Engagement Tribute

Coping with Grief?

“I believe we are alone in our pain but never in our suffering, as long as we connect with caring, compassionate people.” Sybil F. Stershic

I learned a lot about the grieving process via special counseling after losing three immediate family members in a short time, and I’m still learning.

Since losing another beloved sibling a few years ago, I found an online support group that’s helpful. It takes place in the form of an Unhurried Conversation hosted by Grief Support Specialist, Kathy Murri.

Note: an Unhurried Conversation is a safe “go-with-the-flow” organic conversation in which people speak uninterrupted in a safe space and listen without judgment. Participants take turns sharing what they want, when they want, and if they want.

In her Unhurried Conversation on Grief and Loss, Kathy welcomes anyone who:

-has lost someone close

-is taking care of someone with a terminal illness

-finds themselves out of a job or relationship.

We share struggling with feelings of sadness and anger … dealing with anticipatory grief, ambiguous grief, and/or grief-shaming … navigating new identities as a result of loss, etc. Kathy reminds us that grief involves adapting to a change in expectations: who are we now and what do we do as a result of our loss? We hold space for compassion for ourselves and others in this process.

People from all over the world share their struggles and find comfort in this open, compassionate community Kathy has created. Some participants are new and some are semi-regulars like me, who attend as needed.

If you or someone you know is trying to cope with grief and loss, please consider attending one (or more) of Kathy’s monthly Unhurried Conversations on Grief and Loss held the first Saturday of the month.

[Image credit: Pexels from Pixabay]


In Memory of a Class Act

It was the late 1960’s when I got to see David McCallum (be still my teenaged heart) in person in Minneapolis, MN – close enough to get this photo of him.

Fresh off his success as Illya Kuryakin in the popular TV series, The Man from Uncle, McCallum was the featured guest speaker at a national conference for volunteers (like myself) who worked with children with Down Syndrome and other intellectual and developmental disabilities. The conference was hosted by the organization now known as The Arc, and McCallum was their national spokesperson then.

I was one of several members representing YOUTH PARC: Youth Organized and United To Help the Pennsylvania Arc at this conference. Besides networking with other youth Arc volunteers throughout the U.S., the main draw was hearing this celebrity share his passion for helping the children we served.

Sadly, David McCallum passed away a few days ago. Well known for his roles in The Man from Uncle and in NCIS (as pathologist “Ducky” Mallard), among other roles in movies and TV shows, I don’t know how many others knew this side of him.

His online obituaries acknowledge this man as a talented actor, musician, renaissance man, family man, and gentleman. These tributes reinforce the wonderful man that I first met at that youth conference decades ago.

I didn’t see an actor who was full of himself. Instead, I saw a kind-hearted man who sincerely advocated for children with developmental disabilities. He was also most genuine and approachable. While you can’t see it from the cropped photo above, McCallum didn’t speak from the podium. Instead, he sat at the end of the stage with Kenny Robinson, president of the YOUTH Arc, to address the audience. I’ve treasured this beautiful memory ever since.

Thank you, David McCallum. You were a class act.

Rest in peace.

[Photo by Sybil F. Stershic]