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Vegan French Toast

French toast has always been a favorite breakfast food, but the eggs more or less made it a non-starter. Lately we have been testing alternatives and here is my current favorite. The best thing about this particular recipe is that it slightly sweet and toasts up to a wonderful golden brown. I promise you won’t miss the eggs at all! Vegan French Toast In a flat pan mash 2 bananas into a paste Wisk in 1 cup coconut milk 3/4 cups nut milk 1/2 tsp cinnamon OPTIONAL: 1 ...

The Silk Road

We’d left Cappadocia and were driving along the Anatolian plain in central Turkey when our bus pulled off the road and headed down a narrow path, gravel crunching beneath our tires. I had no idea why we were stopping but at least it was an opportunity for me and Mrs. C. to stretch our legs. Our guide informed us that we’d arrived at the Sultanhani Kervansaray. “The what?” I mumbled under my breath. I didn’t remember reading anything about this on ...

Piglet’s 2nd Blogiversary

Piglet’s blogiversary cake Two years ago today my daughter Piglet in France introduced me to the WordPress blog platform,  and Piglet in Portugal was born. She patiently (she is not renowned for her patience when demonstrating techie stuff on the PC to Mother) showed me how to make posts, include links and upload photographs, create pages and a blogroll etc. I missed my first “Blogiversary” due to the excitement of the arrival of our first grandchild in France. So I will celebrate my ...

Fortitude: An Important Blogging Lesson I Learned This Year…

“Many of the great achievements of the world were accomplished by tired and discouraged men who kept on working.” Anon 'The Triumph of Fortitude', c 1525, Flemish (Brussels) Blogging: Fortitude is a requirement  What is the biggest lesson you learned this year? The Daily Post question today got me thinking about the genesis of my blogging life to date. When I started blogging in November 2008, I didn’t know much about blogging nor did I feel the urge to add more than one post ...

Musings: A Spamification Situation…

“Like almost everyone who uses e-mail, I receive a ton of spam every day. Much of it offers to help me get out of debt or get rich quick. It would be funny if it weren’t so exciting.” Bill Gates Musings: A Spamification Situation... Ham I am, Not Spam... Periodically, a glitch causes our comments to get flagged as  blog spam but then it self-corrects in a few days or so.  I can be a bit of a ham but spam I ...

Next Stop, Cologne

Prior posts  The Travelogue Begins and The First Day To pick up the tour from where we left off...Day One was spent in Andernach, Germany just getting a peek at the many of the  historical remnants left in a town that was founded by the Romans on the site of a Celtic settlement before 12 BC. Careful planning helps get everything accomplished. I was recently talking to another blogger about how we prepare for trips. Here's how we approach travel...When our time is unlimited ...

Musings: Do you feel connected to your body?

“Begin to see yourself as a soul with a body rather than a body with a soul.” Wayne Dyer Musings: Do you feel connected to your body? ... in what way? One of the great joys of blogging is that we make connections with other bloggers and visitors and learn news things; a comment, a blog post, an insight and voila! new vistas open for us. I followed a comment made by blogger creating reciprocity and found a wonderful post on her ...

London 2012 Olympics: Ceremonial Flowers

The 2012 Summer Olympics is well under way. Besides watching the athletes compete, fans can also look forward to the Victory Ceremonies for the medal winners. Along with the medal, the winning athlete also receives a ceremonial bouquet. Over 4000 floral bouquets will be presented over the course of the Games. The victory bouquet was designed by Jane Packer, an internationally renowned UK florist.  The flower choices represent the vibrancy of the Games. The four sections of the bouquet hold a different ...

The Final Spalding Flower Parade

They say all good things must come to an end. For the town of Spalding in Lincolnshire, UK, a good thing has come to an end. 2013 is the last and final year for The Spalding Flower Parade. Due to the lack of funding, the popular annual parade will not be returning. The parade started over 50 years ago to celebrate the beautiful tulips grown in the area. People far and wide come to see the elaborate parade floats at the ...

Creativity In Coromandel

When I was in Coromandel, well to be more precise, on the Coromandel Peninsula in New Zealand, recently, I had coffee at a place called Colville.  What’s at Colville then? Well not much actually – a Post Office, a General Store which seconds as a petrol station and this little coffee bar called the Green Schnapper Cafe  .Now I had to look it up on line and there seems to be a little controversy over the spelling of Schnapper.  Is ...

Weekend Extra: Weeding the Garden

Weekend Extra: Weeding the Garden

Armed with weed spray, trowel, shovel and gloves, I was determined to get rid of the dandelions in my backyard. Piling carcasses of weeds into the compost bin became a contest between my determination and the hardiness of the ‘lions’, but after an entire season I felt like I had won! As the weather grew colder last fall I looked out over a yard of green grass and flower beds filled with the remains of vegetables and flowers I had ...

I’m back and Ready to Write With Confusion

I’m back and Ready to Write With Confusion

First of all let me give you an update on my dad, since he is the reason I stopped blogging for a while.  He is doing much better, is now able to walk around with constant oxygen running.  He has about twenty percent of his heart muscle functioning but the good Lord has seen fit to let us keep him for awhile longer. Now on to the subject and hand.  My confusion over using comma‘s and conjunctions.  I thought I had ...

Please tell me what a Spring Bouquet is?

In Canada and the rest of the northern hemisphere, the first day of the spring season was March 20. The last day is June 19. Many people like to order “spring bouquets” not only when spring seems to be around the corner but even during the depths of winter. Lilac – a gardens spring bloom Trying to define a spring bouquet is not an easy task for a florist. Many will carry tulips, iris and maybe daffodils. They might have forsythia branches ...

