Complicated Grief
  I am haunted by unremitting waves of helplessness that threaten to engulf the futile thread of hope to which I cling – hope that I could somehow ease the pain pulsating through my daughter's veins. She has suffered a loss like no other: the death of her little girl  - a brave, remarkable and stunningly beautiful child who died over six years ago, shortly after her fourth birthday. I silently witness my daughter facing each day without herdaughter, resolutely putting one foot in front of the other as she attends to the needs of her family. Her pain lurks furtively beneath the surface, eager to pounce in the face of what could have been … shouldhave been … school plays ...  dance recitals … birthday parties. Her tears speak a language only grieving parents understand. Her loss is vast and untouchable, her suffering tenacious and enduring. It is not enough that I listen, or offer compassion - it will never be enough. I am powerless to expunge or diminish her grief, and knowing this supersedes my great sorrow at having lost my granddaughter. My daughter harbours no anger, no bitterness – not even towards the well-intentioned people who offer unhelpful platitudes (“It’s God’s will” … “It was meant to be”). She is a reservoir of tenderness and compassion, sprinkling shining drops of love all around her. A spiritual person who believes in a higher power, she does not blame her God for the death of her child.                  But I am less forgiving. Privy to the crushing sorrow that at times shatters her hard-earned composure, I am tormented ...
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Is This For Real?
    Feigning an air of confidence to conceal the raging disquiet inside, I scanned the restaurant and headed for a table near the back, where I could observe him searching for the forty-something woman with whom he had shared a few words on the telephone. He had neither met me nor seen a photograph. The year was 1986, long before the advent of online dating. I had purpose-ly arrived early to give myself time to adopt that elusive veneer of tranquility. The dating game was indeed uncharted territory. Having been only 18 years old when I married my first husband, I was ill prepared for the complexi-ties of marriage. And here I was, at age 40, 21 years of marriage and five chil-dren later, newly separated, on a date with a man who answered an ad I had placed in the personal column of the local newspaper. "What was I thinking?" I muttered to myself. "This man could be an axe murderer!" I took a few deep breaths. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a tall, attractive, bearded man heading in my direction. Feeling both fearful and a little excited, I stood to shake his hand and exchange "pleased-to-meet-you" pleasantries. We quickly busied ourselves with menus and meal choices, a diversion that eased us into the dis-covery of similarities and the sharing of histories. "So far, so good," I thought to myself as I asked the obvious question: "So, what led to your separation?" "We just grew apart," he began, elaborating on the gradual process that left them with little to say to one another. I went in for the kill. "What do you think ...
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A Centenarian Birthday Celebration
Last week I had the distinct privilege of attending a centenarian birthday celebration, as my  remarkable mother-in-law, Rose Gould (see “My Mother-in-law - My Inspiration”) turned 100 years of age.  Since few people reach this milestone, it was a rare opportunity - although, having said that, I might add that my former mother-in-law lived to the age of 103, and her name was also Rose! The celebration was an incredible event – magnificently orchestrated by her granddaughter – my step daughter - Staci Gould, who (aged mid-40's) lives with Rose in a retirement community in order that Rose may continue to live independently ...this despite the fact that Staci was recently married and has made the unselfish choice to continue to live apart from her spouse and remain with Rose, rather than have her grandmother move into to an assisted living situation.   The Setting Staci left no stone unturned in ensuring the enormous success of this tribute to her beloved grandmother. She invited over 100 people which included family from across the North American continent, Rose’s friends from her community and Staci’s own friends, most of whom have known Rose for many years, and love her dearly.  The affair was held in a beautiful venue with floor-to-ceiling glass walls all around. It was catered, and in a prominent spot, surrounded by rose petals, was a three-tiered cake - each tier adorned with edible pictures of Rose and her late husband Al at various stages of their lives. The centerpiece on each table also included photographs of Rose`s life.               The DJ –an older gentleman - was entirely familiar with the music so popular in my mother-in-law’s ...
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