Your absence has gone through me like thread through a needle. Everything I do is stitched with its color. – W.S Merwin, 1927

In 1969, psychologist Elizabeth Kubler Ross identified and framed the five stages of grief. The stages include denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. These stages are the framework of emotions that are most experienced by individuals after the loss of a loved one. This has helped guide people who are grieving to normalize some of the emotions that they may be experiencing when coping with the loss and despair associated with the death of a loved one. Since their inception, these stages have evolved to recognize that everyone experiences grief differently and not always in this order. Grief, in response to a loss of a loved one, is an expression that is unique to each person and doesn’t necessarily include all five stages.

Experts in the field of grief, Robert Niemeyer (professor, clinician, and author of psychology) and David Kessler (thanatologist and author) recognize that how a person holds their grief is equally as important, as is the relationship they have with their loved one. Both experts encourage individuals to reflect and construct fresh meaning based on their grief, reality, and the relationship that they had. They also identify grief is a never-ending journey, and that acceptance of the loss of their deceased loved one is inevitable and slow; never thinking that acceptance will ever come. Instead, the creation of meaning is important to living with the feelings of grief and honoring the life of their loved ones. David Kessler compassionately introduces finding meaning as a sixth stage in his latest book, Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief. He quotes, “grief grabs your heart and never let’s go.”  If you have lost a loved one, acceptance is difficult as there will always continue to be a bond shared with that person. Acceptance is limited or defined by our reality, as we cycle through the six stages. By looking for meaning, the pain will change for the griever. The individual is and always will be tied to that person by love. The power of loving that person never dies and therefore nurturing the bond of that relationship through the discovery of meaning, can bring peace and healing.

When I was in my early twenties, I began a journey of self-awareness and healing which included understanding my past. I became aware that the difficulties in my childhood reflected trauma and grief that were much deeper than my own. It started before I was even born. My grandmother, who was pregnant with my father, witnessed my grandfather’s death during WWII in Budapest. During those days, support for trauma and grief were challenging to access or nonexistent. Citizens were scared, distrusted the government, and survival was a priority. That tragic death was a time in history that left an everlasting scar on the heartbeat of my family. Throughout my life, I was yearning to find peace and love that seemed to only be experienced by other people. I didn’t recognize how that tragic loss for my grandmother limited my own personal experiences needed to lead a fulfilling and intimate life. When I began to experience my own losses, death and non-death related, those moments engaged me to explore patterns of behaviors and thoughts that I struggled with. I became aware that my family history of traumatic loss and bereavement had created a tear in my family that has been difficult to mend, which still impacts my life today. By choosing to reach out for support and not hide my suffering, my life hasn’t diminished. In fact, it has expanded to include more meaning, intimacy, and love. Have my struggles disappeared? No. The journey never ends but by gaining an understanding of the past and being vulnerable to my challenges, I have been able to feel more peace, happiness, and love. As a result, I continue to heal and create meaning from the losses I have experienced.

Today, I offer support to people who are grieving or facing end of life experiences and decisions. I witness their grief, honor their end of life wishes, and help empower them to reconstruct and create meaning for their lives today and tomorrow. I became a registered Social Worker and created Meaningful Endings to help individuals with their journey in life which includes death and loss. I focus on helping people bring light to what is often dark and most difficult to talk about. During our discussions, together, we can discover hope and meaning in your loss or in your end-of-life preparation.

When people learn that I support others with their grief or end of life planning the response is often the same; “…isn’t it difficult or sad to do the type of work you do?”  On the contrary, not only do I believe that I am helping people to find meaning in their lives, but it also reinforces to me that our time here is precious. My work is truly meaningful and gives me purpose. It teaches me about life, the importance of it, and to be grateful for today. I embrace death as part of life and feel privileged to witness people working through important life transitions. I honor and cherish these moments, as people trust me to listen to their most vulnerable feelings, fears, and stories. It is truly inspiring to sit with someone who shows courage to share their intimate fears of death, or who find the strength to reach out to me when they feel that they can barely go on after losing a loved one. When a person is ready to seek support, I am honored to guide them in acknowledging that their end of life, or the life of those who have died, can be honored, cherished, and created with meaning and love.

If you can relate to this journal and are needing someone to talk to about the loss of your loved one or are seeking support to prepare your end of life wishes, please reach out to me in my contact page for your free 60-minute consultation meeting.


Neimeyer, R.A. (Ed.) (2016), Techniques of grief therapy: Assessment and Intervention New York: Routledge

Kessler, D. (2019), Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief, Scribner