Tag Archives: Grief

Taboo Topic: Grief Has No Time Limit

My daughter was graduating from Santa Monica College and as the graduation date got closer, I began to feel the weight of my husband’s absence. He had died 10 years earlier and this was another milestone that he would miss. A week before the graduation, an event page popped up in my email. There was a “Death Over Dinner Party” scheduled in Venice, a few miles from where I was staying. I had always been curious about this event and the timing seemed perfect.


Opening the wooden gate, I walked towards the front door. The host invited me in and with a sweep of her arm, pointed to a table set for ten with beautiful Mexican floral plates, silverware, and sunflowers. I added my couscous and tomato salad contribution to the table and found a seat next to the window. People entered the room quietly making eye contact and a simple nod of the head with a smile. When everyone had arrived, the host invited us to pass the food and started with a few short question-prompts to begin the conversation.


When it was my turn to share my story, I began to speak about my husband’s death ten years earlier and how our daughter was graduating from college. Then I started to sob. Everyone waited for me to be ready to continue to speak. In between sobs and blowing my nose, I talked about the sadness I felt that my husband was once again missing an event in our daughter’s life and the grief I felt for my daughter’s loss, too. I shared how lonely I felt and yet, in that moment I didn’t feel alone. When I was complete, each person acknowledged me in a simple way and we continued to go around the table, listening to each person’s story of grief and loss.


When I left the house, a few hours later, I felt lighter. It was a safe haven to express the pain, to be seen and heard, to release it and then move back into the world.


Life goes on but so does grief. When you have experienced a loss, it makes you vulnerable. There is a scar that will never go away. Something has happened that has rocked your world. You learn that Life is fragile.


In healing grief, there is a stage of acceptance and even in the acceptance, death can feel surreal. My husband died sixteen years ago and there are times when I can’t believe he is not here. It happens when there are life events like Covid-19 and feeling, “Wow, I can’t believe he is not here for this. I wonder what he would think.” In that moment, I miss him deeply. No more pillow talk. No more sharing ideas.


In grief, we move forward but there is no returning to normal. I think that is the biggest misconception, that you will return to “normal”, and that healing is linear.


Grief can surface at a birthday or anniversary but not always.

Grief can be situational, arising as if no time has passed because of a current event.

Grief can be activated by a scent or sight, sound, feeling, or another death or loss.

Grief can create a spiral of feelings decades later with a tsunami of emotion that feels debilitating.


My brother died from SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) in 1961, when I was 4 years old. He was two months old. There were only two times I remember hearing my parents mention my brother, Kenneth. Once when I was a teenager blaring Alice Cooper’s song, “Dead Babies Can’t Take Care of Themselves,” and my dad yelling at me to turn off that music and how I was being insensitive to my mother. Insensitive? She never talked about the death of her baby, how was I to know?


And the other time was when my son, Cooper, had his second open heart surgery when he was one year old. My parents came to visit him in the hospital. Sitting across from each other, my dad told my mom that whenever he was in Massachusetts for business, he would stop at the cemetery and visit their son at the family plot. My mom said, “I never knew that.” My parents were in their sixties and their son had died thirty years earlier. I felt like I was witnessing an intimate moment, sharing something that had been unspoken for so long.


With grief, instead of assuming that you know what someone wants or needs, keep the door open for conversation. If a friend or family member tells you they don’t want to talk about it, honor that in the moment. Give it space. Invite the conversation in a year or two or even ten. Let them know you think about their loss and want to understand what they are experiencing, even if it comes twenty years later. Are you willing to ask and to listen?


  1. Grief is messy and dark so practice being with the discomfort.
  2. Reflect on your own mortality, including your fears.
  3. Hold space for someone’s grief with compassion, not pity.
  4. It’s okay to feel uncomfortable.


Examples of words from other cultures that hold the door open. All of the words invite an ongoing relationship with the deceased:



Greece: May you live to remember her.

Jewish: May her memory be a blessing.

Egypt: May her spirit remain with you in your life.



There are wonderful, supportive communities where people can express grief. Your family and friends do not have to be the only source of support. But, when grief is treated like a “conversation hot potato”, it limits connection and intimacy. It closes the door to real conversations about life… and death.


Angel image: tim-mossholder–GtSbrl25Ns-unsplash



Andrea Hylen: Ancestral Lineage Healing Practitioner, Author of Heal My Voice: An Evolutionary Woman’s Journey. Mental Health Fitness and Somatic-Intuitive Coach, Creator of The Incubator: On-line Co-working Space for Cultural Creatives.


What is a Turned On Woman?

Day 48 of 100 Days of Blogging

It is hard to believe that only four years ago talking about grief transformation was a radical, bold conversation to have in many circles. Sharing my grieving process and releasing most of my personal belongings, selling my house and moving across the country was embraced with love, caring, confusion, pity, annoyance and gratitude. Facebook was my first outlet of sharing real emotion that led to writing blogs, 70 articles and 44 radio shows.

One of the areas of confusion for people was, “How could a 52 year old leave her community and move from Maryland to California? How could she live in youth hostels, sleep on couches, live in uncertainty like a gypsy?”  On top of that I had just finished a summer of crisscrossing the United States and Canada going to 45 Jonas Brothers concerts with my teenage daughter. Was I losing my mind in grief or was I breaking free of limitations?

My earlier path:

Homeschooling my kids. Alternative medicine to heal an autoimmune condition in the 90’s. Leaving my 1st marriage. The choices I made sounded crazy to many people. Homeschooling my kids would make them social misfits. Alternative medicine would kill me. Divorce would ruin my kids lives.

None of those things came true.

Thank God I have reached a point in my life where I embrace the “crazy” because I know this IS my path. I am here to question the norm while at the same time living in it.  I see myself as an ordinary woman living an extraordinary life. Refusing to be quiet. Refusing to stay within the “normal” boundaries. Questioning, exploring, expanding to the full expression of me.

I am a Turned ON woman.

Last spring I had an opportunity to be part of a film shoot for OneTaste, a company that teaches about female orgasm. It had been three months since I took a class called, “How to OM.” I could feel the change that was happening in my life and in my body and I wanted to share the journey and give women and men the inside scoop of my experience.

Just so you know, this is vulnerable for me to talk about and I know, deep in my heart, that someone has to start and continue the conversation. And someone reading this right now wanted to hear what I had to say.

Some of the things I shared are included in this video that was just released last week.

Link to Video: http://youtu.be/anM27yRGN3w

Are you a Turned ON woman? Post more info in the comments.


Love and love and love and…

Yesterday was the anniversary of my son’s birthday. If he were still alive, he would have been 22 years old. Hard to imagine that sometimes. He died when he was 19 months old and to think about who he would have become as an adult is so strange when my photos and memories are of an infant~toddler.

Cooper died on January 15, 1993
Cooper’s Memorial Service was January 23, 1993
Hannah (my 4th child) was born on January 30, 1993

Intense time of emotion. The death of a child and the birth of a child. All within a span of two weeks. Years later, it is still one of the most profound moments of my life. It taught me to feel everything. To feel the pain, to find joy in every moment and to open my heart to love and love and love and…

Kenneth “Cooper” Cox: June 12, 1991-January 15, 1993