I MISS HIS TOUCH

Maybe it is the fact that I have recently moved from the home Peter and I lived in for so many years, or the awareness of my own vulnerability, but I am experiencing more feelings of loss than usual.  I know that dealing with house deeds, movers, and finances can elicit high levels of anxiety. […]

A FAMILY WEDDING ALONE

When my adored, amazing niece Ellie got engaged this year I was overjoyed.  Peter had known her fantastic boyfriend Simon, who is a kind and handsome dude, and picture perfect for my niece.  They are yin and yang to each other, and I reveled in the fact that they too would have an epic love […]

SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO?

It has been over three years since Peter died, and I have learned to be OK while rambling around in my big house.  I sleep on one side of the bed and since I don’t thrash around at night, bed-making is a cinch, particularly when I toss the duvet right on top of any wrinkles […]

NO MAN IS AN ISLAND

“No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as any manner of thy friends or of thine own were; any […]

GRIEF AND THE HEDONIC TREADMILL

The “Hedonic Treadmill” is a term coined in 1971, by two psychologists named Brickman and Campbell, who espoused the theory that a person’s level of happiness remains at a set point throughout their lifetime, despite achievements and setbacks. They posited that as a person makes more money through a job, or even a windfall such […]

THANATOPHOBIA AND THE FEAR OF LOSING SOMEONE YOU LOVE

Thanatophobia is an anxiety triggered by constant thoughts of either one’s own death, or a loved one’s demise.  When I was a child, I was left alone a great deal of the time, and I can remember having overwhelming feelings about my death that flowed through me in undulating waves.  The emotions were often overpowering, […]

In Blog
Posted

MY RADIO SHOW ON THE WOMEN’S EYE

TWE Radio: Author Laurie Burrows Grad On Grief, Widowhood and Recovering from Loss If you would like to sign up for my blogs follow this link: http://lauriegrad.com/newsletter-signup/ My book about grief THE JOKE’S OVER, YOU CAN COME BACK NOW: How This Widow Plowed Through Grief and Survived is finally up on Amazon. It has been […]

BEATING A DEAD HORSE, OR AT LEAST THE WORD DEAD

People are afraid to use the word “dead.”  They refer to death instead as passed away; gone to other pastures; departed; resting in peace; in a better place; and other silly euphemisms and secret code words for finality.  Perhaps people are superstitious, and too scared something awful will befall them if they use the word […]

CONTINUING BONDS: No, Not Municipal Bonds!

Grief is still a four-letter word in my vocabulary, and one that often rhymes with muck, but I have learned to use grief in a positive way to plow forward on my journey towards a modicum of restoration in my life. I have learned that there is no “normal” way to grieve. Grievers are like […]

RECALIBRATING YOUR GRIEF: My Grieving Toolbox

When I first became a widow, I was stuck in the wilderness of grief.  All the old pathways were destroyed, the signposts were gone, the bridges to happiness had collapsed, and all the roads were dead-ends to nowhere.  I had to re-draw the maps and recalibrate my guide to restoration. Recalibration is not an easy […]

BUILDING STRENGTH AND RESILIENCE IN GRIEF

Resilience is not a protective shield that we put up to prevent us from pain. Resilience allows us to feel the pain, the anger, and the angst, and move through these emotions to get to the other side of grief. Resilience is about marshaling all our resources to find the energy and stamina to make […]

GRIEVE AND GROW OR GRIEVE AND GO

“Good grief” is a term that I associate with the Peanuts characters, specifically Charlie Brown with his hands above his head yelling through the caption on top of his head!  Good grief is an oxymoron.  How can grief be a good thing?  I researched how this dichotomy of phrase came to be and found that […]

THE PHOENIX RISING FROM THE ASHES OF GRIEF

“As the legend goes, when the Phoenix resurrects from the flames, she is even more beautiful than before.” ― Danielle LaPorte As early as 500 B.C., legends decreed that the ancient mythical creature, the phoenix, a legendary bird, would live for 500 years.  Near the end of its life, the phoenix would build a funeral […]