Cat Sweater

A while ago, one of my doctors asked me knit her cat Kashmir, a seal point Siamese, a sweater.  I finally found the time to knit said cat sweater.  It looks sort of sad and pathetic here, but I hope that kitty gets to strut around in his new duds. The neck may seem skinny, but it's in ribbing as a mock turtleneck.  It has two holes for the front legs, and a nice, rounded out area for the chest.  I ...

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Sarita - Sunshine and Salad

Just Move On Already

“Well, now, you’ve just to get over it, don’t you?” she said kindly, and placed a card expressing her condolences on my desk. It was a question that required no response.

Get over it… over it… over it.

The words resounded silently as I absorbed them, and transformed them into a heavy mantra. No, that isn’t quite accurate. The words were a challenge.

When would I get over it?

Perhaps they should have been asking, could I get over it?

Or even more significantly, should I get over it?

It was my first day back at work after learning that my  younger sister died in an accident while riding her bike to work in New York City. I’d left the office abruptly on a Thursday afternoon, and hadn’t returned for several days. Her memorial service was held on a Monday. I may have gone back to work a few days later, or the following week. I honestly can’t remember.

A few days ago the American Psychiatric Association (APA) recently drafted new language to define clinical depression. It reads that “feelings of deep sadness, loss, sleeplessness, crying, inability to concentrate, tiredness and no appetite, should they continue for more than two weeks after the death of a loved one, could be diagnosed as depression, rather than normal grief reaction”.

Really.

We get fourteen days and then a diagnosis of mental illness if we’re not “over” it?

This is the kind of pretentious, professional madness that really ticks me off. Fortunately, I’m not alone. The Lancet, a leading medical journal, echoes my personal response to the APA decision to classify grief as an illness in a succinct editorial that you can read here. The wise words of Arthur Kleinman, a widower and writer for the Lancet, buried themselves into my soul as I read them.

“My grief, like that of millions of others, signaled the loss of something truly vital in my life. This pain was part of the remembering and maybe also the remaking. It punctuated the end of a time and a form of living, and marked the transition to a new time and a different way of living.”

So true.

Losing my sister ultimately pushed me into a world that was unfamiliar and unwelcome. Perhaps I have spent more time than is typical caught within the complexity that death brings… its questions and its tough non-answers. And I confess that four years after her death, I reluctantly accepted a PTSD-like diagnosis that was certainly due to the experience in which I suffered her loss in those early days, nights, weeks and months.

But is the answer to take two weeks  and then bring on the meds?

It is according to the American Psychiatric Association.

I say no way.

We cannot continue to treat heartbreak as a condition that we can “fix” with a handful of pills or a shot.

Grief is not an illness of the body nor of the mind. It is, rather, a condition of the body, mind and spirit.

What’s the difference?

Grief is experienced uniquely by millions of men, women and children in infinitely distinct ways.

Grief is unpredictable.

Grief comes and goes according to its own needs.

Grief hovers, like that special guest at the dinner table who lingers long after the last drink has been poured. Sitting at the bar at closing time, it’s the last guest to leave.

Grief is humbling in its ability to pursue you long after your loved one has died.

Grief is powerful in its aptitude to resurrect itself just when you think it has moved on.

Grief is expected, if not invited, into your home.

Grief doesn’t ask for permission to move into your heart. Grief knows that which only the bereaved truly understand.

Grief is a gentle friend when the world continues to tilt on its ever moving axis, and you’re feeling left behind.

Grief is a knife through the heart.

Grief is a journey. Grief never, ever truly says good bye.

And so when I’m encouraged to “get over it”, I say no. Not just yet. Perhaps not ever.

However.

Grief need not be the most important presence in the room, nor in my heart.

Grief needs to eventually learn its place in my life.

It’s my life, and it does not belong to Grief. I don’t take orders from the ever sad, ever sorrowful, ever angry presence, gentle or not.

I am well.

Bereaved people are well.

I suggest we allow those of us who have lost loved ones to linger a bit longer than two weeks in our grief. Let’s embrace grief as part of our journeys – unexpected, maybe. Unwelcome, certainly. But most definitely a part of the process to heal.

Linking up tonight with Things I Can’t Say!

Top Image: Wiki

Sarita - Sunshine and Salad

I’m a 30-something aspiring writer and full-time public health manager, mother of two young boys, and wife to my loving husband, whom I met as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Dominican Republic. Raised in northern Virginia, And of course, I write. I currently have two projects underway: 1) a nonfiction book proposal based on endurance sport and psychological transformation and 2) a memoir based on a profound and powerful experience that I continue to receive, welcome, resist, and accept in varying degrees.

3 comments to Just Move On Already

  • Thank you for your insightful article on grief. I read a wonderful piece by Christopher Lane, in the March issue of The Sun titled “On What’s Wrong With Modern Psychiatry.” He talks about many things, grief included, being added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manuel of Mental Disorders, [psychiatry's bible], as disease. The reasons being pharmacology. What was once, ‘the natural process’ of our emotional lives, is now pathology. Anywho, good for you in having the courage to Live through and with your grief.

  • Thank you very much for your thoughtful comments, and for the reference to Lane’s article. I will seek it out. Best wishes to you.

  • Hi,

    First off, I have to say that I am very sorry you had that experience with your co-worker. People can be so darned unfeeling when it comes to grief and loss. It’s as if they really don’t understand what’s going on in our heads. The DSM-V rubbish is another issue entirely. I’m completely in agreement with you that the bereaved should not be diagnosed as mentally ill after merely two weeks. I love your reflections on what grief is. I shall come back to this post as I approach the fifth anniversary of my best friend’s death.

    Best wishes,

    Casey

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