Category Archives: Grieving

What to say to someone who is grieving

What I would say to someone who has lost a child?

I’m so sorry. I don’t really know what to say, but I want you to know that I feel deeply for you and your family and I only wish I could do more. I will be thinking of you. It must be impossible to absorb the tragedy of losing a child this way.

Very few people spoke to me this way when my son took his life, and those who did, probably had no idea how good it made me feel to hear their honest and meaningful words. It was so good because they did not ignore all reference to my child. They opened the conversation for me to talk about him at my own pace which helped a great deal. Nothing that anybody said could alleviate my pain but there were things that eased my heartache somewhat.

Being in the company of others who have experienced the same pain and loss, really made a difference. My family stayed home for the seven days of mourning which is a Jewish custom when dealing with mourning and grief after a funeral but, when that week came to an end, I had to reacquaint myself with the world of the living – with ‘NORMAL LIFE’ … whatever normal life was, and that was a frightening prospect. I had to figure out how to live with a huge hole in my heart. I wasn’t really ready for that. I still had more grief to process. I was afraid to attempt normal living in my damaged condition. I needed more time, so this is what I did.

I donned a pair of sturdy rubber gloves and started spring cleaning, moved heavy furniture and waged chemical warfare against any living creature that dared enter our home. In short, I scrubbed my life down to its bones. I needed the physical workout, but even that was insufficient, so I went out into our large garden and dug and weeded till exhaustion left me unable to think straight.

Much later, when I collected the mail, I found flyers advertising tombstones – singles or doubles, black or white, decorative or plain. A friend who dropped in to see how I was, advised me to dump them in the garbage bin, saying: When you are ready to deal with tombstones, you will choose one, but now is not the time. How right she was.

That same friend took me food shopping and from time to time, persuaded me to visit a mutual friend but, we always found more than one guest present. What I needed to hear was; Meet my friend, Jill who lost her son recently, which would have freed me from replying to the dreaded question; How many children do you have?

That question preoccupied me as well as my late husband, as most people tend to ask that question at some stage. My heart raced when I sensed it was on the agenda and I wondered what I would say/could say. ‘ I lost a son but have two daughters, OR I have two daughters.’ But that felt as  though I were deleting my son’s existence. We never managed to resolve that issue.



Poems in a notebook … ‘I’ll dance on their graves’

After out son Doron’s tragic death, my late husband and I found a well-worn, notebook on his bedside table. It was filled with poems that he’d scribbled at odd times; thoughts he’d put down on paper. Painstakingly we deciphered them but were unable to read the contents immediately. It was far too upsetting. We put it in our study for perusal later; much, much later. One evening, we sat together on the same couch where Doron had spent so many hours, doing little but stare out of the large window at our garden and started reading. Our hearts broke once again. How many times can one’s heart break?


I never thought

I’d be as dependent as

an innocent lamb is

on its mother’s milk.

I am dependent on the charity of

good people and bad people

but to date, I haven’t met

anyone who can help me.

Certainly not my parents.

I’ll dance on their graves.


Summer has gone

There’s no sun, no sea

No tanning on white sand.

I’m waiting for the leaves to fall.

Winter, I await  you.

I wait to hail the start of the cold.

I close my windows and

won’t let THEM in.


Life is difficult sometimes

but we have to find small flashes of light

to lessen the depth of the gloomy darkness

that gets more profound

with the ticking of my clock.

It gives me a dimension of time.

Those points of light are vague during the day,

barely visible,

so I ask; ‘Is it worth living for two or three minutes a day?’


My friends are having fun;

one abroad, one recently returned

all living full lives.

Only I am incarcerated in a crazy cage

without a past, without a future.


‘We’ve tried to help you

my doctors claim.’

But, they set a trap for me.

I fell into a bottomless pit

that they dug for me.


THEY enter stealhily                                   robber thief 2

in the dead of night.

The storm inside of me

turns to fear.

What do THEY want from a pauper?

Peace, peace, peace.

I pray for peace of mind.





‘Grandma, what happened to Papa’s brain?’

BRAIN image with Alzheimer'sI had a problem explaining Alzheimer’s disease to our young grandchildren. After agonizing about how to go about this, I sat them down, and came up with the following:

Your papa has an illness called Alzheimer’s disease that makes him act the way he does. It’s like having a broken bone, but with Papa, a little piece of his brain is broken and doesn’t work the way it should. Because of this, he can’t remember what you told him yesterday. Because of this, he forgets how to use the television remote. Because of this, he falls asleep sometimes when you are telling him something important. Because of this, he forgets things as well as people’s names. BUT, the part of papa’s brain that is for loving, is still working well, and I know that he loves you all very much.

I have reblogged this as I received so many requests to do so. Whenever I read it, I get tears in my eyes when I remember the looks on the children’s faces during the above explanation.