Tag: Grief

Mourning or Manipulation at Michigan State University?


No one would say that the shootings at MSU were anything less than a tragedy and nightmare. Two students died on February 13; six other students were wounded and five of them suffered critical gunshot wounds. Today the students were invited back to classes, but the way that return was acknowledged and promoted is a sad commentary on our view of the sanctity of life and the promotion of politics over the importance of mourning and honoring the dead.

The two primary abasements following this calamity occurred in two ways: first, students were told that they could attend classes virtually; second, some students were planning to attend a protest for gun control legislation at the state Capitol instead of attending classes. In the first case, the students who went to class virtually were being coddled and were dishonoring the memory and conditions of those who were direct victims. Instead of understanding that their own healing would begin in so many ways by appearing on campus, in spite of their fear and upset, they cowered at home rather than dealing directly with their grief. And they also lost the opportunity to grieve with other students, offering and receiving comfort through their actions. In the second case, going to a gun protest is a disgusting way to honor those people who were victims, making their pain and loss into a political prop.

Quote of the Day: Grief and Love


“Grief is the price of love, but it is love that makes the world go round, or at least one of the most important things that make life worth living. Love and the moral sense complicate life greatly, and make it difficult for most of us, for without them there would be no grief or any apprehension of evil; but without them we should be little different, conceptually, from an amoeba under a microscope.” – Theodore Dalrymple

Today is my 45th anniversary. It is the fifth one I have spent without Janet, my wife of 40 years, but despite her death, it is still our anniversary. I still miss her deeply and remember her in my daily prayers. I will go to her grave today and give her flowers. (Something I could never do while she lived due to her allergies.)

A Grieving That Leads to Good


It has been a very difficult few days for me. My usual stoicism finally failed me yesterday morning and I spent a longer than expected amount of time laying face down on the floor of my office, weeping in anguish … a deep grief expressed … crying out to God for help. The last time I allowed myself such an emotional outburst was in the weeks before the election as stories of voting shenanigans began showing up in the news. We were sitting at the dinner table, the entire family, and a wave came over me. I put my hands on my face with elbows on the table, and the tremors began … groanings too deep for words.

It passed, and when I looked up, my oldest daughter was staring at me with the look of alarm. “What’s wrong, Mom?”

I could only whisper, “I’m afraid we’re going to lose our country.” And then we ate.

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“Love the people God gave you because one day, He’ll take them back.” We laid my father-in-law, Kenny, to rest today (Tuesday.) He died last week on the morning of April 1st following a March 17th sentence diagnosis of advanced stage 4 lung cancer. Inoperable, untreatable, and it was everywhere. For a man who’d never […]

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Fighting the Good Fight


Like most of you, I move from rage at the outcome of this election, to enormous sadness to find our country where it has arrived. These major shifts of emotions are not only debilitating to my sanity (what there is left of it), but unhelpful to the country. I am so impressed with the strategies for investigating the fraud of the election processes that many people have developed, and the ways we can fight back against the election injustices. But we can’t allow ourselves to be buried in investigations and not find a way beyond the results of this election. We must deal with the hard truth. These are my next steps.

  1. Acknowledge my outrage at the corruption, fraud and lack of allegiance to the success of this country. I have never been so invested in an election, nor have I ever feared for our future as much as I do now. At the same time, I refuse to let myself be buried under the ugliness and duplicity that has occurred. I must find a way to balance the truth with new opportunities for moving forward. This effort will be so very difficult, but I know this is the only way I can find my way out of this morass.
  2. Encourage and support every investigation of the processes and outcomes of this election. No stone should be left unturned. We should look at every state we can, study data and procedures, including those that worked well (such as several in Florida) and those that were disasters. We must find a way to shine a light on all the deplorable actions that those in charge took, whether they turned their heads away from the corruption or encouraged it. People should be solicited to report every illegal action that they witnessed, providing evidence whenever possible. And findings should be placed in the hands of the courts.
  3. Identify every weakness in every system in every state. Prioritize them in the order of most exploitative and least impactful. Since every violation might not be able to be addressed, prioritizing will be important.
  4. Develop a plan to change the election process that addresses the findings of the investigation; identify which changes would be permissible under the Constitution for the Federal government to institute, and which changes must be left with the states. Build-in processes that will ensure the integrity of the system and minimize fraud. Determine the person or governmental body that is most likely to take the investigation seriously, in terms of publicizing the results and making changes to the system. Find new and creative ways to make sure that people know the results.
  5. Acknowledge that even if there is ample evidence that the election results were significantly fraudulent, the systems in place may very well prevent changes to be made. We can fight to the end for the truth to win out, for integrity to reign, but in the current environment, we may ultimately lose.

