Category: family


June 16, 2023

I got to hug my son on his last day as a high school Freshman this morning. Tomorrow Truly graduates from fourth grade. I feel…

Stop Counting

April 21, 2023

Grief is different now. I see it’s always been there, invisible to people until we happen to stumble over it. Once you’ve seen it, not just a small dose, but the giant-soaking-you-where-you-stand dose, you’ll always see it.

Warmth Crushing

December 30, 2022

That is why, on Christmas eve, hours before I was going to perform my full Santa gig, I was driving to pet stores with Truly and our new eight week old German Shepherd puppy, “Dandelion”, looking for the right food, right collar, right treats, right everything.

Papa Swan

April 7, 2022

I’ve been working on a bigger writing project, a book about the first four years since Terry’s death. It’s what I had to write just so I could write about something else, anything else. Saying what needs to be said seems to be a requirement for storytellers. I now have a manuscript titled “Wilder Grief”.


December 12, 2019

Its more exciting to say it began with hamster entrails on the living room floor, but it didn’t. That was a few days after the…


November 8, 2019

“Daddy what happened to Momma’s skin?”
“What do you mean, when she was sick?”
“No, when she died.”
“So you mean when we put her in the Earth?”

Animals Sleep Together

May 24, 2019

here are times when I come up to wake them for school and they’ve found each other and are so entangled I can’t tell where one ends and the other begins. If I go away for a few days I know so long as they’re sleeping next to each other our littlest one will be fine. They comfort each other in ways a phone call from me can’t.

Mothering Grief

February 12, 2019

I don’t know how to process all of that – how to be delightfully pregnant with possibilities and holding grief at the same time? Can I feel all of that without curling up in a ball with a case of cookies, a bottle of wine and every episode of the X-files?


January 13, 2019

It turns out I’ve been carrying around a floating divorce of sorts. Terry and I did not say “’til death do us part” in our wedding vows. Now I understand why people include that clause. If the spirits are real to you, tangible in your life, does your marriage really end after death?


August 1, 2018

This gorgeous young man painted from head to toe with every moment of his Mothers love is sleeping without fear. You know his rest is unblemished, it is still the sleep of young, wild things.


June 12, 2018

We’re not ready to move on,
we’re ready to move in,
deeper, together.
The cauldron of our family
will remake us again,
not seperate from Momma,
but with her on the other side.


May 25, 2018

Widower. Thats the new job title. Objectively of course it fits. We were married almost 15 years. The kids and I celebrated our anniversary by…

One things for sure, you are not anywhere to be found in all the paperwork I’m dealing with. I’m struck by how little all that stuff has to do with you. The important crap of life turns out to be total crap after all.

Hard Road

April 22, 2018

Our girl is now bigger than popcorn ever was. It used to be her feet found the world, now its her eyes, her fingers, her…

Breaking Spells

January 21, 2018

When you’re under a spell your life can feel like that: this is not real, this is not how things are supposed to be, yet you’re trapped. This insanity has become the new real. It feels like you’re farther away from whats real than you ever have been before, but really the opposite is true. This middle place is closer to the new real than you realize, you just have more to pass through.

Tracing Worry

October 18, 2017

But for those of us who know that magic must disguise itself in our world, it was clearly the head and spine of a recently fallen majestic being.


September 7, 2017

These moments pass between us, each one different, like tiny speckled quail eggs we’re sharing with each other. Trust becomes a tangible thing when you’re on a journey like this. Its become part of my daily mantra: trust & patience, trust & patience, trust & patience…

The Way of Dad

June 24, 2017

The Forest stole my hiding place and made it into a celebration of connection. Everyone (including our dog Bella) spent this Fathers Day in the…

The Village

April 21, 2017

Relax – that’s what I know my job is now, that’s the message I get when I check in. This is not an easy task…

True Prayer

March 7, 2016

…I journeyed to the spirit of the Slough, finding an ancient woman twisting her yarn at a spinning wheel, weaving out the eons singing to the tap of her wheel. Listening to her spinning song slowly turned me to gunpowder-black dust. She sang, wove and spun until I became a small bird perched on her wheel transformed by her radiance.


February 8, 2016

I’ve been feeling lately, like so many of my friends, that I’m sitting at an important crossroad. I understand that I need to move forward, but have not really been given the direction yet. So I sit with potential, and that can feel oddly frightening, like you’re pausing at a threshold while something ominous and unknown draws closer.

Good Grief

November 10, 2015

When it first arrives, you think there’s been some kind of a mistake, surely it meant to sit down next to someone else. You distract yourself, move on, until you finally realize its not going anywhere. So you spend time together, without really acknowledging it exists because, lets face it – you know grief, you’ve been there before. You don’t need any kind of re-introduction. Sure you can tag along if you want to, but don’t get too comfortable.

