Tuesday, October 22, 2019

GOOD GRIEF, Beware of Anticipatory Grief

Good Grief: Strategies for Building Resilience and Supporting Transformation

Worrying does not take away tomorrow’s troubles.
It takes away today’s peace.
— Unknown

Let’s spend a few moments talking about anticipatory grief. It can have a significant impact on the guilt and regrets you may feel at the loss of a loved one. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this term, anticipatory grief describes grieving behaviors exhibited by a person regarding the “potential” loss of a loved one, before the actual death.

Anticipatory grief is a common occurrence. It can happen during an illness, an accident, or separation from a loved one (pets included). Your thoughts become focused on the “what ifs:”

·       When is it (death) going to happen?
·       What will I do?
·       How will I manage when he or she is gone?

This behavior stimulates worry and stress, as well as distraction from the present — the time you have NOW to be with, and enjoy, life with your loved one.

Here are only a few examples of situations that may create anticipatory grief causing you to ponder the “what ifs:”

·       A breast cancer patient has been given a prognosis of six months to live.
·       An Alzheimer’s patient no longer remembers who you are.
·       A stroke patient can no longer communicate or has a physiologically changed appearance, no longer the loved one you recognize.
·       A beloved pet has fallen ill, and there is nothing more that can be done.

I’ll share a personal example from my experience. I made a deal with my husband when we married that he would work the first 10 years and I’d work the last 10 years of our time together; never thinking that might mean our separation in death at the end of my last 10 years of work.

As the end of my 10 years of working approached, I started to have anxiety and worry as to when I would lose my husband — irrational thinking, but that’s a fact. He already had endured a few strokes and heart issues, so it was not a far stretch to consider death and separation.

As a little more time passed, I became more anxious and worried more — constantly anticipating an impending loss. I became very distracted and fearful. I started creating some emotional distance from my husband, foolishly thinking this would help cushion the blow of the loss when it came. I was sure it would be soon.

Imagine my surprise as I felt even worse when he did die, because my behavior of distancing from him added to my guilt after he died. Yes, the “could haves,” “should haves,” and “would haves” came back to haunt me. I beat myself up for creating this distance between us: I wished I had been closer, hugged him more, spent more time with him and so on and so on. I was angry that I cheated us both out of some precious moments we could have shared together. It took quite a while to come to terms with this and forgive myself.

If I could do it over again, I would have been more realistic about the 10-year scenario and not created the drama of impending death around it. I would have spent less time working and more time enjoying the gift of our life together. Worry and fear are powerful emotions that can skew our thoughts and behaviors, robbing us of joy.

When you recognize these behaviors in yourself (awareness is the key here), then you need to stop, take a few slow breaths to calm yourself. As you are doing this, replace the worry and fear with positive thoughts. Sit and do this for just a few moments. You will start to relax. Worry is about the future you do not know, and regret is about the past you cannot change. The present, however, is your gift to dwell in joy and love, sharing these gifts with others. The present is your NOW.

What’s on your mind becomes what’s in your life, so think thoughts you want to see.
Karen Salmansohn, Author


·       I will keep my thoughts positive and put worry aside.
·       I will embrace the present moments with joy.
·       I abandon old habits and choose new, positive ones.


With her permission, I am serializing here a near-final version of nurse Cheryl Barrett's valuable book on transcending grief. I had the pleasure of being her coach and editor through my Write Your Book with Me enterprise. 

Douglas Winslow Cooper, PhD

Perhaps the easiest way to obtain a copy of her book, published by Outskirts Press, is through this Amazon link: 

Monday, October 21, 2019



The world is made of light, of wind, of natural resources. In contrast, we have the chilling story of the poor children of Africa.

Decades ago, Africa was a beautiful and proud continent, a dream for those who lived there, and a story for their children, who were filled with life and love. The traditional world passed into history; then came the modern world, emphasizing that now one must live by knowledge and intelligence.

