Category Archive


Losing a sibling as a teen changed my feelings about parenthood

My thoughts about parenting have generally existed in a continuum that ranges from, “I definitely don’t want kids” to “Kids seem like this fantasy thing” all the way to “If I have kids, I’ll do this …” But no where in those ricocheting and often short-lived conceptions of potential parenting has there ever been a moment where I’ve thought, “Yes, I’ll have kids.” Mostly, I’ve been wading about in the gray for a long time. And for the most part, the question-and-answer game of my parenting or non-parenting future exists in a way that is anxious, but non-pressing. And a great deal of it, I now realize, stems from my most well-known observations of parenting, a lifetime spent watching my own amazing, instinctive, and infinitely nurturing mother raise her two children, and then watching her lose and grieve one.

Living in your home after a death

Nine months ago I was sitting at this very laptop, surrounded by every other laptop we had in the flat (all of which were logged into different Facebook accounts), plus address books, and lists of names, and my mobile phone had never seen so much use in its life.

My fiancé had passed away early that morning and we’d just finished letting everyone know.

My step-mom stepped in after my mom died and helped me find my life again

I never expected to call anyone my step-mom. To have a step-mom means your dad got divorced and he remarried or his wife died. In my case, it was the latter. My mom died when I was nineteen, meaning that my dad would likely remarry at some point. About two years after my mom’s death he met a woman who would become my step-mom. Two years may sound like a long time, but in “grief time” it might as well have been two months. Is anybody truly ever ready to accept the person who might try to replace her mom?

How can I talk about death with my young child?

Before my daughter was born, two of my sisters had stillborn sons at full term. We still routinely mention the boys, and there are pictures of them in my sisters’ houses. At some point my daughter is going to start asking about who they were and what happened to them, and I’m completely at a loss for how to answer her questions.

Four not-bummer ways to keep a memorial in the home

Since we covered memorials for missing pets, I’ve been thinking about similarly not-completely-sad ways to keep the memory of a human loved on close. I mean, if you have a gigantor oil painting of Great Aunt Emma, that’s one way to remember her at her smiling best — but if not?

When a pet dies, what do you do with it?

In preparation of the sad time that a pet dies, how will you… deal with his remains? I’ve rounded up seven ways to bury/honor/deal with a dead pet, but first I need you all to do me a favor…

Books that explain death and loss to kids

I wasn’t really cruising for a kid’s book about death and/or loss when I found City Dog, Country Frog at our library — honestly, Jasper’s just so into dogs and frogs and any kind of animal that all it took was a quick glance at the cover and I was sold. I really had no idea what the content of the book was until our first read-through.

Everybody deals with death differently: my advice for how to talk to those of us who’ve lost a child

At the dentist, getting my nails done, meeting new people, often times the fact that I have a son who has passed away (how’s that one sound?) ends up coming up in the conversation. I worry about it often because it’s not something most people are prepared to handle talking about. Should you be overly sympathetic? Ignore it?