15 Comments
May 4, 2021Liked by Katie Hawkins-Gaar

I was lucky to be around my great-grandmothers, who both lived to be more than 100. I watched them age and saw my grandparents care for them. When they died, my mom took us to their funerals and talked with us about their open caskets. I remember that it was scary, but also my family was all there and we celebrated these people we loved. I think that early experience has informed how I write obits now for the Tampa Bay Times. I know there will be sadness, joy and lots of complicated feelings. I also read obits regularly, both in search of stories and a way to see how people spent their precious lives.

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Oh my gosh, I love this peek into what made you the amazing obit writer you are today.

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May 4, 2021Liked by Katie Hawkins-Gaar

22 years ago my friends sister died in a car wreck... she was 15 years old... and I was 17 at the time... I walked outside to get my moms mail a day later and thought why is everything still going? Why are cars still moving down the road, etc? Nothing stopped but she did... then a few days later my own best friend committed suicide.. she ended her life. She knew what she wanted to do... so yes, I had that moment of discovery... my grandmother and grandfather died rather young *just like my mother*-- and I realize you really truly never know... I think about this pretty often. Death still frightens me but I need to learn not to let it...

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I'm so sorry that you've had to face so much grief in your life. Thanks for sharing. xo

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I gotta agree with the last point. Acceptance is literally the only peaceful way to deal with it. And I have three lethal conditions: hert failure, kidney failure and life,

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I'm so glad I finally became a paid subscriber, Katie! It feels good to know I am supporting such incredible and important writing. Your newsletter is one of the highlights of my inbox!

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This comment made my day. Thank you, Susan!

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May 4, 2021Liked by Katie Hawkins-Gaar

I don't know if anything you're writing lately is necessarily different, but your last several issues, each of them has been like an arrow that goes straight to my heart -- you're putting to words so many things that have been in the back of my mind. And in a way that just feels real, you know?

I came across the words of a man named George Sheehan, a big time runner and writer who passed away several years ago but who was really well-known in the 70s and 80s, and he said this:

“Do not tell me what to do, tell me what you do. Do not tell me what is good for me, tell me what is good for you. If, at the same time, you reveal the you in me, if you become a mirror to my inner self, then you have made a reader and a friend.”

That's what I experience reading your newsletter too! Just wanted you to know. (Especially given today's topic!)

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May 4, 2021Liked by Katie Hawkins-Gaar

(The reason I include Sheehan's words is that he recognized that so much of what we hear/read is so didactic, so full of advice that the writer/speaker seems to exhort us to follow, rather than simply telling us about their own experiences. It was true back then and it's *really* true today, especially of so much I see on social media! But your newsletter does what Sheehan describes so, so well.)

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Wow, I love this, Terrell! This is definitely something I try to do, but I’m not sure I could have described it like this. Thank you!!

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May 4, 2021Liked by Katie Hawkins-Gaar

Death has always been one of the most talked about topics in my family. As a kid, the whole family had to go to the viewing every time someone in our church died. This didn't take the hurt away when my dog or my grandparents or my friend in high school died, but already being familiar with death helped make these surreal tragedies easier to process. My friends' families only discussed death when they were forced to, while "The Hearse Song" was a popular car singalong tune for mine. In college I jumped at the chance to take "Sociology of Death" and my professional paper in grad school was about gallows humor and its function as a coping mechanism. I am grateful my parents have always been so open to talk (and joke) about death with me, as it has made it less taboo and something I am more comfortable with than many people I encounter.

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Wow, this is amazing, Amy! I love that. Thank you for sharing!

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May 4, 2021Liked by Katie Hawkins-Gaar

This is very accurate, in my experience. Accepting death is not an option for me, it's a necessity; at least until I invent a means to defeat it. Whatever, there is absolutely no point in dreading it. That simply makes the event worse, in my view.

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I’m so glad The Last Time meditation is working out for you! It’s such a simple little brain hack that helps me to step out of so many stressful situations.

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