If Only I’d Known ( I Am a Death Midwife )

A very short piece I wrote - opening the conversation on Home Funerals and Death Midwifery - was published on the ezine ColoradoBoulevard.net 


Now that the conversation is started, I’m outed as a Death Midwife.

Don’t be afraid. It’s really okay.

Now we can sit in the place where death is our shared meal, our communion, and life is our awesome shared experience.

Coming to that table while we are walking life’s journey becomes a daily exercise in ecstatic storytelling when you are freed from death’s lurking shadow. 

Death is no longer the elephant in the room.  Like the Buddhist parable teaches, each of us describes that elephant differently when our eyes are closed. Open your eyes to death, and see life differently.

Death is the topic du jour, easily digested when served in small portions.

Our bodies are nourished by things that once lived. Even our salads were once live plants. Death nourishes life.

Death is what we all share at this table.
No need to hush the subject in this space.
Sit a bit, and talk about it. 
Have some tea, dunk your cookie into it, and talk about death…

And so we will look at it, feel it, taste it, smell it, and hear it in each other’s story.
The energy spent ignoring death can be redirected toward life…
and our lives will all be oh, so much more amazing. 


What’s in a name? 

Googling this question takes you to Juliet’s rhetorical question of her beloved Romeo as he sheds his prized surname of Montague in William Shakespeare’s famous love story. 

My answer to this question comes from a heart matter as well, also illumined by death and by deep love. 

Six short months ago, when George & I wed, my name became the same as his.
We are One. Us.
We love Us.

Soon after the joyful whirlwind of our wedding day, the work began to change everything from Robert’s name to George’s. 
From widow to bride? 
No, I Am somehow both. 

Each time a straggling contact is informed of the name change, there is a palpable shift. A small but significant transformation of identity is granted with each edit, each deletion, each correction. I am not who I was. I am newly named. 

I now carry George’s name on every document; we inhabit one another. We love Us.

While no longer carrying Robert’s name on any document,
I carry him in my heart. 
I Am his widow. 
There is no term for “former widow”.
We inhabit one another. We love Us. 

I wonder at the mosaic-like identity that comes with naming.
I wonder at my blended identity, widow and bride
I wonder at the identity of oneness. Us-ness. We are Us. We Love Us.

I am a new version of me, and a new name is appropriate.

Renamed by Love’s ever-enhancing life and expanding identity.
We love us.

Robert’s birthday

One might be called crazy
by those who don’t know
how deeply we still love
long after you go

We rarely can speak of
what death does to love
some teach that you’re gone
some say you’re above

But I know some things now
I’d never have known
If you hadn’t died
and I hadn’t grown

I know I am strong
and courageous and meek.
I know grief’s endurable;
and my heart can speak

I know love’s eternal
I know life is too
I know that it’s precious
It brought me to you

I know I can go on,
you did tell me to.
and l will keep loving…
Happy Birthday to you.

"There is No Separation"

Within the words of a prayer that we had framed in our home,
Jesuit priest Fr. Pedro Arrupe equates falling in love with finding God…

“Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in love”

I went to Drew Theological School to find God, and fell in love with Robert…

From the beginning of our relationship, we knew that we were ‘on a mission from God.’ 

In our most intimate conversations, we often agreed that we share a sacred contract with the Divine to shine our love in the world to transform it to be a bit more like heaven.

He’s still under contract; even though his earthly life has ended…      

We lived every day of our short time together within the truth that we were brought together for a sacred purpose, and that our love would continue to grow beyond his death. 

Despite the tears and feelings of grief, and beyond all of the suffering we endured throughout his illness, “There is No Separation!!” was our word to each other as we parted to head off to class or run errands.

My heart is broken, but only by the abundance of love that could not fit within it otherwise.

It is not grief alone that we feel. 

It is both grief and love. It is both presence and absence. It is always both/and… and that was one message Robert offered to me and to many who sought his counsel…

Our hearts beat together; and the streams of love that bound us in our physical life, continue now as a connection across the mystery that is our Spirituality. 

