Category Archives: grief

The Ties That Bind

It’s strange how a common experience can bind us to another human being. Even someone very different. Ex Manson follower Susan Atkins died on Thursday.

It was this quote from the story that made me feel connected to a self-confessed convicted killer.

Atkins gave birth to a son while living at Spahn Ranch, an old movie set, with other members of the Manson family. While she was on death row, she wrote, he was legally taken from her because no one in her family was willing to raise him.

“His name and identity have been changed and sealed, so I have no idea where he is or how he is doing,” she wrote. “I have since been told his name was changed to Paul, and whether or not that is true I like it. … My continuing separation from my son, even after all these years, remains an incredibly poignant and enduring loss.”

The Best Advice I’ve Ever Read About Grief

This comes from Anne Lamott’s book, Traveling Mercies:

All those years I fell for the great palace lie that grief should be gotten over as quickly as possible and as privately. But what I’ve discovered since is that the lifelong fear of grief keeps us in a barren, isolated place and that only grieving can heal grief; the passage of time will lessen the acuteness, but time alone, without the direct experience of grief, will not heal it.  
Like many birthmothers, I gave birth to my baby in secret. Secret losses can only be grieved privately, without support, and that’s more like denial than grieving. More like the desert than the necessary sea.