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I always tell you that I am terrible with expressing myself with written words, I am! I just want to send you hugs. I want to thank you for sharing your deepest feelings. and again, I'm sending more hugs.


Girl, you sure can write!!

Wish I could visit with you on your screened-in porch and watch lightening bugs (both are pretty nonexistent here in CA).


Early this morning (5am) my kitty woke me up. I wondered what he could be thinking, he knows he doesn't get let out until much later... but then I heard a wood thrush off in the woods, and knew, of course, he wanted me to enjoy it with him! We both went back to sleep until 8 am!

I know exactly what that is like - the tennis ball out of nowhere gut hit... grief just hits willy nilly. Wishing you more moments of peace, poetry and the songs of the wood thrush !


Pockets of calm. May you find them throughout your day. Moments of sadness will come too. Be gentle with yourself.xo

Meri @ Meri's Musings

I wish I could bring you an ember of light for those moments when you wonder if yours will ever shine so brightly again. Grief is weighty and decides on its own timeline. Don't load yourself down with expectations about how it should be done.


i remember that feeling, that helpless feeling as the tears come at will. it is a feeling i wouldn't wish on anyone! please know my heart is with you and that i think of you often. oh, how i wish i could come and sit on that porch with you some evening...just to be...i'm on mine every night, seeing the same stars no less...sending you love and light and warmth and healing through those evening stars...may you feel the peace i send.

kathy vk

You so beautifully tell the story of what could be an indescribable journey ... finding a whole new way of being in a world that has shifted dramatically.
Sending so much love.


I think love is following you, or maybe it is going ahead of you laying these heart shaped stones for you. Let them be reminders to save a bit of love for yourself to carve out those pockets of time for yourself. Sending love and peace.

Mary G.

Dear Nina -- It is good to know that you are taking care of yourself. Everyone grieves in their own way; you will discover yours. Having lost my father more than 30 years ago when I was in college, I know that the sadness will hit you at times for quite a while for a lot of reasons, or none at all. But there is comfort not only in the familiar, old pleasures, but in the daily routine that will slowly settle back upon you, and even in the deadlines and the travel and teaching. Sending you warm wishes for lots of fireflies and heart-shaped stones.


Take time to be alone with yourself, Nina. To think and remember and just be. It is so good to have an ordinary day.

I know your feelings. The sadness comes and goes, comes and goes.

My dad passed on April 5th, my father-in-law passed on May 3rd, my brother's wife lost her mom in a car accident on May 27th., and a tornado devastated our small town on June 1th. My sister-in-law's dad had much damage to his home - his wife, his car, and his home in less than a week. And so many of our friends have lost homes, belongings, pieces of their lives. By the grace of God, our home was not touched. I feel blessed.

Take care of yourself. I'm thinking of you.

xo dusan


Look how you are surrounded by such loving light! When my Mom and Dad passed away I found the most difficult thing was to accept the outstretched hands of my friends (and yes, you do discover who those true ones are!). Grieve your own way, in your own time... know you are held tightly in many hearts. xo Deb


Those hearts have such depth...
Thank you for sharing once again...


You have given me a map to handle my own grief. My father passed away on the 25th of May at the age of 96.
I remember your advice on taking lot's of photos of your loved ones. The last time we had dinner together at my parents house...we were sitting in their living room having a cocktail and listening to stories that have been told and retold. I looked at my father's profile and saw that mother had combed his hair in a little swirl...this touched me to no end. I did not know at the time that these would be the last photos that I would ever take of him...thank you for this gift of a reminder and for being my guide.


Beautiful post, Nina. I can assure you that what people say is true. For my mother, it's been 4.5 months and I think of her or are reminded of her at the oddest times. Many times it's force of habit - the afternoon telephone call I want to place.

Tina in McLeansville

the first lightning bug i saw this summer, i immediately thought of you. i, too, sit on the porch and watch them play hide and seek...popping up here and there, blinking "here i, over here".
i remember so well shopping for gifts the first christmas after mom died....seeing the christmas villages she loved so and picking up one i thought would be perfect for her, holding it in mid-air with the full intention of getting it, and realizing at that moment i wouldn't be giving her a gift that year...or any other, ever. the feelings and tears came in such an all-consuming wave, i had to leave the store. it takes a long while to travel that road, dear one....a long while.
we each grieve and heal in different what feels right for you. you are on the right path i believe, because you are able to recognize the small gifts as just are beginning to take back your life in those small pockets of time. hugs to you, dear friend...xoxo


You have been on my mind all these weeks and I am glad that you are finding you way. It is hard. Those sudden moments of wishing you could be alone with your grief, that everyone and everything would disappear and leave you alone. It will get better. Suddenly the scent that haunted you will disappear, the words become vague, but yet, you will remember the most important part - how much you loved and was loved. xoxo


More and more, I've come to believe that grief is a gift. The intensity and awareness of our loss bears a direct correlation to the love and depth of our relationship with our loved one. The sadness that often comes to us unexpectedly reminds us what an integral part our loves ones played in our lives.

