All posts tagged: Mourn

Even When Dad Was Dying, We Kept Laughing

(Photo: Stocksy) I am one of the lucky ones whose parents, through a combination of good genes and good living and good luck, were still around when I was in my 40s. When I thought about losing either one of them, which I did rarely and fleetingly, I pictured myself sobbing next to a hospital bed, drained faces, the gaping abyss that would come with the loss of someone who had loved me unconditionally from my first breath. Then my dad got sick in June this year and died in July. And I realized I’d left out an important facet of the process of losing them: laughter. Admittedly, mine is a family where a quick wit was prized and prodded to higher purpose. A sense of humor was as important growing up in my home as was the ability to work hard, tell the truth and clean the rabbit cage without being nagged to do it. I don’t believe we were special that way; the proprietary humor that can thrive between family members is part …

Grief and Gratitude: Knowing Nannie Was Worth the Pain of Losing Her

Heather in the kitchen (of course!) with her Nannie. (Photo courtesy Heather Graham) In early 2007, we sat around my Aunt Mary’s dining room table talking about ways we could celebrate my grandmother’s birthday. Nannie was turning 80, and though she referred to her contemporaries around town as “the old folks,” she in no way considered herself one of them. She’d still have been driving (like a bat outta hell) if her last hip surgery for a degenerative condition hadn’t significantly weakened her pedal-pushing leg. Las Vegas came up. We sipped coffee—my aunt, my mom, my cousin Erica, Nannie and I—as we imagined a glitzy adventure littered with Elvis impersonators, convertible Caddies, big winnings, free booze and overflowing buffets. We envisioned ourselves road-tripping cross-country to party in Vegas. The things we’d do, the people we’d meet. It was even suggested that Wilhelmina might come out of retirement—Wilhelmina being my grandmother’s vagina. Come November, just 45 days before anyone could assess the fire hazard of shoving 80 candles on a cake, my grandmother left this life. …

Rings to Remember: The Art of Mourning Jewelry

A collection of mourning with distinct features; broken tree, urn, and pearls. (Photo courtesy @luckandlockets) When I was 10 years old, my parents gave me a copy of Gone With the Wind as a birthday present. While I didn’t understand it all, one of the many things that stuck out in my mind from the book was the concept of mourning. I learned that in Scarlett O’Hara’s world, society had strict rules to follow about behavior and attire after the loss of a family member. In just a few chapters, Scarlett goes from 16-year-old flirt to widow, and, as society dictated, being a widow she wore a long veil and black, eschewing social activities in observance of her loss. While these strict customs have mostly faded, one physical relic that remains from that time is the jewelry. Called mourning jewelry — also referred to as memento mori jewelry — these pieces commemorate the death of a loved one and serve to remind us that death will come for us too. As an antique jewelry enthusiast, …

I’m Muslim. Don’t Tell Me It Will All Be Okay

The day after the election, I woke up crying. Not really sobbing — I just had a steady stream of tears rolling down my face. I was sad and incredibly disappointed. I pulled myself together, got my son his breakfast and then stopped, remembered, and the tears started again. I started working, and that’s when my phone started buzzing with texts all day: “thinking of you” or “I love you” or “are you ok?” and the tears would fall once again. I hopped on conference calls and someone would start the call innocently, “How’s your day?” And I couldn’t even lie: “Honestly, I’m not good today,” and we’d spend the first 10 minutes talking about what the eff just happened. It was a hard, sad day that left me heartbroken. I’m a Muslim, and half of this country doesn’t want me here. It doesn’t matter that I was born here or that I’m sixth-generation American. It doesn’t matter that no matter the linage we’re all AMERICAN, whether by birth or because we came here and became …

Margit’s Note: My Mourning List

After rolling out of bed every morning, I shuffle to a particular spot on my living room rug, take a few deep breaths, set my intentions for the day and then mentally list the names of the people I miss and mourn: grandparents, aunts and uncles, half a dozen pets, lost friends, parents of friends, a few people I never knew personally but left an indelible mark (this year, it was Sharon, Bowie, Prince, Leonard). These are people I just don’t want to forget. I gather them up and sort of hoard them in my head. Each time someone I love (or someone I love loves) dies, they get added to my morning/ mourning list. I once told my 70-something mom about this routine, and she laughed, “Oh, that list is going to get unmanageably long.” That may be. But, for now, it keeps their spirits alive. And, in fact, a few of them now have a job to do. Several years ago, I was dealing with some sort of pressing decision about work while walking …