Stories and Inspiration

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Love is the Answer – Part 1

In these tumultuous and tiring days of disruption and disorder, the sources we turn to for wisdom and nourishment, talk an awful lot about love.

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15 Things I Learned from 2020 (For Which I’m Grateful)

The global pandemic has resulted in a tough year for most of us. Faced with so much loss, grief and mental health challenges, the world is looking forward to closing the chapter on 2020. What if we put this year to rest, like we lay a loved one to rest?

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Ways to Honour Your Loved Ones this Holiday Season

As you may know from Reena’s recent blog post, Momento Mori and Don’t Forget to Live, my vibrant 82-year-old mother-in-law with whom we shared our home of 12.5 years, died suddenly a month ago. It was yet another reminder of the constant presence of life and death, and how unpredictable the human experience is.

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Memento Mori and Don’t Forget to Live

Memento mori is latin for “remember that you [have to] die” and is also an artistic or symbolic reminder of the inevitability of death. And while we’re all going to die and we all know we’re going to die, most people don’t think about it at all.

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How Grief Gave Me My Life Back

Do you too have life lessons that keep showing up—same message, different day? One of the recurring messages in my life is that grief is a pathway to healing. Actually, let me rephrase that. My recent experience of fall-on-my-knees grief revealed, once again, that grief is a pathway to living and loving fully.

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My First Memorial Service was on Zoom

My first memorial service took place on Zoom, just a couple weeks ago. We were honouring the life of a dear friend from my church, who died of complications related to a cancer he had been living with these last few years. I suppose I’m fortunate to have gone through nearly thirty years of life without anyone close to me dying. In fact, I’ve only been to one funeral, that of someone I can’t say I knew very well. This is all to say, I still feel quite new to realities of mortality and the rituals that fall under what we at Willow call “Departure Directions.”

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Grief in the Shadow

I was sitting at the wobbly picnic table at my campsite on beautiful Vancouver Island, at a family French camp we’ve attended for many years. My now teenage daughter is on an overnight trip, leaving me with lots of time on my hands. Instead of the excitement of anticipated “me time”, I feel off. I’m…
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Diary of a Love Letter

Dear reader, Here’s a peek into Michelle’s recent process of writing an End of Life Love Letter to her mom.  

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Your Past Informs Your Present

Whether you’re aware of it or not, your past informs your present. Previous experiences you’ve had with illness, dying, death, grief, and how someone was cared for after they died, have undoubtedly impacted you in some way, shape or form. Every aspect of a death has likely influenced your sense of what’s possible and what’s…
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