Sadly beautiful are those who have not had the chance to be lifted into the modern world, many isolated, terrified by sudden change. In some African villages, many have no electricity, no schools. These are obstacles for villager families, for those who want to see the other side of the village or to get to the capital to see how other people live. In African cities, there is what is called “modernization,” which brings a great difference between villages and cities.

In Africa, where poverty and misery and political upheavals impoverish the  population and enrich their leaders’ pockets, while the children have either no future or their future is threatened, the people are forced to into antagonistic relationships, with robberies, drugs, unhealthy propaganda, etc.

It is sad to know that, all over the world, we expect that there are poor children, but this is so especially in the African continent. Where did the leaders go? What did they do with the natural resources their countries have? We all know that in natural resources the richest continent in the world is Africa, so why are there poor children?

We see, in almost all African countries, children being used, working for food, some sleeping on the sidewalks, young children aged 10 to 16, young mothers pregnant by malicious people…all just trying to survive.

Note the contrast: the misfortune of these children pays for the wealth and happiness of the leaders, all corrupt.
Unbelievable, except if ne were to lose the meaning of the words, are the lies that leaders of African countries tell poor or destitute children. In some cases, there is only desolation.

Instead of helping, the leaders only impoverished their populations, and in such a circumstance, we find children deprived. In this pit, the poor children of Africa live. Unable to feed themselves, having no future prospects, no continuing employment, they only grab to fill their pockets, because in a country run by a corrupt, corrupt government, it is the weakest that suffer, and this leads to tribal conflict.

Some years back, Africa was a better continent, with devout leaders, fighting for the future of their countries, not for filling their own pockets and leaving the population hungry.

Now, always, the homeless children, begging in the streets, not knowing where to go, find only landmarks and sidewalks.

Seeing the status, the gravity, of the poverty that there is in Africa, rational and humanitarian people should work for one purpose, to bring HELP to the poor in Africa, finding their situation fragile, disturbing, and awful. Yes, we began to find a way to help these homeless, poor, neglected children, by creating foundations, opting for a social system to support these poor street children.

Several countries around the world saw the importance of Africa’s needing help to be able to support these poor children, poor children who have no dormitory, family, future and no history. With the help of God, the love by their neighbors is giving a glimmer of hope to these children, hope of entry into modernization, to live like any other children in the world, to have education and share in the progress of history.

This is how the poor African children hope one day to be worthy in the eyes of the world and one day to tell their stories to the world. If we give children a chance, we and they have hope for the future. African children need hope, and many are going to the West hoping to find hope, a future, and a life.

If we all help the poor children of Africa, not only will we have shown love of our neighbors, we will be happy to have saved them from the horrors of famine.

HOPE for these poor children of Africa is also HOPE for us who help them out of poverty.

“As ye sow, so shall ye reap.”

Written by P.C., edited by myself, the beginnings of a possible book. 

Saturday, October 19, 2019


I should have read the author's appendix on Texas Hold 'Em poker before I read the rest of the book. Even so, I would have had to remember numerous poker terms unfamiliar to me until now.

I was able to follow the math or accept it. Occasionally, I checked it, like finding there are six possible combinations to form a particular pair, such as K K. Or (52*51) = 2652 possible two-card combinations, such as at the beginning of your Hold 'Em play. There are half as many combinations, C(n=52,r=2), if the order they are chosen makes no difference, which would seem to be the case in Hold 'Em.

By describing and discussing his progress in learning and applying the principles underlying this form of poker,  Roman Gelperin demonstrates his transition from partial understanding of the game to near-total understanding, along with the pleasure that he received upon reaching that plateau, a transition which involved discarding the categories his poker-book gurus had taught and replacing them with his own mathematically correct analysis.

The book is clearly written, but filled with poker terms that were off-putting for this non-player.
Essentially, Gelperin learned to analyze the latter half of play rather than to take the opinions of the
masters, opinions that sometimes were contradictory. He raises this to achievement of "self-actualization," in Maslow's hierarchy's  terminology, though that seems a stretch. He has a follow-on book that examines this topic intensively.

