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The clarity to see inner beauty – my story of Purim

33 Mom & Dad at the Purim festival

I wanted to be Queen Esther. She was the real hero in the Purim play.

Purim is the Feast of Lots, commemorating the Jews being saved once again from extinction. There were never enough parts for girls, and I was cast as Esther’s uncle, Mordechai. I wore a black mustache and cape, which almost made up for not being the queen.

I instinctively loved Queen Esther, whose name is derived from the Hebrew saiter, meaning concealment. The story goes that she saw through to her hidden role to save her people. Her other name—Hadassah—references the clarity of her eyes to see beyond surface realities to inner beauty.… Read more

Grieving, Subsequent Children, and the Replacement Child, After the Death of a Child

Abigail Brenner, M.D.Guest interview with Abigail Brenner, M.D.

I conducted this interview with Abigail Brenner, M.D., several weeks ago. It now seems to have a new relevance in light of the Newtown tragedy as I asked her the questions I so often hear concerning replacement children.

Dr. Brenner is a psychiatrist in private practice. A board certified psychiatrist in practice for more than 30 years, Dr. Brenner is a Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. Her work has focused on understanding change and the challenges and opportunities afforded by change in relationship to major life transitions. She is the author of Transitions: How Women Embrace Change and Celebrate Life, SHIFT: How to Deal When Life Changes, and co-author of The Essential Guide to Baby’s First Year (Alpha Books, a member of the Penguin Group).… Read more

Lincoln’s Replacement Children

There is so much to talk about after seeing Lincoln this weekend, but since I have my Replacement Child lenses adjusted, I can’t help but focus on one scene in the film that touched on Lincoln as a husband and father.

In the scene we discover that Abe and Mary lost a child to illness as Abe rails at Mary for her extended grieving, and she in turn admonishes him for putting their oldest son, Robert, in harm’s way by allowing him to join the ranks of the Union soldiers.  When her grieving over the death of their son became too prolonged, in Lincoln’s view, he had apparently threatened Mary with having her committed to an asylum, (using the vernacular of the film). … Read more

Oh, Sister

I was back in my hometown in New Jersey this past weekend for my high school reunion, which was surprisingly wonderful. The town brings back all my memories of growing up with my mom and dad and sister. On my last visit I scattered my parents’ ashes in the river that runs through the town. They died within months of each other so that it was possible for a double feature, so to speak.

On this trip, I planned to do the same with my sister Linda’s ashes, which had been her request, but complications in getting the ashes and family together got in the way. … Read more