Layers of Grief

Whoever tells you that grief lessens with time is feeding you a load of nonsense. I loathe platitudes.
Grief never dies. The waves of shock, anger, sorrow and numbness ebb and flow like the tide.

“I was tired of well-meaning folks, telling me it was time I got over being heartbroke.
When somebody tells you that, a little bell ought to ding in your mind.
Some people don’t know grief from garlic grits. There’s somethings a body ain’t meant to get over.
No I’m not suggesting you wallow in sorrow, or let it drag on; no I am just saying it never really goes away.
(A death in the family) is like having a pile of rocks dumped in your front yard.
Every day you walk out and see them rocks. They’re sharp and ugly and heavy.
You just learn to live around them the best way you can.
Some people plant moss or ivy; some leave it be. Some folks take the rocks one by one, and build a wall.”
Michael Lee West, American Pie


Image via


Why should writers write?


Why do writers write?

More importantly, why should writers write?

American author Charles Bukowski  (b. 1920 – d. 1994) tells it like it is:

So You Want to Be a Writer
by Charles Bukowski

if it doesn’t come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don’t do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
searching for words,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it for money or
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don’t do it.
if it’s hard work just thinking about doing it,
don’t do it.
if you’re trying to write like somebody
forget about it.
if you have to wait for it to roar out of
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you’re not ready.

don’t be like so many writers,
don’t be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don’t be dull and boring and
pretentious, don’t be consumed with self-
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
over your kind.
don’t add to that.
don’t do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don’t do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don’t do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was.

heatherfromthegrove’s New Year’s Revelation No 7 of 7: The Divine and the Sublime

(Image via

“We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals.
Remote from universal nature and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion.
We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate for having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein do we err. For the animal shall not be measured by man.
In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with the extension of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear.
They are not brethren, they are not underlings: they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.”
– Henry Beston, The Outermost House: A Year of Life On The Great Beach of Cape Cod

I began the first of my 2018 New Year’s “revelations” with The solace of animals” and I will conclude this last (the seventh revelation) with “The Divine and the Sublime.”

For me, as I’m sure for many of you as well, animals are beautiful, divine creatures. I cannot imagine a world without them. I certainly cannot fathom my life without them. In truth, there have been many instances where I have preferred the company of animals to that of humans.

“Watch any plant or animal and let it teach you acceptance of what is, surrender to the Now.
Let it teach you Being.
Let it teach you integrity — which means to be one, to be yourself, to be real.
Let it teach you how to live and how to die, and how not to make living and dying into a problem.”
– Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment

In ancient cultures (and still today), animals were worshiped as gods. Their mysticism is steeped in history and religion. In Native American culture, there is an intense respect for and kinship to nature – animals, plants and the environment. Animals are treated with equal respect to humans. Life is revered. One life form is not inferior or superior to the other.  But animals…. well, they can teach us quite a few things.

So I will end my 7 New Year’s Revelations on this note (with further comments below):

“God gave unto the Animals
A wisdom past our power to see:
Each knows innately how to live,
Which we must learn laboriously.”
Margaret Atwood, The Year of the Flood
(Image via

I’ve been writing these New Year’s Revelations for 7 years now and this one will be my last.

May 2018 bring each and every one of you much joy, good health and a renewed appreciation for the beauty of animals, nature and of those you hold dear.


– Heather

heatherfromthegrove’s New Year’s Revelation No 6 of 7: The rise of the smartphone zombies

(Image via
“Casting a curious gaze down on planet Earth, extra-terrestrial beings could well be forgiven for assuming that we humans are programmed in every move we make, by a palm-sized, oblong, slab of glass.
More perplexing than that, who on earth could convince them otherwise?”
– Alex Morritt, Impromptu Scribe

This picture says it all, really.

We’ve become addicted to our phones and tablets. We walk around, with our eyes glued to our smartphones, rather than enjoying our surroundings. At restaurants, our eyes involuntarily stray to our phones – multiple times – while in the company of friends and loved ones.  Even more alarming, some of us do this while driving.

It’s dangerous.

It’s anti-social.

And, in my opinion, it’s ridiculous. We look like smartphone zombies.

So, what’s the solution? Granted, we do need our phones to communicate. But just like most good parents should limit the amount of TV and video games that their children should engage in, so should we adults minimize our unhealthy obsession with our smartphones.

I know this may sound old-fashioned, but how about leaving our phones in our pockets or purses while enjoying dinner. Communicate – face-to-face – with those around you. Studies have shown that excessive use of these mobile devices may cause psychological damage as it relates to the development of interpersonal relationships. Humans are, by nature, social animals. This type of behavior is counter-intuitive.

If we keep it up, it will not end well for us. The negatives outweigh the positives (including the convenience).

