I have studied coping with grief and loss from a communication and social psychological perspective for over 25 years. And while I had previously experienced the loss of parents and grandparents, it wasn’t until my husband was diagnosed with stage iv pancreatic cancer that all my notions of grief were permanently altered. When he died ten months later in August 2013, I found myself not only floundering but sinking in despair. My lifeline was the journal I kept: it kept me afloat until I was able to navigate the waters of grief on my own.
This page is part of a project on not just coping with, but learning to live a meaningful life in the presence of grief. Departing almost exactly two years after his death, I will begin a three-month sojourn to Ireland, a place we had frequently visited together. During this trip, however, I am not traveling as a tourist, but as a pilgrim; traveling to the thin places, those locations where the ancient Celts believed the veil between earth and the otherworld, heaven, the spirit world is very thin. It was believed that in these thin places, connection, healing, and restoration were possible. My goal, as I visit these thin places and experience and photograph them, is that I will understand more clearly the connections between life and death, sorrow and healing, grief and transcendence. I invite you to share my journey to the thin places.