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Category: Grief


Communion of Saints, Cloud of Witnesses

After my mother died I was very comforted by the image in the Christian Tradition of being surrounded by a “great cloud of witnesses” (Hebrews 12:1). I had always loved the image of the Communion of Saints, but suddenly it became much more personal. Certainly I had lost grandparents previously whom I had known, but was not as close to them as to my mother. One of the lovely physical gifts she left to me was a collection of Inuit Soapstone carvings. The Inuit are people who inhabit the Northern regions near the Arctic and are wonderful artists. They depict

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The Art of Grieving

This being human is a guest house. Every morning is a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor. Welcome and entertain them all! Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still, treat each guest honorably. [S]he may be clearing you out for some new delight. The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in. Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond. —Rumi (trans. Coleman Barks) I

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The Solace of Darkness

I know I am at the start of another long journey.  There is no way out of the landscape of grief except straight through the heart of it, even though we may construct all kinds of useful diversions to try and avoid it.    These last few weeks I have been feeling this invitation to move even more deeply into the contemplative life, and to spend even more time than I already do with dreams, darkness, wild places, and the wisdom of the body.  There is a call from deep within me to claim these as essential parts of my being

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Love and Loss

My dear friends and readers, I am deeply grateful for the prayers and support I have received through comments, emails, and phone calls.  I kept imagining myself surrounded by this circle of light and that was comforting. All day yesterday I lay on the floor holding Duke, telling him how much I love him, trying to say goodbye.  The vet came in the afternoon, she was very compassionate and affirmed our decision based on the test results.  We lay him down on the marble tile in front of our fireplace, a favorite place of his because it is cool.  First she

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Request for Prayers

Dearest Friends, Last night our beloved dog Duke became very lethargic and wouldn’t eat. We took him to the vet this morning where they felt fluids in his abdomen and so they sent us on to the hospital in Lynnwood where the did a number of blood tests and an ultrasound.  The diagnosis is Hemangiosarcoma of the liver, a very serious and invasive type of cancer.  The ultrasound showed that it has spread throughout the liver and so chemo and surgery are not options.  What caused the lethargy is bleeding of the masses.  It seems to have stopped in that his

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