For years after my father died my mom carried on at the holidays as if nothing had changed. Her intentions were good — to keep things the same and not bring any sadness into the room. But things weren’t the same, there was a person missing. My dad. The person who sawed off the bottom of the tree to fit into the tree stand. And who wired the tree with lights and watched as we all decorated it with the familiar ornaments and sipped hot chocolate. Except now I was the one trying to saw off the bottom of the tree and get the lights on just so the way my mom liked. His missing presence lodged itself like a lump in my throat and sometimes it was all I could do not to cry. Not to cry.
Recently I asked a friend how he dealt with the death of his mother right before he went away to college. Without skipping a beat, he said, “I learned how to live in the “AND”. I am sure I looked confused, so he explained, “I was really sad about my dad AND I wanted to enjoy college, so I continued to missed my dad AND I had fun.”
Imagine Clinical Training Director, Connie Palmer, LCSW shares a reflection on the 20th anniversary of 9/11
Imagine Clinical Training Director, Connie Palmer, LCSW shares a reflection on Memorial Day 2021
Black history month is a time to honor the achievements of Black Americans but this year, when there has been so much loss, we need to acknowledge that, “We are in the middle of a black bereavement crisis.” This quote, from Marissa Evan’s recent article in The Atlantic entitled, “The Relentlessness of Black Grief”, speaks to the overwhelming and cumulative grief experienced by many in the Black community.
My mother died on October 23, 2008. A month later I spent that first Thanksgiving without her at my godmother Ginny’s house with her family. I had known Ginny my whole life and her three daughters, all around my age, were like cousins to me. They were all there too, one of them with her own three daughters.
There is so much pressure to be happy in our culture, especially at the holidays. We are supposed to have a Happy Thanksgiving, a “merry little Christmas” or a Happy Hanukah. But grief doesn’t take a holiday.
Imagine Development Manager Kaitlin Casey shares what Father’s Day was like for her after her father passed away, and how her childhood emotions towards the holiday are different than the ones she feels now.
Let’s imagine something different. Let’s Imagine a world where children coping with loss grow up emotionally healthy and able to lead meaningful and productive lives. Let’s imagine a world where grief, loss and trauma are transformed into resilience, empathy and compassion. So that someday the world is driven by love and compassion, and not unresolved grief.