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Never Tell Someone Who Is Grieving To Get Over It

One of the loveliest ladies I ever had the privilege of meeting was named Mary. She was funny and feisty until she transitioned into heaven in 2012 at age ninety-two, and she had an incredible memory. Among her favorite things to talk about was her son William, who had died in Vietnam in 1969.

I met Mary through my mother, Nadia, as they both belonged to the New York state chapter of American Gold Star Mothers, an organization dedicated to supporting mothers who lose their soldier child in war. One time Nadia asked Mary if she still mourned her son, or if she got over the grief. Mary's response: "It's been over forty years, but I still cry every day."

This week one of my Gold Star Mother friends was told by someone to "get over" the loss of her son, who passed away three years ago. It made me incredibly sad to think that people could be so insensitive, and, to be blunt, so stupid.

Gold star mothers and fathers, and ALL parents who lost a child (and all people who are missing someone they love who died): never let anyone make you feel ashamed or guilty because you continue to mourn the loss of your loved one.

In the unfortunate situation where a very insensitive and ignorant person tells you to "get over it," just ignore them. Perhaps even have pity on them, because anyone who could make such a statement must not understand what real love is, because authentic love is forever.

I've written about this before in my article "The Sides and Seasons of Sadness," but I want to again remind all those who mourn that the process is very individual and there is no time limit for how long different feelings will last. The new science of bereavement reveals that responses to loss vary greatly, as does the time it takes for one to move forward comfortably into the "new normal" of their lives.

The best way I've come to think about what I call the four Dreadful D's (death, divorce, disease, disability) is not closure, but integration. Closure is something final, something that can be achieved. But for those who have lost a loved one, most especially those who have lost a child, there may not be any finality to the grief. An integration can be a more encouraging and positive way to live, by acknowledging the loss while still finding hope and purpose for the future.

To all Gold Star mothers and fathers: I send you love and pray that you may find the peace that passes all understanding, which only God can give. 
By: Kristia Markarian

Reader Challenge of the Week: My Mother-In-Law Is Too Nosy

Has anyone ever heard any jokes about fathers-in-law? Because I haven't. (If you know a good one, please do share.) All the dramedy (mixture of drama and comedy) seems to be isolated to mothers-in-law.

Every Wednesday on CHONJ, I attempt to best provide solutions to a challenge one of my dear reader friends is experiencing. I received the email below from Deanna:

Please help! My mother-in-law is too nosy! She's basically nice, but asks me a million questions every time she calls, about me and...
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Getting Through a Difficult Week

Winter Storm Jonas is causing many challenging commutes this morning, just as it caused difficulties over the weekend. The picture shows eighteen inches of snow on our patio table and chairs this morning. So I want to begin this Monday by sharing some extra-special encouragement.

For those who need a little humor to get through the rest of this week, I have a two-minute video from Doc Mike Evans to share. He is a family physician from Toronto, Canada and his soothing voice will guide you...
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Little Love Quote

"Take away love and our earth is a tomb." - Robert Browning (1812-1889)

I wanted to send everyone some love this Friday, especially as Winter Storm Jonas is predicted to affect the entire eastern seaboard. May everyone stay safe, and warm, and cozy.
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Reader Challenge of the Week: How Do I Pray?

Welcome to Wednesday on CHONJ, where I attempt to best provide solutions to a challenge one of my dear reader friends is experiencing. I received the email below from Dale:

I didn't grow up with any religion and don't go to a church except for the occasional wedding or funeral. It's all very confusing to me. But as I've grown older I've been feeling that I should explore God a bit more and pray. But I don't know how to pray. Can you help?

One of the most elegant definitions of prayer I've...
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Warriors Aren't Trained to Retire: A Movie Review of "13 Hours"

Riveting and enraging are the two words that come to mind when describing the new film "13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi."

We know the ending, but here is a synopsis. On September 11, 2012 our embassy in Benghazi, Libya was attacked by Islamic terrorists. At a CIA compound less than a mile away, six military contractors bravely volunteered to come to the rescue of the Americans at the embassy. They were ordered to "stand down" while terrorists set fire to all the embassy buildings....
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Martin Luther King and Melanin

There comes a time in every little child's life when, in their naturally innocent and curious way, they ask why some people look different than others. This may be because of skin color, or body size, or perhaps a physical handicap.