A 2017 study from Cambridge Mobile Telematics (CMT) found that in 52%  of all car accidents, drivers had been on their phones – 29% were driving over 56 miles per hour. According to the study, the most common driving distractions are texting, browsing social media and email – each averaging approximately 135 seconds in duration. These are real statistics. It’s NOT fake news!

Will it have to take some type of epic catastrophe or tragedy to make us stop? I hope not.

I entreat all smartphone zombies: please, please limit your cell phone use! You’ll have a better quality of life. More importantly, you’ll live long enough to enjoy it.

(Image via Wikimedia Commons)


heatherfromthegrove’s New Year’s Revelation #5 of 7: Do it yourself

(Image via
“Having someone do certain things for you is like getting someone to chew your food for you.
It might be easier to swallow but it loses all its flavor…
And you want the flavor!”
Ze Frank, American online performance artist, composer, humorist and public speaker

The concept of outsourcing has, in my opinion, reached new and ridiculous levels.

Portable car washing services. Portable dog bathing and grooming services. Gardeners. Housekeepers. Pool services. Handymen. Personal shoppers. And on and on.

Are we no longer capable of doing things ourselves? We seem to be a disposable society – very quick to throw away money on unnecessary expenses. Imagine how much money we would bank, if we took a few hours to take matters into our own hands.

Tell me something: whatever happened to washing our own car on a sunny Saturday morning or afternoon, with our favorite music blaring in the background?
And does it truly take that long to rake our leaves or mow our lawn? Really?

Do we really need the dog cleaning mobile to drive up to our home to bathe and groom our pup? It will take us half an hour – tops –to do it ourselves. And we’ll share some bonding time with our pooch.

Are we really that busy that we can’t take care of our own homes and basic chores?
Have we become too self-important for our own good?

Granted, I’m old school. Very old school. As a child, I was brought up to clean my own room and help with the house chores.
Today, I still do everything myself. Along with my husband. Whatever we can do ourselves, we do. Whatever we can fix ourselves, we fix. Neighbors often shake their heads when they see me doing yard work, painting my house or pressure washing my driveway. They look up in shock when they see my husband straddling the rooftop with his chainsaw – trimming overgrown tree branches.

I’m very busy. My husband is very busy. We both value our time. Yet, we still do everything ourselves. It’s invigorating. It’s gratifying.
A little manual work is good for the soul.

Maybe we, as a society, should stop spending so much time on our smartphones, exercising our texting thumbs and, instead, start doing some of our own work around the home. It’s good for us. And, it’s actually a lot of fun.

Just sayin’….

(Image via
“If you want a thing done well, do it yourself.”
Napoleon Bonaparte

heatherfromthegrove’s New Year’s Revelation No 4 of 7: Celebrate life… every damn moment of it!

(Image via
“Serenity is the balance between good and bad, life and death, horrors and pleasures. Life is, as it were, defined by death. If there wasn’t death of things, then there wouldn’t be any life to celebrate.”
Norman Davies, British-Polish historian

Here today, gone tomorrow. I’m in the throes of an existential crisis at the moment… thinking about how fleeting and finite life truly is.  There are many questions (about life and death) that none of us can really answer – questions like, “Is there life after death” or “Is this all there is, and then there’s nothing?” I have these “crises” every now and then… and when they happen, I always reach the same conclusion: celebrate life… every damn moment of it. Don’t worry about the alternative.

It’s a great coping mechanism. For example, for decades, my husband and I have enjoyed candlelight dinners every single night – complete with music (usually jazz or blues). And we still do. Also, I take the time to dance – even when I’m alone in the house (although my cats find it quite disconcerting). I plant trees and flowers in my yard… it’s wonderful to see things grow and flourish. There are so many ways and reasons to celebrate life.

The rest will happen… at one time or another. No need to preempt it. Just seize the moment and savor it.

“Make the most of yourself for that is all there is of you.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson, American poet, essayist and journalist


heatherfromthegrove’s New Year’s Revelation No 3 of 7: Remove “hate” from the vocabulary

(Image via
“Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Kindness is a choice. Giving is a choice. Respect is a choice. Whatever choice you make makes you. Choose wisely.”
Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

I’ll keep this one brief. Not too long ago, I was speaking with a neighbor. We were discussing a number of things and I realized I used the word “hate” and “loathe” at least three or four times in the conversation. Phrases such as “I hate crowds” or “I loathe commercialism during the Christmas season”… these words flow from my tongue easily. Yet when I play back these conversations in my mind, I am distressed at how negative they sound. By nature, I am not a negative person. Yet my vocabulary says otherwise. I intend to remove the word “hate” (and any of its synonyms) from my day-to-day vocabulary (and mindset).

“Hate” is an awfully strong emotion. And, in the world of social media networking, haters are coming out of the virtual woodwork. It’s disturbing. It’s sad. There are many angry people out there. They need to chill out. We all do.

