Category Grief & Loss

Caution: People Grieving

As I was checking out at Target, the cashier asked, “How are you?” Without thinking, I responded, “Well, my mom died, I started a new job, and I think I forgot to put the dog in his crate before I left the house. How are you?” She stared at me, then slowly started scanning my […]

Dance in the Graveyards

February 13 marks the one month anniversary of Mom’s death, and I find it very appropriate that this anniversary lands on Ash Wednesday: a day when we acknowledge our finitude, dependence upon God, and the reality that from dust we were created and to dust we shall return. While I have been exceedingly aware of […]

Living as Those Prepared to Die

Since Mom’s death, there’s a comment I’ve heard folks say often that makes me a bit queasy. It goes like this, “If Carol Masters can die of cancer, that means anyone can die of cancer.” On the one hand, I get what folks mean by that, since she did have cancer for 30 years, and was […]

Elevator Lights

A reflection about being with one of my mentors as she died in 2008. Written in 2012 for Purpose Magazine’s January 2013 Epiphany publication. I did not even plan to visit her that evening. I pressed the down button on the elevator, yet when I arrived on the first floor, something in my gut told […]

Born on Inauguration Day

This article was published by Marketplace in January 2013 in celebration of January 20th Inauguration Day birthdays. As you’ll read in the article, my Mama died on January 13, ergo why I’m behind on my blog and life in general. She gave me life on January 20, 1981 and we have much work to continue […]

Moment of Silence

Saturday evening’s events, as reported in the Chicago Tribune… “A 6-year-old boy and his mother were killed Saturday in a multivehicle wreck on Lake Shore Drive that injured two other people, authorities said. The Chicago boy was taken to Lurie Children’s Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 6:21 p.m., according to the Cook County medical […]

Diary of a Death Diva

Over the weekend, a pastor whom I don’t know contacted me asking for pediatric funeral liturgy since he, fortunately, had not officiated a child’s funeral before. He said a mutual colleague told him they used some of my liturgy for an infant funeral last year, and suggested he contact me for resources. While reading his […]

Wayfaring Strangers and Weary Pilgrims

Confession: Even with my strong Southern heritage, I’m not a what one would call a Dolly Parton fan, though I do heart her character in Steel Magnolias. However, I’ve found her lyrics to Travelin’ Thru (written in 2005 for the soundtrack of Transamerica) to be very helpful and comforting to families and patients who feel lost, or feel they’ve fallen and had to get […]

World’s Flair

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra kicked off its Keys to the City Piano Festival this week, and the first night included the works of Gershwin, Mozart, and Ravel, and featured pianists Cyrus Chestnut and Orli Shaham. Some of the most talented musicians in the world accompanied each other on stage to share the common language of […]

Prescription for Popsicles

I received a page from a hospital room number I didn’t recognize. On my way to the room, I planned on giving my usual, “Hi, I’m one of the chaplains and this is just a routine visit,” spiel, hoping that my presence wouldn’t scare the family. Sometimes families hear “chaplain” and think, “Angel of Death […]