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When Bad Things Happen to Good People

When I was working in hospice, our bereavement counselor would offer the book, When Bad Things Happen to Good People to our hospice families.  I have read the book and it helped me cope with the grief that weighed heavy on my heart over the loss of my three sisters-in-law, Lora, Marcia and Cindy.  I love his quote, “Caring about others, running the risk of feeling, and leaving an impact on people, brings happiness.”

Here’s a short synopsis on the book:  When Harold Kushner’s three-year-old son was diagnosed with a degenerative disease that meant the boy would only live until his early teens, he was faced with one of life’s most difficult questions: Why, God? Years later, Rabbi Kushner wrote this straightforward, elegant contemplation of the doubts and fears that arise when tragedy strikes. In these pages, Kushner shares his wisdom as a rabbi, a parent, a reader, and a human being. Often imitated but never superseded, When Bad Things Happen to Good People is a classic that offers clear thinking and consolation in times of sorrow. 

If you’re trying to make sense out of a tragedy, I would recommend this book.

We can never lose HOPE………

100% of the proceeds from Watching Their Dance: Three Sisters, a Genetic Disease and Marrying into a Family At Risk for Huntington’s, a memoir/nonfiction book, is being donated to Huntington’s disease organizations around the world.

To purchase the book, please visit Therese’s website: and Amazon    B&N     Kindle     Kobo      Nook 



A Criminal Trial

I have been participating in a criminal trial for the past three weeks; the first week dedicated to choosing the jury.  Now that it is over, I HK_Central_Statue_Square_Legislative_Council_Building_n_Themis_swant to reflect on my experience.

The jury was charged with determining if the defendant, Mr. Minchak, was sane or insane at the time he brutally murdered a woman in Roseville, California ten years ago.  The defendant had a mental illness, schizophrenia. You might wonder why it has taken so long to get to this point, as I did. The man was deemed incompetent to stand trial for many years, then last year he was evaluated by a mental health professional and deemed competent. He was tried and found guilty of murder in 2015. He then pleaded insanity.

So another trial was scheduled to determine his mental status at the time of the murder.  I have to say it was very interesting and I learned much about a person with this diagnosis. We heard from expert forensic psychiatrists, psychologists, Roseville police officers, the victims husband, the defendants mother, brother and many others.  To say the least, it was an emotional experience, watching the video from the gas station, as the defendant stabbed the victim nine times and stole her money and casually tried to pump his gas. It’s the most horrific thing I have ever seen.

The jury deliberated only for about three hours, and we all agreed the prosecutor proved he was sane at the time.  When the judge read the verdict, the husband dropped his head and cried and the daughter cried out loud. As the jury stood and walked back into the jury room, most of us were crying. I believe justice has been served and I pray the Texiera family can find some closure knowing Tammy has been vindicated.

Have a good day!  Therese







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Family, Grief

Surviving the Heartache & Loss of Huntington’s Disease

I just read about The Empress of Ireland, Canada’s Titanic, which sank in 1914 and 365 survived out of 1,477 passengers.  I’m sure there was much urlheartache involved in this tragedy.

Surviving an ordeal, whether its treading water until someone finds you or watching a loved one slowly die, zaps your energy and strength. After the painful or horrific experience, especially a protracted one, one must live with the heartache of the people now void from your life.  John was very close to his three sisters, Lora, Marcia and Cindy, as was I, and we still miss t10011940914_5e94cc9718_chem terribly and grief is still our companion. Even though I understand grief, having worked in hospice for 10 years, it’s very difficult knowing that we will never celebrate birthdays together, sit around a table and share a thankful meal at Thanksgiving and Christmas ever again.  Caring Connections has informative information on grief and loss.

The biggest heartache for John and I is that Keith and Vanessa never knew their lovely aunts.  Lora died when they were very young and they didn’t know Marcia when she was well. They only saw her when she had been sc0009977fbeaten down by HD.  The kids loved their Aunt Cindy since she came many summers and stayed with us when they were preteens. Cindy’s last four years of her life was at Beth Shalom, a Residential Care Facility for the Elderly in Auburn where she was very ill.  Vanessa and Keith were away at college during that time and when they did come home it was hard for them to see her as it was for John and I. I know in my heart that they would have been greatest aunts had they lived!

Have a good day!   Therese

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Moving Forward through the Muck of Grief

Even when life stomps on your heart, life continues and one has to continue living.  My sister, Ellen, will have to go back to work to pay the mortgage, pay the energy bill,  buy food and put gas in her car.  It’s not easy.  She’s lost her life partner, her support person and now she must move into the Winter of her life without Rod.

And bereaved people will get stuck, as I did, when each of my sister-in-laws suffered and died from Huntington’s disease.  I was blessed to work in hospice and have caring people to work with and a loving relationship that allowed John and I to support each other.

Here are some ways to get unstuck from grief:  These are just suggestions.

