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Grief Healing Discussion Groups


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  • Your relationship to the individual who died
  • Date of Death
  • Name/Location of Hospice if they were involved:
    Hospice Compassus Sedona, AZ

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  • Your gender
  • Location (city, state)
    Sedona, AZ
  • Interests
    Lena (my therapy cat), Playing music (cello, ukulele, classical guitar, etc.), Watercolors, Ceramics, Flowers-growing and painting them

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  1. We met at the synagogue. She is actually the current president of the board and was being very careful about not stepping out of bounds, while I was cautious in my own way. So we knew and were watching each other with some interest from opposite sides of the synagogue for about a year and a half. After the pandemic got going we started talking on the phone a LOT and things progressed rather quickly.
  2. The most amazing development has occurred in my life. I have fallen in love and am getting married next Tuesday, June 23 around sunset. Due to the pandemic restrictions, it will be a tiny Jewish wedding on a patio of the house we now share, with only the two of us, the Rabbi and her husband, and a close friend who is a fabulous baker and cook as well as a photographer. His wife is a person who can do anything, and will serve as our matron of honor. My beloved is named Helen and she is the cat's meow. We have been floating in a lagoon of bliss, and the better we get to know each other the more we discover that we have in common, and we are equally ecstatic as we anticipate a future together.
  3. Thank you. He was a wonderful person who touched the lives of a lot of people.
  4. I haven't been on the site for a while. It's been a brutal school year for work. Then, I went back to visit my sisters and attend a professional conference in February, and as soon as I was starting to get my feet back under me the world as we knew if dissolved and things seem in free fall. People are grieving things they never imagined a person could grieve, such as going to the grocery store and walking around anywhere you wanted in there. It seems to me that the world has turned into a pool of grief that surrounds everything and everyone. People are so immersed in grieving they don't even focus on it, like people don't talk about being wet in a swimming pool. Grief is everywhere and everything
  5. Thank you. I have missed him already as he has declined from dementia, but now he really is gone. I have heard it said that eventually we will all know someone who has died of COVID-19. I thought it for me it would be likely to be someone I knew, but barely. To lose Herb like this is really painful, especially since he died alone and none of us could go to be with him at the end or even to be together afterwards. Everyone who loved Herb is alone or in their little groups scattered all over. I know that this is what is going on all over the world, but I never anticipated that it would hit so close to me. This is my second family. The world is a darker place now.
  6. Thank you. It really is a loss. Grief is strange. I haven't actually seen Herb in several years, and he left us gradually over a period that lasted for years, but somehow it was different when he was still living and breathing. Death is so final...
  7. Herb died last night. I'm not sure what to even call him. He was my Jewish father, the man who taught me what it meant to be culturally Jewish. He was my adopted and surrogate father, the man who was always there for me and the rest of the family, even in the days when I had minimal contact with my family of origin. Herb was amazing and it seemed like he knew everything and how to do anything. He taught physics at Occidental College in L.A. for many years, and before that taught all of the math and science courses at Deep Springs College, in Big Pine, CA, a two year college where students attend college courses while also learning how to run a working ranch. Not only was he able to teach any college course in math or science, he could have taught world history or photography, or a host of other subjects. He had a great sense of humor, played the guitar and could sing or talk in Yiddish, Spanish, and several other languages. He could design or repair anything, and had creative and sometimes bizarre - but workable - solutions for anything and everything. You could call him or sit down with him and pose some question, and he would launch forth on a lecture of close to an hour with entirely information that he pulled out of his vast memory. He was a true mensch and loved his family and friends, of which he had many. He was a humanitarian and a feminist; there was nothing about him that was sexist, racist, agist, or prejudiced in any way. He was kind and generous, and the smartest person I have only known. He is a lost to the world, and most especially to those close to him. I have tons of pictures of him explaining something to his daughter, his niece, to me, or someone, gesturing with his hands and talking with intensity. That seems like ages ago and like yesterday. Herb had been declining for several years from dementia and the person that I knew 25 years ago has been mostly gone for a while. Ten years ago he would say he couldn't rememberer all of the details about some thing you had asked him about. Four years ago he stopped driving from Pasadena to Sedona because he was relying on his wife's memory for driving. Two years he could no longer read a clock, but could carry on a basic conversation and remembered the people who were close to him. A year ago he was moved to a memory care unit, but was still under the same roof as the independent living apartment his wife lived in. Six months ago he spent his life facing the door waiting for her visits twice a day. Two months ago his wife suffered a major and then a minor stroke. One month ago, their daughters coaxed his wife out of Pasadena to go live in Oakland with the younger daughter, because they were terrified that they were going to lose both parents. A week or two ago he tested positive for Coronavirus and was placed on Hospice care. And now Herb is gone. He had some FaceTime sessions with family during his last days as he was slipping in and out of consciousness. He has been slipping away from us for years, but there is a terrible finality to his actual death. The world is not the same place without Herb in it.
  8. Oh yeah - Lena was quite the vocalist, from the very getgo, which is how she got her name. They were calling her Mena, which I thought was a terrible name, but they said that she answered to it. I figured that to name her after Lena Horne would be perfect for such a beautiful black feline as my furry darling. And she sure grew into her name as she went on from a YouTube star to the big screen. I later realized I could have named her anything and she would have figured it out quickly. How is your puppy doing? Can I see a picture?
