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Healing Our Grief, Healing Our World
Vol. 1, Number 2November 2002

Welcome to the GriefandRenewal.Com Newsletter. Please feel free to share this newsletter.

What's New at GriefandRenewal.Com:

Dear Reader,

Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter. I'm pleased to announce that GriefandRenewal.Com has opened its own GriefandRenewal Store. We have gathered items from widows in India, a video about dreams and death, a comprehensive book on widows in India and healing tapes. The GriefandRenewal Store proceeds will go toward maintaining GriefandRenewal.Com with 10 percent of all income going to the Guild of Service, a group dedicated to helping widows in India. Please visit our store.

I am also happy to announce that GriefandRenewal will soon have a new look and better organization. Stay tuned for upcoming changes.

As the holidays approach many of us will begin to more intensely experience emotions of sadness, loss and regret. Holidays are difficult for many people, but present a particular challenge to the grieving. Please take time to heal and nurture yourself as well as those around you in the coming months. Don't be afraid to create new traditions that better fit your own and your family's needs. See our article "Loss in Season of Giving" for more thoughts on coping during the holidays. Stay in touch with others during this difficult time.

Wishing you peace and hope,

Laura Slap-Shelton, Psy.D.

Quote of the Month
"Tout karkar klere pai je'w"; "Everyone needs to take care of herself"; "Move forward." "Dega je'w."
Creole Saying by Widows in Haiti

Featured International Article:
"In The Land Without Hats: Haiti"
By Julie Bucannier, Save the Children

The women all told me that their husbands were safe in, "le pays sans chapeaux" - "the land without hats".

Haiti means "mountainous land" in the aboriginal language of the Taino Indians. Maissade is a village tucked behind the mountains which lead to the capital of Port-au-Prince; a poor, isolated area inhabited by a population, old before its time, who struggle to survive in this economically deprived land. The children, stunted by malnutrition, hunger for the security which comes from sufficient food, education, shelter, potable water and health care. UNICEF statistics show that less than one adult in two is literate and one child in ten dies from malnutrition, malaria, and diarrhea-related diseases before the age of 5 before they are ever given a chance to live.

In late July, Lucienne, Luciette and Marie-Anne agreed to be interviewed in Save the Children's office in Maissade. At first, they were hesitant but like all widows, a bond quickly developed and, for over an hour, the three women opened up their lives to me. They generously let me glimpse into their world and so, for just a brief moment, I could begin to comprehend the life they lead as widows in a remote, poor, devastated land.

Lucienne, who had been a widow the longest, some eleven years, took the lead. She gave her age as 42 although she looked much older. Indeed, in many parts of the world, records of life events can be quite sketchy and imprecise. Nevertheless, it was obvious that Lucienne was a strong woman and what she said, she said in a straight-forward manner and with conviction. She bore her suffering nobly. Lucienne had met Bani as a young teenager; they had gone to school together, fallen in love, and had their first child when she was fifteen. Lucienne and Bani had been together for 11 years when Bani died leaving his wife to care for their five children 3 girls and 2 boys.

Read Full Article...

Featured Article:
"Grief: The Essence of What it Means to Be Human"
Alexandra Whitney

I associate heat mirages and humidity with my father's death. I think of him every time I hear Frank Sinatra or a bird song in the night. I was sixteen years old when he died. I was sweet sixteen and it was everything but sweet, yet it was real. My father's cancer blew in like a cold wind and took him away in 6 short weeks.

It was July and my family and I were living in South Florida. From his hospital window I could see heat rising from the tar roof and stagnant white clouds hovering in a perfect blue sky. There was no sun. It was obscured by the blinding white clouds that held taught with ninety percent humidity. Frank Sinatra's "Strangers in the Night," my parents' love song, was softly playing on the hospital's intercom. The events of that morning are indelibly fixed in my memory. I remember waking up that morning after having slept in a hospital chair beside my father's bed. Somehow, I slept through the routine disturbances that nurses make throughout the night, the constant checking of vital signs, changing drip bottles and taking blood pressure. On this particular night I slept through these aggravations as if I had been home in my own bed. The last thing my father ate that morning was a mango my brother had given him. This meant that the sweetness of mango was the last taste that touched my father's lips.

Read Full Article...

Featured Book
"Flash of Life"
By Kara L.C. Jones

In Flash of Life, Kara Jones, a poet, documents and shares her joys, anxieties and sometimes hilariously frustrating, experiences of her pregnancy, and the subsequent, horror, shock, anger, grief and beginning of healing following her son Dakota's still birth. These poems are so good that as a reviewer it is hard to refrain from just quoting as many of them as possible with the least amount of commentary.

Through her evocative poems which draw on the wisdom of Native Americans as well as her personal knowledge and experience, she makes clear what for many has not been clear- that the still birth of a child is the death of a child, the loss of a family member, as heart wrenching, unimaginable, and bitter as the loss of any child.

Read Full Book Review...

Featured Connection That Empowers
Help AfghanWomen.Com
Campaign to Stop Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan

Just as we cannot forget the horrific events of September 11, 2001, we must not forget Afghan women and girls who have been suffering under the brutal Taliban regime. Afghan women and girls were the first victims of the Taliban.

Join us in urging the President and Congress to take steps to ensure the Afghan women and girls' rights are restored, that women will be at the center of the rebuilding of the country, and humanitarian assistance will be provided to alleviate the starvation, disease, and dire conditions these women and their children face as refugees.

The Taliban's atrocities, the worst drought in 30 years and displacement resulting from fighting have created pre-famine conditions within Afghanistan. Conditions among refugees who have fled to Pakistan - 75% of whom are women and children - are dire. With little food, many have no more than plastic sheets for shelter, and virtually no sanitation. These conditions have resulted in widespread disease, death, and regional instability.

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Almost anything you do will seem insignificant, but it is very important that you do it. You must be the change that you wish to see in the world.' ... Mahatma Gandhi