It All Matters

Some people take exception to the things I blog about, whether apples or tea, grief or gardening, writing or planning murder mystery games for local fundraisers. But whatever blog theme I choose to develop, it’s all life, and life matters.

Life can’t consist solely of immense and intense moments, such as love, dying, grief. Life is what we do and how we feel on a daily basis. Life is what we find important enough to disclose. Life is deadly serious, but it is also whim and whimsey — fanciful impulses and ideas. And life is, for a writer, a constant source of blog topics.

It’s a challenge for me to blog every day. Once, everything that happened to me was important — the death of my soulmate made it so. But now the only things that are important are the things I choose to spend my time on — making a home for myself, developing friendships, seeing beauty in the arid earth around me (rather than going in search of more majestic scenery).

When it comes time to blog, I think about something I did or thought or learned that day, and I try to show why it’s important to me, why you might want to know about it. Most people don’t want to know and don’t care, and that’s okay.

Because I care.

I care enough to choose my words carefully, to try to interject a bit of wit or whimsey when appropriate. I care enough to treat each blog with respect even if the topic borders on the inane.

I care because it’s life, and everything that makes up our lives is important for no other reason than because it is our life.

I’ve always wanted to live a life that matters, to do something significant, to learn something vital, to see beyond the trivial to something cosmic, but I’ve come to realize that it is not us that makes life matter; it is life that makes us matter (both literally and figuratively).

When I was dealing with the most angst-ridded part of my grief — learning to live without the one person who made my life worth living — I took heart from the words posted on the blog “Leesis Ponders”:

Life matters.
The search for self that blends into all matters.
The way we act towards others matters.

It’s taken me a long time to truly believe her words, but now I know. Life does matter. Whatever is important to us at any given moment — life, death, grief, growth, homes, writing, apples, tea, the significant experiences and the insignificant concerns — it all matters. It’s all worth blogging about.

***

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.

Janus-Faced Town

Generally, a town with a low-rate of owner-occupied houses is a sign of a transient population and people who are not vested in the community. Because of this, I hesitated to move to this town since more than half of the houses are rentals; I thought it boded ill. But my house was here, and so now I am too.

For the most part, I’ve had a great experience, almost idyllic, and this is the face of the town that I generally write about.

But there is another face that makes me leery, such as a drug dealer who rents a house on the corner, who allegedly steals tools, and who plays his music way too loud (that thumping can be heard a block or two away, which someone told me is code for his “store” being open). Making matters more tense, his girlfriend is a dispatcher at the sheriff’s department, so the complaints of those who call seldom get past her, and, even worse, she knows exactly who is calling.

In a house across the alley, a pair of drug dealers apparently had a falling out right before I moved here, and one shot and killed the other. I don’t know the truth of that. Another story has it that the killer was never charged and that the dead guy is alive and living in a nearby town. The story goes that the two purported drug dealers were actually DEA agents scoping out the local drug scene, which seems specious at best, since they lived within sight of a known dealer.

Four marijuana shops are in the process of opening, and one friend, who moved here to get away from the legal marijuana trade is worried. It’s not those who buy for themselves that concern him, but he says that too often people “trade up,” buying pot and trading to the dealers for the heavy stuff, which increases the overall drug traffic.

Adding to this whole situation, not far from here is a residential program for the homeless, which helps them recover from any substance problems and then transitions them back to self-sufficiency. Hundreds of people are brought in from Denver and other big cities in Colorado, as well as veterans from all over the country. This is a great program, but people who drop out are not sent back where they came from, so they hang around here.

Worst of all, mostly because they are so ubiquitous, are the dogs. There is a leash law, but it is not enforced, and too many dogs end up roaming the streets. This is the only place I’ve ever lived where I feel the need to carry pepper spray.

A few months ago, a woman who lives at the far end of my street was ravaged by dogs, and her husband had to shoot one to save her. Nothing happened to the dog owners, but the husband is in big trouble for shooting off a gun within the city limits. And the dog owners are tormenting them. What they once thought was a Mayberryish town turned into a nightmare for them, so they are leaving.

