Before and After Photos

April 30, 2018


I had my photo taken yesterday for a new headshot.
I ended up crying when I saw the proofs.
Not for the typical reasons you might imagine.
But for what I saw and didn’t see in my eyes.
I hadn’t yet noticed in detail
the nuanced ways grief had etched itself into my face.

I kept going back and forth between “before and after” photos.

Then I called my sister. I told her how the photos upset me. We talked about it.
She reminded me that my old photo was taken six months before Mom died.
“In fact, Mom helped you pick out the one you’ve been using”, she said.

“We were still innocent”, she said. “We didn’t really know what was ahead of us”

So true.


Over two years have passed since I wrote the above. Since then I’ve compared many “before and after” photos.

I’ve looked at my own photos and those of my siblings.

We six siblings, aka Team Boyle, do a group photo a few times per year. (We’ve been in group photos for over 60 yrs since Mom and Dad started sending out Christmas photos.)

This year I noticed that everyone looked happier and lighter. Finally!

The stress of caring for beloved parents on hospice or in memory care has eased. We’ve sold their property and divided their estate.

We made it!

And the photos agree.

The Rights of the Dying

April 22, 2018

The Rights of the Dying

“The right to be treated as a living human being.

The right to maintain a sense of hopefulness, however changing its focus may be.

The right to express feelings and emotions about death in ones own way.

The right to participate in all decisions concerning one’s care.

The right to be cared for by compassionate, sensitive, knowledgeable people who will attempt to understand one’s needs.

The right to expect continuing medical care, even though the goals may change from “cure” to “comfort” goals.

The right to have all questions answered honestly and fully.

The right to seek spirituality.

The right to be free of physical pain.

The right to express feelings and emotions about pain in one’s own way.

The right of children to participate in death.

The right to understand the process of death.

The right to die.

The right to die in peace and dignity.

The right not to die alone.

The right to expect that the sanctity of the body will be respected after death.”


The Needs of the Dying, by David Kessler.



Winter Blues? It’s a Thing

January 17, 2018

It sure is “a thing” around here. Sometimes it’s just a bummed out, blah kind of feeling. But for other people it’s a form of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) that usually begins in the fall and continues through the winter months. SAD is common where I live due to the shorter days and […]

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Ho’oponopono Helps with Grief

June 1, 2016

Ho what? Ho’oponopono is an ancient Hawaiian healing technique. All you have to do is say these four short statements: I’m sorry. Please forgive me. (I forgive you)* I love you. Thank you. You repeat them over and over again. It’s a powerful practice that can be used to heal all our relationships including those […]

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