Where to Go from Here?

Lately I’ve been wondering where to go from here. I don’t mean geographically — I’m settled here in my house for the duration. It’s more about wondering what to do next with my life, if I want to keep doing what I’m doing, and if I need to do something more satisfying.

I am still blessed with a job that adds some structure to my life, and come spring and summer, of course, I’ll be spending a lot of time on my yard, an activity that makes me too tired to wonder if there is anything else for me.

But now, in the dead of winter, when I probably spend more time than is healthy inside — reading, playing games on the computer, and blogging a bit — I can’t help but question my life.

Reading is becoming problematic — too many novels are way over the top. Years ago, I used to enjoy Lee Child’s books, probably because contrary me had read a review that said women wouldn’t like the books, but also because Jack Reacher reminded me of a harder and less focused Kwai Chang Caine from the 1970’s television series Kung Fu. Whatever it was that appealed to me about Child’s character has completely disappeared. I’d given up reading the series long ago, but out of curiosity, I picked up the most recent book, and yikes. There is absolutely no redeeming virtue to either the badly written story or the character. Reacher has become a thug, pure and simple, a villain as bad or worse than any of those he tries to vanquish. The next book I read (by a different author) was just as bad, though in a different way. The characters’ actions seemed quixotic, unmotivated. They just did things, flashed back to the past way too often for any sense of story continuity, and yapped endlessly. Still, there are plenty of books that have enough of a plot to keep me reading, but it’s possible there will come a time that I give up reading again. Although reading often seems to be as necessary to me as breathing — and as effortless — I have gone through periods where I don’t read at all, once when I was young and depressed and books made me even more depressed, and again after Jeff died.

I could, of course, go back to writing my own fiction, but that is anything but effortless. Besides, I have yet to think of any characters that would keep me interested in their plight for the year or more it would take me to write the story. Oddly, although I am a writer, I have no real yen to write another book, probably because blogging scratches the writing itch and keeps me satisfied.

As for the game I got addicted to — I’m becoming unaddicted. It’s not as compelling as it was in the beginning, but I still play because it gives me a break from reading. And from thinking.

My knees are doing well, but not quite well enough to allow me to do the hours of roaming I used to do. I still have hope that my roaming days will return, but only locally. I used to spend a lot of time hiking, traveling or at least thinking about where I want to go, but my wanderlust, like my writinglust, seems to be sated.

Where I am falling short is on the social front. When I moved here, I jumped feet first into the social scene such as it is — going to the senior center for games and an occasional lunch, attending community dinners, joining various groups. When The Bob put a stop to all that, I reverted quite happily to my natural quasi-hermit state. Eventually, I started back in with one of the groups, but although I know I need the social interaction, I’m not sure I want to continue. The group is growing, which is good for them, but not so much for me. I get claustrophobic around too many people, and it takes all my energy to keep from running away. (The only reason I don’t is that generally I get a ride when the meeting is out of town and so have to wait until the end before I can leave.)

I am aware that my life is already too restricted, yet I’m secretly thinking of restricting it even more. Even if I don’t voluntarily make changes to restrict my activities, age and circumstances will eventually change things. For now, I am quite content with my quiet days, but it’s certainly not surprising that I’m wondering what’s next.

Luckily, it’s only two months until spring (though almost four months until spring planting), and then I’ll be too tired and too busy gardening and taking care of my yard to wonder where to go from here.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

Communicating Online

Today’s blog prompt is: In what ways do you communicate online? I had to think about this one because except for an occasional phone call, almost all my not-in-person communication is online. (I had to check to see if texting is considered online, and it is.) I don’t participate in social networking anymore, or at least not much. I do check for personal messages on Facebook occasionally (about once every week or two), and I check Twitter every month or two, and LinkedIn every year or so, but for the most part, I eschew that sort of communication. I used to be big on all those sites, mostly to try to promote myself as an author, but the response has dwindled so much over the years and the aggravation has increased so much that it’s just not worth it.

I never did get involved in any of the other major networking sites. I tried Pinterest, and never saw the point. By the time I got a smart phone and could join Instagram, it had been bought by Facebook, and I didn’t want to increase my exposure to that company, especially since they treat me so poorly. I have no interest in video communication of any kind, not even just watching videos, so that leaves off a few more communication opportunities. For a while, I participated in Quora, answering questions about grief, but that lost its charm when they accused me of plagiarism, though it was only myself I was quoting.