As a physicist, I have myself enjoyed the occasional solving of a new problem by working from the most basic principles, and I agree there is a thrill in doing so, especially when one has found what others have missed or been mistaken about.  Whether I "self-actualized" in so doing, I'm not sure, but it was sometimes thrilling.

The book merits five stars for poker aficionados, but about three for the rest of us. Mathematically that made it (3+5)/2=4, on the average.

The book was available on Kindle at Amazon for free the day I got it. I'm glad I read it.

Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/Self-Actualized-Poker-Categorical-Learning-Free-Thinking-ebook/dp/B07WT4P2P4/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=SELF-ACTUALIZED+BY+POKER&qid=1571543860&s=books&sr=1-1

My site: WriteYourBookWithMe.com

Friday, October 18, 2019


Understanding Sassie: A Novel of Dog and Human Communication
Goldie  was alone. 

She missed the company of her puppies.  She had taught her puppies how to hunt as a team, and this education made it easier for them to kill for their food.  Now she was hunting alone, and it was necessary for her to go farther from the den to obtain her food.  The nights were getting colder, and she no longer had the warmth of her puppies to dull the icy hands of the night.  She was lonesome and hungered for comfort.  As she traveled a greater distance to hunt, she found the dirt road.  She discovered the black skins and, like Sassie discovered, that man was responsible for the appearance of these black skins.  It was easy prey and she took advantage of the black treasurers that held food. 

She wondered about a man that she noticed came to walk in this area of the forest every day at the same time.  He always seemed to be looking at the ground and mumbling something to himself.  I really love Millie!  I know she wants to graduate college, but I don’t think our relationship would stop her ability to graduate!  Should I propose?  What if I do propose and she says no?  It will only be a few months until she graduates.  Does she love me enough to trust me? 

Mike’s conversations with himself were filled with confusing thoughts.  He came to this wooded area because Mother Nature helped him to think.  He started to bring his lunch here, because the wooded area was peaceful and comforting.  Unknown to him was Goldie’s presence.  Like Goldie, he was beginning to realize how lonely it was to live alone.

Goldie sensed that the man was troubled.  She liked the fact that he always left some of his lunch.  It was as if he knew there was a dog that needed to eat.  Impossible, Goldie thought, I would never let man see me!  Man is dangerous! 

Yet Goldie saw gentleness and compassion in this man and wondered what it would be like to live with him.   She was thinking about breaking her own rule.  Stay away from Man!  She began to wonder, is this man really dangerous?

At the shelter, Sassie was getting more freedom and more time with Ruth.  She kept hearing something about a Puppy Play Day.  Play is something that she always enjoyed.  She missed the play with her brother and sister. What did Puppy Play Day mean?  Would I be able to meet some new friends? 

Sassie heard Ruth and Jane talk about a time called “Saturday,” but it meant little to Sassie.  Sassie did understand that Ruth was excited about something, and as she listened to Jane and Ruth talk, she decided they were planning something fun.

Ruth was excited about introducing Sassie to the Puppy Play Day that would be held on Saturday.  Jane was explaining the rules and the fact that Millie would be there to help new owners understand what puppy play actions are good and what actions needed redirection. 

Jane was smiling and laughing as she thought about past play dates, I have many toys, I have places for the puppies to hide if they want a time-out, and the owners are given directions for proper redirection or protecting a puppy’s personal space or their wish to hide. 

Jane went on to describe one of the recent puppy play dates.   “Everyone was laughing and enjoying the moment.  Outside, the weather may have been miserable, but the noise of the wind was unnoticed as we watched the puppies play.  That day there was a group of four German Shepherd puppy siblings that were chasing each other around the large room.  Dog toys were scattered throughout the area.  Some of the other puppies were chewing on balls, ropes, and things of every shape and size.  A mixed-breed puppy was shaking a fluffy toy squirrel that squealed, much to the delight of those who wanted to steal this fun toy.