It sounds like a horrible place, doesn’t it? And yet the life I am building for myself in this community really is close to ideal. My nearest neighbors are great, as are the people I see most frequently. When I was forced inside because of a bad cough, I had more offers of help than I did in all months I was dealing with a shattered arm. People I’ve never met recognize me. Almost everything I need is within walking distance. My house is lovely, it and feels safe (will even feel safer when the fence is finished.)

Maybe all places are like this — half horror, half heaven — but this seems a particularly Janus-faced town.

***

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.

Tea Time Two

In a previous post, “Tea Time,” I mentioned a couple of different borosilicate teapots I’d ordered. The directions on one said it was okay to microwave but was not safe for stovetop use. The other said it was not okay to microwave but was safe for stovetop use. This understandably confused me because the whole purpose of borosilicate glass is that it is more resistant to thermal shock than soda-lime glass and will withstand high temperatures without cracking. In fact, the old pre-1998 Pyrex coffee pots, the ones my mother always used, were made of borosilicate glass.

I contacted the distributor and asked about the disparity in instructions. A customer service representative responded and said both pots were microwave safe since neither had any metal parts. When I asked about stovetop use, the representative said, “We made the decision a few years ago for safety reasons to not recommend using the teapots directly on the stovetop.” The teapot with instructions saying it could be used on the stovetop was an older model that has been discontinued, so those instructions had not been updated.

I figured that since both pots were made of the same materials, and the decision to not recommend for stovetop use seemed arbitrary and more of a legal matter than a problem with the pots, then both should be stovetop safe. Besides, borosilicate teapots are supposed to be safer to use than stainless steel or even iron (and vastly safer than aluminum) since they don’t leach minerals and contaminants into the water, and you lose that benefit if you can’t use the pots on the stove.

Although I’d been using the teapot that said it was safe for the stove, I hesitated to use the other pot on the stove since I didn’t want to throw away the money I’d spent on it if there really was a problem, so I researched the matter of safety.

It turns out borosilicate pots are perfectly safe when used on medium heat. If the heat is too high, it can heat up the handle and burn fingers. If you drop the pot because of the heated handle, you can burn more than just fingers. Also, pouring boiling water can be dangerous, so the recommendation I found was to let the pot sit for a minute before pouring the water into a cup.

Also, as it turns out, water for tea shouldn’t be heated to boiling anyway — boiling water can burn the delicate tea leaves so some teamakers say that to make a perfect cup of tea, it’s necessary to turn off the water right before it hits the boiling point, and if you wait too long and it boils, then let the water sit for a minute before boiling. A further word of caution: don’t reboil water. If there are contaminants in the water, boiling concentrates the contaminants, and reboiling concentrates them even further.

The upshot of all this is that I’ve been using the non-stovetop-safe pot on the stove, cooking at medium heat, trying to turn off the pot before the water boils, and if I can’t, then waiting for a minute to pour, and so far, no problems.

Despite all this, I ordered a whistling teakettle. Remember, I’m the same person who got distracted and blew up a pan of eggs. Twice. On the same day. Yep. Blew them up. Loud cracks of explosions. Bits of egg all over the kitchen. Borosilicate pots (any pot, actually) is not safe if you let the pot boil dry, and if I don’t want to hang around to watch the pot boil (and yes, despite the adage, watched pots do boil), I need the reminder. (It didn’t dawn on me until just now that I could figure out how long it takes to boil water here, and then set the timer. Duh.)

Well, now I have options.

I’ve spent so much time researching this matter, and the information borders on the esoteric, that I’ve been trying to figure out a way to use it in one of my books, but I can’t think of any way that any of this could help with a murder or solving a murder. It could go toward defining a character, I suppose, since I often try to give characters a small quirk, but such a small quirk doesn’t seem to merit all the time I spent on research.

So, please feel free to use this information if you want. Someone should get some use out of all my hard work!

***

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.

The Roaring Twenties Return with . . . Murder!

In just a few weeks, the twenties will come roaring back. (You knew that, right?) To celebrate, the local Art Guild is going to be doing a murder mystery dinner with a nineteen twenties theme. And guess who has been elected to write this mystery?

I knew you’d guess it was me, so there was no reason for the mysteriousness except that I need to start cultivating the habit of finding mystery in small things. Otherwise, how am I going to come up with an appropriate story?

