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Grief Dialogues In Newspaper

The Commercial Appeal, my former employer, published an article on Grief Dialogues: The Book and on my contribution to the publication. Raina Hanna did a fabulous job on the story, and I want to thank her. What an odd feeling to be IN the story, rather than on top in the byline.

I’m sharing the link below. I confess my computer skills aren’t top notch, so I hope the link works. If it doesn’t, you can still find the story in the Nov. 28 issue of the paper at http://www.commercialappeal.com.GD_Final_Book_Cover.V.6._01.13.indd

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Thanksgiving & Envy

It’s appropriate this week to thank you – to offer gratitude – to you. I’m thankful for reader friends and for those who support my writing in any way.

Whether it’s by following my blog or sharing a post, hitting “like” on social media, by showing up at a book signing, or by simply offering an encouraging word, I am grateful.

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Two of my best friends watch as I sign a book with my essay inside. I’m among 61 contributors to Grief Dialogues: The Book.

I recently read a post about envy. Isn’t that unusual, to think about envy during Thanksgiving, a time to express gratitude for what we have? I had to admit I had been guilty. I had wanted something that was someone else’s.

I think back to two years ago. I had wished I was one of those writers followed by thousands. One of the ones whose book had been picked up by a traditional publisher, with my book in a store. One of the golden few. And so when my memoir proposal was rejected by a top-name publisher, I was devastated, though I knew rejection was the norm. I took it personal.

I had a lot of good, wholesome reasons for my book to land in lots of hands. Or in anyone’s hands. But my envy was the fly that spoiled the soup.

I think envy may come from a few places, but for me it sprang from insecurity. I felt confident I could write a good news story, having been in the business for 25 years, but memoir writing was a different animal. Even though I received some great encouragement at a writing conference in 2016, I wasn’t sure I was good enough. I needed affirmation.

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A Bad Hair Day & My 1st TV Interview

UPDATE: The book event may be postponed due to inclement weather. Watch my social media sights & the blog Thursday for any changes.

UPDATE to the Update: We are on schedule. Please join me starting at 4 p.m. today at Master Jewelers, Olive Branch, Miss.

Of course, I was having a bad hair day. Or maybe it’s a bad hair life, nonetheless, this isn’t really about me but about taking grief and mourning out of the shadows.

The former mayor of Olive Branch, Miss., Sam Rikard, interviewed Elizabeth Coplan and me about Grief Dialogues: The Book. As I’ve written, I’m a contributor to this publication, the brainchild of Elizabeth, an author and playwright who resides near Seattle.

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This wasn’t a bad hair day. Always take extra photographs on good hair days. You may need them later.

Sam is called the Weather Mayor around here. He always wanted to be a weather man, and now in retirement, he is. He posted the YouTube link (below) to the interview immediately, and it will go on OBTV, a small station that broadcasts in Olive Branch, on today, Nov. 14. He was a great interviewer, and he’s at ease in front of a camera. Me? Not so much, but I’ve really been enjoying marketing the book this week. Read more

Book Signing & Child Grief Day

He called to me to get my attention – “Mom” – but I wasn’t sure I’d heard him correctly. I wasn’t his biological mom, but I wanted him to be attached to me in that way.

“What?” I asked. He shook his lowered head. “What did you say?”20180324_150814

He refused to repeat himself. I then realized he seemed embarrassed. He had spoken accidentally, and to my disappointment, he’d wished he hadn’t called me Mom at all.

Even in my youth of 25 years, even in my inexperience with grief, I assessed that he likely felt as if he’d been disloyal to his real mom. She had died months earlier, when he was 10.

Children’s Grief Awareness Day is on Nov. 15 this year. It falls on the calendar as the joyful togetherness of the holiday season approaches and punctuates the sense of the loss of loved ones.

To mark Children’s Grief Awareness Day, I’ll be at Master Jewelers in Olive Branch, Miss., to sign books. I’m one of 61 contributors to Grief Dialogues: The Book, the brainchild of author and playwright Elizabeth Coplan. Elizabeth and I found each other via Twitter while she was looking for contributions. She’s flying in and will do a reading at the Thursday afternoon event, and I will read from my entry, Standing in the Gap.

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Seeking Connection Thru Objects of the Dead

What do you hold onto that makes you feel close to your deceased loved one? Is it a shirt with their smell? A love letter? Or maybe it’s not an object but a shared cause or creed you foster.

Connection. We all seek it but in different ways. For a long time, I thought I was hugely different in my grief. I kept my parents’ home and their things for eight years. I went through every stitch, every piece of paper, every photograph, every junk drawer, and I felt them beside me. With me.

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Connection: We may feel close to our loved ones through their objects or place, but the barrier of death remains

I thought I was a bit weird. And then I noticed in the most popular posts and tweets a common thread – a search for, or a celebration of, connection. Connection gave comfort. It was an affirmation that love never died, or that perhaps the loved one was still around in some mystical way. By achieving connection, we seem to conquer death, if only for a moment.

How do we bridge that gulf, that space that death created?

We bridge it in dreams. We bridge it by putting up photographs of our parents, our grandparents, our husbands, our children. We bridge it by keeping their room just as it was. Or by engaging in a cause that was near to their hearts. We may run a race in their honor. We may go to their favorite places, or plant their favorite flower, or visit their favorite friend.

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