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Author Topic: Question From griefHaven Founder - Susan Whitmore  (Read 6606 times)
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« on: May 26, 2012, 10:49:09 PM »

Hi, Everyone.  I continue to read all of your posts, as do thousands of others around the world, and gain so much from each one of you.  YOU help me on MY journey, too.

I have a question for you and need your advice, input, and suggestions if you would please.

I am doing an all-day presentation on June 8 in Buffalo, New York for the Roswell Park Cancer Institute's yearly conference. In attendance will be clergy, hospice caregivers, medical students, thanatologists, nurses, and all sorts of other specialists.  Of course my topic is what is grief, how have we gotten to the place where we are today with all of the misunderstandings about grief and grief support, and what they can do to support grieving parents and siblings.

Would you please share with me any of your suggestions regarding experiences you have had with a religious leader who might have done or said something you found not helpful, anything you would suggest I impart to those in attendance as ways of being able to help you, etc.?

I really appreciate all of your input and will use all of it.  If you want to talk to me personally, please email me at:

With lots of love,

Susan Whitmore, Erika's Mom

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« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2012, 07:37:13 AM »

Hi there! It is great that you continue to give these talks. And this subject is a very sore one for me. I haven't had much contact with people in traditional religions since i have never been a member of a church or religion. On the other hand, I am the child of hippie parents and was interested in spirituality from a very early age, starting off with reading things like the upanishads when I was about 12 living in a commune. I've done yoga all my life and tend to be attracted to and attract people who are kind of new age-ish. What I have found the most horrifying are the so-called spiritual and new age people.

Once I texted a friend when I was feeling very down in the first year. I'd known her for 15 years, and her daughter who is about the same age as my son would have been. She said something about how mad Shaka must have been with me! As if he were dead by dehydration after training for a marathon and then spending the day in the park on our hottest day to show me how angry he was at me! When I saw her before my son's memorial in California she said, “If it was going to happen to anyone it would have been you. It is your karma Shelley." I don't have much to do with her anymore. But she is not the only one who has said similar things to me. I actually think there are many principles like karma that have been misunderstood and re-interpreted wrongly, used by people who have not spent the time nor gathered the wisdom from these ancient spiritual texts. I have found these people the most dangerous to me, the ones who tend to lecture rather than just listen and empathize.

I'm sure you have heard your share from this group in addition to other more established religions where people have taken ideas that might once have had different meaning to be hurtful, whether consciously or not.

Hope that adds to your talk. I'm sure you have loads of examples of how not to talk to people like us. I hope one day I will be able to attend one of your talks.

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« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2012, 01:45:50 PM »

How did the presentation go, Susan?
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« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2012, 05:30:24 PM »

Deb asked me to check the message board and see if i can post. Looks like its working okay to me.

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