At one point, three of the German Shepherd puppies decided to lie down to rest.  However, the fourth puppy wanted them to continue the chase game.  He picked up a snake toy and shook it in front of the three resting puppies.  It was a temptation they could not ignore.  The chase game began again with everyone wanting to capture the snake toy.

Jane told Ruth, “It is a fun time, and we try to have a scheduled Puppy Play Day on the first and third Saturday of each month at 6 p.m.  If the weather is bad or there is a holiday, there will be no play dates scheduled.  Tomorrow is a Puppy Play Day.  You can bring Sassie to this one if you’d like.  She will already be here at the shelter; just come a little early and bring dog treats.”

Ruth was looking forward to giving Sassie a nice adventure at this puppy play time.


With her permission, I am serializing a chapter a week, on this blog, near-final material from this novel by Helen A. Bemis, published by Outskirts Press and available through amazon.com: 


GOOD GRIEF, Laugh, a Poem

Good Grief: Strategies for Building Resilience and Supporting TransformationDon’t make me laugh I’ve often said,
I’ll pee my pants or wet my bed.
So I stay still and keep real stiff
As I cross my legs and do not shift.
Yet it creeps forth unwillingly
This joyous sound of laughing glee.
Is laughter worth the price of pee?
Yes, I wholeheartedly agree.

Don’t make me laugh I’ve often said
I need my sorrow, pain and dread.
So deep inside I seal up tight
As I grasp each piece with all my might.
But then a whisper of mirth I hear
Bursts through the heartache and the fear.
Against my wishes, I smile and laugh.
Yes, laughter will be my epitaph.

           Cheryl A. Barrett, 11/15/2017


With her permission, I am serializing here near-final material from nurse Cheryl Barrett's valuable book on transcending grief. I had the pleasure of being her coach and editor through my Write Your Book with Me enterprise. 

Douglas Winslow Cooper, PhD

Perhaps the easiest way to obtain a copy of her book, published by Outskirts Press, is through this Amazon link: 

Nefans, Canadian and African Achiever

This young man of Ivory Coast nationality, of Baoule origin, lost his parents on his 20th birthday.

Alone against misery and danger, having no one to take care of his life, Nefans was left to save himself: fighting for survival, sleeping in the streets, and eating garbage. Working to no longer be humiliated, seeking to be carried away by his destiny, as directed by his instinct, he found a job being a mechanic.

Sadly, despite his being so talented, they sent him away, leaving him nothing, with no return possible for his food….

Until the day he met a woman, Bea, who helped him to clean his garden, to tend it until it was self-sufficient. Bea loved him, and she helped Nefans to afford a renowned education to improve his own life. It was difficult in the beginning, but he applied himself, managed to control his actions and focus his thoughts of making a success of his life.

Nefans understood that life was not a game, but a struggle for his life and his future, and so he let himself be guided by Bea.

Bea was feeding him, doing everything for him. She was a humane woman, a woman who loved others, a humanitarian lady, and she decided to adopt Nefans. More, she dedicated herself to him, and dedicated all her assets to help this abandoned child, a child who did not want to be born in this kind of situation, a child who wanted to be born just like all other children, in a noble family or even a modest one, but just to have a family, with siblings, a father and a mother, just a family.

Being alone and nobody, Nefans’s meeting of his destiny with Bea gave him a chance of survival, this humanitarian act from a very admirable woman, Bea. So, Nefans loved Bea back with a love far more than platonic; they had become inseparable, a family.

Appreciating Nefans, Bea decided to help him obtain an education, then to be respected in society, so she enabled Nefans to enroll in school, and she took care of him…and he took care of her.

Bea was, in a word, an angel!

The times of his difficulties that had preceded did not help Nefans, and breaking into society was not easy for him ... Difficult it was for him, in the first moments of his studies, but with time and his perseverance, he succeeded.

Nefans learned that to advance in this world, he would have to persevere with audacity and determination. Once Nefans understood this, he proceeded to consider the choices open to him.

Brilliant, Nefans opted for a scholarship to go to Canada, to Montreal St-Eustache. Bea gave him her full blessing to achieve his most important goals, and she prayed for him, that luck would be with him, after all his years of suffering.