I clearly remember the day when my younger brother Jonny asked that question regarding shades of skin. The funny thing is, he never asked about people with skin darker than his. 

"Mummy, why is Sister's skin so white?" He gently poked my forearm with his finger.

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Our New Mission Statement

There are some exciting changes on CHONJ that I want to share with everyone! 

But first I want to thank everyone again for joining me on this journey. During these last few months we have shared a lot together, and I have grown so much as a person, and my beautiful reader friends have come to mean so much to me, even those I have never met.

As my writing has addressed the most common concerns and challenges we face, Charles and I decided that it was time to form a mission statement for CHONJ....
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Reader Challenge of the Week: My (Adult) Child Doesn't Appreciate Me

There are a lot of very wonderful parents in this world, who try to give their children every good thing. But sometimes the line can be crossed from helping your child to spoiling your child.

Below is part of an email I received from a lady named Tracey:

I take my adult daughter shopping and on vacations and I barely get a thank you. I try to do all I can to help my daughter but she barely knows I'm alive. She only calls me when she needs something. She doesn't even remember my birthday! I...
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My Resolution Evolution

After last week's article about my New Resolution to speak up when I encounter rudeness, I received many emails that basically said that people are ruder than ever but they are also crazier than ever so I need to be very careful, and some chastised me for wanting to chastise rude people who might be crazy.

It was a lot of crazy and careful that I was being warned about. :-) 

Let me first extend a large THANK YOU to all my reader friends who extended such love and concern to me. I send love...
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Benedict and the Bengals

I have written previously about my fascination with General Benedict Arnold, who was among the most brilliant of the Colonial commanders during the Revolutionary War and who ultimately betrayed us and defected to the British side. Above is a picture of me walking along Benedict's Beach in Campobello Island, Canada where he lived for several years after the war. 

On Saturday afternoon Charles and I watched a film about Benedict called "The Scarlett Coat," which was made in 1955. This excellent...
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Our Two Post-Christmas Week Sporting Events

In yesterday's article I shared with you two pictures taken at the Jets versus Patriots game that Charles and I attended on December 27. Today I want to share with you a few more pictures from that event, as well as...
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Reader Challenge of the Week: Coarseness and Cultural Despair

Two days after Christmas, on Sunday, December 27, my husband Charles and I were fortunate enough to attend the Jets versus Patriots football game at Metlife Stadium in New Jersey.

Our seats were near the 50 yard line,...
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The Christmas Closet Caper

Many of us are struggling to get back into our regular routines after the past two weeks of holiday celebrations. I wanted to share this story, which is the funniest thing I experienced last year, and hope it brightens your day.

When Charles and I moved into our home shortly after we were married, we were delighted that there were two walk-in closets in the master bedroom. However, these closets are not exactly the same since one is fifteen inches deeper than the other.

We know these...
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New Year Wishes and a Special Card for My Friends

Happy New Year, dear friends! I hope that the winter holidays were both peaceful and magical for all of you.

Charles and I had a lovely Christmas Day together, just the two of us, although we celebrated with family both the day before and the day after.

The New Year is now before us as a wonderful possibility. Whenever the year begins fresh and new again, I always get a feeling that anything is possible.

My wish for you is that as this New Year unfolds, you will be able to add more happiness to...
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I am glad you’re here!

This website is for ALL of us. CHONJ is a compassionate community that strives to be positive and uplifting as we help and connect with one another.

My name is Kristia Cavere Markarian. My husband, Charles Markarian, and I are soulmates who spend practically every minute of the day together. Our goal is that you feel better about yourself and the world every time you visit our website.

There are many challenging situations we are facing today, from being overscheduled and overwhelmed, to facing technological distractions. We want to assist you in navigating through all these circumstances, so you can become the best you are meant to be. We will help you become the hero of your life’s journey.

Spread Love Gather Joy