Friday, July 29, 2011


Hey there-

To me Henry (11) is all Wellenstein and Arthur (7) is the McGoldrick. People say they look exactly alike but I know differently.

Henry looks just like his dad, has a lot of the same interests, and has the reserved observant nature of his father.

Arthur looks like my brother and is more lighthearted and social. The way he greets people and handles himself in a crowd reminds me of my dad.

I have often thought the two would make a good political team. Henry would be the speech writer and Arthur would be the one shaking people's hands. (not that I would wish a political career on either of them mind you)

Henry obviously had more time with his dad, and Bob took advantage of the time to introduce Henry to many of his passions, some of which included cooking, camping, science and bike riding. After Bob died I desperately wanted to keep these interests close to Henry's heart. But as any parent, widowed or not, has to realize, the child will have their own interests and you can't force yours onto them.

But, I will admit, that I continue to look for these "Bob Wellenstein" traits in Henry. It still makes me smile when Henry wants to make Bob's famous pancakes or when he excels in science at school. So it took me by surprise when Arthur began expressing interest in the kitchen.

"Mom, what can I do to help with dinner?"

Wait a minute.......I've been spending so much time looking for the Wellenstein in Henry that I may be missing it in Arthur. He's not ALL McGoldrick, clearly. Neither is Henry ALL Wellenstein.

As a matter of fact, a friend recently made a comment about Arthur's social nature; "I wonder where he gets that from?" She then motioned her head towards Mike. Does this mean they are part Hogan as well?

Newsflash......both of them are their own person.

I know we all want to see bits of ourselves in our children. With Bob being dead I have searched for these bits even closer. Am I hoping to keep him alive through the boys? Am I wanting to prove that Bob was, indeed, alive, and not just a figment of my imagination?

I don't know.

What I do know is that we are all bits and pieces of everyone who has influenced us in our lives, alive and dead.

Thanks for checking in-


Monday, July 11, 2011

More Acceptance

Hey there,

Arthur (7) and I were walking to our friend's house down the block when he asked me about the presenting I do about Grief and Loss. He was curious what kind of questions people ask me after I am done with the talk. I told him most people are curious about my marriage to Mike and how I decided I was ready to date again and how my children (he and Henry) accepted Mike in their lives.

"How DID we accept Mike?" he asked, squinting up at me in the sunlight.

"Well, you two were so young when you met Mike (2 & 5) that I don't think you thought one way or the other about it, it just was," I told him.

"And then when we got older we thought......Mike, OK, we accept you!"

He looked up the hill for any cars, smiled at me, grabbed my hand and started to cross the street.

Yup Arthur, that is how it happened.

Thanks for checking in-


Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Hey there-

The other day I spoke at a Death & Dying class at the local university. I have been doing this every semester for a few years now. I come in after the class, full of social work, counseling and nursing students, discusses the topic of grieving. I tell them my personal grief story. My story usually ends up being a bit of a free association, rambling kind of routine, and there is a lot of laughter.

I am not sure if the laughter shocks any of the students. I certainly hope it does not offend any of them. I don't want to seem too irreverent. (not too anyway)

I know grief isn't funny, grief is hard work.

I tell them that too.

For the presentation, in an attempt to keep myself somewhat focused, I try to tell stories that are examples of my favorite list of characteristics required for successful grieving.

Courage, Resilience, Perseverance, Patience, and a Sense of Humor. (found in the book, The Courage to Grieve).

My stories relating to these characteristics are meant to be examples of a person doing her best to move forward and figure out how to best put the pieces of her life back in some kind of order after it was shattered. They involve some yelling at innocent parties and some wise realizations from wide eyed children and some feelings of failure and some feelings of accomplishment and some tears and lots of laughter.

When your 4 year old approaches you at an airport inquiring about the "green square thing at the bottom of the urinal", or you finally realize, after months of doing it, that the family cannot live on instant oatmeal alone, or you cry in joy over a little thing like a state park sticker, or you find yourself in a conversation with a hawk and it seems like a perfectly rational thing to do, one must laugh at the ridiculousness of the situation.

Grief is hard work and it is sad and it is ridiculous at times and you find yourself in outrageous situations and it helps to see the humor in it all.

As a good friend of mine says; Sometimes you gotta laugh.

Thanks for checking in-