The challenge of the murder scenario I wrote for the museum was to offer clues that prove someone didn’t do the dastardly deed. (It’s easier to offer clues that they did, such as blood on a cuff.) The challenge here is to . . .

Well, to be honest, I don’t know what the challenge will be since I haven’t yet started developing the story. I do know who will be the victim. I know where all this takes place: one night at a speakeasy. I know an Italian dinner will be served. I know there will be a representation of at least some of the iconic elements of that 100-year-old decade besides the speakeasy: jazz, gangsters, flappers. (Am I missing an element? Prohibition, of course, but a speakeasy would include the idea of prohibition since without Prohibition, there’d be no need for a speakeasy.)

The main things I need to figure out are: why would anyone kill the doomed one? How does the setting fit in? How will the story unfold? Why would the killer do it in such a public fashion? (Other than the needs of the story, of course.) How will it be done? A gun would be obvious, and would add the startle factor, especially if it came from outside the room, but poison would make for a more mysterious death — the victim could be acting normally, then slip to the ground midst loud gasps of shock.

There’s no need to worry about alibis since the suspects are all in the speakeasy when the murder happens, so that’s a beginning.

There will be four to six suspects. An appropriate 20s theme or thread that holds the story together. A hook for the murder. A surprise ending. But what any of those things are, I have yet to figure out. Luckily, I have a few weeks until the end of the year. And I just have to come up with the story. I don’t have to write a book (though there is a possibility that eventually a book will work its way out of me).

Necessary characters: A flapper, the boyfriend, a gangster (who could be the boyfriend), a waiter, and . . . .?

Besides the characters themselves, I need reasons why all these folks wanted the victim dead.

Feel free to add your two cents if you wish, or even your twenty cents.

Don’t worry, I’ll keep you informed about my progress whether you want me to or not.

***

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.

 

Ask and You Shall Receive

I’ve asked for many things in my life that I never received, small things like not getting a refund for something I ordered that had never been sent and big things like Jeff getting well, but apparently, Jonathan apples are one thing I can ask for and actually receive.

I’d asked the produce manager at the local grocery store for Jonathan apples, and he ordered them. (I wasn’t the only one that wanted them, which helped. He says he has several ladies who want Jonathans and only Jonathans).

The order finally came in! I had to ask where the apples were because I didn’t recognize them. The Jonathans I was used to, those grown in Colorado, were small. The apples I was steered toward didn’t look any different from any other apple, and since the apples didn’t have a sticker as so many do, I wasn’t sure what I was getting.

Also, I wasn’t sure I would know a Jonathan anymore if it bit me (or rather, if I bit it) — it’s been many years since I’ve even tasted one.

But one careful test bite and oh, yes! It was exactly as I remember — perfection!

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why Jonathans are different from other apples. They have the shortest growing season of all apples, which makes them scarce. A soft crispness makes them bruise easily and prevents long-term storage. A tart sweetness makes for a great baking apple and even better eating. And yet, despite the distinctive flavor and texture, they still have that appleness that all others have. (If you close your eyes and take a bite of an apple, you know what you are eating, even if you don’t recognize the exact variety.)

Well, it’s been nice visiting with you, but I have to go. A Jonathan apple is waiting for me!

***

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.

Someone Who Understands

I made a pastor cry today. Or maybe it was just that I offered him the opportunity. But still . . .

A local church had a potato bar and pie auction for a fundraiser, and I went. Interestingly, I’ve spent more time in various churches during the past few months than I have in decades; all of my new friends are religious, and each of them attends a different church. Since all the churches seem to work together for various activities, I see these people at many functions.

And I see new people. As I was leaving at the end of the auction, someone I’d never seen before came up to me and asked me why people called me Pat in the Hat. She said that when I came in, she heard people saying, “Here’s Pat in the Hat.” I pointed to the hat I was wearing. Yep. That’s my claim to fame. Always with a hat.

Today was an especially fun event until I ruined it with my talk of grief. The pastor auctioned off the pies, and he was so persuasive and so utterly charming and amusing, it was hard not to participate. Afterward, a friend introduced us and mentioned I was a writer. He asked what I wrote, and I said mostly mysteries but I had also written a couple of books on grief. So of course, I started expounding about grief, what I’ve learned, and what I’ve been doing to pass my experiences and expertise on to others.

