The grief that keeps on giving

These episodes don’t happen very often anymore, more than a year and a half after losing Mom. But the grief is always there, gently submerged, biding its time.

The faith and loss of Joan Didion

Today is the 79th anniversary of Joan Didion’s entrance into this mortal coil, and I will use the excuse to wear giant sunglasses and write interminable sentences all day long. Didion’s career has changed the landscape of American nonfiction writing, and although she is perhaps best-known for her recent duet of grief memoirs The Year of Magical Thinking and Blue Nights, her contributions to journalism and the canon of California writing are significant and singular. 

Didion was raised Episcopalian but has grown into agnosticism. In an interview with Beliefnet in2006, asked about the continuation of the spirit after death, she said “It’s one of the clichés people say to you after a death: ‘He lives in our memory, she lives in our memory.’ I mean I don’t disbelieve; I just don’t believe.” One of the reasons anyone writes is to find answers to the questions they have.

This brick is now in the walkway leading up to our neighborhood library. I think my mom, who loved to read, would be pleased. Today is the six-month anniversary of her death. (Author photo)

Grief and the Six-Month Anniversary

Sometimes the grief was so intense I literally could not breathe; it felt like something was physically pressing on my chest. Today, on the six-month anniversary of my mother’s death, the anguish is slowly, almost imperceptibly, shifting into a lower gear.

Three months later, some wise words from Stephen Colbert are hoping me cope with loss.

Stephen Colbert, Grief Therapist

“I’ve always liked that phrase ‘He was visited by grief,'” says Stephen Colbert. “Grief is its own thing. It’s not like it’s in me and I’m going to deal with it. It’s a thing, and you have to be okay with its presence.”

RNS photo by Mark Hundley.

Grief without God is a challenge for nonbelievers

(RNS) If you're an atheist who loses a child or loved one, there's no hope of a reunion in the afterlife. The absence of the comfort of religious ritual is one of the hardest adjustments for unbelievers, leading some nonbelievers to craft support groups and resources for grief without God. By Kimberly Winston.