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Ricochet COVID Symposium: The Grief of COVID


[Editor’s Note: This is part of a series of contributions from our members and friends about the hidden costs of the COVID crisis. You can read more about our symposium and how to contribute here.]

Right now, I am sitting on my sofa, a cup of tea, and my laptop in front of me. There is not much to do on a Saturday night in Milwaukee these days. Bars, restaurants, and movie theaters remain closed under Governor Tony Evers’ “Safer at Home” orders, which may or may not expire May 26. We’re waiting on a ruling from the Wisconsin Supreme Court challenging the authority of Wisconsin’s Department of Health and Human Services to implement and enforce the shelter-in-place orders that have ground the economy, and life as we knew it, to a halt.

If You Are Sad This Hanukah, Christmas, and Holiday Season


We all know how losing a friend or family member is devastating.

About the only thing as bad as losing a friend or family member, is having the grief surrounding that loss be draped across your Entire Being during Hanukah, Christmas, and New Year’s. All around you are brightly lit stores and homes, festive activities on the Church, synagogue, and school calendars, plus parties at work and over at neighbors’ and friends’ homes.

On the Passing of Pets


I just deleted the draft of a think piece on the abuse of climate change girl and using kids as political props because something way more important, to me, anyway, has happened. Our 13 1/2 year old dog died. It’s not like we didn’t see it coming a few months ago as he was experiencing some changes in behavior. I looked him straight in the eyes the morning of September 11 during my usual bout of tears every year on that morning and told him, “Don’t do this today.” He didn’t listen, and did what he pleased, as was his usual way.

Our daughter wanted to adopt a puppy from a local shelter with her $40 in birthday money she had received when she turned 8. She picked out the runt of a litter of 13 pups someone had abandoned at the shelter. We never knew his breed, just that he was like a shepherd, collie, husky, something. It didn’t matter. He was perfect to her. She spent her $40 and we spent the rest, which as anyone with dogs knows, isn’t chump change over 13+ years. We’d totally do it all again. Anyway, she named him Lucky, and that he was. He probably wouldn’t have lived past 5 years old with anyone that couldn’t have taken care of him the way he needed. Everyone would say we saved him, but in reality, he saved us. As dogs do.

To Herb Meyer’s Memory


Over the years, Ricochet has inspired lasting friendships, not least of which is many members’ friendship with @tommeyer, who’s not only a great guy, but someone who rendered Ricochet great service before he moved on to other things. When Herb Meyer, Tom’s father, died, the outpouring of thanksgiving for Herb’s life was tremendous. At the time, I dedicated a motet I was working on to Herb’s memory, but life having gotten in the way, I haven’t had a chance to share it with the Ricoverse until now:

Book Review: I Want To Live


“The absolute raw truth of the matter is this: I have no idea what I am doing now, much less what I will be doing a year from now. Years of living my life for another person has left me without a clue as to how to live for myself.” from the book,

“I Want to Live – Confessions of a Grieving Caretaker by Susan D. McDaniel.

Slogging Through the Political Muck of Grief


After reading Claire Berlinski’s long-awaited post, I resonated with much of what she said. From a time perspective, however, I’m probably farther ahead in my grieving process. I’m not going to describe a traditional “grief” model in this OP; those models are always tidy and reasonable, reassuring us that there is an end to our anger, perplexity and sadness. My issue with grief, though, is that it is ugly and inconsistent; it is unique for each person in its duration, in its depth, and in its stages. For those of you who are looking for a linear approach to grief regarding the political process, hoping there is a beginning and an end, I can’t help you. I can only illustrate that it is messy, unpredictable, and most importantly normal.

