Grief and Mormonism

Today is a good day, don’t fret, but I was musing on how different and perhaps unhealthy grief is within Mormonism and the Latter Day Saint community.

Typically people are missed somewhat but not really grieved.  When some folks leave the Church or lose their faith they often remark on how different death is perceived and felt afterward compared to their time within the chapel walls.

There are very good reasons for both traditions.  Within the Mormon church it is believed that death is but a short period, we will see our loved ones again, the separation is for now rather than forever.  There are scriptural references to back up this viewpoint.  Mormonism also teaches us that we were intelligent beings before our birth too and known by God.  It’s not goodbye, it is only goodbye for now, until we meet again.

The secular view is that death is final, that we will not see that person again, that all we have left are their possessions and memories of them.  That they will be memorialised and deeply missed.

There is comfort in Mormonism’s view of death, it softens the blow, is based on deeply held beliefs.  The idea that you will hold a dear loved one again in a mutually affectionate embrace will often make today more palatable to bear.

There is freedom in the secular view to miss, deeply miss and fully mourn the passing of a loved one.  It is often more painful and long lasting.  It is often uncomfortable.

Mormons often muse that if secular folks knew what they knew there would be no need to feel such depths of sorrow, that the grief would be tempered to a more manageable state, that there is no need to suffer as there is One who has already suffered.  It confuses Mormons that people would willingly feel the deepest, most long lasting levels of grief known.

The idea that Mormons don’t often mourn, and that, as gently as I can put this, if they are suffering perhaps they need to tap in to their faith a little more is isolating and dismissive.  It was a disturbing idea when I first heard of it and I considered my position on the idea for quite some time.

Then a friend fell ill, and his illness became terminal, and his illness ended his life.

When it became apparent that his illness was terminal and his care had reached the palliative stage I made the decision to approach what was coming from a secular point of view and not try to mute, soften or gloss over what was happening.

As the time approached and when the time arrived, his family were kind enough to let us know which was more than they were required to do.

I began to let myself feel what his passing would mean to me, to them, to his friends, to his extended circle.   I began to long for the rubbish jokes, for the pep talks, for the regaling us with tales of his youth.  I began to consider the milestones that he would miss, his first grandchild, his second and third grandchildren, his milestone anniversaries with his beautiful wife who he loved more than the breath he breathed daily.  I considered the holidays in the sun he would miss, the Christmases’, the New Years and Easters.

I was shocked at the depth of the pain.  During my time in Mormonism I’d experienced the passing of many dear friends as a natural part of life.  Nothing hurt like this.  I thought the pain would pass quickly but it lingers more than a year later.

There are times when our circle of friends will include him in our celebrations by speaking of him and it is both a joyful and painful moment simultaneously.  My throat closes in a pre-cry manner, my memories of him make me smile.

I could shut down these feelings at any point by stepping in to the Mormon Model of grief management but I feel it does a disservice to his memory.  I want to miss him now. I want to be happy that I know and knew him for a few years.  I want to feel his absence.  I want to know that I want him here with us.

There is a time and a place for both models of managing the passing of a loved one.

My middle way, because I always find a way to incorporate civilian life and Mormonism, is to grieve fully and completely now, and hope that there is a reunion one day, but without step 1 I don’t believe I’d appreciate step 2.

Of course, I haven’t lost anyone close in the family for more than 20 years so if and when that day comes I would feel no hypocracy in taking whatever steps were necessary to manage and soften that blow.

My life is richer because I miss my friend.  He knew we all loved him and cared about him during his lifetime and we know we love him still and feel his absence.  It feels very respectful.

I have a new found respect for secular folks who go through this process without hope of respite.  In future I’ll try to honour their choices.  In honouring their choices, perhaps they’ll let me share some of the peace of mind that faith brings in these circumstances.





Energy is Currency in Depression or Obesity – how to make it work for you.

Energy levels are like money, you can save or invest. In crisis you’ll think you have to save, but the trick to happiness is to spend like it is going out of fashion.

Currency is important, right?  It allows us to purchase things or services.  It gives us a sense of security that we have enough of it.  Different places use different currency and it is important to know the distinctions.

I’ve been thinking about Energy being Currency and how that interacts with depression or obesity.

I’ve noticed that when depressed or tubby, it becomes essential to be to conserve energy, the physical internal resource, lest it become depleted and I die or some such.  There is a perception that depleted energy reserves will be catastrophic and calamitous to the detriment of the soul standing there.   Continue reading “Energy is Currency in Depression or Obesity – how to make it work for you.”


I Want Nice Things, Gosh Darn It!

At what point does a person say “I know there are folks who live on very little daily but that isn’t me, it’s ok to buy the thing”?