He seemed impressed that I had such a mission. We talked about how so many grief counselors hadn’t experienced profound grief themselves, and how it skewed the help they were able to offer.

Then I noticed he had tears in his eyes. “Who did you lose?” I asked quietly. “Your wife?” He couldn’t respond right away. Finally he said, “Not wife. Children.” I hugged him, and said I was so very sorry. He nodded at that, and said, “You do know the right thing to say.” (So yes, I was right with my post a couple of days ago about saying “I’m Sorry.”)

I didn’t ask particulars about the deaths — it seemed too intrusive — but we talked a few more minutes about grief and loss and emptiness. He thanked me for participating in the auction, and for being such a good sport. Then we parted.

It still holds true after all these years, that grief can quickly bind two people in a profound moment of sharing. Neither of our losses are recent, but both have left holes in us that nothing can fill. Although his faith is strong, and he believes he will see his children again, he still sorrows. He never got to see them grow up. Never got to see the adults they could have become.

It’s hard to lose part of oneself like that. It’s hard to live with it. But he does.

We all do.

We always feel their absence.

And we always feel the grief that connects us to someone who understands.

***

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 Sorry

People often ask me what’s the best thing to say to comfort someone who is grieving. My response is that nothing we can say can comfort someone who has lost their spouse or income or health or whatever it is they are grieving. We still need to say something, though (unless we are in the griever’s presence, then a hug is often better than any word). We can’t just ignore a friend’s pain.

Oddly, despite all my various losses, and despite all my writing about grief, I still feel helpless and tongue-tied in the presence of other people’s sorrow.

Several friends are going through devastating times right now, either death of their spouse, an imminent breakup, loss of income, severe health issues.

All I can think to say to these grievers is a simple, “I’m sorry.”

Although most people think “I’m sorry” connotes an apology, the first definition of “sorry” is: “feeling distress, especially through sympathy with someone else’s misfortune.” Which is exactly what we want to say to someone who is hurting.

The only problem with “I’m sorry” is when you add “for your loss.”

Not only is “I’m sorry for your loss,” too rote, too insensitive, too bureaucratic, it also seems a bit too distancing. The first two words express distress and sympathy, a reaching out; the last two words seem to repudiate the outreach, making it clear the distress is the griever’s alone. Although the agony and angst of grief does belong to the griever, each person’s death diminishes us all. And that loss of light in the world should be acknowledged.

Even more than that, it’s not just the loss we are sorry for. We’re also sorry for everything else that comes along with that major loss: the chaotic emotions, the feeling of amputation, the lifestyle change, the lessening of income, the brain fog, the hardships of growing old alone, the loss of the person we were with our deceased loved one, the increased death rate, the horrendous stress.

Most people don’t have an inkling of the scope of grief that the death of a loved one or a devastating divorce or a financial trauma can bring, so they distance themselves. I can’t blame people for not wanting to know the truth.

But I do have an inkling.

And I’m sorry for all that you are going through, so very sorry.

***

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.

One Good Apple Deserves Another

A while ago I wrote about apple season, and how hard it was for me to get my favorite Jonathan apples (haven’t had one for years). I also mentioned in a comment on that post about how I used to also like Rome Beauty apples, but they seemed to be disappearing, too. I hadn’t eaten one or even seen one for decades. Well, today I went to the grocery store, and there it was, a Rome Beauty apple, though now, apparently, they just call them Rome apples.

But they are still beauties. And still a treat.

Even better, the produce manager said Jonathan apples appeared on his order form today. And perhaps he will have them on Monday.

Oh, wow!!

I am so looking forward to treating myself to more apples. As they say, one good apple deserves another. Well, no. No one has ever said that but me, right now. Doesn’t make it any less true.

I am seventeen days late for National Apple Day in the USA (October 21), but have a Happy Apple Day anyway! I sure will.

***

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.

The Opposite of Peace

A blog blast for peace almost by definition demands thoughts of the opposite state (violence and fears) because if peace were the norm, we wouldn’t need to talk about peace — it would be taken for granted. But peace is not necessarily the norm, except among you and me and the rest of us peaceable folk. In fact, violence, way more than peace, is an acceptable part of the culture: witness all the violent movies, TV shows, video games.

