Posts Tagged With: Dealing with loss

Day 2519: What we’re holding

Yesterday, one of my friends who works where I park my car on weekdays took my ukulele and posed while holding it, like so:

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That’s the topic of my next blog post, I thought — What we’re holding.  So I held my iPhone while I took photos of what others were holding, throughout the day.

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All day, I was holding  sadness and concern for a beloved group therapist and teacher with a serious illness.  What I didn’t know, while I was holding that card, was that she had already passed away.

What we’re holding — even if we don’t show it — includes loss, love, pain, and so much more.

Whatever you’re holding now,  dear reader, feel free to share it in a comment below.

As always, I’m holding so much gratitude for you.

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Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Day 2498: On the verge of tears

Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote a blog post with almost exactly the same title as today’s. 

I wonder if I’m on the verge of tears, here and now, because

  • summer is gone,
  • I’ve lost three close and beloved friends in the last fifteen months (including two within the last four weeks),
  • I’ve been sharing important thoughts and feelings (including tears) with new people (like classmates at my 45th college reunion exactly a week ago),
  • I’m more than half-way through my Presidency of the Northeastern Society for Group Psychotherapy,
  • I’ve been providing my Coping and Healing groups for more and more people,
  • everywhere I look I see emotional pain and physical pain in others,
  • even though I invite people to throw away harsh self judgment and other old habits that do not serve them well, that’s much easier said than done,
  • global warming and the world’s political situations scare me to the depths of my soul,
  • I wonder about the future for my son, and
  • I’m so friggin’ grateful to be alive.

I’m on the verge of revealing all my recent photos.

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Yesterday, Oscar was on the verge of having an infected paw because of ingrown nails.  Now he’s on the verge of being back to his usual self.

I’m on the verge of revealing some news about me and my boyfriend, Michael. Can you guess what that news is?

Here‘s “On the Verge of Tears” sung by Patty Loveless:

What puts you on the verge of tears?

I’m always on the verge of expressing my gratitude for all who help me create these blog posts, including YOU.

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Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Day 2493: Temporary

Yesterday morning, before I drove to the farewell event of my 45th college reunion, I took a photo of this temporary parking permit in my car.

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I have a temporary smile, here and now, thinking that The President and Fellows of Harvard College assumed no responsibility for damages to my little yellow car.

I took a photo of that temporary parking permit because of my “deep sense of mortality” (described in my speech at my reunion the day before), which makes me realize that everything is temporary.

On my way to the reunion brunch, I noticed a temporary phenomenon that I had never seen before, so I temporarily parked my car so I could capture it on my phone.

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I loved that temporary gathering of more snowy egrets than I had ever seen together before.

Then, I got back in my car, which I had temporarily parked at the Kennedy Center.

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I wonder if you had a temporary assumption about what Kennedy Center that was.

Then, my classmates and I met for some temporary conversation at a beautiful home in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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I spent most of that temporary time there hanging out with people I love, because there’s no telling when we’ll see each other again.

On my ride home, I received news that another beloved friend of mine had died in the month of September. I wrote about my dear and long-time friend  Tony in this post from May, 2016 — Day 1219: Tone.

As I said in my temporary speech at my college reunion, “Life is too precious to spend on things I don’t love.”  I’m glad that when I heard that Tony had the same cancer that killed Senator John McCain and my friend Michelle last year,  I bought one of his books and sent him a card telling him I was reading it and how much I loved him.

Last night, when Michael and I were doing our temporary Sunday shopping routine at our local supermarket, I deliberately took photos of sympathy cards to comfort myself.

I now get comfort from sharing all these contemporary photos with you:

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Even though life on this earth is temporary, certain things linger, like the distinct laughs of my late friends Hillel and Tony, who both passed away this September. I can easily imagine both of their wonderful laughs, here and now.

In honor of Tony, who played guitar and loved music, I’m posting a tune I associate with him:

 

I’m hoping I can get temporary coverage today at work so I can attend one of the memorial events for my late, great friend Tony today.

Thanks to all those who helped me temporarily forget my grief by creating this post and — of course! — thanks to you.

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Categories: in memoriam, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Day 2477: Can’t stop, won’t stop

I can’t stop, won’t stop

  • blogging,
  • letting go of the past,
  • having hope for the future,
  • enjoying the riches of the present moment,
  • writing original songs,
  • telling everybody about the healing power of groups, and
  • taking photos of what I see around me.

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I can’t stop, won’t stop posting videos of my performances even though I have — OMG! — only 18 subscribers to my YouTube channel. Here’s the latest video:

 

 Can’t stop, won’t stop singing about triggers until all the worst triggers go away.

Can’t stop, won’t stop expressing gratitude to all who help me keep going every day, including YOU.

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Categories: group therapy, original song, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Day 2476: It’s okay!

