Our Most-Read Stories of 2018

Here are some of the Modern Loss pieces you loved.

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It’s been a year of milestones for Modern Loss. We published a book (you can read excerpts here, here and here). We went on a book tour. We celebrated 5 years of our little website that could. So as 2018 comes to a close, we wanted to take the opportunity to thank you for being part of our community — thank you for sharing your stories, thank you for engaging with others’ stories, thank you for showing up at our events, thank you for showing up for those who needed you, and thank you for showing up for yourself. As we reflect on the year that was and look ahead to 2019, we thought we’d share with you excerpts from our 10 most-read stories published in the past year.

My Dad Was Dying While I Was Divorcing
By Molly Rosen Guy

“’What’s this feeling?’ I asked a friend the first day it started to snow. ‘There’s a hollow cold pressure in my stomach. Not like pregnancy. Not like something is growing. Like something’s being pulled away.’ ‘That,’ she said, ‘is sadness.'”

What I Did With My Husband’s Life Insurance Money
By Leslie Gray Streeter

“All I had left — aside from a confused toddler and a world of hurt — was a finger whose tan line betrayed the absence of something significant above my now-lonely white gold band. No, wait, I realized. I also had some life insurance money. Not enough to move, carefree, to convalesce in Aruba or trigger the suspicions of anyone on Dateline NBC. But enough, after paying the bills, for a ring. Not a crazy Beyonce-level thing, but something grander than the one I’d forever lost on my run.”

Your Kids Don’t Want To Inherit Your Clutter
By Shira Gill

“One of the biggest gifts my father gave me when he died was leaving behind an organized home. Because having to sort through excessive amounts of disorganized clutter while you’re grieving is excruciating. I know because as a professional organizer I’ve helped hundreds of families de-clutter their homes, many of which included attics, basements, and garages overstuffed with inherited items.”

Saving the Date for a Wedding That Will Never Take Place
By Gabrielle Brazeau

“Now,  everywhere I go, I see the save-the-date hanging on everyone’s fridge. I’m so glad I spent the extra dollar each to have it be a magnet, and I am not being completely sarcastic here. I am happy that they think of him every time they open the fridge for a beer. It still doesn’t make it easy to walk by that date, in black and white, of the wedding that is not happening. How fitting it is that it was black and white, stark and funereal. What a great call on my part.”

What I Still Can’t Do
By Kellyn Shoecraft

“My emotional state and what I am capable of have changed since she died. I no longer spend a portion of everyday weeping, the raw grief of this loss seeping from my body. I still feel panicked in most social situations, worried about how it might force me to talk about myself, and therefore my loss. I wish that it was easier for people to know what I am capable of 10 months on, and what’s still too hard.”

My Mom’s Violent Death Gave Me PTSD
By Erin Donovan

“I would have the same recurring thought, ‘I should just ask my mom what to do, she’s always good in a crisis.’ And had to remind myself, repeatedly, that my mom was dead. If I can imagine what it feels like to have dementia, this might be it. Having to be told the same bad news again and again and again. I’ll just call my mom and… You can’t, she’s dead. Let me just forward this to my mom and see what she… Nope, she’s not checking her email, because SHE IS DEAD. I’ll just give her a quick check-in because… Hello, bitch, are you dumb? SHE IS DEAD. Get! It! Together!”

My BFF Makes ‘Your Mom’ Jokes About My Dead Mom, and I Love Her for It
By Theodora Blanchfield

“‘Please don’t change anything,’ I told my BFF. I needed her to be the same unfailingly loyal — but also bitingly sarcastic — friend I’d always known. And for the dynamics of our weird friendship, that meant ‘your mom’ jokes, even if they were about my dying mother.”

A Year of Grief, 15 Seconds at a Time
By Ryan Langer

“I’m nearing the end of a year of this ‘a song every morning’ chapter. It may sound strange, but this project has helped me work through my grief by giving me the little bit of time every day to actually not think about our horrific loss at every waking moment. When I first started the project, it was a way to see if I could simply do this for a year. A distraction. Now, I realize this daily time for myself, the time that brought music back into my life, was, and still is, the catalyst to my healing.”

What I Tell My Kids About Their Brother Who Died Before They Were Born 
By Michelle DuBarry

“It wasn’t until [my twins] were almost four that Gus finally asked, ‘Mommy, where is Seamus?’ We were having dinner, sitting underneath the collage of Seamus pictures that hangs over our kitchen table. I took a deep breath and said, ‘Seamus is dead.'”

Disrupting the Funeral: 7 Innovations You Should Know About
By Tré Miller Rodríguez

“Since [my husband’s] 2009 death, I’ve encountered companies with niche alternatives to the tired or tacky products pushed by funeral homes. I now save a list of these resources because when you’re living through the worst week of your life, who has the bandwidth to explore Pinterest-level designs for funeral programs? Or compare environmentally conscious options for cremation?”

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