Sheri Parks, an assistant professor at the University of Maryland, says that many teens today have had years of exposure to violent video games and media images, which studies show desensitizes them to violence. Not surprising. Many of today’s — and yesterday’s — video games were developed by the military because studies had shown that repeated images of violence and death inured people to killing. In World War II, as many as 85% of soldiers fired over enemies’ heads or did not fire at all. After World War II, there was a concerted effort by the military to overcome this natural reluctance to kill, and apparently they succeeded, because during close combat in Vietnam, only about 5% of soldiers failed to aim to kill. These same desensitizing “games” were later released as toys for children.

Findings such as these about desensitization — whether new or old — scare the heck out of me. Author Lee Child says that we don’t write what we know, we write what we fear. Perhaps this is true. My books are filled with fears — fear of being at the mercy of mindless governments and corrupt corporations, fear of deadly and unstoppable diseases, fear of the loss of self, fear that our memories lie. Since all of these fears can be lumped into one group — fear of powerlessness — I wonder if all fears came down to that same thing. Mine do, anyway.

This theme of powerlessness is most prevalent in my novel More Deaths Than One (in fact, I came across the information about desensitization while researching the military, soldiers, and killing for that particular novel) though it shows up in milder forms in all of my novels. Conspiracy? Perhaps. Truth? Probably. Fear? Definitely.

Through stories, you learn how to deal with your fears, especially if you are the one writing the story. If you novelize a fear of being eaten alive by monsters from outer space, then the terrestrial ones eating you alive don’t seem so monstrous. If you watch a movie about aliens taking over your body, then the terrestrial one taking over your mind might not seem quite so alien.

You don’t think you are being eaten alive or that your mind is being taken over? Well, you are and it is — it’s called aging. Little by little, the you that you know is being supplanted by a creature you could never fathom being. Some people turn into querulous beings totally unrecognizable from the derring-dos of their youthful selves. Some turn into their mothers. Some . . . Well, I’ve scared you enough.

I researched phobias to see what sort of things other people are afraid of, and now I’m in danger of becoming a phobiaphobe. Although I am sympathetic to anyone caught in the horror of a phobia, I do enjoy the names. Names such as levophobia, kainophobia, lachanophobia, mageirocophobia, melophobia, nomatophobia, nyctohylophobia, paraskavedekatriaphobia. Great names for dreadful conditions.

In the end, except when it comes to writing with its necessity for conflict, it seems as if peace is a much easier way to live than the alternatives of fear and violence that permeate our culture. So here’s to next years Blog Blast for Peace!

***

Okay, I’ll let you off the hook so you don’t turn into a Sesquipedalophobe (someone who fears long words). Here’s what the above-mentioned words mean:

  • Levophobia — Fear of things to the left side of the body
  • Kainophobia — Fear of anything new
  • Lachanophobia — Fear of vegetables
  • Mageirocophobia — Fear of cooking
  • Melophobia — Fear of music
  • Nomatophobia — Fear of names
  • Nyctohylophobia —- Fear of dark wooded areas
  • Paraskavedekatriaphobia — Fear of Friday the 13th
  • Phobiaphobe — Fear of fear
  • Triskaidekaphobia — Fear of the number thirteen

The one fear I hope no one ever gets is patbertramophobia. So not good for me as a writer!

***

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.

Who Visits My Blog

Well, yes, of course, you visit my blog. But so do people from all around the world.  Most come from the USA and other English speaking countries. Others come from countries I’ve never even heard of, and yet, someone in those countries has heard of me. What an amazing thing the internet is!

Here is a map showing where my visitors originate:

Pink shows visitors, and the darker the pink, the more visitors. Apparently, if I am reading the map correctly, the only places from which no visitors have come are Greenland, Svalbard, Turkmenistan, Western Sahara, Guinea-Bissau, Chad, and Central African Republic. I find this utterly astonishing. Not to be disingenuous, but I simply can’t imagine being interesting enough to attract so many different people.

