Tag Archives: Mary M. McCambridge

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Sandy Hook, Newtown, CT: One Year Later

The first anniversary of the Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, CT holds difficult emotions for the families, friends and school staff, as well as its community. Dealing with the pain of loss for the first full year is never easy.

When we approach an anniversary, we relive all the little moments before the tragedy and try to trick ourselves into thinking that person is still with us. On the days leading up to the anniversary, we, at least, get to think “the week before we were baking Christmas cookies” or “the day before we were decorating the tree.”

But once the actual first anniversary occurs, we don’t get to have that luxury any longer and we can’t fool ourselves. We can no longer say, at this time last year we were doing this or that. And that reality bring sorrow.

The first anniversary is never an easy day to live through but sometimes the anticipation is much more stressful than the actual happenings of the day itself.

I’ve known so many families (and I’ve had this experience, too) tell me they made the experiences of the day so much greater in their head than they turned out to be.

They thought they’d be devastated, but somehow it turned out to be a lot lighter than they thought it would be. It became a day of remembering the person, than how they died.

It became a day of thinking of all the fun times they spent together and being grateful for those times instead of allowing themselves to succumb to the events of that day.

So my thoughts are with the families of this small Connecticut town today and do hope that they can look for the happiness they held in the relationship they shared with their loved one and not the way they died.

Yes, it can be hard, but moving toward gratitude for those happy years spent together, will always outweigh a moment in time that can never be changed.

To read my blogs from last year when this tragedy occurred, go here. As a stepmother of an 11 year old who was murdered, I wrote them from the perspective of a grieving mother of a murdered victim.

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Review: May He Rest in Peace

menorah-star-15686513There are a lot of sites online dealing with grief; some are written by people who truly have lived through a personal crisis and will share their experiences, and others who just try to teach you in a professorial mode.

When I found www.mayherestinpeace.com, I was so happy to see that here you are welcomed to make a memorial website for your loved one. And I was additionally grateful to know it was created by a man who has experienced grief on several levels.

David Goldshtein began this site about a year ago to help others through the grieving process. His father, Michael, died at the age of 84 after ten years of illness, having struggled with cancer, kidney disease, etc. And although the doctors told him several times he was at the end of his life, he never gave up, instead pressing on. As a holocaust survivor, he understood the meaning of fighting to live.

His mother has been struggling with Alzheimers for the past ten years. At the young age of only 17, her parents were sent to a labor camp in Siberia by the Russian Government, leaving her to learn to survive as the daughter of political prisoners.

David’s family’s journey has made him sensitive to grief and as he moves into his forties, he had a desire to celebrate their lives and the challenges they overcame by building a wonderful website that would not only house his memories of his Dad, but to give all of us a place to honor our loved ones who had died or were killed.

I am delighted, as Hanukkah, the festival of lights, begins for the Jewish people this year, to share May He Rest In Peace, for you to honor your loved ones.

In addition, David shares articles (which I will contribute to), books on grief (he’s graciously added my Understanding Your Grieving Heart After a Loved One’s Death), and several other areas which will help you on your journey.

Take the time this weekend to visit his site and look around. David Goldshtein has developed a lovely place to not only learn about the grieving process, but to share the life of those we’ve lost and loved.

My newest book, Holiday Grief: How to Cope with Stress, Anxiety and Depression After a Loved One’s Death is now available on amazon.com.

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Why Murder Never Goes Away

I can’t help but think about all the families affected today by the media reports that the Libya’s dictator, Moammar Gadhafi is dead.

All the families around the world whose lives were irreparably damaged by the commands and actions of this man will once again be thrown into the past revisiting horrific memories of sorrow and loss.

The closest to me, as fellow memories of survivors of homicide groups at the time, were the families of the Syracuse University students who were simply returning a few days before Christmas on Pan Am 103 in December, 1988. These young people had enjoyed a wonderful semester abroad and were coming home for the holiday season through New York’s JFK airport. But they never made it.

It took decades for these 270 victims’ families to get the cooperation of our own government to press for those responsible for the downing of this aircraft and it all led back to Gadhafi. And little justice was ever achieved.

Only months ago, the man supposedly responsible was released from prison because he was terminally ill. After all, we must be compassionate, now shouldn’t we?

As the news of Gadhafi’s death starts to move onto the airwaves, it will only be a few hours until the famous picture of the nose of Pan Am 103 will be up in all forms of media, thus bringing back the sad memories for these families.

I remember specifically one mother whose son was killed on Pan Am 103 and also a student at Syracuse University in upstate New York, telling me how every time she saw that picture of the plane’s nose, it pierced her heart. It brought all the pain and memories back again. It just never seemed to go away.

Well it’s been nearly 23 years since she and the other families both in the United States and those killed on the ground in Lockerbie, Scotland have memorialized their loved ones.

Today, all that pain, all those memories will rush back in.

But I’d like to believe that instead, these US families and families all around the world who were affected by the orders of this ruthless killer, will finally feel some sense of justice, relief and satisfaction today, with the death of this vicious man.

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9/11: Experiences, Reflections, Changes

It had been a rewarding experience listening and reading the stories of those who were so affected by September 11th, 2001, a tragic day in the life of the United States and people all around the world.

I welcome you to visit the Foundation for Grieving Children’s blog where you can read them in their entirety.

My personal story will be posted this weekend.

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Navy Seal’s Dog Grieves Too


There is nothing more tragic than when good men, among the most elite in our military service, are killed in battle. But when 30 are killed in one crash, the nation should mourn. And the leaders of our country should stand up and proclaim a national day of mourning with flags lowered in their memory.

It took a few weeks for the bodies of these dedicated men to come back to their families for burial. And, at one memorable funeral, the devoted canine, a beautiful Labrador Retriever named Hawkeye, mourned his master, Navy Seal Jon Tumilson, originally of Rockford, Iowa.

When Scott Nichols, a dear friend of Jon’s, rose to give his eulogy, Hawkeye followed him up to the casket. With a huge sigh, this precious dog laid at the foot of the casket and didn’t move.

He knew exactly what was going on. He was in shock and understood that his master was dead. He stayed there to protect him for the last time.

There are people who believe that animals cannot or do not grieve the death of their owners. And this is proof that this theory is not true.

Like people, animals are devoted to those they love and who care for and about them. We feel this intense bond with our pets, so what would give us the idea they don’t also feel this bond with us?

Beyond protecting us, loyalty is a pet’s greatest gift to us. He is there whenever we are hurting, either physically or emotionally. He is the one who soothes us when no one else will. He is the one who greets us when no one else is around. He is the one who worries about us and sits near us when we’re sad, alone, hurt, disappointed. He knows how we feel and does whatever he can to make us feel better.

For this lovely dog, the tables are now turned. He is the sorrowful one and, like humans, it will take him some time to adjust to his loss. And like humans, he will feel depressed, perhaps not eat, lay around more than usual and tend not to play or participate in activities he may have in the past.

He also needs his time to be alone and sad, just like the rest of us. He has lost an amazing master and he feels the grief of all around him, also.

The pain associated with loving someone and losing someone is not exclusive to humans. Pets grieve, too and even though they can’t communicate in words their sorrow, it is evident through their actions.

Read more here.