Selected readings from Grief Dialogues: The Book. These readings portray moms we've lost - for better or for worse - and feature pieces by authors who use writing as part of their grieving process.
This event is part of the Motherless Mother's Day series. All Motherless Mother's Day events are by donation and ALL funds generated will go directly to each individual event's host. You will receive a link to donate in a follow up email!
These are stories of real - not perfect - moms who mostly did their best but sometimes didn't even try. And yet, a mother will always hold a place in our hearts. If she didn't we wouldn't blame her for everything that is wrong in our lives.
Hear from a selection of authors published in Grief Dialogues: Stories on Love and Loss.
Note: Claudia Coenen, a certified grief counselor and thanatologist, will open our session with a talk on the importance and value of writing through grief.
About Jennifer Coates: Jennifer (“Jenny”) Coates moved to Bainbridge Island, WA from New York City with her husband Samuel Brody, a classical pianist, and now 19 year-old daughter, Cymbeline Brody, in 2006. They’ve not looked back since. She is an international tax, transactional tax and business lawyer by trade, but has many other interests which fill her days, including writing, mostly poetry. She also sings with 2 community choirs and a church choir on Bainbridge Island. Jenny’s poems have been published in numerous anthologies and poetry magazines and as part of juried poetry festivals. Jenny is grateful that her writing has found a meaningful place to land with the Grief Dialogues project, as she believes this is a beautiful and necessary conversation for this time.
About Katrina Taee: Katrina was a BACP Senior Accredited Counsellor specialising in grief. She has over 18 years of professional experience, a large part of which was spent counselling in a voluntary capacity at Thames Hospice as part of their Bereavement Care Team alongside running her own private practice. She came into that profession from a nursing background but now works as an End of Life Doula with Living Well Dying Well. Katrina is the co-author, with Wendelien McNicoll, of the illustrated guide to grief called Surviving the Tsunami of Grief.
About Mary Langer Thompson: Mary Langer Thompson was the Senior Poet Laureate of California in 2012. Her poems, essays, and short stories appear in various journals and anthologies. She received her Ed.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles and is a retired school principal and English teacher. She enjoys conducting poetry workshops for schools, prisons, and in her community of the high desert of California.
About Aspen Drake: After long battles with breast cancer related issues, my mom passed away in early 2016. Having just graduated from college, and with three younger siblings at home, I did what I could as the oldest to maintain normalcy in our house. I soon found grief was not a life experience that could be sidestepped, and I was able to better embrace my emotions and experiences through joining a local grief group. In 2017 I started my podcast Loss For Words, in hopes that what I had learned thus far in my grief journey would speak to others experiencing similar troubles with finding places to be seen and heard. I am working on releasing a new series of episodes, so please join us on Apple Podcasts or SoundCloud!
About Megan Vered: Megan Vered is an essayist whose first-person writing focuses on family, friendship, faith, and the fantasia of her youth. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in the San Francisco Chronicle, Silk Road Review, and the Coachella Review, among others. Megan holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She lives with her husband and West Highland White Terrier in Marin County, where she serves on the board of Heyday Books and leads both local and international writing workshops.
About Kathleen LaFrancis Eaton: Kathleen LaFrancis Eaton has written numerous personal essays; a gardening column; guest articles and reprints in WSU newsletters; academic pieces; and chapters in healthcare-industry books. She is currently living in Tucson with her husband Dave and their Goldendoodle Dr. Zeus.
About Claudia Coenen: Claudia Coenen was widowed suddenly and became a certified grief counselor while struggling to put the shattered pieces of her life back together again. She holds a Masters in Transpersonal Psychology with a focus on Creativity and Innovation from Sophia University and an Advanced Grief Counseling Certificate from Brooklyn College. Claudia is a Fellow in Thanatology, through the Association of Death Education and Counseling.
Claudia’s lifelong experience as a musician, dancer, writer, mother, chef, traveler and creative person provided her with tools and techniques to process her own grief which in turn led her to want to help others through expressive modalities. In private practice, Claudia helps bereaved clients find resilience in the midst of their losses, through compassionate presence, creative process, somatic and expressive therapy techniques. Through her work with dying patients and family members in a hospice program in New Jersey, she developed the Karuna Cards, a deck of creative ideas for grief and difficult life transitions. Claudia has appeared on podcasts and on the radio, discussing creative strategies to cope with grief during the pandemic. She also presents workshops on the uses of creativity in counseling and on vicarious trauma in the workplace at conferences and as in-services to mental health clinics and trauma centers.
Claudia is the author of Shattered by Grief: Picking up the pieces to become WHOLE again. Her newest book, The Creative Toolkit for Working with Grief and Bereavement: A Practitioner’s Guide, explores some well-researched grief models and 30 creative activity sheets that can be reproduced to use with bereaved clients.
About the host: Elizabeth Coplan is a 40+ year public relations and marketing veteran and a member of the Dramatist Guild. She is also an award-winning writer dedicated to bringing death and grief out in the open. With personal experience suffering from profound loss, Coplan helps others explore their grief through writing. She is the subject matter expert and curator of the website Grief Dialogues and the book by the same name. Coplan is also the Executive Producer of the short, award-winning film, 8AM by Mark Harvey Levine.