The cancer that took him was stronger than his physical body; but it is not stronger than the Eternal Spirit of love in him… we name that Spirit – God, Love.

I used to hold him tight, and tell him I was memorizing him; he’d smile and say, “No separation!” I’m trying to hold him to that…

I forget he is gone while Im sleeping… Maybe we are spending time together then…but I feel it hit me when one eye opens. 

He is with me, and I know… beyond how I feel right now… 

that there is no separation…

  • Between love and life
  • Between spiritual and physical
  • Between he and I
  • Between us and God. 

…there is no separation.

In honor of our Love, in honor of my beloved Robert, please love more.

…and try to consider Robert’s favorite message to me as he began to die, “there is grief, there are tears, but there is no separation.”

We will remain grateful for your friendship, your love, and all the ways you will be changed by Robert’s life. 

Love more. Make Love.

Make the world more aware of how close heaven is!

There is no separation…

Thank you

In honor of my beloved <3

Robert George Kribs

07.06.43 - 03.12.12

God’s in Time-Out

Just the other day, I sent God into time-out. The face the corner, sit in silence, and think-about-all-that-you-have-done kind of time-out. It’s always a good option and usually in the best interest of the least-centered, most wounded one… [me].

I believe it’s what’s best for our relationship right now. God went willingly. 

As a teenager in the 60’s, I took my time-outs upstairs, on my bed, crying my eyes out and writing in my diary because I knew I would never be understood by anyone on earth, as long as I live. 

It feels a bit similar here and now.

As the 1-year anniversary of Robert’s death creeps closer, I just want to be quiet and feel our love as it is now - between the realms. Sometimes that’s hard to do. I broke a wineglass he bought for us, and cried for an hour. I stepped on a piece of the glass and wondered why it had to hurt twice. 

I have a few questions.

Yes, indeed my grief journey is for us… a part of our love story.

I am trying to stand, getting to know who I am now, shifting my purpose, and moving forward without him here beside me. It is not possible that anyone else on earth can know my answers. But the answers exist.

Guess I’ll go into that corner and ask; see what God’s come up with in time-out…

God’s in Time-out. A good option for me indeed.

This Widow’s First Christmas

This Widow’s First Christmas in Time and Space

‘time and space’ seem so ethereal to this human being. 

more than physical clocks and walls; you can’t touch either. 

you can’t touch time or space, and we don’t measure either very well here on Earth.


I could use more time. 

I make space for healing from the grief of losing my Love to cancer.

I seek both time and space

to frame my reality and steady my frame. 


‘Time and Space’ is the title given to where I am, reaching for you, my Love.

but You are not held by time or space now.


You are free of both; I need more of both.


It seems insane to seek more of what holds me apart from you,
and I keep reaching out of it, to feel you.


I ask, “Give me some space.” 

I plead, “I need more time.”


so ‘time and space’ are not ethereal at all.

invisible, yet earthly. 

healing tools for me, after your death.


I tap into the strength that is created and stored within earth’s time and space.


I am still here, asking for the time and space that you no longer have use for.

You are free of both; I need more of both.


At this time, I seek space.

Time and Space. 


re-membering I need to breathe, I turn back to the incarnated life.
re-entering time and space, to multiply the Love we shared.

The Message of Samhein; There is No Separation

As a child, October 31st was always an exciting day filled with a special kind of fun that was unlike any other for me and my eight siblings. Our family’s Halloween traditions were similar to those of most of our friends; trick-or-treating in home-made costumes made too tight by the winter coats worn beneath them (necessary on a nearly-november evening in Syracuse, NY). Our Roman Catholic education taught us the spiritual significance of the day, but all we could think about was the sweet-smelling loot we’d pile together on our dining table after a night of trick-or-treating. 

“All Hallow’s Eve” (as it is known within the Catholic tradition) remains a time of celebration and communion with those “halo-bearing” or “hallowed” loved ones who have died and become citizens of the heavenly realms. Observance of this sacred time provides a unique framework to engage children in conversation on their concepts of death, and to create a safe space for transforming fear of the unknown. 