  9. Now we're all slogging through this pandemic. It's so weird to wake up to a new world every morning. I'm guessing my dad is glad he doesn't have to deal with this. But what I hear from him is rather calming...I hear him telling me to be careful with my money, be careful on the ladder, watch out not to fall, etc. My roof was leaking and it was raining almost every day. The roofer came to patch it up in between storms and eventually really fixed it. The problem dated back to the HOA taking all of the tiles off the back half of my building and replacing it with a very poorly put together roof 10 years ago. I was on the HOA board at the time and argued against it. It seemed like a bad idea to replace a perfectly good roof with one that could be shoddy. They told me I was crazy, because I would have a new roof. The prop mgr and rest of the board all voted against me, but they were wrong and this is my second related leak. I was up and down the ladder wearing a raincoat and using puppy pads and warming lights to dry things, and everything else I could think of for ten days, but thanks to focused perseverance and a lot of puppy pads, it stayed dry enough to not mold. Today my friend Greg came down and helped me cut drywall and insulation for the hatch so that I don't have a gaping hole into the attic. It was really drafty in here for awhile. I would start getting a sore throat and think I had COVID-19, and then realize I had been up there with all that fiberglass and forgotten my mask. I have been pretty busy with the leak and working on how to get some food going out back in my tiny back yard so I don't starve if there is a big lockdown. Meanwhile, my income has totally dried up, but I have been too tired to panic. I'm trying really hard to get 8 hours of sleep every night. But then, suddenly the district in Alaska wants me to work with the kids at home via the internet or by phone if they don't have the internet. This is good. They are also working on getting more schools to do distance therapy and psychoeducational evaluations. That is good too. Tomorrow I'm off to the greenhouse first thing to get some more little plants to get in the back yard. A neighbor asked me if this green thumb and reaction to a problem by growing some food was something I inherited from my dad. First I said no, then realized it was absolutely what he would have done in this situation. Get the roofer going, do everything possible to keep the inside from getting moldy, keep scanning the horizon for work, shifting gears or direction if necessary, going for walks in the sunshine, and engineering a garden to maximize the potential to grow some food. I sure wish he was here, but in a way he is here because he is part of me. And I have Lena. I am revamping her training so that she is more active in participating in her new role as a teletherapy cat, getting her to talk on the phone more consistently. People love talking to a cat who talks back over the phone. Or the internet...
  10. It is so sad to lose a beloved pet, and to lose one with whom you grew up with must be especially hard, because he was always there for you. I feel for you.
  11. It's hard to help children with grief, I think, because it's hard to know what they are thinking. I have added an LCSW license in Alaska to my repertoire and am counseling over the internet with students on the Bering Strait of Alaska. These kids have been through so much, sometimes it's hard to know what to think or say to help them. I sure hope I can help them, because they have been through so much and had so much loss. One of my students is nine and in the third grade. I saw him last Friday and he as full of plans for his beloved bunny rabbits - his two pets - and how he planned to build them a hutch in the summer so that they could enjoy the outdoors but be protected. Wednesday he told me, "My bunny rabbits died." I was asking him what happened and kind of imagining something really terrible, but what he said was in a way, worse. He said that he thought they had died from not enough water because he noticed that their water bottle had run dry. He feels responsible for his pets' death, and it is heartbreaking. He said he figured he would never again have a pet like that again. Maybe a hermit crab, he said. There is nothing like a fluffy fur baby. I think it's really unrealistic to give a nine-year-old sole responsibility for any pet because they are children. Good for them to do the tasks, but someone should be looking over their shoulder, I think. I was working on doing origami foxes with some of the students that day, but the book also had a rabbit design. He said he would really like to learn how to fold a bunny rabbit because it might help him feel a little better. We had a little trouble because it's harder than the fox, and the rabbits didn't come out right. I promised that by Friday I would have figured it out and we would fold bunny rabbits. I emailed his teacher the directions so that he and I could both study the directions and be successful with our bunny rabbits tomorrow. They are looking good, but helping a child with this kind of thing when I can reach my hand out to assist is a new challenge. Here you can see Lena reviewing them. I introduce her as "my assistant". She is now a virtual therapy cat and comes onscreen to say hello and have a bite of chicken or shrimp. I'm not sure if it helps to have a therapy cat online, but they have a counselor who's online, and they seem to really love seeing her. You can also see my online setup on the other picture. One of my students is on the Autism Spectrum and very concrete. He is convinced that I must be in China, due to the screen. I keep explaining about how I am in Arizona and kind of near the Grand Canyon, but he's not sure about that.
  12. That is really terrific, Kay!
  13. Kay, I am so happy to hear that you have a puppy and are enjoying him. No one will ever be able to replace our lost loved ones, but there are others with whom we can share our lives. I can't imagine ever losing Lena, but I know that I am likely to live longer than she. As much as I fear having to one day live without her, it is more unimaginable to contemplate living without a cat. I lived through fifteen pet-less years due to allergies and asthma that worsened through the years in a big polluted city. After moving to a place with clean air, I was ecstatic to find Lena and learn that I would be able to live with a cat again. I wanted to share her with the world, and in a way I have. I am happy and grateful every day that I have her. The last thing I do every night is to have a snuggle-purr fest with her, and say to her, "Thank you for being my kitty." I hope she lives a long time and no cat could ever replace her. On the other hand, it is worse to have no pet.
  14. That is so sad! It is so hard to lose a pet, and that was so sudden! I feel for you.
  15. Awww...that is very sad. It is really hard to lose pets. They can be such fabulous friends, and it's really heart-wrenching to lose them. It's hard to not blame yourself or wonder what else you might have done. They just don't have a good way to tell us when something is wrong. Cats are even worse in this than dogs - they are masters al looking their best no matter how sick they are. Twelve years is a long time to have a friend and lose him...
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