Nefans obtained his scholarship. In going to Canada, to a Canadian university, to study law, his main goal was to have a place in the bosom of the greatest intellectual center of law in the world of law....

It was not easy in the beginning for Nefans, knowing practically no one and being for the first time in Canada, and being in a Canadian University, in the White state in  which it was located.

He was polite and gracious with others, discreet, tried not to be noticed, but for his competition he had a bright and beautiful Canadian woman, Nicole, from a wealthy family, who also attended the University. She was watching Nefans, knowing that he was the first Black to be at the college.

His determination assisted him to become the most brilliant in his section, in biology, where he beat almost everyone, but was only on par with Nicole, the young and beautiful lady of the wealthy family.

The two clashed at a court of rights, for a humanitarian conference,  Refugee Children and the Unnoticed Poor.

Nefans knew that if he committed himself to a good defense fight, he would lose, because Nicole knew completely the courses and the sources. But  Nefans responded to her arguments, democrat that he was, speaking about his own life and experiences. Nefans dramatized his own life, not being embarrassed to tell it, and this made him a total success, even showing the judicial court his tears.

Since then, Nefans became a learned scholar in the world of law, his dream became a reality, bringing his adoptive mother Bea to Canada.

Nefans had succeeded in his studies, with honors, as he loved understanding the nature of the world, and enjoyed being correctly educated. He became an associate at the Faculty of Law at the University of Cocody, after 7 years. He had achieved this after many years of suffering and bitterness.

Nefans and Bea ended up having overcome the worst of the worst.

In this story, we see the miracle of God, Who propelled Nefans into a world of wisdom and zealous spirit.  Nefans succeeded professionally, married Nicole, and had beautiful children, all through the grace of God.            
“God in his love helps those in extreme need,” says Nefans in gratitude.


Edited by me (DWC) from a manuscript provided by a humanitarian activist writer with the pen name P.C./F.D.

Friday, October 11, 2019

GOOD GRIEF, Recognize the Humor

Good Grief: Strategies for Building Resilience and Supporting Transformation

Laugh Alone or with Others

When the woes of existence beset us, we urgently seek comic relief. The more emotions we invest in a subject, the greater it’s potential for guffaws.
                             — Patch Adams, MD

     There is nothing funny about your journey through grief and loss — or is there?

Humor is not something you seek out when you are going through grief and loss. However, it is ever present waiting to be invited back into your life. Humor pushed its way into my healing journey early and has eased my heart’s pain. Only you know when the time is right to embrace humor again and experience it’s healing power.

At the last viewing I attended, I was standing apart from others in the back of the funeral parlor, observing everyone. I saw the grieving widow bravely standing next to the coffin, dressed in black with sadness and grief evident on her face, her eyes staring straight ahead, and her hands trembling. The smallest thing set off a crying spell for all to witness. Someone placed a hand on her shoulder for comfort and another put tissues in her hand. I looked around and saw friends, family, and others who came to support her anxious, yet wary about how to help.

What else did I see? Some of those who came were also crying; some were stoic and keeping a stiff upper lip, while others were smiling in conversation and even sharing a laugh or two together. They were remembering the departed person in relation to a humorous event in which there was much shared laughter — an event I too remembered and smiled.

No, they were not being disrespectful. They were sharing fond memories of their time with the departed friend. They were also using humor and sometimes laughter as a coping mechanism to deal with the situation, to ease their discomfort.

You, too, have these happy, laughable shared memories and need some relief from the overwhelming emotions of grief and loss, but are unsure what to do.

What is humor? How can it help during times of grief and loss?

     Humor is a positive emotion that can diffuse the many negative emotions you are experiencing — great for stress reduction. According to many, humor is good medicine. Humor therapy has been used as a coping mechanism to help deal with life’s hardships.

Studies have shown benefits of laughter include:
   improving oxygenation to the brain,
   relieving tension in the muscles,
   creating a sense of peace.

