No this isn’t the beginning to a really clever joke, though she would have delivered one hell of a punchline!

Before you call me “woo-woo” or think I am going insane, I hope you will stick around to read a little bit further.

In case you have no idea who I am or why I like writing about death and grief, I’ll give a quick recap:

11 years ago I fell in love with a fiery redhead named, Coop. She had the laughter of 10 hyenas and was unapologetically dark humored. Deadpan is how she described it. I spent a…

Death showed up at my door at a rather young age. I was entering my early 20’s, where life was nearly beginning and death was just a foggy, distant thought. Aside from that one time when I made my childhood acting debut in a funeral education video, I hadn’t really paid death much attention. The other time I recall being curious about death was during the infrequent and brief drives past the cemetery, when my siblings and I would hold our breath out of fear of the old urban legend.

In our society, many individuals don’t even begin thinking about…

The writer, Martin Prechtel, has a wonderful quote about grief:

“Grief expressed out loud for someone we have lost, or a country or home we have lost, is in itself the greatest praise we could ever give them. Grief is praise, because it is the natural way love honors what it misses.”

When I think of grief, the image of an arrow piercing through the center of a heart comes to mind. The arrow instantly numbs everything, sending the heart into a state of shock. The reaction may be to pull the arrow out immediately, but it doesn’t budge. The…

Love and death are magnificent gifts which many of us leave unopened.” — Rilke

When asked the other day about my first experience with death, this was my response:

In the third grade I volunteered to be a part of a death education film. I had no concept of what death was at the time. I didn’t pay much attention to what I was signing up for. In my 11-year-old mind, the promise of pizza and missing class was equivalent to hitting the jackpot.

Little did I know at that time, death would become my greatest teacher.

Since then, death…

You may be thinking “Why would anyone want to be friends with death?” Which is a very reasonable, human thought to have. For most of us, making friends is easy. But how about making friends with the uncomfortable feelings and moments in life?

I re-read a beautiful poem by Thich Nhat Hahn yesterday, it’s titled Please Call Me By My True Names. It is a beautiful poem about compassion. Thich Nhat Hahn states beautifully in this poem:

“Please call me by my true names,
so I can hear all my cries and laughs at once,
so I can see that my joy…

“Man surprised me most about humanity. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.” –Dalai Lama

Nine months ago I hung up my freelance hat and signed a job offer for a full time position with a non-profit organization. At the time, I…

Erin Coriell

end of life care advocate. writer. grief worker

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