I’ve never really been very materialistic.  I find it easy to do without.  I find comfort in owning few possessions but am not a minimalist.  I prefer to think of myself as a “comfy not much-er”.

We have everything we need, we’re not deprived in any way.  I found that there isn’t actually that much that a person needs in life.  My most cluttery items are books and DIY Tools but it’s not clutter if you use it all, and I do.  The more you own the more you have to tidy and maintain and that is just an annoyance and commitment I can do without.

I get some kind of “consumer guilt” over purchases, feeling awkward because of two reasons, firstly I don’t NEED it, I just want it, and secondly so many people live on less than $5 a day that paying £100 or more for a handbag seems so totally outrageous that it cannot be justified.

I also get stuck in a spiral of comparative purchase value.  For example, a fancy but non-designer handbag is equivalent to a weeks groceries, a fancy car is equivalent to three years mortgage payments or a years University tuition, a fancy haircut (or any haircut!) is equivalent to two months sports membership.

My daughter recently quoted Jay-Z (popular media professional) saying “if you can’t pay for it twice, you can’t afford it” which, considering the source was a remarkable insight in my view.

Now, I want a new sofa and chairs, I want a new dining table and chairs, I have a nice handbag so that’s fine but I want nice shoes and a nice hair cut and colour and a nice new set of clothes in the wardrobe, and new devices because ours are a couple of generations old but sill work perfectly.  I want, I want, I want!

I keep window shopping for new sofa sets.  Nothing really meets the requirements yet.  I’m getting betrayal guilt for the eclectic furnishings we have right now because technically there’s nothing wrong with them, they just don’t match and we’re an inclusive household, we don’t throw people or things away because they’re not quite the same as other things!

The armchair we currently use works perfectly fine, it reclines, it is the same armchair I cradled my new baby in when she wouldn’t sleep in the middle of the night, it is the same armchair that one of us sits in so that we can be opposite each other and chat about everything and nothing.

The red chair from Ikea.  I bought it during all our house moves, it was my first pretty thing in ages and it is really great for sitting and reading.

I have shoes, I don’t actually like buying shoes in reality because they’re uncomfy beasts, I’d prefer to go through life barefoot!  Wouldn’t go down too well in Vendor meetings at the office though, and it is illegal to drive barefoot or in flip flops.

At what point does a person say “I know there are folks who live on very little daily but that isn’t me, it’s ok to buy the thing”?  What triggers that internal dialogue?  Is there buyers remorse when a bill comes in later on?

I think my current position on consumer purchases isn’t necessarily healthy, part of it might stem from selling everything we owned 5 years ago to pay the bills and for down payments on rental homes.  It was a little bit of an extreme circumstance but has pretty much been resolved.  We’re not rolling in spare dosh but we live comfortably enough.

Never wanting to move over to the dark side of consumer gluttony I think I might like to dabble in having a couple more nice things, pretty things, simple things, a nice TV cabinet, nice photo frames, nice flooring in the bathroom, nice outfits to choose from for work and play.  Recently I bought two very nice mirrors, I waited until the sales and went back to the store 3 times before saying finally yes but now they hang in our house as they should and I am happy that I own them.

Life has changed significantly in the last year and I know my thought processes have lagged somewhat.  How much is enough and how much is too much?  When is it ok to purchase and not be thinking too much afterwards about the investment in that transaction?  How can a person just let it go and enjoy the things they own?



Black Kids, Time To Be Loving and Spoil Them A Little

I am white, my family is Mixed, perhaps we need to try a new thing to keep our kids safe.


Every Black or Mixed family (yeah I said it, I put Mixed families in the mix) in the Western World have to have “The Talk” with their children.  The talk on how to keep safe, how to interact with Police and other authorities.

I am White, very White, yet I’ve had The Talk with my family because my family is ethnically diverse.

Something I heard recently which has resonated is that the raising of Black Kids or Mixed Kids is to be hard on them, to prepare them to interface with how the world is going to interface with them, to get used to the idea that they will be harassed.  To be physically rough a little, to yell a little, to be super demanding on grades at school.  And there is merit in preparation.

HOWEVER, that’s pretty much not the tack I have approached.  Perhaps because I didn’t have to grow up in that sense or feeling of being oppressed.  Perhaps as a direct result of being white.  Perhaps because I wasn’t particularly raised that way.  I was raised Irish-ish in England – “obey your parents, pinch of salt everyone else”.

I have noticed that I have chosen to make the family aware of the challenges Black Kids face when going about their ordinary business.

But I have tried to raise my family with a sense of belonging, of expectation, of belonging, of being able to absolutely count on having someone in her corner, of expecting that she will take opportunities as they are presented to her, that if she chooses she can obviously attend University, that as she chooses she can obviously have the career of her choice, that she can count on daily hugs, of affirmative words in the home, of being happy to see her, of parental strictness and cultural protocols, of gentleness and kindness from her parents hands and everyone else in her sphere of influence, that we will not let her coast along flying under the radar, that we know who she is and she has a responsibility to raise her game.