Yesterday, somebody in a “Coping and Healing” group suggested that we share thoughts and feelings about “It’s okay,” especially since the week before we had focused on “It’s NOT okay.”

I hope it’s okay that I share what I wrote in that group:

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It’s okay that my “It’s okay!” poem is on its side.

Here are more photos residing on my okay iPhone:

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It’s okay that I missed last night’s spectacular sunset, because I was facilitating the Coping and Healing group.  Yes, somebody else took that much-more-than-okay last photo.

Here‘s OK (Anxiety Anthem) by Mabel:

 

Whatever comment you choose to leave, it’s okay.

I know it’s okay for me to end these posts with gratitude, so thanks to all who helped me create another okay post and — of course! — to YOU.

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Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Day 1410: Let it out

Yesterday, when I was letting it out at cardiac rehab, Danise let it out, like so:

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Danise — who helps people, like me, who are recovering from cardiac surgeries let it out on exercise machines and in other healing ways  — let it out by telling me about a dream she’d had the night before.  After the TV coverage let it out that Donald Trump was on his way to winning the U.S. presidential election, Danise dreamed she found Hillary Clinton in her home flipping things over (as Danise is demonstrating, above). In her dream,  Danise  said to Hillary, “Let it out, girl! ”

After I let it out with Danise and others at cardiac rehab, I went home where I let it out with our two cats. I also let it out by turning on the TV, where I was privileged to witness Hillary Clinton letting it out with her  concession speech.

I have to let it out with you, my dear readers, that when I typed that previous sentence, I erroneously wrote “acceptance” rather than “concession.” As my boyfriend Michael and I have been letting it out with each other after the shock of the election result,  we’ve discussed how the stages of grief include denial.

Speaking of the stages of grief, my son Aaron sent me these messages, yesterday, from Scotland:

very very odd

it feels like someone died

Michael, Aaron, and I then let it out with each other during two extended FaceTime sessions.

On Facebook yesterday, I let it out by posting quotes by H.L. Mencken, including these:

“On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”

“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary. ”

“For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.”

I also let it out on Facebook by posting this recent, pre-election clip where Patton Oswalt let it out  that grieving in public is therapeutic:

I also believe that letting it out — where “it” includes all your feelings —  is therapeutic.  I will let it out, now, that if I didn’t believe that, I would not have become a psychotherapist nor would I have started this daily blog.

One more way I let it out on Facebook the day after the U.S. election:

I made it through open heart surgery for this?

I think it’s time to let it out by including all my other photos from yesterday:

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If you have  thoughts or feelings about this post, please let it out in a comment, below.

I hope I let it out how grateful I am to all who help me let it out in this daily blog and to you — of course! — for being with me as I let it out, here and now.

 

Categories: blogging, group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Day 1163: Why?

Why is the title for today’s post “Why?”

I saw that word, first thing yesterday morning, as I was dropping off my car for its first service:

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Why did I take a photo of “Why?” It was part of a bigger sign

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… but I guess I  focus on the Why.

An hour later, I found out that one of my patients had passed away.

When I heard the news, I first focused on the Why. Then, I  went to many other questions, thoughts, and feelings.

I’m thankful  I work at a hospital where those who knew that patient were able to connect and

  • ask why,
  • shed a tear,
  • share memories, and
  • express gratitude for knowing her.

All day, I met with the living and took other pictures. Why?  Because that’s what I do.

Why do I do this, every day?

Because sharing my thoughts, feelings, and experiences here helps me, every time.

Thanks to all who visit my blog, without asking “Why?”

Categories: blogging, in memoriam, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 34 Comments

Day 885: Believe that you’re going to be okay

Yesterday, during a therapy session. I wrote this on my office whiteboard:

I wrote that for somebody who’s been having  some very painful and stubbornly unshakable worries about the future. Recognizing that as a helpful antidote for the cognitive distortion of catastrophizing, she took a picture of it, so she could look at it whenever the negative, frightening thinking came back.

As you can see, I took a picture of it also, to help with my own automatic, fortune-telling thoughts.

I think that picture  has been working, because I do believe that I’m going to be okay … today, tomorrow, and the next day.

Do you believe that, now, for yourself?

Here are some other things I believe that helped me (and perhaps others) to be okay, yesterday:


                   

Okay! I do love adventure, but I don’t think I should howl at this particular moment.  I believe that howling is okay, but it’s extremely early in the morning, right now.

Believe that I’m going to be okay today at a conference on medical practice innovation in Boston (and afterwards, at one of my therapy groups at work).

Before I leave, is it okay if I share some “Believe that you’re going to be okay” music?

I believe that you’re going to be okay with one of these “Believe” songs.

