Reasons Not to Journal

Thanksgiving Hangover

Post- Holiday Hangover

We just made it through quite possibly the most stressful Thanksgiving ever! No matter how you celebrated, or didn't celebrate - can we all agree this year was different? Whether you were able to gather with friends or family or stayed isolated, the circumstances of the pandemic lent a new layer of considerations to the … Continue reading Post- Holiday Hangover

tellling your story

Telling Your Story

We as a society in general struggle with the topic of grief.  People are fearful. Those who are grieving are afraid they will drive others away with their own grief, and those who want to be supportive are afraid they will say the wrong thing to those who are grieving. But telling your story is important. … Continue reading Telling Your Story

partnership

Partnership in Grief

I often field messages from people who feel helpless as they watch a loved one bear a devastating loss. They search for tangible ways to help, or resources to give. Unfortunately, grief is hard work only the grieving can do. However creating partnership alongside in the grief - holding space, a place of loving non-judgment … Continue reading Partnership in Grief

Create a Seat for Memories, Feelings, and Honoring

When someone significant in your life is no longer here to celebrate the holidays, it’s tempting to shove thoughts and preparations surrounding celebrations to the back, with perhaps the unspoken hope they’ll quietly slip away without your attention.  Unfortunately, whether or not you ignore the holiday festivities, the feelings remain.  Every year on my deceased … Continue reading Create a Seat for Memories, Feelings, and Honoring

What’s Your Why?

You got through and maybe even enjoyed Halloween this past weekend. Yay! And in case you missed it, we also have an election coming up tomorrow. Oh and a pandemic that's changed how we do life. So much going on that's stirring up so much in ourselves and friction in families, friends, communities, and the … Continue reading What’s Your Why?

It’s a New Day

I’m baack!  It’s been awhile since writing in this arena.  Over the last fourteen months I’ve dipped my toes in a variety of community efforts – tracking and reporting on local government activity, helping a local charter school find its way through getting up and running, and navigating ‘Ohana Oasis through COVID-19. This year was … Continue reading It’s a New Day