_____[207] – n. season of an indeterminate length where mental fogginess overwhelms and undermines a person in the aftermath of trauma:

During the _____[207] the _____[39] often forgot to shower or eat. Instead of _____[136]ing when he began to mention his husband, he would just drift out of the conversation.


_____[28] n. someone who has been resuscitated multiple times:

The _____ [28] has lost track of how many times he has overdosed. Several of his family members reluctantly admit that they have already begun to _____ [171] for him. 


_____[171]– v. to pre-grieve or to experience anticipatory grief:

When she attended the funeral for a friend’s father, she noticed that she was imagining her own life as a semi_____[74]. Was this empathy or was she _____[171]ing her own father as a way to mitigate anticipated pain?


_____[67] – n. morbid curiosity about the person who killed someone that you knew:

On nights when she could not sleep, her _____[67] would prompt her to google the name of the person who killed her parents.


_____[8] – n. an uninformative or vague obituary often about a younger person who died in a mass tragedy:

Mass shootings, bombings, and other disasters must be overwhelming for obituary writers especially when children are involved. Our templates for tributes are designed for adults and to develop something beyond an _____[8] takes significantly more time and creativity.


_____ [143] – v. to pre-record or write a message to be shared after your death:

Her mother _____ [143] ed multiple videos to be played on _____ [114] s during the first year after her death and at_____[58]_____ that she wished she could attend. She played the one for her wedding for all the guests at the end of the traditional toasts.


_____[135] – n. deluge of paperwork that occurs after someone dies:

There is something so soul crushing about answering the same questions over and over again as mourners wade through the _____[135]. Encountering _____[125] along the way can sink you for at least a week or more.


_____[136] – v. to awkwardly adjust verb tenses after a person dies:

The early stages of grieving where almost every conversation stalled while she _____[136]ed reminded her of the awkwardness, frustration, and embarrassment of learning to drive a stick shift.


_____[58] – n. milestone or important event that the deceased will not be able to attend:

When a _____ [74] graduates from college is one of the painful _____ [58]s that people often do not anticipate.

a tag rests in a hole in a wall

Photographic illustration of _____[58] taken at a graduation ceremony at Sierra Nevada College for the MFA program in Interdisciplinary Arts.


_____[137] – v. [rare] to mix cremains into ceramic glaze so that they can decorate an object instead of being contained by one:

It was unclear whether her desire to have her ashes _____[137]ed would prove to be a _____[96]. Perhaps it was just a matter of finding a willing potter.


_____[93] – v. [rare] to be entombed in a boulder

He had always planned to have his ashes scattered from a cliff until noticed a plaque along his favorite hiking path that described a man _____[93]ed at the scenic overview. His children wished that he had investigated how to accomplish this _____ [96] before he had it added to his will.


_____ [96] – n. dying wish or posthumous request that is absurdly challenging or impossible to fulfill:

The aaaaaaaaa[74]s wished that there was a way to send a message to their parents when they had accomplished the _____ [96]. In spite of all ridiculous obstacles and challenges working against them, they had repaired their relationship.


_____ [45] – v. to face the person/people responsible for the death of a loved one or loved ones:

When she finally _____ [45] in court, she wondered how he could bear the _____[119] of so many people.


_____[152] –  1.  v. to jumpstart a car with a hearse;

2. v. to believe that someone is alive in the midst of the _____[151] only to remember they are dead when you wake;

The young semi_____[74] hated going to sleep even when she didn’t have nightmares. Each morning when she _____[152]ed, she felt as thought she lost her father again and again and again.


_____[151] – n. liminal pre-conscious space just before waking:

In the _____[151] each morning, she looked forward to sensing her husband’s body next to hers. Gradually, she would remember his _____[130] . She hated this morning routine of _____[152]ing.


_____[220]– n. treasured memory from preaaaaaa[27]:

During the first post_____[27]  year, the aaaaaaaa[80] found her _____[220]s were unbearably painful.


_____ [80] – n. person who loses a spouse and at least one child, including an unborn child, in the same horrific event:

He wished that he could easily explain to people that he was a _____[80] instead of a widower so that people would be less inclined to offer _____ [17]s about how lucky he was not to have children.


anti_____[185] – n. place where grieving is not accepted, comfortable, or safe:

After reading the _____[49]’s  tweet about how so much of the world felt like an anti_____[185], she wanted to create city maps identifying all the _____[185]’s. Imagine how lovely it would be to look up directions to the nearest aaaaaaa[185]on your phone when something _____[12]s you in a public place.