[Is it even possible to plagiarize yourself? Seems silly to me. I mean, I own what I write, so I can do with it what I wish. Still, I checked online and apparently self-plagiarism is bad because you are passing off old material as new and original, which is considered academically dishonest, though if not in an academic situation, and if one is not being paid, I still don’t see anything wrong. I suppose, in spirit of honesty, I should admit that very occasionally I do copy parts of previous blogs posts or rework one I especially like that hardly anyone ever saw. After all, WordPress has a feature where one can copy a post to repost it — it’s all part of the process — so once or twice a year, I make use of that facet of the platform.]

After jumping feet first into communicating online when I first got my computer about fifteen years ago, I’ve cut way back on the ways I communicate. Now I text via phone, communicate via emails, and write this blog. All very basic for these days.

In what ways do you communicate online?

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

Do You Want to Live Forever?

I sure as heck don’t want to live forever! In fact, I so much don’t want to live forever that I don’t think about it. The only reason it’s on my mind now is that the title of this post was the blog prompt for today.

To be honest, I can’t think of anyone granted immortality who was pleased with the dubious gift. Of course, these “anyone”s who were granted such a gift are by nature fictitious, since as far as I know, there is no living creature who lives forever. Well, this is a certain jellyfish that can revert to an earlier stage of their lifecycle, which can keep them going forever. Amoebas are considered immortal because they divide in two and so the parent doesn’t die but exists as two daughter cells. And then there are prions . . .

Okay, so there are living things that live forever, but except for the case of a stray alchemist or two (such as the Count of St. Germaine who supposedly found the philosopher’s stone and so attained immortality) the only humans who have become immortal on Earth are fictional ones. And those stories seldom end well.

For example, a long time ago I heard a theory that humans were a sort of preternatural ape embryo that managed to continue developing without ever turning into an ape. To support their supposition, theorists pointed to such human characteristics as hairless bodies, wide-spaced eyes, large heads, and a tendency to play that extends far beyond childhood. A short story based on this theory featured a scientist who found a way to become immortal, and instead of having a great life, he was eventually discovered living as an aged ape in his basement. Apparently, he lived long enough so that he grew out of his embryonic state. Not a pleasant way to live forever!

Vampires live forever, but those fangs, red lips and pallid skin are so not a good look. Sleeping in a coffin and never seeing the sun seems like a recipe for a massive year-round case of Seasonal Affective Disorder. And that lust for blood? Let’s not even go there.

One of the biggest cautionary tales for not living forever is the movie Death Becomes Her. After being granted immortal life, both Goldie Hawn and Meryl Streep do not heed the advice to take care of themselves, so they spend the rest of eternity trying to put themselves together. That’s enough to make a person shudder! (Except not really. This is the only role Meryl Streep ever did that I enjoyed.)

From a reader’s point of view, living forever would be untenable. Can you imagine reading a book that never ends? That goes on and on long after you got tired of what would soon become nothing but a series of insipid events? What a horrendously boring book that would be! Living an earthly life forever would be the same. Assuming, of course, that you could remain young and healthy and rich enough to keep yourself going century after century after century. Unless you were like the immortal jellyfish and could reset your cells back to an earlier time, you would grow older. And older. And older. And older. Ad infinitum. Eventually you would be too old to appreciate anything, would be ready to be shucked of your worthless body and decaying mind and would still find no surcease. And chances are, you’d get sick or break bones or get some sort of debilitating disease, and there would be no blessed release to your pain. Who knows, you might even end up in jail with a life sentence, and then, what a horror story that would be!

Even assuming that you managed to stay free and young and healthy and rich forever, then what? There would be no reason to do anything. As writers, we know how important a ticking clock is. Without a ticking clock to impel a character to solve the mystery or reach the end of a quest or whatever, there wouldn’t be much of a story. I imagine life without a ticking clock would be much the same. There’d be no reason to do anything. Of course, perhaps even for centuries, you could travel and learn and try all sorts of new experiences, and once that’s all done, then what? Eternal boredom?

Luckily, this is merely a rhetorical question, though millions, perhaps billions of dollars are being spent every year to unlock the mystery of mortality. Some scientists theorize that immortality was once the default state, and that death was “naturally selected for,” as they say, because apparently death conferred some sort of benefit on a species where individuals could die. (After all, evolution is not about a single organism but a species.)

Anyway, all that being said, would you want to live forever?

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

What is Your Mission?

