Coping and Thriving with Loss during the Holidays

This is my favorite time of year – autumn colors with nearby mountains cloaked in winter white; gaggles of geese discussing where to winter; aroma of Pumpkin Spice candles; knitting scarves for people I love; breaking trail in snowshoes. And in between all this winter fun and beauty – family and friends gathering, and giving thanks, and eating way too much pie, and lighting menorahs, and decking the halls, and welcoming in a New Year....more

Made to live connected and close

These local Ponderosa pines intrigue me. Tall and strong, joined at the hip, each growing their own boughs and pine needles and pine cones.What happened ages ago that caused their union? And then what induced them to grow from that solid foundation into beautiful displays of individuality? ...more

My widow *brave-making* campaign

At the encouragement of a friend, I presented at this week’s IGNITE Bend event. IGNITE events are produced in places like Helsinki, Paris and New York City. Presenters get 5 minutes and 20 slides, which automatically advance every 15 seconds. The tagline is, “Enlighten us, but make it quick.”And so I applied to be one of the speakers. Because I didn’t want to. ...more

Widowhood and lessons on fifth-wheelish-ness

Chloe, one of my grand-dogs, is a Brussels Griffon. She doesn’t know what it means to be a fifth wheel because she assumes everyone wants to play with her. ...more

Sarah’s poem - I am still me

My young cancer-widowed friend, Sarah, shared a couple of her poems recently. I was amazed. Beautiful stuff. She writes honestly and vulnerably—wondering if she’ll ever find who she is again—and yet her work is hope-filled. ...more

12 ways to get back into life with cancer

This past weekend was the annual Tour des Chutes — a multi-distance cycling event and walk/run in my hometown to local families dealing with cancer. Founded by cycling enthusiast and brain cancer survivor, Gary Bonacker, the event has surpassed the million-dollar mark in fundraising. Which is pretty amazing for a small-town, grassroots venture....more

Letter to my newly-widowed self

Dear newly-widowed Marlys —You’re still in shock. And a lot of things are going to hit you fast and furious in the next several weeks and months. So for right now — this moment — make a cup of Chai tea, put your feet up and read this letter. Slowly. Carefully. And remember to breathe. ...more

How a cancer life is about not knowing

Gilda Radner, Saturday Night Live comedienne who died of ovarian cancer in 1989, had this to say about life:Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it without knowing what’s going to happen next.Six years after her death, a center to provide social and emotional support for cancer patients and caregivers opened in New York City. It was the first of several Gilda’s Clubs in honor of Ms. Radner — all with brilliant red doors. ...more

4 brave-making action steps

Sometimes when things hit hard and fast — like loss of health or financial security, loss of a home or a way of life, or loss of a loved one — there can be a tendency to wrap our lives tightly around us like a security blanket and stay put; a tendency to not venture out because venturing out doesn’t feel very safe any more. ...more

Prescription for depression – cancer patient, caregiver or widow

It hung around way too late in the day before I recognized this no-energy-no-interest-in-anything blahness. That’s when I got out my script pad and wrote a prescription for mild depression: Go take a hike. Near a body of water.Part of the cure requires that the patient stop somewhere along the path to contemplate all there is to be grateful for: in my case, sound of water rushing over rocks, warmth of sunshine, the ability to move on my own two legs, family and friends to love, family and friends who love me....more