Coping with Grief through Transparency and Honesty

December 19, 2016

In 1997, when I was 20 years old, my mother went on to glory.  She choked on some stray food lodged in her throat while vacationing with my dad in the Bahamas.  You can read the full story here.  Over the last 20 years, I have learned transparency is key when managing any type of loss such as death, the ending of a relationship, fighting an illness or even losing a job.  A therapist once explained the following to me during a session:  “Emotions are meant to be emoted.  You can either deal with these emotions in a healthy manner or they can explode during a breakdown.  You choose how emotions manifest.”


My father took this photograph of my mother and I with his Nikon over 35 years ago during a summer vacation to New York City. Can’t you imagine the awe that little girl from Chicago saw in the busy New York streets? The irony is that I now live a few blocks from the Hudson River. Lady Liberty is indeed watching over me.


So many people experience heartbreak, sadness and depression during the holiday season.  Hell, I know I do!  I don’t journal anymore (although journaling is a great idea!) but I do write letters to my younger self as a way of letting the emotions out.  Today was one of those days where I was yearning for my mother’s love.  I would give anything to hear her whisper in my ear one last time: “Job well done.  I am so very proud of you.”


Dear Younger Self:

Live a life filled with Grace, not perfection.  Treat others with compassion, not disdain.  Appreciate Style, not consumption.  Seek true love, not lust.  Yearn for passion, not wealth.  Walk in dignity, not shame.  Still trust despite disappointment.  Move slow enough but with deliberate speed so you don’t miss the sunset.  These are my dreams for you little one.  For a life well-lived.



Please talk or write about your feelings this holiday season.   Don’t keep feelings bottled up inside.  It’s dangerous.  If you are considering hurting yourself, immediately call 1-800-273-8255, a free and confidential support lifeline for people in distress.  Never feel embarrassed or ashamed to ask for help.  To be vulnerable is to be strong. 

As always, thank you for stopping by Jackie Unfiltered.

With love,

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