Today’s blog prompt is “What is your mission?” For a long time, my mission was to simply to deal with my grief after Jeff’s death. Anyone who has dealt with grief knows that it is a massive mission — at first, getting through the days, then learning to live with a big hole in your life, then eventually becoming the person who can perhaps thrive despite the loss. Because the horrendous pain was an experience I’d never encountered before in books or movies or other people, my mission expanded to telling the truth about this sort of all-encompassing grief, to let other grievers know they weren’t alone, that grief was normal. When my grief became more manageable, my mission changed to telling those who were still grieving long after others think they should have “moved on,” that they are doing exactly the right thing, and that someday they will get to where they need to be.

My grief mission has come to an end. I no longer have an interest in resurrecting my pain to talk about it, to explain it, to lay myself bare. In fact, I’m to the point where I can’t handle any sort of grief, even the second-hand kind. Compassion overload apparently is a real thing.

A few days ago, I wrote about being — or not being — a contender (I Coulda Been a Contender). It seems the gist of the blog is that I am missing a sense of mission. Since I don’t really know what a mission is (though I do know when one thrusts itself upon me), I had to look up the word.

A mission is “the ultimate goal or purpose toward which one strives; one’s reason or motivation to continue existing, operating, or working.” At the moment I have no goal, no motivation to continue existing except the most basic — to survive the day as best as I can, to glean whatever good I can find and to try to gracefully glide past anything that’s not so good.

Now that I think of it, that’s not a bad mission!

What’s your mission?

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

I Coulda Been a Contender

I was cleaning off my desk yesterday when I found notes for a blog post, including the famous line from On the Waterfront, “I coulda been a contender”. At first, I couldn’t figure out what I’d planned to say about that famous line, but eventually I remembered the circumstances and what I’d been thinking. Nothing inspiring, that’s for sure. In fact, the complete opposite.

For the past year or so, almost every night as I get ready for bed, I get hit with a sudden pang of loneliness. On one particular night, along with the loneliness came the feeling that I was wasting my life, that I wasn’t living up to my potential, and the words “I could have been a contender” kept playing in my head.

And then I had an even worse thought — what if I am living up to my potential? What if this is all there is to me? It made me wonder which was worse, knowing you could have been a contender, could have been someone if things had been different or knowing you never could have been a contender, that it simply wasn’t in you.

I really do tend to believe that we all do the best we can at any given moment, and if we feel as if we are slacking, then perhaps there are other factors at work besides a disinclination to do what we think we should be doing. I’ve often thought I was lazy, even back when I was a child. I remember being sick once, and not wanting to go to school. I was out for a long time because I kept “playing hooky.” I stayed in bed and read, and was quite content. I don’t know what made me finally agree to go back to school; the only other part of that episode I remember was that I didn’t get a report card because I’d been out of school for so long. Years later, I mentioned this to my mother. She looked at me in astonishment and said, “You weren’t faking. You really were sick.” I don’t know what I had — maybe a cold. When I get sick, even with something minor, it tends to linger for weeks or even months, which is why I try to stay away from potential risks.

In a way, what I was feeling a couple of weeks ago is similar. Obviously, if I really had been sick when I was a kid, I couldn’t have gone to school even if I wanted to. And now, at my age and with my knees, there are a lot of things I couldn’t do even if I wanted to, like hiking great distances (or even short distances on treacherous ground). Even more unfortunately, I never could find a way to become a bestselling writer — I am not a salesperson, and despite my best attempts, I have never been successful at selling my books.

Looking back a few weeks to when I was feeling bad about being — or not being — a contender, I now realize it was in the middle of December during the bleak time of frigid temperatures and little sun. Because I didn’t really feel depressed (despite the depressing thoughts), it never occurred to me that I was having my usual winter bout of Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Luckily for my peace of mind, the feeling of wasting my life passed. Oh, it’s possible I really am not making full use of my life, but the sun is out, and we are back to our usual winter temperatures (highs in the forties, lows in the high teens and twenties), so it no longer seems to matter.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

What Big Events Took Place in Your Life During the Past Year?

When I stopped blogging every day, WordPress started sending me daily blog topics. It must have been a glitch since I didn’t sign up for them, and the prompts eventually stopped, but while it lasted, I found some of the ideas interesting, such as the question in the title: what big events took place in your life during in the past year?

I made note of this topic to use at some point, and apparently, this is the point, though to be honest, I can’t think of five events that have taken place over the past year let alone big events. Probably the most noteworthy thing that happened in that it devastated upset me was the death of swaths of my lawn as well as the invasion of Bermuda grass. Eventually, I will dig up the dead and unwanted grass and replant it, but all that brown is so unpretty! I’m learning that the yard will never be beautiful for long stretches of time because it is a living thing in constant flux, so it’s important for me to enjoy the beauty when I can. That lesson is not an event, of course, but is an important one that I hope to take to heart this spring and summer as various plants grow, fade away, and die.