Installation based illustration of an anti_____[185] at the Artist and Location exhibit at CICA Museum in Gimpo, Korea.


_____[185]– n. place where grieving is expected or where it is safe and comfortable to grieve:

When they happened upon a memorial for David Bowie outside his home on Lafayette Street, they appreciated having a _____[185] both to _____[59] and to simply let their own sorrow for other losses surface.

Women's bathroom door with marker that identifies it as a safe place to grieve.

Installation based illustration of _____[185] at the Artist and Location exhibit at CICA Museum in Gimpo, Korea.


_____[64]  – v. to author your own obituary:

She _____[64]ed to ease the burden on her son who struggled to write confidently even under the best of circumstances.


_____[6] – n. funeral or memorial ceremony for multiple family or community members:

Identifying thoughtful speakers who could offer _____  [4]s instead of _____[77]“s for their _____[6] felt much more complicated than organizing her wedding.


_____[4]– n. eulogy that evokes the uniqueness of the deceased:

The first time he heard a _____[4] instead of a _____ [29], he was astounded by its ability to make his own grief seem more logical and how connected he felt to the other mourners.


_____ [166] – n. unsolvable puzzle left in the wake of a tragedy:

When his wife left the house that morning, her last words were, “I will be your substitute today.” For the rest of his life, he wrestled with the _____ [166] of wondering if his wife had some premonition that she would die and he would survive the bombing of Hiroshima.

Closing the Door, a Haiku written by Mark Dimor illustrating _____ [166] 

One day arm and arm

We left home and closed the door

You never returned

Originally published on the Donna, the book, blog

Mark’s book, Donna, A Photo Memoir of Love and Loss, is a narrative of a marriage focusing on the journey from his wife’s terminal diagnosis to her death in August 2011. 


_____[123] – v. to draw strength or comfort from the memory of someone who has died by wearing the deceased’s clothing:

The  _____[49] realized that he wore the same sized shoes as his son when he picked up his son’s belongings from the school. While he could not _____[123] the shoes his son was wearing when he was killed because they were aaaaaaaaa[86]ed, he began to select other shoes from his son to _____[123] on _____[114]s, to meet with families of other school shooting victims, and to advocate for laws to prevent similar tragedies.


Excerpt from an email interview with Penny Gold illustrating _____[123]


I highly recommend viewing Penny’s  website documenting her show LOSS: An Exhibit of Quilts from August 20-26, 2016. Her quilts eloquently investigate the process of grieving for her son, Jeremy Gold Amor, who died in July 2004.


kK: I noticed on the memorial page for Jeremy that you included a recording of his voice. Many people discuss a fear of forgetting the sound of someone’s voice. Other people talk about fear of forgetting that way someone smelled. Were there other visceral things that you wanted to preserve or were able to preserve?

Penny Gold: I know many people wonder what to do with clothing, those physical items in such close contact with the body of the beloved.  After my mother died (16 months before my son), I kept the items of clothing and jewelry that I thought I would use myself (we were close to the same size), and I wore something of hers each day for a year. I still have several things that I wear from time to time; what I couldn’t wear, I gave away to Goodwill. I thought I would do the same with Jeremy’s clothing, but he was bigger than me, and there was little I could wear. Soon after the funeral, when his close friends were at the house, I let them each choose something from his clothing. What was hanging in his closet at the time of his death, I left there, and it remains there still. The rest I packed away in a large suitcase in the attic. I can’t bring myself to give any of it away, and really, there is no reason to.

At some point after Jeremy’s death, I purchased a large wooden jewelry box, and I have put there a miscellaneous collection of various small objects from Jeremy’s life, kind of like a reliquary. His wallet, some Magic cards, special photos, his baby teeth, and other things. The box sits on a dresser in the corner of my bedroom; I like having it there.


_____[114] – n. (usually plural) holiday, anniversary, or other annual event that becomes unbearably painful because of someone’s death:

The widow told her that early June was overloaded with _____[114]s, the anniversary of her husband’s death, their wedding anniversary, and Father’s day.