Seeing the humor in life sometimes makes the most sense to us. Laughter makes you smile, and those around you are infected with it.

I remember my husband and I sitting downstairs in the living room one day. We heard my daughter laughing so hard upstairs that we just looked at each other and started laughing too.

No doubt you have laughed before and are familiar with the joy it brings. Can you remember the last time you laughed until your cheeks hurt and tears flowed down your face? Were you alone in your laughter? That’s okay. Or, were you with someone? That’s even better — shared laughter is awesome.

Relax and enjoy a good laugh now and again —what a relief it is!

     The art of medicine consists of keeping the patient amused while nature heals the disease.
                                                                 — Voltaire

     During the healing process you may ask yourself this question: “Did I share laughter and humor with my loved one?”

If the answer is yes, then why not use memories of shared laughter to heal? Remembering shared times of laughter brings a smile to your face. It feels good.

I have many memories of shared laughter with my husband. Each time I recall one, I see his smiling face and hear the laughter — his, mine, and sometimes my daughter’s. A memory such as this can be triggered by intentionally recalling a shared event or upon seeing a picture, words, or something else, related to such a memory.

     My daughter saw a stuffed animal in the store; its hair was peaked at the top of its head. This was a humor-event-trigger for us that caused us to break out with laughter. Why? This was the way my husband’s hair looked in the morning when he got up. His hair would be plastered down on the sides and straight up in the middle: thus, we called him “Freddy the Fin.”

Such precious memories make me cry sometimes, as they can no longer happen in real-time. But, that’s OK. Sadness and happiness can and do coexist.

Do you have such memories that make you both laugh and cry? Share these memories; write them down — enjoy those precious moments again and again!

Humor often relies on the difference between how things are and how they should be. It helps us gain perspective and can play a significant role in the journey through grief and loss — perhaps the one thing that helps you through a rough day.

New things that make you laugh can happen to you during your time of grieving. Both my daughter and I laughed at the car breakdown situation previously described and felt relief of tensions. We rolled our eyes and looked heavenward, saying: “Are you kidding me?” as if talking with my husband, whom we could also picture joining us in our laughter…as we sat helpless in a car that wouldn’t start with rain pouring down outside, thunder cracking, and lightening zapping through the night sky.

Burned into our brains, it’s a recollection we still frequently chuckle about — one very special memory. Later, we could laugh at more and more memorable experiences we had with my husband.
     What other things can you do to create laughter? Just ask yourself what made you laugh in the past? Those memories are waiting for you to remember.

During a stress management course I took a few years ago, we each had to choose a project to complete. The project I chose was a “Tickler Notebook,” a collection of a various items that you think can stimulate laughter. I filled it with so many things that made me laugh: comics, pictures, sayings, poems, greeting cards, photos from a movie and many more.

It so happened that a colleague of mine was diagnosed with breast cancer and was going through this stressful life event. I made a copy of the Tickler Notebook and a co-worker of mine, Annmarie, added her beautiful butterfly photos with words of encouragement on each. We arranged this special Tickler Notebook and presented the final project to the colleague, hoping to bring her a little laughter and hopefully positive benefits. She was overwhelmed with our gift and shared her appreciation telling us how much she laughed.

Two activities below that I did were helpful to me: they got me out of the house, focused my attention on something other than my gloomy internal thoughts and stimulated laughter — even laughter at myself.

I went to the greeting card section of my favorite store and linger for a while reading the cards. Choosing cards at random first, then picking the ones that were humorous and made me laugh. At first, I chuckle silently and then the chuckles became more audible. Sometimes, others looked up and smiled at me, and we became comrades in shared fun. What could be better than sharing laughter? I have even done this with a friend who was feeling down. It will cheer them up too. I lingered in the greeting card section before my loss too, so had it in my stress management tool box to use.

     The second activity made others laugh at me — and that’s OK. I found that staying in the card section for a while, organizing them into their proper places, was fun and soothing — but this also created chuckles from others. Sometimes, they joined in the fun, and we did an outstanding job of organizing the cards into a very neat display.  We also shared some life experiences, sharing comfort and laughter. And, we gave the store worker an anonymous gift — another thing to smile about.