Stopping my daily blogging is not exactly an event either since it’s something I didn’t do rather than what I did do, but it was a big deal — for three years I blogged every day, and then I didn’t.

My sisters came to visit, and that truly was a big event! (This should have been the first thing I remembered, since it really was the most noteworthy, and I am a bit embarrassed that my grass and blogging came to mind first. Luckily, my sisters don’t read this blog so they won’t know where their visit was relegated in memory!) All the big events of the year came during that visit — visiting Vogel Canyon, finally getting to see a tarantula, visiting Bent’s Fort, and various other activities.

It’s surprising to me that a year that went by so quickly is so hard to remember. It could be that in living for the day, I’m not storing the things that happened. It might be that since I gave up daily blogging and so didn’t write about everything, that events didn’t stick in my memory. Or it’s possible that memory retrieval is breaking down due to age. Whatever the reason, it was a year of big events and small, memorable and not. And I grew a year older.

At my age, that final point truly is a big event. During 2022, so many people did not have the opportunity to grow a year older (approximately 67 million), that I am blessed to have the opportunity to continue aging.

What about you? What were the big events of your life last year?

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

Snow!

It snowed last night — a lot! (6 inches with drifts up to 12 inches.) And I was not at all prepared. Though how could I be? The forecasters offered only a 40% chance of snow, and if it did snow, was supposed to be just a dusting, like all the other snows we we’ve had this year.

It’s too bad I didn’t know that it would snow so much — yesterday would have been a good opportunity to sow my wildflower seeds, but with high winds also in the forecast, I figured the seeds would scatter all through the neighborhood if it . Still, it’s early in the season. I’m sure there will be plenty of time to plant the seeds.

The other thing I would have done if I had known it would snow so much is to take my heavy-duty ergonomic snow shovel out of the garage and bring it into the house. (What makes is ergonomic is the bent handle, though why that makes a difference, I don’t know. It certainly makes the shovel unwieldy!) Luckily, I keep a plastic scoop shovel in the house. It’s not really a snow shovel — looks more like a coal shovel — but it does the job in an emergency.

It seems funny to be writing this — ever since I’ve stopped blogging every day, whenever I have an insight about something, I just let the thought (deep or not so deep) go unrecorded. It’s a shame, in a way. Every once in a while, someone will leave a comment on an older post, and since I don’t know what they are referencing, I have to go back and read the item. Often, I am surprised by my perspicacity. Now, though, since I am out of the habit of blogging, I lose those insights. Perhaps that’s not a bad thing. Maybe just having the thought is enough, even if I don’t remember or record it.

Sometimes I think I should get back to the discipline of daily blogging, but, like the rest of my thoughts lately, I let it go.

Still, you never know. Obviously, this snow goaded me into writing, and I’m sure other things will come along to goad me, too.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

I Love to Write Day

Today is national “I Love to Write Day,” so here I am, writing. To be honest, I’m not sure if I do love to write anymore; if I did, I’d be spending more time actually writing than simply thinking about writing. And I do spend a lot of time thinking about writing — wondering if I will write another book, and if so, what sort of story I would write, and mostly what I would do with the book when it’s finished.

How much I wonder about what to do with a book I have not yet written, don’t even have a clue as to plot or character, for sure makes me wonder how much I actually love to write. If love of writing was the key, I’d be writing, regardless of the disposition of the finished product.

What I need more than anything is a story I can get involved with and to be interested in for the year it takes to write, and so far, I haven’t found it. What I would like — to the extent that I would like anything to do with writing — is to get immersed in a world that is completely different from the one I live in, to become a character completely different from who I am, to tell a story that only I could tell.

I’d also like to write in a different way from I’ve always written, perhaps as diary or blog, where I discover the story, the characters, and their fictional world as I write. With all of my novels, I needed to know the antagonist, the protagonist, the basic conflict, the beginning, and the end, and then the creativity came in how I got from the starting place to the finish line. The closest I’ve ever gotten to writing without even a sketchy idea of where I was going is Break Time, the collaborative novel I did with friends from the Five Eyes countries (United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Britain). Break Time didn’t work out the way it was supposed to. As with the first collaboration I created, the Rubicon Ranch mystery series, the project was derailed halfway through because although it was supposed to be an online novel, those involved were more interested in getting it published than in keeping with the original intent.

So what if I did that sort of project by myself? Write a novel online as a blog — as a daily diary — creating the world and the characters as I wrote. If I did it online, I certainly wouldn’t have to worry about the disposition of the novel — it would be published online in blog segments as each was completed.

