What Now?

From Ann Patchett‘s “What Now?“~
“What now? is not just a panic-stricken question tossed out into a dark unknown. What now? can also be our joy. It is a declaration of possibility, of promise, of chance. It acknowledges that our future is open, that we may well do more than anyone expected of us, that at every point in our development we are still striving to grow. There’s a time in our lives when we crave the answers. It seems terrifying not to know what’s coming next. But there is another time, a better time, when we see our lives as a series of choices, and What now? represents our excitement and our future, the very vitality of life. It’s up to you to choose a life that will keep expanding…

If you’re trying to find out what’s coming next, turn off everything you own that has an OFF switch and listen. Make up some plans and change them. Identify your heart’s truest desire and don’t change that for anything. Be proud of yourself for the work you’ve done.”

This is an excerpt from a commencement speech that author Ann Patchett gave at her alma mater ~ Sarah Lawrence College. But as I read this less-than-a hundred-pages book, I heard a message for anyone who is puzzling through what life-after-loss looks like …


“Nobody’s going to do your life for you. You have to do it yourself, whether you’re rich or poor, out of money or raking it in, the beneficiary of ridiculous fortune or terrible injustice. And you have to do it no matter what is true. No matter what is true. No matter what is hard. No matter what unjust, sad, sucky things have befallen you. Self pity is a dead-end road. You make the choice to drive down it. It’s up to you to decide to stay parked there or to turn around and drive out. ” – Cheryl Strayed, Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar

Rainbows for All Children

The founder of Rainbows for All Children ~ Suzy Marta Yehl ~ died this week. Rainbows’ mission is “Giving Children and teens the guidance to grieve and grow after loss.” She wrote the book “Healing the Hurt, Restoring the Hope”.

Here is a summary of the Rainbows for All Children mission: “Rainbows is the largest international children’s charity dedicated solely to helping youth successfully navigate the very difficult grief process. Every day, children are touched by emotional suffering caused by a death, divorce, deployment of a family member, incarceration of a loved one, or any of a multitude of significant event traumas including natural or manmade disasters. And, while a few children are resilient, we know that most do not bounce back without help.

Children need guidance and compassion to prevent a loss event from literally defining their lives through later destructive choices. In fact, research proves that unresolved grief leaves kids vulnerable to major at-risk behaviors.

Since our founding in 1983, over 2.7 million children and teens throughout 50 United States and 18 other countries have been helped and supported by Rainbows programs.”

Visit www.rainbows.org to see if there is a Rainbows program in your area.

Unresolved Issues

“When unresolved issues are writing our life story, we are not our own autobiographers; we are merely recorders of how the past continues, often without our awareness, to intrude upon our present experience and shape our future directions.” – Daniel Siegel, MD

Grief Defined

“Grief is the constellation of internal thoughts and feelings when someone we love dies. Think of grief as the container. It holds all of your thoughts feelings, and images of your experience when you are bereaved. Grief is the internal meaning given to the experience of loss.”
– Alan Wolfelt, PhD, Understanding Your Grief

Visit amazon for a list of more than 20 books written by Dr. Wolfelt. Visit his Website to learn about his work at Center for Loss in Fort Collins, Colorado.

I Will Not Forget You

“The truest words of all: I will not forget you. You are in my waking thoughts, my sweetest memories, my dearest dreams. I will not forget you. You have touched my soul, opened my eyes, changed my very experience of the universe. I will not forget you. I see you in the flowers, the sunset, the sweep of the horizon and all things that stretch to infinity. I will not forget you. I have carved you on the palm of my hand. I carry you with me forever.”
– Ellen Sue Stern, Living With Loss, 1995