capture your grief 2019 – oct. 1: sunrise ritual

I got up with the sun (and the son).

20191001_065720Unfortunately our eastern sky in Lone Tree CO was SOCKED IN at sunrise.


I like how today’s prompt is called Sunrise Ritual.

Ritual. It can be so comforting.

This morning’s ritual, the first day of Capture Your Grief, is a comfort to me.

I’m remembering several years, now, getting up on October 1st. Some mornings crisp, wearing Kade’s flannel. With intention, getting up in the dark, quietly getting my things, and driving to an expansive place where I could watch the sun crest.

I’ve actually been counting the days to Capture Your Grief this year. I think I crave structured outlet for my grief. It’s so easy to go along with my days and weeks and weekends; months and seasons; work, family, play; and not intentionally attend to my grief. To Kade. Opportunities like this help me drop in to my feelings. My soul. My spirit. My grief. My continuing relationship with my son.

I’ll sip my cafe latte and toast to the damp sunrise. Here’s to an October of capturing my grief.

And my love.

20191001_06552520191001_065511Capture Your grief is an expressive activity created by CarlyMarie, an artist and bereaved mom in Australia. She has a prompt for each day to take a photograph to capture your grief. When she posts her daily photo on Facebook, participants can comment with theirs.


Capture Your Grief website:

CarlyMarie’s Facebook page:

blogging a to z april challenge – q

q – question

A bereaved dad friend told me that when he asked, Why?! His answer became…There is no why.

I’m not sure who it was that said that when they asked Why, they turned it in to…What now? I’m pretty sure that was Dr. Joanne Cacciatore, one of my grief heroes.

There is no why.

What now?

These have helped some with those repeated, often terrible, resounding, and unanswerable questions.

Disclaimer – this post has nothing to do with my theme of grad school and everything to do with what I could think of to write about for q. 

blogging a – z april challenge – p

p – pain

Did you know counseling is not to fix pain? Or solve problems? Or give advice? It is to help people build their capacity to carry their pain, live with their circumstances, and learn skills to work toward solving their problems. We are to be great collaborators and not so great advice-givers.

Sometimes I want a pill to take away my pain.

I guess I’m not alone because look around at the numbing with substances (drugs, alcohol, food), devices (screens), and other things (shopping, perfectionism). Because numbing does not work and causes additional problems, I guess that leaves me with facing this intolerable pain. And developing skills for coping with it.

I’d still rather there be a grief or discomfort pill…

But since there’s not, I’ll…

See my counselor

Be a counselor

Go to a group

Lead a group activity




Participate in Blogging A – Z April Challenge

Plan a trip

Take a road trip with girlfriends

Go on a hike


Get out my mat and do a Yoga with Adriene

Engage in numbing behavior like Facebook


One of my favorite movie scenes:


blogging a – z april challenge – o

o – owning

School helped me move toward owning my stuff. Through my grief and school education I am learning to own the freakin’ hard things. I work toward owning my grief, my reality, and my lot. I don’t LIKE it (I can own that); I wish it was different.

We counselors are trained to see what is sped past in the counseling room. The uncomfortable whiffs of topics, the ones that make a person get momentarily small in their chair, smile or laugh, perhaps hide their face behind their hand, or wince for the briefest moment. And name it. And stay there for a tolerable moment. And examine it.

And work toward owning it.



blogging a to z april challenge – n

n – numinous

I didn’t know the word before one of my first classes: Spirituality and Counseling.

numinous – adjective
nu·mi·nous | \ ˈnü-mə-nəs
Definition of numinous
2 : filled with a sense of the presence of divinity : HOLY
3 : appealing to the higher emotions or to the aesthetic sense : SPIRITUAL

Isn’t it a great word?

Much of my life has an element of the numinous now. After all, my son is “on the other side of the veil.” My Spirituality and Counseling class and entire grad school experience were no exceptions.

We got to share a 5-minute story in class on something numinous we experienced in our lives. I told about a time Kade “threw me” a couple signs—two stars in a row. Briefly, when I was feeling really down on the way to a child loss support group I saw a star illuminated in the foothills at precisely the time I needed it. Then, wondering if it was Kade, or god, or a higher power, or what, I was thrown a second one—an actual shooting star across the view of my windshield. Whelp, that cemented it for me—to me it was a sign that Kade was OK. And somehow, with me.

I loved hearing the other stories of my classmates’ numinous experiences. That class was one of my favorite memories at Regis.

I’d like to hear from you. What is a numinous experience you’ve you had?

star and girl image

blogging a to z april challenge – m

Theme: how my graduate school experience impacted my grief and my relationship with Kade.

m – meaning making

Meaning making. This is a big part of grief.

A partner and I presented a research project in our Crisis, Trauma, and Loss class entitled Perinatal and Child Loss. We described Dr. Robert Neimeyer’s emphasis on the concept of meaning making in grief. In his Theory of Constructivist Psychotherapy, he explained how people construct meaning after loss. The role of the therapist is to “listen between the lines” and discern threads that lead to a meaningful future.

In Dr. Joanne Cacciatore’s Selah Model of Grief, the state of meaning is one of the elements in the final of the three steps.

It is a tricky thing, trying to convey meaning making after Kade’s death. I have started and deleted this paragraph several times. Kade did not die so I could find some sort of greater meaning. And, after his death I can find meaning in life. I can find meaning everywhere. Sometimes I feel as if I simply must find meaning.

The fit of grad school and becoming a counselor is a part of my meaning making. I look to my right and see another: Asher. The social justice postcard-writing gatherings I organize are another. And every time I speak my truth. Or do something in Kade’s adventurous spirit, like go whitewater rafting in big water seasons, or climb a fourteener. Meaning is everywhere.


On top of Grays Peak


Kade’s friends, Dylan and Jason, took me on my first fourteener.


blogging a to z april challenge – j

Theme: how my graduate school experience impacted my grief and my relationship with Kade.

j – jubilant

I decided on the word, jubilant, because it conjured the time of graduation, December 2018.


I felt so drained by my year-long internship an hour away from home and the end-of-program capstone paper that I don’t know if I even appeared outwardly jubilant. It barely felt real. But I was wearily, inwardly, jubilant at the prospect of getting my life back.

20181224_184621 (2)

People told me that Kade would be proud of me. And I believe it. And that thought is so tender and so sad.

blogging a to z april challenge – i

i – i

I…brought Kade with me to class and didn’t know that would be the case.
I…shouldn’t be surprised because I bring him everywhere.
I…was surprised sometimes at what was activating (who knew anything covered in a dry Clinical Assessments class would bring up wistful memories?).