My grandmother’s name was Eleanor. My mother was pregnant with me when my grandmother died of breast cancer at the age of 60. When I was born a month later I was named “Eleanor” after her. Although I never had a chance to meet my grandmother, I am told that she was gracious and kind. My mother spoke about her often and told me that she thought of her every day.
My mother’s name was Evelyn. I was pregnant with my first child when she died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 57. It only follows that when I gave birth to a baby girl months later, I named her “Evelyn” after my mother. My mother was compassionate, warm, and nurturing. My daughter never had the chance to meet her, but I talk about her all the time. I think of my mother every day, cry about her once in a while, and dream of her less than I would like.
When I started working with grieving families many years ago, I wasn’t sure how the recent death of my mother would shape my ability to help others facing similar circumstances. As is typical with loss, the death of my mother had a profound effect on me, in good ways and bad. I soon discovered that losing her had given me the perspective and strength I needed to help others walking through a darkness that had become quite familiar to me. And thankfully, whatever help I gave to others I have gotten back in kind, for it is only because of the wisdom of other grievers that I have been able to find peace and acceptance for my own loss.
My name is Eleanor. I live in Maryland and I received my Masters in Counseling Psychology from Loyola College in Maryland.