License to Fish

May 4, 2015

When we were out on a lake, Dad thought of me less as a son he’d taken fishing and more like a somewhat lame first-mate. He needed me to get the boat on and off the trailer, so I would do, but just barely so. He was kind to me, but within the understanding that, as far as fishing went I was a bit limited.

Leaving Utah

January 28, 2015

Its funny how water connects us and pulls us apart. He was the one who dragged me out of that lake when I nearly drowned all those years ago, now I’m driving his ashes, my Mom, son, and artifacts that story 45 years of their life in Utah out to the coast.


November 25, 2014

The crucible of the alchemist, the container for his life opus, is symbolized by the egg. It is out of this crucible the true self, radiant self, finally emerges after the struggle of transformation. Tonight I’m stricken by the transformation of my daughter, considering the last two years and nine months – the world that made the crucible that fosters her emergence.

Dangerous Forests

October 20, 2014

When I find myself in a forest I feel that I am the one being understood, not the other way around. Its as if my spirit is finally free to expand to its biggest size and once there, it finds itself wholly encompassed by something much larger and more mysterious than I can ever fully understand.

Secret Daughter Mine

June 19, 2014

My family has a lot of good stories I may never share. Some because they belong to all of us and are still unfolding, some because they don’t belong to me at all. They belong to my wife, my son, and now my daughter.

This Boy Blossoming

June 3, 2014

The heartache I feel when my son is just away for the day at school still takes me by surprise. I want to hold his fierceness tightly, bury him in my heart until his hysterical laughter blows everything wide open.

Echoes Life Gives Up

May 10, 2014

Holding her takes on greater power every day, not for her but for me. I can feel her relaxing into me, I can feel that she knows everything is going to be OK because she’s in Papas arms.


December 26, 2013

As a new dad I was not used to giving up so much of my inner space. I’d already given up the solitude of going to the bathroom alone, did I really need to give up the privacy that sleep offers?

A Burden of Trust

December 13, 2013

We are there again, in that tiny bucket rushing down a river too fast to know where we are going or what is right in front of us.

The Fire Story

September 27, 2013

This is one of my favorite stories, but I don’t get to tell it often. Its not a favorite because its happy (its not), or it left me feeling liberated (it didn’t). When I tell it I feel like I have to root around in my insides, scrape it off my rib bones and piece it back together.

Crossing To Trust

August 22, 2013

I need to start with the nightmare. I really don’t want to start there, I’d rather not go there at all. After all, its just a little boys dream …

Papa Prayer

June 20, 2013

He comes to me when I’m in the midst of my most mundane parenting tasks. “How would Shaun have done this”, I ask myself. “How can I do this better”, is what I really want to know. Is it possible to cherish my children more?


June 14, 2013

My ancestors had a tradition, some think it came from the time of warring clans, of trading their children. Like many things the ancient Irish did, it sounds a bit barbaric to the modern ear.


January 22, 2013

She is heavier each day, not from the food making her so beautifully stout, but her ability to trust. As we cherish, she arrives more.

Agencies, institutions and laws do not heal people, that much is clear. At best they can provide opportunities for transformation, guide books, the names of mentors, directions to journey in. They are not in and of themselves, healing. That is the work of our fellow human beings, and the compassionate spirits who offer their wisdom and support.


July 11, 2012

This is also the fifth day we’ve been fostering a toddler at our home. When we said yes to taking her in we didn’t know if it would be for two days, six months or the rest of our lives.


April 17, 2012

Fog’s powerful presence has existed on our Earth for billions of years. It has inspired innumerable mystics and likely served the spirits in ways we can’t even begin to understand

Deep Politeness

March 8, 2012

Later in the dream I became that young self, chased by my mischievous big sister on a sunny day, hysterical joy overwhelming me as I tried to keep up with my feet.

My Mud Dancer

January 11, 2012

They never tell you, when you get married, that part of your job is to inspire your spouse. I thought mostly about what I was getting out of the deal when I said ‘I do,’ not so much about what new things I’d have to give, and what old things I’d have to get rid of.

You Died A Year Ago Today

April 11, 2011

I have dreamed of you more in the last year than I’ve ever dreamed of you before. Always crystal clear, sometimes laughing, sometimes imparting mysterious messages, a few times crying harder than I knew you could cry.


September 14, 2009

We stumbled across the Barrel Race on a lazy Saturday afternoon drive in our new neighborhood. A strong tradition of horsemanship permeates life here, we…

I Was A Tom Girl

April 24, 2009

An essay by New York Times reporter Judith Warner caught my eye this morning. Titled “Dude, You’ve Got Problems“, it focuses on the harassment young…