A Grief Conversation

It’s a privilege to tell you that another of my articles has been chosen for publication, this time by a literary journal called, “Months To Years”. That’s an unusual name, but its purpose is extraordinary — both happy and sad.


“Months To Years” is dedicated to assisting people who are dealing with an end of life event. Yes, I mean death – either their own or someone else close to them.

My article, called A Grief Conversation, was written with the hope that my journey may offer a small measure of comfort and hope for those who are losing, or who have lost, a spouse or a child or a parent, or someone else close to them. Here’s the link: https://joom.ag/TCnY. The story is on pages 55 to 59. You can download a free PDF of the publication; use the menu bar on the left side of the page.

Like most others, I had not allowed myself to fully understand that in the course of our lives we inevitably face the loss of people close to us, sometimes the closest to us. The resulting trauma can be debilitating. Some professionals call it a form of PTSD. At these times the experience of others helps to guide us: as we manage our grief, as we work to refocus our lives, and as we struggle to endure despite the excruciating pain of our loss.

Some other lessons I learned: 1. The support that bestows the greatest value will come from others who have experienced similar tragedies. 2. Get professional advice, but understand that your recovery is a journey you must take on your own. 3. You will survive.

A close friend offered invaluable counsel from his experience when I needed it. He said the pain of grief from the loss of a loved one never goes away but in time I would, like he and others had, learn to manage it better. He also forewarned me not to be blindsided by events such as anniversaries, birthdays, Christmases and other milestones.

His advice came after we lost Judi on April 22, 2004 – our wife, mother, grandmother, sister, friend and colleague.

A Grief Conversation is a chronicle of my personal journey through the trauma that followed. Fair warning: it describes in plain language many of the mistakes I made… well, as many as I can remember. Followers of this blog will find some accounts familiar. But all will encounter thoughts and feelings and experiences that have never before been disclosed, until now… even to those closest to me. I ask them to forgive that omission.

All of this might never have been shared except for a call for submissions from the co-founders of “Months To Years”. Their invitation was moving and profound. Both have been there. Most of all, their call helped me realize how unwise I had been to turn away from the support I was offered and how badly my decision making had become in the aftermath of Judi’s death. I allowed pain to blind good judgment; I retreated emotionally. Reflecting on all of this made me realize, finally, that I was ready to share my journey with others, and by doing so hopefully offer them hope.

Twenty-six other writers also contributed their healing advice to “Months To Years”, which draws its name from that dreaded prognosis often given cancer patients. Here is that link again to access the other contributions, all of them helpful and often-poignant: https://joom.ag/TCnY. You can order print editions on the website. You can also access the posts on Twitter @MonthsToYears and #MTYSpring18

Finally, a promise: next time on this site you will find a post that is brighter and happier . But, then, of course, bringing hope and comfort to others who are suffering for whatever reason can only have an upside, and that in itself is something bright and happy too. Right?

May you live well and be of good cheer.

9 thoughts on “A Grief Conversation

  1. Hi Jim,

    I tried posting the following comment on your blog, but it wouldn’t accept my WordPress password, even though I have it written down. I have a love/hate relationship with technology!

    Best, Lois

    Of course, I knew much of your story after reading and publishing Dragonflies and the Great Blue Heron, Jim. Now it’s nice to know you are helping others work through the pain associated with the loss of a loved one. As Donna Summers sang, “I will survive.”


    Liked by 3 people

  2. Lovely, James, and congratulations, although your contributory piece was created with pain and sorrow. It offers advice and a positive outlook, which is a gift!


  3. I’ve been making the same journey myself. Your thoughtful piece will shed some light into a dark and painful place for many people. May you, too, live well and be of good cheer.


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