(Image via

heatherfromthegrove’s New Year’s Revelation No 2 of 7: Just the two of us

(Image via Wikimedia Commons)
“Marriage, ultimately, is the practice of becoming passionate friends.”
– Harville Hendrix

I have one best friend. He’s the person who has journeyed with me – through heaven, purgatory and hell (figuratively speaking, of course) for almost 4 decades. Oh, don’t get me wrong, we’ve had our ups and downs. Neither one of us is easy to live with… but we wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s just the two of us – and our cats. And we’re happy that way. We enjoy each other’s company – the most.  When we sit down for dinner – whether at home or at a restaurant – we have long conversations. There’s always something to discuss, dreams to share, plans to be made.

But over the years, we’ve noticed that other people – with children and extended family – seem to feel sorry that it’s “just the two of us.”  Some well-meaning friends and family members (all of whom live miles and oceans away) can’t seem to grasp that we spend holidays (like Christmas and Thanksgiving) with “just the two of us” and that it’s actually our choice to do so. Others perceive it to be a lonely existence. But that is their perception – which is entirely subjective. It’s not the reality. Well, it may be theirs, but not ours.

We choose to live the way we do. It works for us. We are a family of two. Wouldn’t have it any other way.

I’ll leave you with this beautiful poem by Spiritwind Wood.

Let’s Grow Old Together – a Poem by Spiritwind Wood

Let’s sit underneath the open sky
and watch the night just pass us by
let’s me and you dream of the now
and don’t worry about tomorrow
you know we will make it somehow

Let us talk about our plan
two lover’s hand in hand
and let’s grow old together

Let’s let go of all the past
all the tears and all the sorrow
let’s dream through a desert so wide and vast
slow down and not take life so fast

Let’s let the sun shine down on you and me
where we will always be forever
and let’s grow old together

Let’s stop and feel the wind blow
through the canyon’s of it’s echo
ride with me through life and it’s beauty
two soul’s bound to be free

Let’s forget about days of yesterday
start anew another day
never to look back into the never
and let’s grow old together

(Spiritwind ©2014)

(Image via


heatherfromthegrove’s New Year’s Revelation No 1 of 7: The solace of animals


Miranda, when she was much younger, relaxing on top of Bacchus

(Photo  of Miranda and Bacchus – Copyright © Heather Joan Marinos. All Rights Reserved).
“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened. ”
Anatole France, French poet, journalist and novelist

It’s very late in the day for me to be posting my first “Revelation” of the New Year, but this evening, we buried our ancient cat, Miranda. She died peacefully at home on the 29th. It’s a somber day for us, as we cherish each of our cats. And now there are 7 left. One of them, Zorba, has been wailing mournfully (off and on) since Miranda died. He reacted the same way when our old dog, Bacchus, died two years ago. Cats do grieve. Zorba, we think, is very attuned to the intricacies of life and death. A sensitive soul, he is the spiritual one of our cat colony. All of the cats have been taking turns comforting my husband and I, as we grieve. Just earlier today, I was sitting in my reading chair and, suddenly I had two cats on my lap and one straddling the back of my chair.  I cannot imagine a home without animals.

And I cannot understand people who dislike animals. I am not comfortable around animal-haters. It’s a deal-breaker for me. But, to each his own.

To bring up a child with a pet dog or cat is to teach him/her tenderness, compassion and respect.

To give an elderly person a pet or exposure to animals is to provide them with joy, comfort, affection and companionship.

As for someone like me, who is somewhat halfway (okay, maybe a little more than halfway) between the two… I can say that I find true solace and serenity with my beautiful creatures. They have seen me through the best of times and the worst of times. In the hardest moments of my life, they reminded me that there is always a reason to laugh, to lighten up and relax. They give me perspective. And in return, I give them my heart, my time, my protection and, of course, some seriously good food.


Sept 2, 2001 – Dec 29, 2017


(Photo of Miranda – Copyright © Heather Joan Marinos. All Rights Reserved).

Farewell 2017 and Hello 2018!

“We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives…not looking for flaws, but for potential.”
Ellen Goodman, American Journalist

Like any other year, 2017 had its share of peaks and valleys. Personally, I will not be sorry to see 2017 go. And I am approaching the next twelve months with cautious optimism. I am very curious to see how it all pans out. 

“Each day hands me a clean sheet of paper upon which to write. Therefore, I would be wise to write without ever having the need to erase.”
Craig D. Lounsbrough

Many blessings for 2018 and may tonight’s New Year’s Eve celebration be filled with laughter, good food, plenty of bubbly libation, and the company of those you hold dear!

And, as always, a very special shout-out to my family and friends across the globe.

Stay tuned tomorrow for the first of my annual seven New Year’s Revelations (not to be confused with resolutions.. I stopped making resolutions decades ago!). 

And a new chapter begins ….