Category Archives: LOVE




A few days a go a friend of over forty years died suddenly.

Her children asked me to give her eulogy.Naturally, since we had known each other since we were single in our twenties there was some necessary filtering. As I thought about what to say and wrote and rewrote it struck me how I had nothing to say about how “successful” she was. Everyone there knew she had her Doctorate and most knew she was Chairman of her Department. Her accomplishments had little to do with her passion for life, her amazing resilience in the face of tough times and her generosity toward all people.As we live in a culture where we can speak with pride of “accomplishments,”  it is interesting that I had no thoughts of how that made her important. Wit and wisdom, love and generosity,faith, hope and charity these are the items that came into my head. Her love of her children,family and friends, her refusal to be boxed in by her roles, her willingness to laugh at herself and with me about a long list of bizarre life experiences was noteworthy, but not her success.




I had never given a eulogy and I was concerned about following the minister who had done this sort of thing many times and he had the Bible to lean on for extra lines. I had my knowledge and experience with my friend. After writing and staying up practically all night, I just let it go and the words flowed with love and light in a way I feel good about. I feel happy that I was able to honor my friend and I will miss her all my days, but it was a reminder that it is who we are in relationship that really matters, not what our resume or external packaging says.




What makes someone important to us is their capacity to love and their willingness to share who they are. What set my friend apart from many was her ability to spring back from loss and injury. Death of a fiance’, hit by a drunk driver and put in a wheelchair for the last twenty-five years of her life, divorce, and numerous health battles that came all in one fateful night. She believed in making the best of a bad situation, giving people the benefit of the doubt and she reveled in the love of her children and her friends. How much more successful can a person be?



When what was is no longer!

It takes lots of heads to help the ones we loveQ

It takes lots of heads to help the ones we love !.


Life sometimes picks up the pace when the trajectory appears to be in reverse. 

Sometimes our brains wear out before our bodies and this is a terrible irony. Brilliant engineers, Phi Beta Kappas, Judges, Physicians and people who have vested much of their identity, life and work in their intellect begin to feel it fade, The struggle for words or what day it is starts innocently enough, but then picks up speed and the person we know and love seems to be disappearing before we can even say goodbye. The caregiver, sadly gets to see the day-to-day of these changes and suddenly their responsibilities are doubled. Fear, paranoia, confusion and the inability to recognize the familiar is observed by the primary caregiver in a thousand little heartbreaking and sometimes frustrating moments.



I can not stop the process of this disease, but I can help the caregiver adjust to the transition of making difficult decisions. The crushing weight of many big decisions fall on the caregiver just as they lose the person they have loved for many years. They must grieve what once was, as they head off the cliff of “what’s next?” . Well-intentioned people will ask the caregiver how they are doing and expect the typical answer of “fine.” I have not seen anyone be “fine” while watching their beloved’s personality and life evaporate.



Most of us have very little knowledge of brain chemistry and envision that  dementia will allow people to just be “buoyed up” like an angry 4-year-old. What really happens is a crushing amount of paperwork from agencies, the government, coordinating sitters, while finding places where a couple who has been married 50 years can still live together. People really do not want to talk  or hear about diapers, raging, swallowing problems, falls, obsessive delusional thinking, hitting of others and self and the loss of the person who is standing in front of you.



Life transitions that point us to the loss of a loved one often include hard financial choices. These diseases force us to watch the difficult reality of a progression that robs our loved one of their talent, their intellect, their knowledge of the world, their freedom and ultimately their life. These types of transitions are among the most difficult ones in life. What can be done?



Worth Healing is here to help people navigate life’s difficult transitions and to give people a safe place to say what they can not say anywhere else, to grieve while living a life that requires tremendous strength and to help clarify the process of making decisions. What is most important when life changes is not to suffer in silence, to give yourself the support and help you need, that’s why I created Worth Healing!



How can we prepare for life’s unexpected transitions? We can’t plan our way out of the unexpected events that affect our lives. We have to let life unfold and maintain an “openess” to the process and progress of LIFE.


Most people are surprised at the adjustment that receiving  unexpected money requires. Inheritance generally involves the loss of someone dear to us. Financial compensation awards as a result of injury leave the “winner” with  major adjustments, because the fight is over and yes there may be some financial relief, but the loss is still there. Even winning the lottery has a huge adjustment, that frankly most people are not able to make, because you can not spend your way to happiness. The person who has started a company from scratch and sells it for unimaginable sums suddenly has to realign themselves with who they are without this drive to create and build. A driving personality needs to take the time to reestablish who they are, while holding off all the attention about their past success and the rush to tap into their gratitude and generosity.



Living life as a mindful human BEING instead of a human DOING occurs to most people during  periods of transition. No matter how successful a person is I have never met one who would not hand over everything they have to save the life of their child. Loss and near loss bring us all to our knees though painful, they are the most efficient teachers for us of what our priorities really are. In the world of treatment and recovery parents, spouses, entire families literally “hold their breath” hoping that “this time” treatment will work. Recovery from addiction and trauma often brings with it the loss of a job, a standard of living or a marriage. My work is about guiding people through transitions both good and bad, up and down, so that they can work at an optimal level when faced with decisions that will impact their lives and the lives of their families.