Perhaps it was because I was raised in a white household without those long reaching external influences and fears that my family now has had the freedom to be raised in a similar environment.  Perhaps it has been entirely the wrong message to give her, this after all is a 40 year experiment I have got going on.  Perhaps life will hit her like a freight train, the same freight train which used to roll past my front door in the childhood family home.

I fear for her, I know full well what the world can do and how brutally lives can change in an instant.

However, I believe if she is not raised in a fearful of “them” home she will not interact fearfully with authority and this will smooth the edges of the interaction.  Her body language screams positivity and “I’m English, I belong, I will interact with you in a mutually respectful manner” which is disarming and hopefully safety assuring.

Now, she’s had the privilege of being raised in a town in the Countryside of England and all of the insulated safety that provides, but has been to the City Of London frequently to take advantage of all that offers and visit with family who are based there.  She has frequently experienced racism but so what.  She’s not a country bumpkin but instead some kind of hybrid city/country kid, she see’s the world but doesn’t have to fear the world.

Perhaps, if we can, we parents of kids who look ethnically diverse could hug our kids more frequently than we yell at them about how other people will interact, we’ll raise a more confident generation who feel they belong and in tandem with demanding that authorities treat them right, they’ll start to exude a sense of calmness and exude very little fear.


Jury’s out.  I’ll let you know how it went in another 23 years.


Trump Detox, Zero Contact

I cannot look at his face or listen to his voice anymore. I need a break.


I’ve decided that if I can go no contact with crummy and dangerous people in my life, abusive people, people who don’t have a humble bone in their body or who erroneously call you a liar to your face, I can do the same with the characters who show up on my TV and in my newspapers.

I’ve decided to disregard everything that crass, nasty people say and give it no space in my home.

I’ll still write to my MP’s, I’ll be pro many things that my Ecclesiastical leaders would prefer I were not, still be part of Amnesty International, I will still defend in the first person other peoples rights and hold them to their and my responsibilities.

But I will not give place to bullies in my life.

If an issue is big enough, it’s going to filter through my emotional firewalls.  I’ll read a variety of news from different sources but all of it will be focussed away from brash egomaniacs.

I neither care what people eat in bed at 6pm, or that they take most mornings off to watch TV, or that their Military Doctor lies to reporters from a podium in the White House, or that the contempt between husband and wife is palpable, or that the grown children are wholly unqualified for the advisory role into which they’ve elbowed themselves, or that they say “I would apologise if that what you want” and then not apologise for repeatedly sharing atrocious content on the internet, or for admitting on tape that they are a predator, and for constantly referring to them winning in 2016 rather than governing with dignity and grace in 2018, or that as soon as somebody says No that’s not right they try and sometimes succeed in having the person fired, that constant rumours of infidelity abound, that they cannot stay off social media without being vulgar and abusive to other users.

I won’t let that kind of atmosphere in my home anymore.  It’s not happening.

I’ll check on issues regularly, I’ll participate in the legal process, I’ll be an awesome citizen of the country I love.  But I will not let a bully have a foothold in my life.

When people in power are screaming about a non-issue, it is to distract from something very real, important and frequently detrimental to the masses.  I’ll be keeping an eye on the news and not the show.



9 Days Holiday To Take – Whooohoooo

While all my “if wishes were kisses I’d sure be a floozy’s” dreams of what could be done are delightful to contemplate, I still need to be realistic somewhat.


Our company holidays run from April to March.  Being in the UK, we have an organised system for holiday days from work.  Mine currently run at 25 days per year plus Bank Holidays.

Much has happened this year around work.  There was a company restructure which took a few months for word to reach us individually on how we were impacted, if at all.  During that period I looked for new roles, was successful in an internal role and an external role.  I enjoy working here so opted for the role within the organisation.  Then the training was scheduled and that will take a while because the job is in a completely new discipline and bears little to no relation to what I was doing before.  If all goes well and if everything is signed off on to a permanent contract at the end of March, happy days!

During all this period, I’ve been banking days holiday because transitions and training take up one’s calendar.

Now I have 9 days to take before the end of March.  It is currently nearly the end of January.  That’s a huge quantity of days to take.  Almost unprecedented among my peers.

What to do, what to do?

I could see if we have a few shekels left for a get away in the sun.  I could schedule days out in the UK.  I could schedule absolutely nothing and just sit in a chair in the conservatory and read books.  I could visit friends.  I could do house repairs and maintenance as the shed needs a new roof and the stairwell could do with a lick of paint.