Thankfully, our memories are enduring and the love we shared is never lost. May you find solace in your storehouse of memories and in knowing what a treasure and comfort you were to your father.



Very lovely, it's good to have you back. I love the silvery trill of the wood thrush as well. Also crows, which Mary Oliver calls the "deep muscle of the world." That's a wonderful little porch you've set up for yourself. Bless you.


PS Thanks for sharing about the bottle stopper, finding the heart stone. My aunt and uncle were essentially my parents. Right after my uncle died, I found a piece of a milk bottle on a beach--it simply said, "One." My aunt died in 1987 and I still miss her. It doesn't happen to every one, but every so often something odd happens that causes me to think of her--as when on my birthday last year, a car went by whose license plate was my aunt's birthdate. I live in a small town and I'd never seen before or since. It's lovely to have these occasional signs, reaffirming my belief that love is stronger than death. Blessings, Nina.

Sharon W

our family calls those unexpected rushes of sadness "sniper attacks", because they spring upon you without warning, usually precipitated by a familiar aroma (Dad's cigar, Mom's perfume) or a snatch of music. You did not expect it, are not prepared for it, but suddenly there you are, with tears filling your eyes. Perhaps those moments are just little visits from the ones we love and miss? I like to think so.


it is good to have you back. you and your family have been in my thoughts.


Sending love....wishing you & your loved ones peace....


So good that you are finding the energy to make a little room for a bit of pleasure! It's very inspiring to read how in the middle of such loss and grief you can find beauty and comfort in your beloved woods and creek, in birds and lighting bugs, poetry and cherished objects. I hope the wood-rush comes back to sing to you in your porch.

You are loved, Nina, and you'll move through this time with your own rhythm and grow stronger and find peace.

sharon payne bolton

Nina, sending lots of love to you....

Julie Q

Weeks after my mum died, I sat crying on a bus. In front of me was a woman in her sixties who was taking her own mum out to the movies and out for afternoon tea. Grief touches you at different times in different ways, tennis balls and all.

Julie Q

Cindy In Carolina

Yes grief does that here and there. Sometimes I just accept it and go with it and then other times I fight it back. the heart you found is wonderful. Thanks for sharing.


Girlfriend, these things will follow you until the day you die. My mum died 30 years ago at the age of 56. I still miss her, think of her and cry for her. Sometimes when things get too much I dream of her, she is there, not speaking just giving comfort. This is something that will you will find will get better over time but will never go away, why would we want it to I ask myself.

Be kind to yourself and take time to just sit and think of them. Things take me to my knees sometimes, a song on the radio out of the blue can bring back so many memories and tears. These things happen when you have loved deeply.
Peace to you and your family today

peggy mcdevitt

I wish I could give you a hug of "knowing". I have been where you are with my mother and father. It is a lonely, reflective time - give yourself time. Grief never goes away but soon fond memories will be more abundant then sorrors.


today you brought me back from where i was, barely breathing.. well..maybe not back as in BACK but living around the edges of my world, peeking in now and then, with the word "hope" again present within my deepest heart places. reading the words "unstop your heart" brought huge abandoned tears... they are needed.. often... to cleanse those hurt places... like now.

thank you...your courage and beautiful soft way of being in the world always inspires me to soften and hold my withered heart gently. please... you do the same as i know you are, in those beautiful woods you call home, i can almost hear you padding across the floor. xx

Lisa Williams (Farmladys sister)

Hi Nina, I just wanted to say a couple of things ok. About the words that don't come from those you thought would be there. Their silence hurts I know, and I'm not excusing them. But some people are afraid to look at where you are. We spend alot of time trying to pretend that everything is hunky dory(one of my Dads old phases).Other peoples grief requires looking in there eyes and not pretending. Mother Theresa said " People are unreasonable, illogical and self centered... Love them anyway." There also bloody wonderful sometimes. Love & Hugs

Michele Unger

My Daddy passed in 1975. I miss him so, every day, and I remember when the wound of his passing was raw. Slowly, scabs over and slowly, slowly you begin to feel a little more balanced. You are forever changed, but a new peace does come. Slowly, slowly....

Dog love helps. I know. I remember.

Do all the good, little things that bring you pleasure. Take care of yourself. Be kind to you. Have a cup of tea, sipped from one of Julie's beautiful cups (that I seem to remember you own). Breathe.



Dear Nina,
One morning you will wake up and there will be something so wonderful, like sunlight through lace curtains or Walter,s face, that will draw your attention back to the things that brings you comfort and more strength... each day a bit more... and you will find those words, of Mary Olivers, that you love so well.
"I'm here, said the Angel of Mercy.
I'm everywhere.. in the garden, in the house, and everywhere else on earth..
so much asking, so much to do.
Hurry! I need you."
Feel the love and the beauty of this world. Let it be your Angel of Mercy. Let it heal the hurt. Slowly....


