Always Your Girl

Tomorrow would have been my Dad’s 95th birthday. Ray Finlayson died April 20, 2010 so he had a long life of love and joy. But we made a big deal out of every birthday. Dad was so fun to treat because he asked for nothing. I can remember handing him a present and a card and he would set the card aside because the words inside were what mattered more to him, not the gifts. But he would take the box and rub his hands together in anticipation and he’d pull the ribbon and gently release the tape and paper and lift the shirt or the sweater or whatever out of the box and say, “This is just beautiful…I really needed this!” He loved everything we gave him, even though after his death, I found a few of those beautiful shirts still in their plastic, waiting for the right occasion, I suppose. But among his things, I also found dozens and dozens of my cards, in little girl handwriting all the way through the last years.

Dad would then open his birthday card, one I had labored to choose, since Dad cards sometimes lacked the depth of what I felt for him. I always wrote long notes on top of the printed lyrics, always telling him how proud I was to be his daughter, how I treasured our special dad/daughter bond and how I would love him forever.” There, I’ve said it again. Happy birthday, Daddy. Always your girl.


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You Don’t Have to “Get Over It”

Last week I read a beautiful piece in the Sunday New York Times, written by author and psychiatrist Mark Epstein. His article, “The Trauma of Being Alive” began with his words to his 88 year old mother who was still distraught over losses in her life.  She said, “’You’d think I would be over it by now’…speaking of the pain of losing my father, her husband of almost 60 years. ‘It’s been more than four years, and I’m still upset.’”

Epstein wrote “Grief needs to be talked about. When it is held too privately it tends to eat away at its own support.  ‘Trauma never goes away completely,’ he told his mother. ‘It changes perhaps, softens some with time, but never completely goes away. What makes you think you should be completely over it? I don’t think it works that way.’ There was a palpable sense of relief as my mother considered my opinion.”

I wanted to share this with all of you who write to me about the loss in your life or who come up to me after a performance to cry long-held tears for someone you miss. So often, an audience member will apologize for crying in my arms. There’s nothing to be sorry for.  While we get through loss, we don’t necessarily get over it. We grow stronger. We find ways to remember and to focus on the good. Our culture seems to expect to just move on, with a stiff upper lip that doesn’t tremble at the mention of a loved one’s name. And if you can do that, wonderful. But for those times when that ache comes over us, it’s helpful to accept that sadness as part of life. It just means that we are human, that we love deeply, and that we still honor those who loved us.

If you are interested in learning more, Epstein’s upcoming book is called  “The  Trauma of Everyday Life”.

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The God Box App is shiny new and ready to welcome your cares

November 28, 2023
by Mary Lou Quinlan

Since The God Box book was published in the spring of 2012, so many readers have told me that they started their own God Boxes. I love hearing stories of children creating God Boxes and married couples joining their prayer and cares in a family box. (And my mother would be thrilled!)  A 'real' God box is a constant reminder that we are not in control and that letting go is the first step to finding comfort, hope and relief for life's worries. But did you know that many thousands have gone virtual with their God boxes? To help the many busy ...

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