I’ve avoided talking about the elections and Trump directly, for the most part. I didn’t want to inflame the passions, create enemies or discount the feelings of others. I will finally confess that I didn’t want Trump for President, so much so that I didn’t vote in this last election. There. I said it. For those of you who say it was a vote for Hillary, so be it. For me it was a protest, a rebellion that was emotional, resolute, yet principled (from my perspective). As unrealistic as it might have seemed to many of you, I mourned the loss of elevating and expecting the values of truth, honor, and dignity from our government and its representatives.

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Disillusionment has been lurking in the corners of my life. I’ve refused to acknowledge it, because it wounds my basic nature: to be hopeful, optimistic and (mostly) patient. Now after Comey’s betrayal of the truth, I don’t seem to be able to fight it off. Disillusionment has not only penetrated my heart and mind, but […]

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Moments of Silence, Near and Far


151003-F-QU482-010On Saturday past I attended the second-to-last game of the season for the Minnesota Twins. They lost the game and their chance at a wild-card post season berth.

Before the game began, there was an announcement for a moment of silence for the victims of the Umpqua Community College shootings. It was a traditional public gesture, and as is right and proper the attendees stood and were dutifully silent as the moment passed. I stood with the crowd, but I admit my mind was not with that tragedy.

About two hours after the Umpqua shootings, a United States Air Force C-130 transport aircraft crashed in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. All on board the aircraft were killed: four aircrew members, two security force Airmen, and five military contractors. Two Afghans were killed on the ground. The aircraft was destroyed at a property loss of approximately 68 million dollars. Preliminary statements from the Air Force indicate that the aircraft crashed during a night take-off from the Jalalabad Airfield. The crew were members of the 774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron operating out of Bagram, Afghanistan.

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I was a senior in high school when I first read The Exorcist. Frankly, I found the assignment odd, wedged in, as it was, between Crime and Punishment and King Lear. Although I hadn’t yet seen the movie, scuttlebutt had it that the film was just another tired horror tale filled with the ever greater gore that was, even […]

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The Five Stages of Democratic Grief


Tuesday night clearly revealed the Five Stages of Democratic Grief, played out in vivid beauty on MSNBC and the rest of the networks. If you haven’t watched the supercut of the MSNBC panel on election night, you should. Since then, we’ve been watching the stages of political grief play out with our friends across the aisle.

Denial: “What wave? There’s no wave. There is no way the Republicans will increase their House majority or take the Senate. Barack Obama may have lost a few of the idiot red-state nutjobs, but he’s still remarkably popular. He killed Bin Laden! He restored America’s standing in the world! He saved Detroit! People love Obamacare. They love it. It’s so popular that every Democrat campaigned to preserve it in its current form. With Ferguson, Trayvon, immigration reform and Kim Kardashian’s endorsements, our voters are charging to the polls in record numbers. Did you see Lena Dunham’s “Turn Out for What” video? The kids love her. Bill and Hillary both went in to close these campaigns, and they’re the most popular people in America. Besides, all Republicans are tone-deaf Todd Akins and their campaign technology consists of clipboards and fax machines. We’ve got this.”

Taking the ‘Fun’ out of ‘Funeral’


first-world-problems-iiWhile digging a shallow grave the other day, my accomplice said, “when I die, I don’t want anyone to cry or be sad. I want my funeral to be a party! They should get a keg, play loud music and have a great time!”

Not only is this sentiment clichéd, it’s also unrealistic. If people are that giddy at your funeral, you were probably a complete jerk who everyone is glad to be rid of. (And with my accomplice, we would be.) But, as King Solomon once plagiarized from The Byrds, “a time to laugh, a time to weep.”

It is perfectly natural to be sad at the departure of a loved one. You realize you won’t see that person again on this side of mortality and that’s an awful feeling. I have no need to short-circuit the grieving process for those I leave behind. So when I die, I want tears. Lots and lots of tears.