  • Resume your normal life as soon as possible. Of course, this is the last thing that you feel like doing. How could you? You’re too raw and vulnerable. But it’s the routine, the daily schedule that will help lift you from the black pit of pain.
  • Spend time with friends and family members. – Now is the time when you need to be in the company of others that you are close to. Friends and family members can be the best balm to ease your aching heart. Feel free to talk about your loved. Share stories and laughter and tears.
  • Engage in physical activity. – Vigorous exercise, such as walking, hiking, going to the gym for a workout, swimming, jogging, or playing various games or sports will help you by releasing tension both physically and mentally.
  • Learn something new. – When you involve your mind by learning some new activity or pursuing knowledge – whether it’s a hobby or craft or getting a degree or how to cross-country ski – you are not only helping to overcome grief, you are also gaining knowledge or skill.
  • Take a trip. Maybe you’ve been putting off taking that trip you’ve wanted. Now may be a good time to go. Travel to different places. It can be an extended trip or a weekend, or even a day trip.
  • Meditate or enrich your spirituality. Meditation helps many people to overcome their grief. Others find peace through their religion or by exploring and enriching their spirituality.3445840576_38e681ac85_m
  • Take part in a support group. Grief support groups can be found in your community by calling a local hospice program.  They are open to the community, not just to those who had their loved one in hospice care.

Have a good day!  Therese

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After Everyone’s Gone and You’re Alone

5017458183_fa84e3f0bf_zMy sister Jennifer and I flew to Virginia on Thursday to support our sister, Ellen, who lost her husband in a terrible car accident on February 3rd.  Jen stayed for the service on Monday and had to fly home to return to work.  I have stayed longer to help Ellen with unpleasant tasks like going to the Social Security office, dealing with the mortgage company and other things on her to-do-list. Ellen has stated she would like to attend a grief support group so I found the local hospice program and, of course, they have bereavement support groups available to the community.  So I will take with her.  It’s times like this, I wish we lived closer.

Have a good day!   Therese

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Grief, Kindness

The New Normal-After A Loss

270428692_00ac009db4_oThe New Normal for my sister, Ellen, having lost her husband, Rod, in a car accident, is something completely different from anything she’s known before.  Her life will never be the same.  I’m sure normal seems far, far away from her. Unless you have lost someone dear to you, it’s hard to understand how difficult this experience is.  So I ask the world, “Please be kind to those who are grieving,” and don’t be afraid to be around them, or call them, or send them a kind note, or send an email saying you’re thinking of them.  It means a lot.

 Have a good day!   Therese

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Grief Walker

6693347011_3949dbd3bd_z“Death is the only guaranteed experience in life,” quote by Stephen Jenkinson. None of us want to die and I think our society, at least in the U.S., reinforces that thought by plastic surgery to keep us from not looking our age, vitamins to stay young, viagra to perform like we did when we were young, and really, is just not comfortable thinking or conversing about dying.

GRIEFWALKER is an extraordinary portrait of Harvard-trained theologian Stephen Jenkinson, who teaches that death empowers us to live and that we must know grief well in order to appreciate our own lives. Many may find Jenkinson’s belief that our deaths are not something to be denied or avoided but ‘befriended’ as challenging; he points out that not every culture fears death as we do. The film carries viewers into the lives of those confronting death, as well as those learning how to help people die well. Combining beautiful imagery of the impermanence of nature and the actuality of dying, GRIEFWALKER  leaves us with a deeper understanding of how our deaths could be held as ‘a prized possession.’

Have a good day!   Therese


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Living In “Griefland”


When I worked in hospice, a wonderful, insightful man, Tom Nadelin, was our Chaplain and Bereavement Coordinator.  Tom provided spiritual support when requested by a family and patient.  He then followed our patient’s loved ones after their death for a year.   I have often bought his book to give to friends who have lost a loved one. His book offers practical guidance and assistance to those who are suffering from the loss of a loved one. He has more than 15 years experience in helping people deal with their grief. He offers new insights into the grief territory based on the real-life experiences of those with whom he has worked.

You can purchase his book, Griefland, at,, Barnes and Noble, and

I am having one mailed to my sister, Ellen, who just lost her husband, Rod, in a tragic car accident.

Have a good day!    Therese

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Family, Grief

A Sudden Death

12662731_10153230849702307_6302584660621516927_n-1In the United States, approximately 30,000 people die in car accidents each year.  Unfortunately, my brother-in-law, Rod Wells, is a statistic in 2016.  My older sister, Ellen, and her five girls live in Manassas Virginia, two of them are Rod’s children, and, of course, they are all devastated.  A sudden death of someone you love is a terrible shock, leaving the ones left with so many different feelings of regret……..I didn’t get to tell him I loved him….I didn’t get to give him one last kiss……I didn’t get to tell him I’m sorry for the times I got mad at him………So many things are left undone and there is no way to get that person back and tell him/her.

So, the lesson I have learned from this tragedy is to remember nothing is forever or for sure.  Take the time to tell the ones you love how you feel about them, and forgive and forget.  Life is too short and we all do dumb things, say stuff we really didn’t mean in a fit of anger, etc., etc., etc.

Have a good day!    Therese


Grieving The Loss Of A Sibling(s)

Those who think there is a TIME LIMIT when GRIEVING……………..Have NEVER lost a piece of their HEART.

angelweepingMy three sister-in-laws, Lora, Marcia and Cindy, who I was closer to than my own sisters, left a hole in my heart when each of them departed from this earth.  Since the four Marin siblings were close, it is especially difficult for John, the surviving sibling, because he has not one sister to celebrate birthdays, Christmas, Thanksgiving or any other special occasions with.  Grieving is a personal and highly individual experience.  No two people grieve the same.   If you would like more about grief please see:  The Grieving Connection

Thanks for visiting my website and have a good day!   Therese