Here is the incredible list of countries where visitors have come from. (The number represents visitations only, not views, since often people click on more than one blog entry, and each click is a view):

United States 364502
United Kingdom 64705
Canada 42126
India 35091
Australia 25092
Philippines 7152
Pakistan 6247
Ireland 6045
South Africa 4668
New Zealand 4236
Malaysia 4145
Singapore 4003
Germany 3227
European Union 2448
France 2093
Netherlands 1982
Indonesia 1657
United Arab Emirates 1556
Brazil 1364
Hong Kong SAR China 1318
Italy 1317
Spain 1283
Norway 1262
Russia 1258
Saudi Arabia 1091
Denmark 1085
Thailand 1053
Japan 1012
Sweden 1002
Turkey 957
Lebanon 939
Bangladesh 881
Vietnam 875
Romania 834
Mexico 827
Belgium 822
South Korea 799
Switzerland 739
Nigeria 733
Poland 714
Kenya 711
Greece 709
Argentina 685
Israel 589
Nepal 570
Egypt 561
Jamaica 556
Sri Lanka 510
Portugal 490
Finland 462
Trinidad & Tobago 444
Austria 415
Taiwan 406
Hungary 353
Ukraine 337
Jordan 330
Cambodia 319
Malta 316
Ghana 298
Qatar 292
Czech Republic 278
Bulgaria 278
Serbia 271
Mauritius 261
Kuwait 260
Morocco 252
Croatia 244
Slovakia 236
Puerto Rico 231
Colombia 226
Slovenia 194
Oman 185
Tunisia 171
Albania 162
Algeria 158
Chile 156
Iraq 153
Cyprus 153
American Samoa 150
Bahrain 141
Bahamas 141
Lithuania 138
Estonia 131
China 126
Uganda 124
British Virgin Islands 121
Iceland 119
Zimbabwe 119
Tanzania 117
Latvia 115
Georgia 112
Myanmar (Burma) 110
Peru 108
Ecuador 102
Venezuela 101
Macedonia 100
Botswana 96
Guyana 96
Costa Rica 94
Palestinian Territories 93
Panama 91
Armenia 91
Belize 88
Brunei 85
Barbados 80
Maldives 79
Fiji 77
Bosnia & Herzegovina 76
Isle of Man 74
Luxembourg 73
Jersey 71
Azerbaijan 70
Bhutan 69
Dominican Republic 64
Afghanistan 63
Namibia 62
Antigua & Barbuda 59
Yemen 55
Syria 55
Zambia 55
Kazakhstan 54
Grenada 54
Moldova 53
Malawi 49
Papua New Guinea 49
Guernsey 49
Ethiopia 48
Guatemala 47
Belarus 47
Macau SAR China 46
Bermuda 46
Guam 44
St. Vincent & Grenadines 44
Cayman Islands 44
St. Lucia 43
Cameroon 41
El Salvador 37
Libya 35
Uruguay 34
Curaçao 32
Laos 32
Bolivia 31
Lesotho 30
Gibraltar 29
Honduras 28
Paraguay 27
Mongolia 26
Nicaragua 26
Montenegro 26
U.S. Virgin Islands 25
Swaziland 25
Rwanda 25
Aruba 24
St. Kitts & Nevis 20
Suriname 20
Mozambique 20
Dominica 19
Monaco 19
Côte d’Ivoire 17
Northern Mariana Islands 16
Sudan 16
Seychelles 16
Åland Islands 14
Senegal 13
Congo – Kinshasa 12
Somalia 10
Kyrgyzstan 10
Angola 10
Madagascar 9
Vanuatu 8
Djibouti 7
Uzbekistan 7
Réunion 7
Guadeloupe 7
Anguilla 7
Liberia 6
Caribbean Netherlands 6
Solomon Islands 5
Faroe Islands 5
Haiti 4
Cook Islands 4
Turks & Caicos Islands 4
Benin 3
Iran 3
Burundi 3
French Polynesia 3
Cuba 3
Liechtenstein 3
Gabon 3
Sierra Leone 3
Timor-Leste 2
Martinique 2
Mali 2
Tajikistan 2
Micronesia 2
Vatican City 1
Burkina Faso 1
South Sudan 1
Congo – Brazzaville 1
Falkland Islands 1
St. Helena 1
Marshall Islands 1
Mauritania 1
Netherlands Antilles 1
French Guiana 1
Montserrat 1
Kiribati 1
Cape Verde 1
Niger 1
Samoa 1
Sint Maarten 1

***

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.