“Believe”‘by Mumford & Sons:

“I’m a Believer,” performed by the Monkees:

“Reason to Believe” by Bruce Springsteen:

I believe this is the last song it’s okay to post: “I Believe in You” from the musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying starring Robert Morse (who I believe that you’re going to know  from “Mad Men”):

Believe that I’m going to be okay if you suggest another song (or express anything you believe is going to be okay, in a comment).

Believable thanks to everybody who helped me create this okay post and to you — of course! — for believing enough to visit here, today.

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , | 50 Comments

Day 618: Holes

The title of this post was inspired by this comment, yesterday, by Sitting on My Own Sofa:

The tree must be down by now. It’s probably left a hole in the sky. How are you feeling about that?

I am not sure how I am feeling, but this is what I am seeing out back, where the tree used to be:

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When I am not sure how I am feeling, it sometimes helps to free-associate. Here are some of my thoughts — without self-editing, judgment, or other barriers to flow –about the word “holes”:

  • When I was born, the doctors speculated I had a hole in my heart that had closed, leaving not a trace of the heart’s natural pacemaker.
  • There are no other posts I’ve written, so far, with the word “hole” in the title.
  • When I searched my old posts for word “hole,” it showed me Day 361: That whole bad day/good day thing, again, which implies that WordPress, like me, enjoys playing with words.
  • I think I’ve heard the word “hole” used, derogatively, about women.
  • “Holes” is a book people seem to like, which I haven’t read:

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… which was made into a movie

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… which, according to Rotten Tomatoes, 77% of people surveyed like, and which I also have not seen.

  • There are holes, in this post today, regarding formatting and many missed opportunities to re-use the word “holes.”
  • Swiss cheese has lots of holes in it. I wonder why?

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  • Strangely enough, my Google Image search for “holes” did not return a photo of swiss cheese. However, there was a whole category for “Fear [of Holes]” which included this image:

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  • Now I’m wondering if I should be afraid of lotus flowers.

I’m realizing I need to wrap up this post, holes and all, because there are no holes in my schedule at work this morning. AND, I don’t have my usual room for my therapy group at 10 AM, so I there’s some extra work for me to do.

As far as I’m concerned, are there any holes in this post I need to fix, right now?

Well, I did want to show you these images, of two more treasures I found in my recently retrieved box of memories:

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I’m afraid I’m going to leave holes where explanations should be, in this post, rather than be late for work.

However, I want to show you JUST ONE MORE image:

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That’s the plate my son just left behind, when he left for school. What’s missing from there?  One thing: Avocado slices.

How about some music?  I’d like to fill a hole about that, right now. Some Beatles music, for the first time in this blog. Let’s see if I can.

(YouTube video found here)

YES!

Thanks, everybody!

Categories: inspiration, Nostalgia, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , | 27 Comments

Day 572: Tell Her You Saw Me

“Tell Her You Saw Me” is a song by Pat Metheny.  Here’s a live version of it:

(found here on YouTube)

I listened to “Tell Her You Saw Me” a lot, when my mother was ill and dying, in the summer of 2008.

To this day, I find it very beautiful and sad.

Yesterday, when I was walking to work, I took this photo:

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I thought: I’ll tell my readers I saw that.  I’ll use those initials —  “F.B” —  to share some thoughts about FaceBook, a topic that often comes up in my therapy groups. Plus, my mind seems tuned for making connections, so I was sure I’d identify other F.B’s during the day.

Throughout the morning, I thought of other ways I could use the initials F.B., in order to create a Fine Blog, perhaps, for you.

For example, the doctor I recently mentioned in this post  (about a patient whose application for disability was initially turned down) has the initials  F.B.!  I considered taking a photo of Dr. F.B., for this potential and planned post.

Just then, I checked my email and found that another patient of Dr. F.B.’s, who was also in therapy with me,  had passed away.

Those who worked with this amazing woman, including Dr. F.B., immediately exchanged messages, sharing our surprise and grief.

Later that day, the good doctor F.B.  and I met in person, to talk and reminisce. We agreed that our late patient — despite her many illnesses and challenges — had a spirit so indomitable, we expected her to outlive the two of us.

All day, I remembered and imagined the deceased — her voice, her expressions, the way she met the world.  I heard and saw her, as I worked with other people,  and when I walked  and sat near a quiet brook.  I looked and listened,  the rest of the day, but took no photos.

And I abandoned any previous plans for today’s post.

When I walked back to my car, still not taking photos, I heard “Tell Her You Saw Me.”

I want to tell you this: I loved working with this woman.  She lit up my office, every time she appeared. We shall all miss her, very much.

Even though I’m working on my reactions to death, I still cannot believe that somebody is so there, and then they are not.

If I saw her again, what might I tell her?

I’m grateful I knew her.

Thanks to all my readers,  for looking, listening, and joining with me, today.

Categories: inspiration, Nostalgia, personal growth, tribute | Tags: , , , , , | 29 Comments

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