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Hey!

It's been a couple (months that is). But you are still helping people survive in many ways. Here are some things I've read and written recently to help you. 

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Because Nancy works for the Fort Wayne Children's Choir, I get to take pictures and videos at rehearsals. Which means that a few times during the past school year, I've gotten to hear kids singing - with masks, spread out, but singing. It has been a remarkable privilege. Because singing is one of the things that gives me life. 

They had a concert in early May at our local ballpark. The weather was perfect, the choirs were prepared, and I wept a little when I heard them singing these words: 

"For the joy of human love
Brother, sister, parent, child
Friends on Earth and friends above
For all gentle thoughts and mild
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our joyful hymn of praise"

Thanks for being here. 

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I've known for several months that most of us are feeling a little off. "There's a name for the blah you're feeling: It's called languishing" is Adam Grant's summary of the idea in the NY TImes. He writes, "Languishing is the neglected middle child of mental health. It’s the void between depression and flourishing — the absence of well-being. You don’t have symptoms of mental illness, but you’re not the picture of mental health either." 

 In "Your Presence is a Living Sermon", Hannah King helps us understand how presence, as in just showing up, is helpful. 

Prepareforyourcare.org is a new (to me) resource for thinking through the kind of medical care we want to receive. It asks you many of the questions that are helpful for preparing advance directives. (In "Talking about talking about death", I reviewed several books that can give you background about the reasons thinking ahead matters.)

This Is Hard: a new resource to help people in the first moments of grief.

Many of us struggle with what to say to people right after we learn that their loved one has died. We want to be helpful. We want to be comforting. We can't figure it out. We do the best we can. Sometimes, we ignore the conversation. Sometimes we simply don't show up.

Out of my sometimes fumbling conversations with people in those moments, I wrote This Is Hard: What I Say When Loved Ones Die. It's short, with short chapters that address the things people often say in those moments, like "I have to be string" or "Why can't I think" or even "I didn't like them at all."
 
I'm using it when I can't be with friends experiencing loss. A hospital system is adding it to the grief packets they provide for families. A chaplain is giving it to hospice nurses. And, of course, every time I have these conversations at the hospital, I'm still drawing on these words. 

If you'd like to read it, or even to share it without buying it, visit thisishard.pressbooks.com. And if you are wondering about bulk pricing (more than 20), send me an email. 

Quote on my bulletin board. 
"What's the next most important thing to do. 

In closing. . .
Thanks for reading (and checking out This Is Hard).  I'll see you here again soon. 

(The photo is from my study at home where our daughter Hope helped me rearrange shelves and work on my book projects.)

And, if you'd like to know more about supporting this project and 300wordsADay.com please read "sustaining". 

Thanks! Peace. 

Jon 

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