For me, October 31st holds new meaning now… now that the Love of my Life is one of those beings on “the other side” of the veil. Walking with Robert as he traveled his path toward death was a sacred passage for us both. Embracing that journey while being held within the web of support at MUF and Drew Theo School provided a setting for me where I felt safe enough to maneuver through the grief, and brave enough to discern both my brokenness and my healing. Reaching for truth in this place of safety allowed me to press hard against the things I thought I believed, but no longer made any sense. There was a new truth coming to me and it held me tight through this devastating time. Love’s powerful presence dissipated the veil I was taught separated us from Spirit, and it’s light lit my way through the darkest and most heartbreaking experience of my life.

While researching Samhein, I found many ways that the ancient Celtic traditions surrounding this October festival felt familiar and supportive to the fresh understanding that has become so very real to me since Robert’s death. My experience of his continued presence beside me (despite his existence in another spiritual realm) is supported by our ability to reach out to each other to exchange messages of love and comfort. These truths are found in the core beliefs of the Celtic Druids who have celebrated Samhein for hundreds of years. Robert remains a very loving and powerful being. He is still beside me, and I treasure the connection we share across the veil. I’ve shared with many of you that one of his favorite phrases, and often the words he would comfort me with as I was forced to leave his bedside to attend a class or a meeting at the Fellowship was, “Don’t worry, there is no separation!” 

To the ancient Celtic people, and to many Spiritualists today, the festival of Samhein celebrates that very truth. On Samhein, there is no separation. Legend has it that on Samhein, the Female Goddess-Warrior Skathach lowers her shield, (and so lowers the veil) allowing the beings within the realms of spirit and those within the realm of matter to experience one another. 

My message (and my offering to you) brings that experience into our daily lives.

Just as other holidays we celebrate focus our attention on an ethic or ideal that we would do well to make a part of our daily life…
* Thanksgiving; teaches us to be grateful at all times.
* Memorial Day; draws our attention to the importance of remembering our Vets always.
* Christmas; brings a Spirit of love and giving, and we say “It’s Christmas every day.”
* Samhein reveals a connection with Spirit that is always possible. 

Samhein teaches that the veil can be overcome.

Samhein tells me that the veil is simply a metaphor for my own insistence that I am removed from my beloved Robert, and that I can not (and should not) try to contact him.

Perhaps this year, as October 31st rises and wanes, we could all consider the possibility that our perception of separation from the realms of Spirit creates the veil we insist is there. It is we who create this veil that cannot be perceived from the realm of Heaven, that place of Eternal Love.

On this Samhein, allow the veil to thin. 

I will, so I can experience Robert’s loving presence, and hear him gently remind me, “There is no separation…”

silence that makes space for love

we rarely (if ever) need advice; we often (perhaps always) heal & grow best amidst loving presence.

love changes things. 

it is my experience that over the months since my beloved Robert was diagnosed with terminal cancer that my greatest and most empowering settings were those where I was questioned rather than taught, and held rather than set at a distance. 

creating space for love to enter takes great courage, but also brings the greatest healing change.

those who sat with me and asked the same questions I was being tossed by were my greatest teachers. 

entering the space where death comes near can be a place of safety, rather than dread. 

love and life are real and eternal; there is no separation between the realms…

creating and entering the silent space where love can light our way back to that knowledge empowers the grieving soul forward through our hearts perception of grief.
It may be the only way out…

yes calendar, I feel you…

There is an energy within the calendar that grabs hold of me;
pulling open my heart,
revealing that our first anniversary approaches.

It must be a very dry and thirsty energy; insisting on creating wet cheeks. 

Awakening from grief contains a longing to stay on that beach where we said “I do.”

Ah, but clinging to the sand we stood on does not serve Love.

Opening toward the deep, the bustling beach is now accompanied by the solitude of the sea.

Love is best served by standing there in Love, as Love, from both realms.