Loss and Grief

Post image for Moving Forward through Forgiveness – Part 1

“To forgive and forget” is a prevailing idiom in our culture, but for most of us it is hard for us to truly let go and move forward in our lives. When dealing with a conflict, we need to let go of a past hurt, so that we can propel ourselves to a place of higher understanding and loving awareness. Forgiveness means giving up the anger or suffering of the past and being willing to forge ahead with far greater potential for inner freedom. As Mahatma Ghandi once said, “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”

A stunning example of how forgiveness can transform anger and hurt into healing and peace is the incredible story of DUI awareness advocates Renee Napier and Eric Smallridge. In 2002, [click to continue…]

Post image for Strategies for Giving Thanks in the Face of Hardship

The holiday season is a time of joy and a time of stress. The pressure to be exuberant amidst winter’s darkness often leads to a feeling of disconnect for many. This year is especially difficult, as Hurricane Sandy came hurling to the Northeast region leaving the ravages of flooding, loss of power for millions, billions of dollars in damaged homes and businesses, and lost lives. How do we feel grateful in the face of loss?

So many that have faced the devastation of Sandy have also been blessed by the loving kindness of others. The truth is our lives are composed of a constellation of complicated feelings and they come bubbling forth at a time like this, even if [click to continue…]

Post image for Evolution Through Authenticity

Personal transformation happens through authentic connection with others. When we feel loved, valued and included, we are empowered to find personal meaning and realize our greatest potential.

Sadly, many of us believe that we are alone in our uniqueness, in our vulnerabilities, in our failings; so we choose to isolate ourselves from others. We especially hide from those people we perceive as having their lives in better order, rather than exposing our [click to continue…]

Post image for Shock and Tragedy Strikes Our Little Community

While most of us were celebrating the July 4th weekend with friends and family, barbecuing, watching fireworks and ushering in the summer, a teenage girl was brutally murdered. The chilling death of 18-year-old Lauren Astley appears to have been at the hands of her former 18-year-old boyfriend, Nathaniel Fujita. Both teens come from Wayland, Massachusetts, which I often refer to as “Pleasantville”–simply because nothing much seems to happen here. Our little enclave feels like a safe haven from [click to continue…]

Post image for Change and Transition: Pain and Possibility

Whether we realize it or not, we are constantly in a state of flux. We awaken to the idea of change or transition when we are struck by something significant – loss, divorce, illness, vacation, birth, or death… Suddenly our worlds have shifted. We see and interpret events through a different lens, perhaps for the moment, perhaps forever.

Change shifts us from one state of being to another. Whether physical, emotional, situational, or spiritual, the human experience is about being in transition. Change is natural and inevitable. It can lead to improvement [click to continue…]

Post image for The Hardest Loss of All

The short conversation on the phone left my husband, Martin with a look of shock. “What was that about?” I asked. Martin stood in silence, took some forced deep breaths and softly spoke. “There’s been an accident. A terrible accident.” As it turned out, one of my son, Max’s dear childhood friend was killed in a car crash hours before. He left a party in the early morning hours feeling it would be safe to drive. He got into his car, still slightly intoxicated from the night before neglecting to put on his seat beat. He drove off and almost immediately crashed into a tree.  He wanted to get home; it was such a short distance. This was a great kid who made a terrible decision.

My son was on his way to a concert in Boston, ready to savor his last night in town and then finish up the packing [click to continue…]


Years ago I conducted workshops and seminars to physicians at the Boston University School of Medicine. The well-attended meetings were about “Who Takes Care of the Physician?” This subject continues to warrant attention, however I’ve come to realize that nurses, aides, home health care providers and our reliable family members, also need to be cared for. They too need tools for their own self-care during these stressful times.

Of course the primary focus is on the sick or post-operative patient, but little attention is paid to the family members that are in the trenches day in and day out with their loved ones. The responsibilities thrust upon the spouses and children can be not only overwhelming, but disorienting [click to continue…]

Post image for Dealing with a Difficult Medical Diagnosis

Getting a difficult medical diagnosis is challenging at best. Elizabeth Kubler Ross wrote extensively about the five stages of grief that accompanies the experience of loss. Although her work originally described the reaction to the death of a loved one, the same cycle applies to those experiencing health issues [click to continue…]

Sandra Bullock and Jesse James at the Oscars

Given the recent revelations about the Sandra Bullock and Jesse James scandal and the less recent revelations about Tiger Woods, it is impossible to escape the age-old topic of infidelity. [click to continue…]

Earthquake victim being helped in Haiti

Everyone is talking about the disaster on Tuesday night that struck the capital of Haiti and the surrounding areas where approximately two million people live. The 7.0 magnitude earthquake essentially destroyed the capital. The death toll may reach tens of thousands of residents and those visiting the island nation. One geophysicist said the earthquake’s power rivaled that of several nuclear bombs.

Correspondents in Port Au Prince and its suburbs reported whole blocks of collapsed buildings, with bodies lining the road as Haiti awaits assistance. People are disoriented and desperately seeking medical attention, water, food, shelter and electricity. [click to continue…]

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Photos directly above by Laura Bergstein, all rights reserved; Portrait Photography of Dr.Randy Kamen by Janet Wolbarst Photography www.janetwolbarst.com