9 days is 7 days too many to waste.  I can mooch around for 2 days happily but after that I start to feel the guilt of a slothful life.

While all my “if wishes were kisses I’d sure be a floozy’s” dreams of what could be done are delightful to contemplate, I still need to be realistic a little and accept that this year I’ve cleared down £25,000 in legal and other expenses, bought a house, bought a car, put my kiddo through an expensive state school and seen her pass all her 16 year old exams, nearly lost my job, secured another job and I learned how to fix a wall which was missing bricks, renovated a home to go from vandalised to liveable, sourced some food storage and put up a curtain rail.  That’s quite a heavy load for one year and not one that I’d wish on another person.  Had fun though.  How often can a person say they cleared £25K liability, bought a house and car, raised a kiddo and saw friends often – most frequently down the pub?  Not many, I’d bet.  Sometimes my wants outstrip my ables.  At some point I have to accept that I shall remain dissatisfied, or shall have to learn some grace in dealing with this malarkey we call life.

So, 9 days.  I have 9 days.  9 days to call my own.  Now, deciding how to spend them, that’s the next challenge.  What to do, what to do…..


Is it Domestic Violence? How to discern.

I can testify that through the other side of scary is a delightful, gorgeous, joyfully ordinary life free of fear and free of worry over things which shouldn’t be a thing.



Thanks to my friends at Women’s Aid ( and the founder Pat Craven, there is a handy infographic to help a person figure out if their relationship is affected by Domestic Abuse.

What we do is look at the picture above and tick any that apply to our situation if there are any at all.

If a person can tick a bullet point, it is cause for concern.

If the page looks like a teacher marking homework, help is needed and required to navigate a dangerous situation.

If you are in a relationship, please review the different types of abuse on the picture and see if you are impacted.  This is also gender non-specific.  If you are in a same gender relationship, same rules apply.

To, to recap, one tick on one line, might be indicative of a problem.  Two or more ticks and we have a problem which needs resolving.

Abusers behaviour is never novel or new or innovative.  It is textbook cliché, every single time.  Experts literally write textbooks about this stuff.  It is also dangerous and will never ever ever ever go away by itself no matter how much the recipient of the abuse tries harder.  Never.  It will never stop because you wish for it so or because you comply with the current demands.  Never.  It only escalates.

There is a pattern, it is documentable.  An abuser isn’t doing anything new or innovative.  What they are doing, however, is dangerous and frightening.  But it doesn’t have to remain so.

There is help.  Lots and lots of help.  People take this stuff seriously nowadays.  Police are well trained, they get other services involved as appropriate, Judges have seen this a thousand times.

But first, review.  Is your relationship healthy and safe?

Here’s what a healthy and safe relationship looks like:



It’s not rocket science, it is not rare as gold dust, there are a great many good people out there who’s affection is not frightening or conditional.

Women’s Aid ( is choc full of pertinent and useful information.  I recommend them wholeheartedly, they’re a safe place, their website doesn’t leave cookies or history on your device if you hit the really big “don’t leave cookies or history on my device” button.

I trust them.

Nobody should live fearfully.

It is a scary time, likely a recipient of this behaviour has been conditioned to believe they’re to blame, if they behaved differently then it’d all be fine, that if they try and leave the perpetrator will keep the kids.  That if they’d put out more they wouldn’t have been forced to have all those affairs.  That if the recipient were more trustworthy they wouldn’t have to bug or scrutinise their phone and decide which friends could be around.  That if they were a better parent they wouldn’t have forced the abuser to shove them around and hit them in front of the kids.

Re. the custody thing….. NOT GONNA HAPPEN!

It is not written in to law but is typical and common practice.

If the kiddo’s are in senior school, the judge will ask them who they would prefer to be with if it gets to that point.  And the judge will listen.

Talk to a friend.  Determine if you are willing to act.  Please be willing to act.

I can testify that through the other side of scary is a delightful, gorgeous, joyfully ordinary life free of fear and free of worry over things which shouldn’t be a thing.

There are ordinary worries, bills, schedules, kids playing up and being a bit of a worry or pain in the posterior.  We call this “normal life”.

However, there is safety, happiness, contentment, freedom (oh the joy of freedom from abuse – there’s nothing comparable).  There is emotional growth, there is calmness, there is dancing in the kitchen just because you can, there’s kissing boys who fancy you!  There is happiness.

Now it is likely the recipient has forgotten what that feels like, but it is worth pursuing.

In closing, if there’s been a blow-up recently, there’ll be a honeymoon period, but we know – it is textbook – that the honeymoon period will not last.  People are poised to help, plus you are tough and if you had to, you have it in you to go it alone because alone is better than this, surely?  You’re tough, you’ve survived this thus far, you can surely survive being happy and safe!


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