When Death Meets You at Retreat

Last month, I was at a writing retreat in a space designed to nurture creativity and clarity. I was in a space where death was not allowed to be, where I was supposed to be insightful, to reflect peacefully, to swim in my internal depth and cherish the weight of my words and ideas. The […]

Mourning the Life You Thought You Would Have

When my husband and I got married we moved from Miami, Florida to Wake Forest, North Carolina. We were beyond excited to get out of Miami. I wouldn’t say we hated Miami, I think we were just longing to see what was out there. We wanted to experience a different life from the one we […]

From the Ashes

The last year has perhaps been the most difficult one of my life. Last summer, my husband Andy and I began to seriously discuss abandoning our life plan of forever living among the poor in the slums of India. As we talked, we stood on a rooftop garden overlooking the snowcapped Himalayas and the small […]

How Does it Feel, Now That You’re an Orphan?

The question surprised me, since I’d never thought of myself as an orphan, but I immediately recognized the truth of it.  With my father’s death some years ago and my mother’s death more recently, I had become part of the “older generation” in my family—fatherless, motherless, an orphan. My father’s death was the first death […]

Substance and Empty Space

For a couple years after my father died, his belongings continued to inhabit our home. A neat row of ironed dress shirts hung in his closet; a soldering iron rested on the workbench in the garage; his favorite books held their territory on the shelves. As the months passed, and I finished my freshman year […]

This is a Post About Loss

This is a post about loss. I write this over and over again. Ambling through the labyrinth trying to think of just the right thing to say. I don’t think there is a right thing anymore. If you haven’t become an intimate friend with loss, with the emptiness that comes from the missing, then you […]

Letting Down Church Ladies

God gave me a mother, and the church provided several more. They were matriarchs varying in age and economics. Strong resilient pillars that held the church building upright, sitting in its pews each Sunday and rearing the next generation of parishioners. On days like today, when Drew and I failed once again to make it […]

I Did Not Want to Go to My Grandmother’s Funeral

The night my already-sick grandma took a turn for the worse, my husband asked if I thought I’d go to her funeral. “Oh, hell no,” I said, without thinking. He looked startled, there in our bathroom. We were getting ready for bed, letting our bodies slow down for the end of the day. But now […]

Riding the Grief Wave

My hand grabs a heavy plastic bag as I reach to the very back of the closet. I couldn’t place it at first, and then my heart wrenches when I see the blue sweater. Justin’s sweater, and a blue polo shirt that I had carefully saved from his belongings. His sweet scent and the faint […]