I’ve also been contemplating using the tarot cards as my story finder — to do readings for my characters to see who they are as well as daily or weekly readings (depending on how often I want to update the story on the blog) to see what they are doing. For an additional interest point, I could post the cards I used to write each segment of the story, which would give an added depth to those who can do their own reading of the cards, relating it to the blog segment.

Is this something that would keep me interested for the duration? I don’t know. Obviously, considering how seldom I am updating this blog, I am quite content not to write at all.

But things change.

And who knows what the future will hold? Not I, that’s for sure.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

I’m going to Blog for Peace. Will You?

Tomorrow, November 4th, people all over the world will blog for peace. Blog4Peace was created and founded by Mimi Lenox, who believes that because words are powerful, blogging for peace is important.

Mimi began blogging for peace in November 2006. Fourteen years and thousands of peace bloggers later she — and all those she inspired — are still blogging for peace. On every continent. In 214 countries and territories. In war-torn countries and peaceful villages. Whole families. Babies in utero (yes, really!) Teenagers. Senior citizens. Veterans of war. Poets and singers. Teachers. Classrooms. Authors and artists. Doctors. Lawyers. Cats (many, many cat bloggers). Dogs. Gerbils. Birds. Goats and Bunnies. Scientists. Designers. Researchers. Stay-at-home-parents. Kids. Baby Boomers. From the Netherlands to Kansas. And everywhere in between.

I joined the peace bloggers in 2012. And I still blog for peace. 

This year’s theme is No Freedom, No Peace. As Mimi says, “Can we bring about a liberated world inside of ourselves and let it spill out onto the planet? Yes, we can.” This is a theme I can adopt; in fact, my novel Bob, The Right Hand of God was written with the themes of freedom and peace in mind. Although I do not believe in the possibility of world peace (because war and stressful times are never our personal choice but are fostered by others or foisted on us by circumstances) and freedom is not always a choice, (anyone who flies can attest to that) I do believe in finding peace and what freedom we can within ourselves no matter what happens to provoke us into chaos.

And yes, words are powerful. And yes, this matters.

How To Blog For Peace:

  1. Choose a graphic from the peace globe gallery http://peaceglobegallery.blogspot.com/p/get-your-own-peace-globe.htmlor from the photos on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/BlogBlastForPeace#!/BlogBlastForPeace/app_153284594738391 Right click and Save. Decorate it and sign it, or leave as is.
  2. Send the finished globe to blog4peace@yahoo.com
  3. Post it anywhere online November 4 and title your post Dona Nobis Pacem (Latin for Grant us Peace)

Sounds cool, doesn’t it? See you on November 4!

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

I’m Doing Well

If you’re one of those who has been worried about my virtual disappearance, worry no more. I’m doing well. I haven’t disappeared in real life, just online life. I still manage to blog once or twice a week, but I don’t go through the rigmarole of posting the link on Facebook. It got to be too much, not just writing every day, but reblogging to another blog as well as posting the photo on a third blog and reblogging that to the reblogged blog just so I can bypass FB’s unfairly punitive ways to post my blog link on the site.

I feel good about not blogging every day, and I feel even better about boycotting FB, though I do feel bad about not keeping up with grief friends, both online and off. I just can’t handle secondhand grief anymore. (A friend recently died, and I dread seeing her husband, also a friend, when he returns to this country. It’s not exactly kind or generous or sensitive, but it’s the truth of me right now.)

I’ve also been doing well with my yard — the leaves from my neighbors’ trees will start falling any day (perhaps even later today because of the high winds we’re dealing with), but until it’s time to rake those leaves or to water the grass again, there’s nothing for me to do outside. What a change! Admittedly, I earned the change. I’ve been spending three or four hours every day digging up Bermuda grass, weeds, and dead annuals in preparation for winter wildflower sowing. I also spent several of those days digging up, hacking apart, and replanting the New England aster. If even half of them survive the winter, I’ll be having to deal with maybe a hundred plants next fall. But that’s not for another year.

I’ve also been doing well with cleaning house — everything is as spotless as I can get it, so there’s no inside chore niggling at me, either.

So, with nothing to do today except read and relax and fix a couple of meals, I’m doing really well!

And speaking of “well,” Here’s a well of a different sort. It’s funny, but I wished for a wishing well, and look! I got my wish! I had to fix the roof that was falling apart, and I shingled it with leftover shingles, and now — oh, what a beauty!

I threw wishes into the well for your wellbeing, so I hope it works and that you’re doing well, too.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.