Posts Tagged With: dealing with mortality

Day 2499: Please don’t die

During both of my group therapy retreats this past weekend, people honored and remembered the amazing and beloved Deb Carmichael, past President of the Northeastern Society for Group Psychotherapy.

After the retreats — which involved some small talk but mostly medium and big talk — I was thinking about all the wonderful friends I have lost over the last few months and I remembered how I’ve been saying to people, “Please don’t die.”

Then, last night at our local supermarket, I saw this:


Please don’t die, all you people who are reading this. Or, at least, do your best to stay alive as long as possible.

Here are the other photos I took yesterday:


Please don’t die, Harley and Oscar.

Please don’t die, tigers and other wildlife.  Please don’t die, cousin Lani (who sends me great photos of tigers through snail mail, which is  apparently still alive).


Please don’t die and use whatever remedies that might help you stay alive.


Dwell in possibility (following the undying words of Emily Dickinson) and please don’t die.




Please don’t die and please celebrate every day that you are alive.  YAAAAY!



Please don’t die, no matter who you are, what you are, or how you say hello.  Just don’t say goodbye.

Here‘s “Please Don’t Die” by Father John Misty.

Please don’t die,  Josh Tillman (a/k/a Father John Misty).

Please leave your undying comments below and please accept my gratitude, which does not die.



Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Day 1251: Just because

Just because the title of this post is “Just because,” I’m going to share a photo I just took.


Just because my boyfriend Michael’s mother passed away yesterday, our loving neighbor Karen gave him some cookies from Lakota bakery.  Just because Faxy the dog and Michael are great friends, Karen signed Faxy’s name, too.

I took these two photos yesterday, just because.




Just because a tea company tells me so, I’m going to

  • live light,
  • travel light,
  • spread the light,
  • be the light.

Just because I like to explore and share music through this blog, here are some “Just Because” songs.

Just Becauseby Anita Baker:


Just Becauseby Jane’s Addiction:


Just Because by Lloyd Price:


Just Becauseby Elvis Presley:


Just Because by Brenda Lee:


Just Because by Ray Charles:


Just because we’re all mortal, all human beings share one thing in common — we’ll all die, some day.   Just because I like to ask questions, what else do human beings all share, besides our mortality?

Just because I like to answer my own questions, I believe that all human beings share a need to connect. Just because I believe that, I have become a group therapist who blogs every day.

Just because, please let me know your thoughts and feelings about this post.

Thanks to all who helped me create this post and to you, just because.


Categories: love, personal growth | Tags: , | 38 Comments

Day 1209: Unexpected

I just had this unexpected exchange with my boyfriend Michael:

Me: Have there  been any other unexpected deaths, Michael?

Michael:  No, Ann. It looks like everybody on the planet survived the night.

Me:  That can’t be true.

Michael: Almost.

Everybody on this planet surviving any night is certainly unexpected.

I think my question this morning to Michael probably wasn’t unexpected by him, because we  spent some time last night talking, processing, and trying to make meaning of the unexpected deaths  of Prince and Patton Oswalt’s wife, Michelle McNamara.

Because of the number of unexpected celebrity deaths since January 1, people are already describing 2016 as a particularly horrible year. I guess that’s not unexpected.

I wonder if the content of this post, so far, is unexpected.  People celebrating Passover might be expecting some mention about that.

Because I write these blog posts so spontaneously, it’s unexpected where any of them will begin and end up.

I suppose it’s not unexpected that I would  now share some photos I took yesterday.  I expect some of them might fit the  unexpected topic of this post. If none of them do, that would be unexpected and unprecedented.


















Those last two unexpected items are:

  1. the orange cup that my son Aaron has used at my cousin Lani’s Passover Seder for many years and
  2. an unexpected gefilte fish.

I suppose some music isn’t unexpected here, either.  I expect that any Prince music I include might unexpectedly disappear from this blog in the future.  However, it would be unexpected if nobody appreciated this performance, for now:


Any comment from you, whether unexpected or expected, would be most appreciated.

I shall end, now, with expected and sincere gratitude from me to you for visiting here,  before I  go out and party like it’s 2016.


Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 44 Comments

Day 1204: Yipes!


is something people say when they’re

  • surprised,
  • scared, or
  • amazed.

Every day, I have reasons to say


because life can be surprising, scary, and amazing.

Yesterday, I was surprised, scared, and amazed because

  • I spent a beautiful Sunday discussing membership with other group therapists and didn’t resent being indoors,
  • several people mentioned that somebody they cared about had recently died unexpectedly, and
  • I got a lot of praise for my contributions to the success of the day.

What makes you say “Yipes!”? How about the photos I took yesterday?






