Tag Archives: Mary M. McCambridge

The Innocence of Babes

I had the privilege recently of speaking with a man who, once he learned of my work, told me a very interesting story.

It seems that both he and his father had been veterans and it had been many years since he was able to visit his father’s grave several states away.

During that time he had finished his deployment overseas, had married and seen the birth of his first child, a daughter who was now 3 and a ball of energy.

It was a melancholy trip since neither his wife nor daughter had ever met his father when his Dad was alive and that saddened him.

But the true joy came when they were walking to the gravesite and as they got closer their little daughter started to wave to the sky. This caused both he and his wife to look at each other with quizzical looks on their faces.

His daughter started to say “Hi…Hi…Hi.” And she nodded her head and seemed quite happy.

This veterans asked if I thought she was seeing her grandfather and I replied that I definitely believed that was the case.

I have personally, as have many I have known, witnessed what others would call ‘strange’ situations when you know the spirit of those who have died were kind enough to visit to bring comfort to those of us who are still living.

He told me that, yes, both he and his wife were thinking that too and it brought them such joy to know that his daughter was able to see his father after all.

When things like this happen, we might find ourselves questioning and perhaps even afraid. But if you look at it in a slightly different way, it can bring you a sense of comfort and confirmation that they are doing well and have come to let you know this. Consider it a beautiful event, similar to when you dream about your loved one. An event that can bring comfort to your soul.

Holiday Grief: Invitations

holiday_grief_hi_res JPG Cover FINALHoliday Grief Tip # 3

Each year we receive numerous invitations to gather with family and friends. And when you’re in the thick of grieving a loved one’s death or other significant loss, there is always an uneasiness as to how to handle these invitations.

Sometimes you’ll feel especially interested in getting out and seeing everyone again. Sometimes you think there is no way you could get yourself energized enough to partake in these events.

There is a solution. If you have a business party or dinner, family or friend gathering, you can simply accept the invitation with conditions.

Let your host know that this has been a difficult time of year since the death of your spouse, child, etc. and tell them you’d like to accept their kind invitation on the condition that if you feel it’s just too much for you on that day, that they will understand your not making it to the event.

You might also add that if you do come by and feel it’s too much for you, you might choose to leave a little earlier and hope that would also be acceptable to them.

This way you have an out, either way. You can attend and leave early or you can decide against it at the last minute.

Either way you have at least graciously communicated with your host and let them know you appreciated their gesture, while reducing your anxiety and stress during the holiday season.

My book Holiday Grief: How To Cope with Stress, Anxiety and Depression After a Loved One’s Death is available now by clicking here.

How have you handled Christmas/Holiday invitation during your grieving process?

Sandy Hook, Newtown, CT: One Year Later

The first anniversary of the Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, CT holds difficult emotions for the families, friends and school staff, as well as its community. Dealing with the pain of loss for the first full year is never easy.

When we approach an anniversary, we relive all the little moments before the tragedy and try to trick ourselves into thinking that person is still with us. On the days leading up to the anniversary, we, at least, get to think “the week before we were baking Christmas cookies” or “the day before we were decorating the tree.”

But once the actual first anniversary occurs, we don’t get to have that luxury any longer and we can’t fool ourselves. We can no longer say, at this time last year we were doing this or that. And that reality bring sorrow.

The first anniversary is never an easy day to live through but sometimes the anticipation is much more stressful than the actual happenings of the day itself.

I’ve known so many families (and I’ve had this experience, too) tell me they made the experiences of the day so much greater in their head than they turned out to be.

They thought they’d be devastated, but somehow it turned out to be a lot lighter than they thought it would be. It became a day of remembering the person, than how they died.

It became a day of thinking of all the fun times they spent together and being grateful for those times instead of allowing themselves to succumb to the events of that day.

So my thoughts are with the families of this small Connecticut town today and do hope that they can look for the happiness they held in the relationship they shared with their loved one and not the way they died.

Yes, it can be hard, but moving toward gratitude for those happy years spent together, will always outweigh a moment in time that can never be changed.

To read my blogs from last year when this tragedy occurred, go here. As a stepmother of an 11 year old who was murdered, I wrote them from the perspective of a grieving mother of a murdered victim.

Review: May He Rest in Peace

menorah-star-15686513There are a lot of sites online dealing with grief; some are written by people who truly have lived through a personal crisis and will share their experiences, and others who just try to teach you in a professorial mode.

When I found www.mayherestinpeace.com, I was so happy to see that here you are welcomed to make a memorial website for your loved one. And I was additionally grateful to know it was created by a man who has experienced grief on several levels.

David Goldshtein began this site about a year ago to help others through the grieving process. His father, Michael, died at the age of 84 after ten years of illness, having struggled with cancer, kidney disease, etc. And although the doctors told him several times he was at the end of his life, he never gave up, instead pressing on. As a holocaust survivor, he understood the meaning of fighting to live.

His mother has been struggling with Alzheimers for the past ten years. At the young age of only 17, her parents were sent to a labor camp in Siberia by the Russian Government, leaving her to learn to survive as the daughter of political prisoners.

David’s family’s journey has made him sensitive to grief and as he moves into his forties, he had a desire to celebrate their lives and the challenges they overcame by building a wonderful website that would not only house his memories of his Dad, but to give all of us a place to honor our loved ones who had died or were killed.

I am delighted, as Hanukkah, the festival of lights, begins for the Jewish people this year, to share May He Rest In Peace, for you to honor your loved ones.

In addition, David shares articles (which I will contribute to), books on grief (he’s graciously added my Understanding Your Grieving Heart After a Loved One’s Death), and several other areas which will help you on your journey.

Take the time this weekend to visit his site and look around. David Goldshtein has developed a lovely place to not only learn about the grieving process, but to share the life of those we’ve lost and loved.

My newest book, Holiday Grief: How to Cope with Stress, Anxiety and Depression After a Loved One’s Death is now available here.

Why Murder Never Goes Away

I can’t help but think about all the families affected today by the media reports that the Libya’s dictator, Moammar Gadhafi is dead.

All the families around the world whose lives were irreparably damaged by the commands and actions of this man will once again be thrown into the past revisiting horrific memories of sorrow and loss.

The closest to me, as fellow memories of survivors of homicide groups at the time, were the families of the Syracuse University students who were simply returning a few days before Christmas on Pan Am 103 in December, 1988. These young people had enjoyed a wonderful semester abroad and were coming home for the holiday season through New York’s JFK airport. But they never made it.

It took decades for these 270 victims’ families to get the cooperation of our own government to press for those responsible for the downing of this aircraft and it all led back to Gadhafi. And little justice was ever achieved.

Only months ago, the man supposedly responsible was released from prison because he was terminally ill. After all, we must be compassionate, now shouldn’t we?

As the news of Gadhafi’s death starts to move onto the airwaves, it will only be a few hours until the famous picture of the nose of Pan Am 103 will be up in all forms of media, thus bringing back the sad memories for these families.

I remember specifically one mother whose son was killed on Pan Am 103 and also a student at Syracuse University in upstate New York, telling me how every time she saw that picture of the plane’s nose, it pierced her heart. It brought all the pain and memories back again. It just never seemed to go away.

Well it’s been nearly 23 years since she and the other families both in the United States and those killed on the ground in Lockerbie, Scotland have memorialized their loved ones.

Today, all that pain, all those memories will rush back in.

But I’d like to believe that instead, these US families and families all around the world who were affected by the orders of this ruthless killer, will finally feel some sense of justice, relief and satisfaction today, with the death of this vicious man.