Come north. Come to Maine. I'll help you out, hug you, let you walk the orchards and the streams... Hugs to you.

Alicia P.

Oh my gosh, Nina. If I could I would just sit with you and hold your hand and watch fireflies. (I'd probably do your laundry and make some tea, too.) But mostly I'd just sit and think with you. And wish for the very, very best. xo


i love how you are letting yourself be with every emotion of life and love in the moment and holding the passing seasons sacredly. may peace flow in you like a river dear nina.

Rhonda Roebuck

Hi Nina,
I am thinking of you and missing the wood thrush here at home in Virginia as well. I have read your posts and thought of you through this process of losing a parent. It changes your whole outlook on your own life. Thank you for writing about it so beautifully.


There are so many beautiful things in the world to love. It's been almost two years since I lost my parents, and I so often still wish I could push the rewind button. We're lucky to have loved, and been loved, so much.
Are you not coming to Wisconsin?


if not a sorcerers broom, I'll settle for minions. There's a lot to be said for minions........and lightning bugs......and wine.......and friends. My hand is raised to you, special Nina.


i can only imagine how your world has turned upside down and inside out and now, there are no rules to what you's called a gimmie and we all get one or two or ten of them in our lifetime. isn't it amazing how life gives us what we need, just when we thought it took away everything we ever wanted ? hugs to you.

Jennifer Valentine

You are, by far, one of the most eloquent writers and one of the most deeply beautiful people I have ever had the pleasure to know.


So good to ave you back here writing! That itself is very healing. You have been missed and are loved! We are all here to give you any support you need at any time....that is the true definition of friends. XO

Brenda Bliss

your words are like a song...........sung so sweetly.....thank you Nina for sharing your heart...........................I love you.

Nancy Gene Armstrong.

Nina-I had to tell you how I felt the same about THe ONES i expected to be with me when I had lost my Mom. I got angry at them for not being the ones to help me but as you said it came from others I did not really know as well. I think I had worn my close friends out in a way. I think because they were so close to me they felt to much the pain I felt. The strangers fell grief but not as deep and raw as my true friends. So do not be mad at the ones you think of that you expected to be there =they are but just not in the way you think. I also think we take our angry of our loss out on the people that are close to us and maybe expect to much of them. Good luck on this journey-time will help to heal.


I've never seen a lightning bug. Is that the same as a firefly? Either way we don't have those here in Washington. I wish we did. But right now I'd settle for more normal-for-this-time-of-the-year weather.

I do wish I did not live so far away from you Nina. I'd be there to help you with anything you'd need in a New York minute!


There will always be people, even people close to you, who don't know what to do or say during times like these, so they will stay away. Some of them don't mean to be withholding and some of them feel bad in their inadequacy around grieving people, especially such eloquent people like yourself. Try not to let their absence intrude upon your thoughts because you will eventually know if you should keep them in your life or not, and right now is not a good time to make that decision because of your raw feelings.

I have read your blog for years and I feel like you are exactly as you seem to be in your writings and that is why you have so many kind thoughts swirling around you right now. I love your blog and how you share so much that is real and touching.


Oh Nina. . . . "I smell vaguely like my dreams. . . ." what an amazing phrase, full of grace & glory, for some reason. . . the meaning is there, right below the surface, but I can't quite put my finger on it, I just feel it, all its outlines and edges. Your writing is breath-taking. . . and your openness is inspiring. Blessings to you at this difficult time ---- you are well & truly cherished by so many unseen friends.

julie whitmore

much love in this difficult time.
just a single bird singing, but joined here by your incredible readers and we make a chourus of friendship.

Christy Grant

Hi Nina, your blog is so beautiful and I've always admired your work. My heart goes out to you. I lost my father to heart failure two years ago and he was the best man I've ever known. Your father had such a sweet face and it's obvious what an impact he had on your life. Thinking of you in the days to come and sending a hug.


Dear Nina, thought I should check on you..haven't been checking the internet much lately when the weather is so lovely to enjoy the outside....I don't know how you could in such beautiful words express such deep grief, that touches my soul so deeply....I can feel it, and I hope my sharing it may take away a little bit of yours...and all I can say my friend, is much love is going your way, you ,wonderful, brave, loving survivor....

Jennifer Geldard

I rarely comment ( not sure I ever have, actually ), though I follow your adventures and am inspired daily by your work... You are linked from my site so I may share your site with others, and to also remind myself to wander over here from time to time. I lost my mother 2 years ago now, and though it is often difficult to read your recent posts, I do so, to feel connected and reminded that I am not alone in my grief.
Anyway, your post made me smile today in fond memory.... I went to high school in NYC, and was changed immeasurably by a very special poetry teacher there. She was a beautiful soul, and inspired me in ways I will never be able to thank her for.... Molly Peacock. Wonderful to see that photo of her lovely little volume on your table.

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