We Are All Wounded

M became an indispensable guide during the height of my grieving. At one point, where I was wallowing in self pity, she challenged me to make peace with the past. I reacted predictably and spoke of my wounds. I forgot, for a moment, M also suffered a similar loss. Here is an excerpt from Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again:

“We are all wounded, Ray. Wounds heal and leave scars. We all carry scars. Our scars are an important part of our story. Each scar is sacred. Each of us purchased our scars at great cost. You’re transforming your raw wounds into holy scars. In time, each scar will be a reminder of Babe’s death and the grieving you endured. More importantly, each scar will become the symbol of choosing to live. The symbols are a part of the story, but not the whole story. Do you understand what I’m saying?”

Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again. Available in paperback and ebook formats from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Kobo.

Excerpt From

Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again

Raymond Calabrese

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Tough Advice: Stop Making Excuses

M challenged me with Tough advice when she told me to Let go of the past and move forward. The more deeply I felt my loss, the tighter my bonds to the past became. Each time M challenged me to let go of the past, I made an excuse not to let go. M finally challenged me to let go of my excuse making. It wasn’t easy, but as M told me, I had a choice. Here is an excerpt from Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again where I wrestled with this decision.

“It’s easier for me to live in the past where I was happy rather than figure out how to live in the present in a way that added meaning to my life and held on to the hope that happiness would one day find me again. I realized I developed excuse-making into a professional skill as excuses rolled off my tongue as easy as grass turns green in the spring.

If I really wanted to dance with suffering and grieving, I would need to let go of what held me to the past with a death grip and not make excuses about moving forward. Easier said than done, but I would give it my best. I wanted to dance with grieving.”

Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again. Available in paperback and ebook formats from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Kobo.

Excerpt From

Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again

Raymond Calabrese

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Dare to Live

Whether grieving or not grieving, I’ve met many people who are alive but not living. There is a big difference. In Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again, M challenges me to dare to live. Here is an excerpt:

“I’m sharing what I learned from my experience. You’re strong enough to start taking dares. Trust God that in the areas where you’re weak, He is strong. Dare to act, Ray. Dare to do the things you don’t want to do. Dare to live life, and grieving will gradually disappear. … Our two biggest obstacles are excuse-making and not letting go of the past. If you really want to live life and let grieving slip away, stop making excuses and let go of past …”

Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again. Available in paperback and ebook formats from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Kobo.

Excerpt From

Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again

Raymond Calabrese

This material is copyright protected

Nothing But Stone – by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Nothing But Stone

I think I never passed so sad an hour,
   Dear friend, as that one at the church to-night.
The edifice from basement to the tower
   Was one resplendent blaze of coloured light.
Up through broad aisles the stylish crowd was thronging,
   Each richly robed like some king’s bidden guest.
“Here will I bring my sorrow and my longing,”
   I said, “and here find rest.”

I heard the heavenly organ’s voice of thunder,
   It seemed to give me infinite relief.
I wept.  Strange eyes looked on in well-bred wonder.
   I dried my tears: their gaze profaned my grief.
Wrapt in the costly furs, and silks, and laces,
   Beat alien hearts, that had no part with me.
I could not read, in all those proud cold faces,
   One thought of sympathy.

I watched them bowing and devoutly kneeling,
   Heard their responses like sweet waters roll
But only the glorious organ’s sacred pealing
   Seemed gushing from a full and fervent soul.
I listened to the man of holy calling,
   He spoke of creeds, and hailed his own as best;
Of man’s corruption and of Adam’s-falling,
   But naught that gave me rest:

Nothing that helped me bear the daily grinding
   Of soul with body, heart with heated brain;
Nothing to show the purpose of this blinding
   And sometimes overwhelming sense of pain.
And then, dear friend, I thought of thee, so lowly,
   So unassuming, and so gently kind,
And lo! a peace, a calm serene and holy,
   Settled upon my mind.

Ah, friend, my friend! one true heart, fond and tender,
   That understands our troubles and our needs,
Brings us more near to God than all the splendour
   And pomp of seeming worship and vain creeds.
One glance of thy dear eyes so full of feeling,
   Doth bring me closer to the Infinite
Than all that throng of worldly people kneeling
   In blaze of gorgeous light.

Cares ~ Poem by Elisabeth Barrett Browning

The little cares that fretted me,
I lost them yesterday
Among the fields above the sea,
Among the winds at play;
Among the lowing of the herds,
The rustling of the trees,
Among the singing of the birds,
The humming of the bees.

The foolish fears of what may happen,
I cast them all away
Among the clover-scented grass,
Among the new-mown hay;
Among the husking of the corn
Where drowsy poppies nod,
Where ill thoughts die and good are born
Out in the fields with God.

Elisabeth Barrett Browning

Excerpt From
It Can Be Done / Poems of Inspiration

Greiving Support Groups Were a Blessing

Participating in a Grieving Support Group Taught Me I Wasn’t Alone

The following is an excerpt from Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again

I was among strong women who endured suffering. They went on living and caring for those around them “while they grieved. They were aware of their need for help in the grieving process and had the courage to seek it. I listened to a woman openly cry while telling the story of her husband who died of a heart attack in her arms. I thought of how strong she was to recognize her need to grieve. She wanted to be healed. Another woman described how her husband of 54 years died unexpectedly this summer. A woman sitting next to me, Chris, showed me her ring finger with a tattoo of her deceased husband’s name, Nick, on it. Even though a tattoo isn’t something I would personally do, I empathized with her heartbreak. Terry, who sat two seats over to my right, still mourned the loss of her dad after four years. Her sadness was etched all over her face. Her loss, like mine, resided in the deep, dark places of her soul. Each woman spoke with honesty, searching for comfort amongst their deep losses. At times, they spoke of the physical suffering they were experiencing.

“At times it feels like I can’t breathe my heart hurts so much,” a woman named Janet shared.

For each of us, our suffering and pain manifested itself in similar and different ways. In the end, it led to the same place of grief. We hurt. We ached. We wondered if we would ever be happy.

Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again is available in paperback and ebook formats from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Kobo.

Listening ~ Quote by Catherine de Hueck

With the gift of listening comes the gift of healing.”

 Catherine de Hueck