Yipes!  I didn’t know that Yipes! was an American rock band from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

You can find Yipes! singing “Blink of an Eye” here on YouTube, with several Yipes!-inducing lyrics including:

Where does the time go?

Yipes! Where does the time go?  It’s time for me to end today’s post.

Yipes!  I almost forgot to thank Yipes, group therapists, and you — of course! — for visiting, here and now.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

Day 1110: Life as a work of art

If somebody asked you to write, draw, or otherwise express your thoughts, feelings, and associations about “Life as a work of art,”  what work of art might you create?

Last night, in a therapy group — after we discussed many  topics including life, death, school, work, parents, what other people think, music, painting,  injury, healing, routines, miracles, safety, self-care, imperfection, immortality, wishes, Alan Rickman, and David Bowie —  I asked people to do just that.

Now, I shall attempt to turn my thoughts, feeling, associations, and other aspects of my life into a blogging work of art. Here are some artless and artful photos I took at work,  yesterday:

How do you judge or create works of art?

Yes, thou art being asked to work your responses into a comment, bringing more life and art into this post.

Lifetime-work-in-progress thanks to all who helped me create today’s work of art and special thanks to you — of course! — for the living art you practice, every day.

Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Day 940: How’s your heart?

The heart of this post relates to my phoning many people from my high school class of 1970, last night.

My heart was hoping to reach as many classmates as possible,  with a heart-felt invitation to attend our 45th reunion, in the heart of the North Shore of Massachusetts, USA.

Even though I haven’t spoken to most of my classmates  in many years, all those I reached last night showed hearts that were kindly courteous and sweet (which helped me, somehow, with my heart-felt vow to give up cookies).

Somebody living in the heart of New York responded to my phone call last night, like so:

Ann Koplow!

It’s been a long time.

How’s your heart?

For a heartbeat,  my heart was surprised at that unexpected question. Then,  I laughed and replied:

It’s funny you should ask.  This year, things were looking kind of dicey, but  recently I had an operation, and people seem to think I’ll be around for a while.

Then, we had this brief exchange:

Me: How’s YOUR heart?

Classmate: Very good.

Me: How’s the rest of you?

Classmate: Also excellent.

My heart felt good and excellent —  after this brief, heart-centered talk — because the heart of it felt real.

In the past, my heart has worried that people see me primarily as somebody with a congenital heart condition. However, that conversation simply felt like an authentic, brief heart connection.

After I left several heart-felt phone messages, I had a heart-to-heart with my sweetheart Michael. I told Michael  there are words in my heart I am NOT sharing with my classmates, as I inform them about the reunion.

Here’s what I’m not speaking from my heart:

This is our 45th reunion and I don’t know how much more time I, you, or anybody else has on this earth. Several people from our class, whom I wanted to see with all my heart,  have already passed away. Please come to the reunion! We shared a lot of important times together, all those years ago.

I don’t share those heart-felt thoughts with my classmates because:

  • People probably don’t want to discuss mortality, especially on a weekday evening with somebody they haven’t seen in decades,
  • There’s much more relevant data I need to convey about the reunion — like where, when, and how much it will cost,
  • In my heart, I really don’t like to pressure people,
  • I avoid, if possible, causing even the smallest amount of heartache, and
  • I’ve got a damn lot of high school hearts to contact, as soon as possible.

Here are some photos I recently snapped from the heart, in the hearts of  Boston’s medical and baseball areas.



Which of those photos got to the heart of the matter, for you?

Here‘s “You Gotta Have Heart,” from Damn Yankees:

Going back to the heart-felt title of this heart-centered post, how’s your heart?

Thanks, from my heart, to all my classmates, to Michael, to all the hearts I witnessed connecting yesterday and to you — of course! — for the heart you bring here, today.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , | 39 Comments

Day 820: Spring Ain’t Here

Yesterday — after I published  Day 819: White Thoughts — I walked out into some white I’d thought was gone from Boston.


I tried to capture some of that white proof that spring ain’t here (even though it’s almost April),  with my iPhone:

Snowflakes are there, ain’t they? Can you see them?

At least those snowflakes ain’t sticking.

Here are some things I saw sticking (or ain’t) yesterday, at work:


Somebody is saying “Spring Ain’t Here,” on that sign.

Spring ain’t here and I ain’t thrilled about that.

How many springs will be here for me, in my life? I ain’t sure, but who is?

And I ain’t lying that I heard this tune while walking through those falling flakes of white snow, yesterday.

Spring ain’t here but spring is there,  in that YouTube video of the Pat Metheny Group’s “Spring Ain’t Here.”

Cool, ain’t it?

Comments ain’t here, unless you leave one.

I ain’t forgetting to thank all those who helped me create this post today or you, who are here.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , | 38 Comments

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