YOU’RE STRONGER THAN YOU THINK

There is something you must always remember. you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. – Winnie the Pooh Finding strength in grief is no easy task. You are aware that this is probably the worst thing that will befall you, but somehow you find the strength to […]

THE DUALITY OF A GRIEVING HEART

“There is no such word as ‘loved.’ Love has no past tense. If you ever stop loving someone, then you never truly loved them in the first place.” – unknown Duality is defined as the circumstance or condition of being dual. It is an instance of opposition or contrast between two concepts. It is the […]

A GLIMMER OF HOPE

“There is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”- William Shakespeare After the two-year mark of Peter’s death, I was hit with a profound sadness that I couldn’t overcome.  The first year was spent just “getting through” the pain. The second year was struggling to absorb reality and its heartbreaking ramifications. But in […]

IMPERMANENCE IN GRIEF

“Nothing endures but change” Heraclitus Everything is predisposed to change.  Every aspect of our lives goes through transformation.  Nothing is everlasting.  All physical and emotional concepts and relationships grow, change, fade, and eventually die. “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, […]

CINDERELLA LOOKING FOR PRINCE CHARMING?

Once upon a time there was a pretty-good looking princess named Laurie who serendipitously met her handsome prince charming named Peter.  She swooned at his kindness, sense of humor, love of all things edible, excluding veggies, and gorgeous head of hair.  He fell in love with her blond tresses even with the peroxide applications, her […]

ALL YOU NEVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT GRIEF

I recently passed the two-year marker date of Peter’s death, and looked back at my blogs which reflect my roller-coaster-of-a-journey through grief.  My writing chronicles the ups and downs (unfortunately more downs that ups), and the slow healing process towards my new life of plausible acceptability.  Grief is a long and arduous process. Grief is […]

DON’T WORRY BABY. Living in the Present with Grief

“Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.” -Benjamin Franklin Worry is defined as “giving way to anxiety or unease.” Worry is allowing one’s mind to dwell on difficulties and misfortunes. It is the state of fretting, stressing out, stewing over something, and tormenting oneself. Simply put, it […]

A SIGH IS NOT A SIGH

“You must remember this A kiss is just a kiss, a sigh is just a sigh. The fundamental things apply As time goes by.” Herman Hupfeld from the movie Casablanca I was always a sigher.  I sighed in frustration when I had a glitch with my computer.  I sighed happily when I saw love scenes […]

THE COMFORTING ARMS OF A SUPPORT GROUP

When Peter died, almost two years ago, I openly welcomed all the help I could get.  I went to a grief therapist and learned tools for coping with the daily onslaught of bottomless and relentless pain.  I learned to find solace in the support of my friends and family, and accepted their cradling arms and […]

THE POWER OF THE KEYBOARD

“I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.” ― Anne Frank   Our Western values are not culturally equipped for grief.  Death is such a taboo that we call it the “D-word,” the way we used to refer to cancer as the “C-word.”  By tagging grief as a […]

FLYING SOLO

Every time my husband, Peter and I traveled together, we would settle into our seats on the airplane.  As the plane took off, he would lace my much smaller fingers cozily into his sizable digits.  As the plane climbed upward, we would grip each other’s hand, sometimes tighter than blood flow allowed, especially if the […]

WTF IS THE NEW NORMAL?

We think of the word “normal” as conforming to a standard or pattern.  Normal is what is expected; SOP (standard operating procedure). “The New Normal” is defined as “a previously unfamiliar or atypical situation that has become standard, usual, or expected.” Once you have experienced the profound loss of a loved one, you are forever […]

EMPATHY VS. SYMPATHY

“If you’re looking for sympathy you’ll find it between shit and syphilis in the dictionary.” ― David Sedaris The terms empathy and sympathy are often used interchangeably, but they have quite different meanings, and varied and veiled connotations. The differences between the terms are attributed to emotional factors, rather than grammar.  Both empathy and sympathy […]

In Blog
Posted

GRIEF IS A SLOW AND STEADY MARATHON

When you experience grief, you know you are in the throes of it for the long haul.  This is not a short sprint.  This is a marathon, and like any marathon, you must build up your endurance.  You will never fully get over your grief, but hopefully, you will be able to complete your journey […]

I AM SICK AND TIRED OF BEING A WIDOW!

When you are in the depths of grief, you wallow for a while, then you nurture yourself, and then you move forward. But every once in a while, you just have to vent and get that hurricane of pent-up anger to the surface and out! From time to time, you just have to be honest […]

WABI SABI: The Art of Embracing Imperfection

“Imperfections are not inadequacies; they are reminders that we’re all in this together.” ― Brené Brown There is a Japanese philosophy called wabi sabi, which values simplicity and authenticity. Wabi sabi is an acceptance of the old, of the worn, of the asymmetrical. It is a rejection of the lavish, opulent, and excessive. It is […]

EXIT LAUGHING: Comic Relief

“It is bad to suppress laughter. It goes back down and spreads to your hips.” — Fred Allen It is a given that laughter is the best medicine. When we laugh, we feel a spark of happiness. Not only do we feel better in our guffawing, but research has shown that laughter strengthens our immune […]

Self-Compassion: The Key to Getting Through Grief

“Remember, you have been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” ― Louise L. Hay Grief is the process of acceptance. Acceptance happens when we let go of expectations. Expectations lead to resentment, which keeps us stuck in self-criticism. Self-criticism keeps us mired in the pain […]

Loneliness Vs. Solitude: Bearing The Silence Mindfully

“The Cure for loneliness is solitude” — Marianne Moore Many wrongly assume that solitude and loneliness are the same state of being. Both are characterized by solitariness, but the resemblance ends there. Loneliness in grief, is a form of isolation where one feels that something is missing. Loneliness is not a choice. When my husband Peter died, […]

SHIFTING THE ASSUMPTIVE WORLD VIEW “Never assume because when you assume it makes an ASS out of U and ME.” Felix Unger in Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple

In my last blog, I talked about the “Optimism Bias,” which is the belief that each of us is more likely to experience positive outcomes, and less likely to have negative ones transpire. In order to get us through life, we live in an assumptive world, where our assumptions or beliefs that ground and secure […]

Dear Grief: My Grief Better Have A Purpose!

Dear Grief, it’s Laurie here. As per your guidance, my current mantra is: “I am responsible for my own process.” I know I can’t rush this undertaking, as is my wont in so many things. Every day I have to exercise my grief muscles in a heavy workout. It’s like lifting twenty pound weights. I […]

LIMINALITY: The Threshold Betwixt and Between

The word liminality, is derived from the Latin word limen, meaning threshold. According to dictionary.com: “liminality is the transitional period or phase of a rite of passage, during which the participant lacks social status or rank, remains anonymous, shows obedience and humility, and follows prescribed forms of conduct, dress, etc.” I can identify with liminality […]

The Art Of Now: Living In The Present

Before Peter died I was the planner in the family. I scheduled dinners with couples, I gave parties, and I planned trips. The trips were elaborately arranged down to the minute. We toured museums, visited friends in the East, and were constantly on the go when we traveled. I reveled in planning. I enjoyed mapping […]

SOUL FOOD: THE SMELLS OF GRIEF

Peter was a fresser, a Yiddish term for someone who loves to eat! Our lives joyously revolved around food. In the morning Peter would say, “what’s for dinner?” If it was fish, the corners of his mouth would instantly go south. If it was steak, his face would erupt into a huge grin. Once Peter […]

How To Go On After Your Soulmate Dies

“He felt now that he was not simply close to her, but that he did not know where he ended and she began.” — Leo Tolstoy The term “soulmate” dates all the way back to Plato. It is a generic word for a close loved one. But the phrase soulmate itself was first recorded in […]

THE COURAGE OF MY CONVICTIONS

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” — Nelson Mandela I cannot believe that this is the 50th blog I have written on The Huffington Post! A year and four […]

THE COLOR OF SADNESS: FEELING BLUE?

I’ve always wondered why people use the term “feeling blue” when they are sad. The color that clouded my horizons after Peter died was most certainly gray, not blue. I felt I was in a bad British mystery movie, in the midst of a gray, hazy, dense fog and I couldn’t find my way through […]

TOUCHING GRIEF: The Healing Language of Touch

Touch is the first sense to develop in human infants. A newborn’s emotional, mental, and physical well-being depend on a mother’s tender touch. Doctor’s insist on the baby being placed on the mother so it can sense the heartbeat. The mother cradles her infant surrounding them with the touch of her arms. Touch is nourishment […]

SPRING CLEANING FRIENDSHIPS: I Know That I Cannot Change The People Around Me, But I Also Know That I Can Change The People I Choose To Be Around!

When Peter died my friends were truly amazing. I have blogged over and over about their kindnesses. I am eminently grateful that my pals not only rallied, but didn’t abandon me when the going got tough. When you lose the love of your life, you become another entity. You are 180 degrees different from the […]

The Letter I Wrote To My Lost Love

My path to restoration is paved with family, friendships, and the healing power of my grief group. In the safety of my group space, we get each other’s pain on a level that is forged by our devastating loss. We are bonded in yearning and lamentation on a deep level that is both distressing but […]

How Grief Became My New Vocation

I am a food writer by trade. I shaped my culinary career path in my mid-20s. During and after college I had been working as a model in Manhattan doing live shows, photography, and catalogue work, but was totally unfulfilled. After a four-year college education, I knew that I needed to use my brain, not […]

The Search For Meaning – Logotherapy

I recently discovered the teachings of Victor Frankl, a trained psychiatrist and neurologist, who spent three years in four Nazi concentration camps, an experience that helped him develop Logotherapy. Logotherapy is a term derived from the words “logos,” a Greek word that translates as “meaning,” and therapy, which is defined as treatment of a condition, illness, […]

The Ultimate Survival Guide For New Widows

Sorry widowers, this one’s for the ladies. When Peter died, I had to face the practical aspects of living alone. I had to change light bulbs, hang pictures and open jars by myself. So I devised a list of key items for widows to keep on hand to make their lives easier. 1. A secure step ladder: A […]

The One Word That Gives This Widow Some Comfort

On a recent trip to New York, I was fortunate to meet with Dr. Katherine Shear, Marion E. Kenworthy Professor of Psychiatry at the Columbia University School of Social Work. Dr. Shear works with those affected by complicated grief, which is defined by the Complicated Grief Center as: “something getting in the way of adapting […]

The Things You Shouldn’t Say To Someone Who’s Grieving

When my husband Peter died last August, I suffered the greatest ordeal imaginable. I had a deep and intense loss, but I definitely didn’t “lose” him. I, myself, am guilty of using the term “lose” on multiple occasions. I repeatedly said: “I recently lost my husband” to friends, accountants, tax people and even telemarketers. One […]

The Stress That Comes With Losing A Spouse

Stress is a constant in most of our busy lives. We are stressed about work, family, money, Donald Trump … Everything in our lives comes with a degree of stress. In 1967, psychiatrists Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe studied the medical records of 5,000 patients as a way to figure out how stressful events impact […]

A Letter To My Dearly Departed Husband Peter

My first blog went up on Huffington Post this morning. The outpouring of emotion is heartening and heartbreaking at the same time. The sadness hits again with a vengeance and I see you staring at me with those wonderful understanding eyes, so proud of everything I do. But where were you for the edits? Where […]