Success is not an especially good teacher. In fact, we learn far more from our troubled transitions in life than our successes. Financial success can bring about a wide variety of conflicting emotions which may include depression, guilt, is this all there is?, fear that life’s accomplishments are over and an emptiness over what to do next. Jimmy Carter is an interesting study in this concept. For many, the idea of being President of the United States seems to be the top of the mark, but repeatedly, former President Carter (and he is not the only one) sees his greatest achievements in other areas of his life.



People have often have great difficulty with Estate Planning. The numbers and the tax code are not the hard part of estate planning, assuming you have a top lawyer working for you. (Not to worry, I have those names stamped in my brain). The hard part is talking about your own mortality, your legacy, how to care for your family. The serious issues of trying to help your family after you are dead bring up a vast array of competing issues which lead to many failed plans. Even an excellent will does not help much if the assets are not held as the will states or no one can find the original.



People spend money for an attorney to draft a plan and then do not follow through with what needs to be done to make it work. Instead of easing the burden for those left behind, they have unconsciously created a nightmare for their families who now must deal with untangling a huge mess at a time when they are grieving.  People who do not have much money think they do not need a plan, but they do. Who will take care of your child if you die? your dogs? horses? cats and other critters? Who will pay the bills for the funeral, write the obituary and find the passwords to all the stuff they need on your computer? You do not have to have any money to create a nightmare for your family or friends as they try to survive the transition of your loss.



Transitions call on us to get to the heart of the matter. If you are experiencing or planning for life’s transitions, do the emotional work FIRST and you will then be far more successful in deciding your next course of action. I created Worth Healing for people to have a place to talk about what is hard to talk about in a safe place, because I have spent over 35 years helping people navigate the transitions in their lives. Few things in life go as planned, but getting to the essence of any life transition brings clarity and the ability to adapt to your life. We all need a place where we can speak our fears, our rage, our hopes and dreams without judgement in order to fully process transitions that have occurred or plan for the inevitable. All to often we feel we must filter what we say to not scare or hurt someone else. I used a tree in the Worth Healing logo, because trees have always provided me with a safe place to express my feelings and a reminder of the constant changes in life. Look at some of the big trees in the forest, they have scars, missing limbs and yet they are still growing. Nature gives us many examples of growth and survival from transitions.



I am a transitionist for your financial issues and your emotional issues, which become intertwined. My specific training for financial transitions is with the Sudden Money Institute headed by Susan Bradley, an internationally recognized expert in this new field. Check out my website at for further information about my training for the past 35 years. We can’t outplan life, but we can learn to be in FLOW with it, so we can make our transitions with grace.



Enjoy your holidays! When the chaos gets to you ask this question, “How important is _____________ (it) really?” Just take time to be a Human Being! We are all Worth Healing and we can all help others heal during painful transitions.






This is a day that will always be stamped in my mind!


A beautiful day, November 10, 1997, after seeing gorgeous Jackson Calvin just a day old, my mother and I were headed home. Suddenly she died in the car, near the Natchez Trace Bridge on Highway 96 of ventricular fibrillation. I was scared and traumatized, but from this loss and trauma, I have come to feel honored in the presence of death and saddened at the same time.



What I have learned from this experience and from my mother can be summed up in a few lines below:



This is the day, the moment that I am given, let me push aside loss, in favor of what still stands.
Let me honor what is lost by living the gratitude for all that I have received.
Let me come to this world in the spirit of love for all who are in it.
Let me honor that in you which is the same in me, for it is the oneness of our hearts and minds that can bring peace and justice.



If you knew and loved Bobbie/Charlotte then give a little toast as the sun sets, with a “dry” martini if you like or a glass of water.

Sometimes devastation becomes liberation!




Back in 1969 on this day my 52-year-old father died. I was 19 and it was devastating to me. It was the culmination of two months in a coma for my father and plenty of grim memories. It was an event that also made me stronger and even more self-reliant.


My Dad may not have been perfect, but he was perfect for me. He taught me that I could be whatever I wanted if I worked hard. He taught me to respect all people and to be “fair.” By the time I hit the halls of Birmingham Southern College, he was in a coma and I was one angry, sad kid. What I remember from those days now are the people who showed up for me in my life. Bob Tucker took me under his wing and Bob Shelton too. Dr. Randall tore up my midterm which was terrible (taken the day before my Dad died) and said,” Let’s just start the semester now.” My mother-in-law Jane Ashworth embraced me as her own, while my own mother was shattered and moved away. To this day, I remember those friends who “cut me a break,” like my pal Margo who now lives down the road and my dear childhood friends, Kaps and Josephine. My friend Dan McCarn understood, because he had lost his Dad as a child.


At 19 not many of your friends know much about grief and most people sure don’t want to talk about it. Death to a 19-year-old is gross and normal if the person is “old” (as in over 40). I enjoyed working in the Art Department and banging out sculpture and mixing up polyurethane foam and placing it in my “junkyard” finds. I had fun watching David Beasley make his famous neon lit Hot Biscuit. I spent time around the graphics lab and babysat for extra moneyfor faculty and staff.  (one of those people became my sister-in-law).