For those of you susceptible to obsessive behavior: be careful, as the organizing fun event can migrate and mutate to other areas of the store: for example; arranging the air fresheners according to their scents on the shelf. It still happens to me on occasion, but I’ve learned to deal with it, because it is something I can control when I feel out of control, sad, or lonely.

Maybe you have some secret things you do that nobody knows about…as I’ve revealed here. Enjoy!

     When I’m down in the dumps, I often watch funny movies. Some movies stimulate our emotions and bring forth laughter. You know what strikes your funny bone. You probably have a few movies that you can rely on to make you laugh. Take a moment to develop a list of the movies that make you laugh, movies that you have shared experiences with your loved one or your children… or choose new movies. Then plan some time to watch them alone or with someone else.

At first, you might have difficulty paying attention, as you are distracted by your woes. Have patience. Don’t give up. You’ll get the hang of it. Watching a funny movie with a friend can have the additional benefit of sharing the laughter as you watch each other’s response. Remember, laughter is contagious! Here are a few movies that made me laugh and rekindled some wonderful memories with my husband that had a healing impact:

1.      Innerspace (Dennis Quade, Martin Short, Meg Ryan) — I just loved the music, “Cupid” and “Twisting the Night Away,” the latter of which played for several minutes at the end, and I danced with the music. It reminded me of music played during my childhood, melodies that both my husband and I related to. I laughed throughout the movie, sang the old familiar songs, and felt good.
2.      Caddy Shack (Bill Murray) — My husband and I watched this every chance we got. I loved the groundhog and his little dance. We both laughed and smiled at each other. Now when I see this movie, I am reminded of the good laughter we shared together. I can still laugh at it. I even have a furry groundhog that makes the same moves as the one in the movie and plays the same song. I can flip it on anytime I wish; it makes me smile and laugh.
3.      The Other Woman (Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann, Kate Upton) — My daughter and I have watched this several times and shared many laughs at EVERY viewing. It is a newer movie that only the two of us had watched together, but just the other day, I watched this movie with my best friend, who had not yet seen it, and we both laughed. We enjoyed sharing the laughter; she said it perked up her day, providing respite from her hectic pace and from obligations that had been getting her down.
4.      The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (Judi Dench, Tom Wilkinson, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy and Dev Patel) — A movie filled with many prominent, seasoned actors had some funny moments that I laughed at and enjoyed. One thing that particularly touched me was the way they embraced life’s changes, ups and downs evolving into the next phase of life’s journey. They were seniors like me who had experiences like me and showed how they coped and continued their life’s journey. This gave me hope.
5.      Leap Year (Amy Adams, Matthew Goode) — I have watched this movie alone and also several times with my
daughter. We laughed a lot. What struck me was the love story. When you least expect it, love comes your way. I remember how it was to be young and in love with my husband. We met on a blind date, and things just progressed from there. I feel blessed to have been part of his life for the time we had.

P.S. I have watched these movies many times and will still choose to watch them in the future — hopelessly addicted to a good laugh!

     Now it’s your turn to create a laughter list when you are ready:
   places to go,
   people to see,
   movies to watch,
   books to read,
   or any activity that lift you spirit and tickle your funny bone.

     Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.  
                                         Abraham Lincoln

     Make up your mind to be happy and enjoy family, friends, and the new life’s journey that lies ahead. Use the form at the end of this section to make your own list. Take the first step to happiness — SMILE — you are loved!


·       I give myself permission to laugh and find joy in everyday things.
·       I use laughter to ease tension in my body.

·       I am filled with positive actions.


With her permission, I am serializing here a near-final version of nurse Cheryl Barrett's valuable book on transcending grief. I had the pleasure of being her coach and editor through my Write Your Book with Me enterprise. 

Douglas Winslow Cooper, PhD

Perhaps the easiest way to obtain a copy of her book, published by Outskirts Press, is through this Amazon link: