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Letting Go: Moving On After Loss
By Casey Lee

I grew up in a picturesque family with two parents madly in love with each other, two beautiful older sisters, and a comfortable middle-class Midwestern upbringing. Because my sisters are respectively nine and eleven years older than I, they were married and had children before I reached that point in life; I was the Maid of Honor in both of their weddings and enjoyed every moment of being there for them during these monumental moments in their lives. My parents prided themselves on being doting grandparents, and I devoted more nights to coloring “My Little Pony” pictures and watching cartoons with my nieces and nephews than I did to partying when I was an undergrad.

Despite these happy times, my sisters were gone from my life by the time I turned twenty-two. There was not a tragic car wreck, a devastating battle with cancer, or a freak accident. In fact, as far as I know, my sisters are both healthy and happy as can be, but they have no contact with my parents or myself. Read more

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COMMENT (0) | family, loss, relationships, siblings
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One Last Kindness
By Billie Criswell

To some people the thought of cleaning up after a person has died, especially when that person was taken at a young age or of unnatural causes, is a horrifying one. Indeed, there are many people who make their living doing this for families who find themselves unable to do such a thing. This was precisely the conversation I found myself engaged in with a friend recently. My friend works with a clean-up and restoration company and they recently expanded to include crime scene clean up a la “Sunshine Cleaning.” (A movie where the two sisters clean up crime scenes.) Read more

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COMMENT (1) | addiction, drugs, loss, relationships, siblings
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Meet Joe Black
By Chris Shin

I foster orphan kittens with the Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue Association (VOKRA: http://www.orphankittenrescue.com/home/) and have been for about seven years. As my lifestyle is not conducive to adopting an animal companion (I travel regularly), fostering is the perfect opportunity for me to balance the responsibility and the enjoyment of having a purring creature. Plus, I see my role as a connector, a facilitator, a middle person: I socialize and raise kittens that need a home and when they are ready, I match them to the right home. And there is always a right home for each of the kittens. Read more

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COMMENTS (2) | animal companion, cat, service
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Ailynne
By John Edward Casteele

It’s a moment like no other.

Seeing your child for the first time on an ultrasound is a major event in any expectant parent’s life; you can actually see that little living piece of you, knowing that he or she is real. Unfortunately, not every child shown on an ultrasound is actually all right.  My girlfriend and I had to learn this the hard way.

It was a beautiful day, sunny and warm.  Everything that you could possibly ask for in early spring.  It was the day that we were scheduled for our first ultrasound, and we were both nervous and excited.  The image of my child came up on the monitor and I was blown away… until the woman running the machine told us that something was wrong.  She wasn’t picking up a heartbeat, and the baby’s heart should have started beating a few weeks ago.  The image on the monitor that my world had briefly revolved around tore my world apart. Read more

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COMMENTS (2) | children, grief, parenting, relationships, renewal
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I Am Sorry To Bother You
By Mike Harvey - 87 Years Young

Dear God,

I am sorry to bother you with a question that may appear silly to you.

The question is this: Is it okay to love a dog more than you do a human being? The reason I ask this is simple. Dogs have always been my very best friends.

As a youngster I was shunted into the background as my parents divorced and then remarried.

I was the excess baggage disposed of by being sent to a boarding school. Read more

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COMMENT (1) | animal companion, loss, relationships
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Through A Dark Secret And Tragedy To Renewal
By Adam German

I was driving to a Halloween party on the 31st of October 2001, when my cell phone rang.  My stepfather said he had received a call from the police that my mother had been in an accident, and I needed to turn around and head back to the house to pick him up.  From there, we needed to go to a hospital in Pennsylvania.

I knew why she was there, but he didn’t.  According to him, she was in Buffalo visiting family.  According to me, she was in Pennsylvania visiting her lover.  She was cheating on my stepfather, the man who resurrected a sense of family from the debris left behind from my father’s abusiveness and neglect. Read more

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COMMENTS (2) | depression, healing, infidelity, loss, parenting, renewal
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How Smiling Meditation Changed My Life
By Billie Criswell

I have always been the type of person that one might associate with meditation…..or  New Age healing and Eastern healing concepts. I was even, at one time, a self-proclaimed “hippy.” But the truth was, I had never so much as tried to quiet my mind– I was too busy being busy to even ponder the concept of slowing down.

At a certain point, though, it seemed that meditation came to me much as other things had in life: on a whim, as though I invented the concept. Read more

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COMMENT (0) | loss, meditation, renewal, spiritual, thriving
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Familiar Faces
By Dawn Lyons

I recognized the moment as one that I would always remember. I was watching a children’s movie and my dad had settled into his favorite chair to watch it with me. He didn’t judge me for being a 17-year-old girl who was still in love with a literary character who had become animated on film. Maybe Dad wanted to check the guy out in case I found a real-life version someday. I’ll never know why he chose to sit and watch with me that day. I expected he would make some sarcastic comments, but instead he was quiet. After a while, I glanced over and saw him staring at the screen, enthralled. His face held an expression of joy and contentment, and seeing him like this held me awestruck.

I had never seen Dad with such an expression before, and I was very aware that this was something I needed to focus on so I could remember the details with clarity.

Maybe somehow, I knew something, or maybe it was one of those moments you look back upon and think that “someone” was trying to tell you something. Because in the short span of a few weeks, I found myself sitting in Dad’s chair, devastated by his unexpected death.  Read more

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COMMENT (0) | loss, parenting, self growth, self realization, self worth
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The Day My Dad Died — Part Two
By Diane Schachter

October 11th – a Friday, one of those perfect fall days.  The air is crisp and the trees are bright as they glisten in the sun.  Children are playing on the street.  How can all of this be happening while my dad lies in a hospital bed in our dining room, taking what will soon be his final breaths? Read more

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COMMENTS (2) | health, loss, relationships
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Coming To Terms With The Ghosts Of Christmas Past
By Carol Ayer

“Deck the halls with boughs of holly, fa la la la la…” The all-too-familiar Christmas carol resounded throughout the drugstore. I warily eyed the plastic reindeer and Santa Clauses filling every crevice of the building; the ornaments, the toys, and the candy stacked high on the shelves. I had to force myself to concentrate on finding what I’d come for–tissues, paper towels, and other provisions of everyday life.

But I soon became distracted by another carol. It was no use trying to ignore it. I had to accept the facts. Christmas was back, and I would have to cope. Read more

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COMMENT (1) | enlightenment, loss, parent divorce, relationships
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Meditations On Life And Death By A Crazy Cat Lady
By Pamela Tarlow-Calder

When I got home, reeking of blood and disinfectant, the other cats ran from me, fur raised on their backs, but Sita jumped on the bed and lay across my stomach, purring her booming trademark purr, incubating what was left of the baby. The baby turned out fine, and spent the next twelve years as Sita’s token human kitten. I’ve often wondered if that rhythmic vibration rumbling through my uterous somehow strengthened that tenuous hold, and prevented the miscarriage. Read more

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COMMENTS (2) | animal companion, loss, relationships
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Expert Series: Boston Terrier Petey Copes With The Loss Of Chris
By Laura Stinchfield - Pet Psychic

On the early morning of October 19th, my friend Chris Staley passed away of cancer.  He was 45.  A few weeks prior to his death, Chris asked me to be his dog’s guardian.  Petey is a remarkable one-year-old Boston Terrier.  One minute he will be running around squeaking a toy and using my legs as a jump off point. And the next minute he will be curled up in my lap, looking up at me wide-eyed saying things like, “My dad had more pain inside of him than he voiced.  Why do bodies die?  Read more

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COMMENT (1) | animal companion, loss, relationships
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“I Want To Die At Home” — Part One
By Diane Schachter

It was a Monday, October 7th. I know that because it would be my Dad’s last Monday, just four days before he died. My family had to make a crucial decision.

It began on the morning my mother poured out her desperate words to me on the telephone: “It was a bad night.” My head was spinning with images of Dad uncontrollably thrashing in pain throughout the night.

Seven months earlier, my father had made his desire strongly and clearly known to his family. He wanted to die at home. Read more

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COMMENTS (12) | empowerment, loss, relationships, thriving
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I Love Lucy…The Sweetest Dog In The World
By Dorothy Beavington

Christmas, 1945.  My mother and I stand in a long line-up on Christmas Eve to pay a bill.  I cling to her side, a tired and cranky six year old.  I want to go home.  I hate this Christmas.  Daddy won’t be with us.  Daddy built a sailboat with my cousin, Johnny.  They called it “The Skylark” and took it for its maiden voyage on Chestermere Lake, just outside of Calgary.  It was the Labour Day weekend,  Sunday, September 2nd.  A wind came up, the boat turned over.

Daddy wasn’t a strong swimmer. Johnny made it to shore.  He looked back, saw his uncle Kit was in trouble, and went back for him. They both drowned, caught in the weeds in the lake. Read more

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COMMENTS (4) | animal companion, children, loss
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