In the summer of ‘72 my friend Margo and I spent 10 weeks driving around the western states. I drove to Wisconsin from Boston alone and then we purchased a $5.00 tent and off we went. Today’s “helicopter” parents might have trouble with this. We did not have cell phones and it never occurred to me to call my mother. It was a “great” adventure and we still talk about it today. My Dad would not have thought this was such a great “plan.”



Losing my Dad was both devastating and liberating. I know he would have been grateful for all of the adult males in my life who have mentored me, protected me and guided me. So on this day I can say that Frank Gafford III left and in came, Bob Tucker, Bob Shelton, Dr. Randall, Dr. Bailey, Ron Lucky, Lew Linkous, Bill Dunlap, Leroy Lurie,George O. Mabry, Amasa Smith, Joe Simpson, Arthur M. Freeman, Kerry Teel, Irv Polster, Carl Whitaker, Dick Eskind, Hugh Halverstadt, Don Filson, Bill Calvin and Ted Klontz most of whom are certainly not old enough to have been my Dad, but they are men who have taught me and continue to teach me about this process we call living. I know he would have loved my husband George, as my mother did and just about everyone does.

You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometime, you just might find you get what you need.”       The  Rolling Stones

When the chips are down old friends are the best friends! When you are “ditched, dumped or rejected”, when your house burns down, when life seems to move in all the wrong directions and your dream becomes your “nightmare,” old friends are the best friends.


How easily we reconnect with people who have known us for decades. One word and they hear our pain and encourage us. Old friends have passed the test of time and they know the best and the worst of us. Loyalty is what old friends have when life collapses. They will let you talk, sleep on their couch and keep you from constant worry even with the wolf is at your door. Love disappears and sometimes we are left with wreckage and a big bill.



All of us are flawed. Old friends know we are wrong sometimes and that we make mistakes. Old friends love us anyway!  Old friends make us laugh at former missteps to make us feel better. Old friends defend us to ourselves, because they know we are harder on ourselves than we should be. I have friends that have known me since childhood and every decade since and even if we are separated by time and geography,we quickly connect.



I have lost old friends and it is painful. Cancer has stolen too may of my pals. I am extremely grateful for my friends who will set me straight and love me at the same time. I have friends who have lost children, dogs, parents, siblings, spouses, other friends, jobs, houses, but they will not lose me and I will not lose them. No amount of money or harsh words moves me to abandon those I value.



We don’t have to agree with our friends’ politics, religion, fashion sense or recreational choices; we just have to love them.  So when your life explodes, call on your old friends. They will let you sleep on their couch after your house is sold. They will jolly you up and not say you were a fool. Go to your “go to place” where people know who you are. You have never “lost everything” when you have your friends.



” A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have done, and still, gently allows you to grow”   –  William Shakespeare

“What’s on the inside is on the outside!” Keb’ Mo


You don’t always know what or who you are seeing, but you can “feel” what someone is like. I am pictured here with “Sparky” a proud member of the Collinsville Fire Department (IAFF Local 2625). The Fire department was hosting an open house and “Sparky ” was there to greet the public. “Sparky” does not talk, I guess everybody knows dogs don’t talk with words.



“Sparky” may not talk, but he communicates. He drops down to toddler height, he lets kids and even whole families have their picture taken at the Fire Dept. Surprisingly “Sparky ” rides a tiny motorcycle and rode it in the parade. You can not look at “Sparky” and not smile. Inside of “Sparky is someone who has helped people who are in pain, in trauma and suffering great losses. “Sparky ” cannot save everyone, but he sure tries.



Why would anyone want to be a firefighter or a paramedic? They don’t get rich. They have weird hours. Oh yeah and they deal with screaming people, sad people. bleeding people, and sometimes dead people. They spend hours sometimes extracting people from horrific automobile accidents. They enter burning buildings, which is contrary to all rules of survival. Rarely are they acknowledged for what they do.



The IAFF Local # 2625 and their families are one giant family. They protect the public and each other as they go out of their way to teach us how to be safe. “Sparky” and his fellows go into schools, have games and free popcorn and pamphlets at the “open houses” where you can meet some of the men and women who might save you or your family one day. When I talked to these guys each of them made amazing eye contact and had very soothing voices, except for “Sparky.”



“Sparky” use his body language to communicate! “Sparky” tells us all to enjoy the beautiful moments in our lives, for dogs live in the present. Those who deal with life and death and loss everyday know how to treasure those little moments that we sometimes forget to celebrate. I watched “Sparky” work the crowd as he posed with kids and adults and even a bride and groom leaving their ceremony. The newlyweds and their wedding party screamed with glee as they spied “Sparky” coming through the alley on his very tiny motor scooter. “Sparky” had time for just a few more snaps for this beautiful couple.



I enjoyed my “Sparky” hug and photo-op, but most of all I enjoyed “feeling” the love that “Sparky likes to spread around. So this Monday, spread a little love around and thank a firefighter and/or a paramedic, while being grateful that you are meeting them in a non-emergency.