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Redeeming Twitter Theology

Italian Alps from Anesi, France Photo Credit: Mark Grace I just got through reading a wonderful, thought-provoking essay (okay, okay, a “blog post”) from Ryan Reed entitled “ReconsideringTwitter Theology.” Ryan's warning against trying to do theology on twitter is a marvelous example of what I think it means for Christians to engage the tools that technology has given us . . . Rather than uncritically accepting the tools and someday finding that they have become just another idol, like the bronze serpent Moses lifted ...

Plugins For Your Wordpress Blog...

I have been asked which plugins are a 'must have' for blogs. If you run WordPress I can give you a few ideas... This is a list of those that I use on all my sites and suggest others use as well. I actually use more depending on content but this is the short-list I believe useful on any site. Endless lists of plugins are available for just about anything and from anywhere, I suggest you go to the plugin site official page on WordPress, not ...

Because Some Children Just Don’t Play Well With Others…

Hello all. First I want to say that this blog has accumulated a following that I am proud of. It has gained a global reach and I thank each and every one of you for stopping by to see what is on my mind. I hope I have entertained you and will continue to bring you fresh ideas, viewpoints, and silliness that will lighten your load each day. Now…I HATE the secret word thingy that people have to fill in to ...

Meetup.com / Central Va Trailblazers/ Exercise For Body, Mind And Soul

Meetup.com / Central Va Trailblazers/ Exercise For Body, Mind And Soul

Meetup.com / Central Va Trailblazers/ Exercise For Body, Mind And Soul I recently discovered Meetup.com and signed up with several groups here in Richmond, Virginia. Meetup offers some useful guidelines for groups and activities in many different areas. My interests center around walking, exercise, being more sociable and photography. And so, last night I went downtown to join other members of Central Virginia Trailblazers on an introductory “icebreaker” 4.5 mile hike along the James River and over several bridges connecting the ...

Santa’s surprise for Piglet

Firstly, a belated happy New Year to my followers and a big thank you for all your comments and support during 2012. I’ve just returned from a family Christmas and New Year in England to discover Santa and his little Elves have left me a wonderful surprise in my absence! For those who have followed Piglet’s zucchini tales of woe over the last year will understand my excitement. (Don’t worry I’m easily pleased!) In desperation and determined to have one last try I ...

Raisins – I “wonder” why they have pips?

Post inspired by the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge This week’s theme is “Wonder” Lucky I tried them! Due to language challenges (which can also present problems when shopping) there is rarely a dull moment in the Piglet household and today was no exception! After my recent “oven” saga I was keen to bake my favourite carrot cake so I gathered all the ingredients together adding them to the mixing bowl as per the recipe. Now,  I don’t know what made me “steal” a ...

Share Your World #35

Share Your World, too! 1) Have you ever bungee jumped?  If you haven’t, would you want to? No, I have not and YES, I would love to try it. I suppose some people must enjoy this! The Bungee Jump attracted a fair number of victims – but most people at the “Hearing Dogs for Deaf People” http://www.hearingdogs.org.uk/ Summer Fayre simply decided that having a dog for a companion was far safer. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) 2) For your computer Mac or Windows based computer?  Desktop, laptop, Pad ...

Must See! Creepy Flower Skeleton Scultpures!

It’s the middle of the month and Halloween is quickly creeping up on us! If you aren’t quite in the mood to celebrate all things creepy and dark, maybe these creepy (yet mesmerizing!) flower-skeleton sculptures will get you in the mood! These Halloween-appropriate sculptures were created by Cedric Laquieze, a talented artist from Holland with a “fascination for organic materials and esthetic shapes.” The sculptures were made out of fake flowers and PVC animal skeleton replicas, which have included cat, dog, ...

Fun Flower Facts: Helenium (Sneezeweed)

Helenium (Sneezeweed) is a tall perennial plant native to North America valued for its brightly coloured daisy-like flowers with large, dark brown and yellow cone-like centers. Flowers come in shades of yellow, brown, orange and red. Plants grow to be 2-5 feet tall. Despite the common name, sneezeweed will not cause hay fever or sneezing fits. In fact, these vibrant, sun-loving flowers would be a lovely addition to the late-season garden, blooming from midsummer to fall. Helenium is easy to grow and ...

How to Pick the Freshest Flowers for Your Valentine

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. And being the romantic and caring person that you are, you want to give your Valentine some beautiful flowers this February 14th. Although you can simply and conveniently order flowers online or even over the phone, you’ve decided you would rather go to your local florist and hand pick the flowers this year because it’s more personal and meaningful! Here are some tips to picking out the freshest flowers at your local florist: Flower are ...

Some Tips on Photographing Flowers

Now that summer is here, there are many beautiful flowers in full bloom just waiting for you to take their portrait! With the popularity and ease of today’s digital cameras, it is no surprise that many gardeners have taken an avid interest in photography. Photographing flowers and plants is also a great way for beginners to learn about photography. Flowers and plants are interesting subjects; they come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and colours that is sure to create ...

How to press flowers

Pressing flowers and/or leaves is a fairly simple process, you just have to be a little bit patient! 1) Use absorbent paper like newspaper or paper towel. Don’t use paper with an embossed pattern as that will give a waffle like texture to the blooms. 2) Fold the paper in half and place the flowers you want to press in-between the fold. They will dry EXACTLY like you place them so ensure they are laid out without touching each other. If you ...

Authentic Curry Virgin!

Can you believe I was an authentic curry virgin? Sizzling Curry My friends, the curry addicts, could not understand how I’d managed to reach the ripe old age of xx and had never eaten at an authentic Indian restaurant. In fact, they thought I was joking when I informed them the number of curries I’d eaten in my entire life, cooked at home, parties or otherwise, could be counted on one hand! Anyone else not tried an authentic Indian curry? To be honest, I’d ...

Our Visit to Royal M Farm

My wife and I wanted to see for ourselves what Scottish Highland were like and have a chance to talk with in person  a farmer who raises them to see if all they say about Highlands are true. This is part of our education process to becoming farmers. All the reading of farm books and magazines do not replicate to actually talking to a farmer who is doing what we want to do. I looked on line and found the American Highlands ...

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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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