The Grieving Time


September 12, 2012

All my conscious life — a brief awakening at two and a half while hearing about the horror of Hiroshima on the radio; another at seven with a sudden, inexplicable feeling of unity with all of creation as I walked down the street in summertime; full-on coming to consciousness at 26, with a near-death experience in the hospital — I’ve been attracted to taboo. To that which our culture holds so fiercely in denial that it carries a terrific charge which, once released, powers regeneration.

And what is more terrifying to our youth-worshipping, death-defying culture than death, dying, grief, the process of facing, embracing and integrating overwhelming loss?

So yes, I find myself magnetized by these “depressing” subjects. In what most people hold at arms’-length, I sense the potency of transformation.

A few years ago, I collected the essays which I had written after my husband’s death in 2003 into an award-winning book, This Vast Being: A Voyage through Grief and Exaltation.

This section is dedicated to posts that honor further losses: Emma (2012), Dad (2012), My Fractured Wrist (2012), Mom (Lady Renee) (2014), and Sister Mary (2015).


Last year, in July, I suffered the sudden loss of Emma, my beloved little four-year-old Coton de Tulear dog. Emma, and wrote out my grieving process afterwards. Five posts in all, from July 6, to July 28. Here they are, in chronological order:

Shock Requiem

Losing Emma: The first 24 hours

Post-Emma: How to begin again with this blog?

Contemplating Emma: Love’s Abundance

With Emma’s passing, my suffering is her blessing

This summer, the long-anticipated process of losing beloved parents, both in their mid-90s, has finally begun. And with it, my process, as I learn how to let them go.


During three recent trips to Seattle, this blog ground to a halt, except for posts about my time there with the folks and our large family. Here they are: June, July, and August/September.

JUNE (6/3-17):

Update on Dad

Into the Heart of Love

Update: Seattle and the family

Reader: “What your family has done has created an energy that is rippling out to the rest of the world.”

I re-enter the current of the frenzied, foaming noospheric NOW while absorbing the deeper quiet of the very very old.

JULY (7/18-26)

Seattle, again, with family, day two, July, 2012: the folks and the nukes.

Seattle, day three, July 2012: the murmurings and Mom

Day four, Seattle, July 2012: movie massacres and hang gliders

Seattle, Day Five, July 2012: Here come the clowns, and the joke’s on me!

Seattle, Day Six, July 2012: Communion, with walks — and release!


Our father, Bernard L. Kreilkamp, finally let go of his suffering body

Seattle, August 30: Dad’s big chair, empty, Mom starts to fill her own shoes

First days in The Grieving Time

I flew home two days ago. And continued to write these posts:

A Paean to Providence Mount St. Vincent

Post-loss: Addressing failure to thrive, or: war is hell.

So here I am, once again dipping my toe into the ocean of grief, learning how to surf the waves. Each post that relates to The Grieving Time will be also archived on this page.

September 12, 2012: Post-Dad: Chopin, lethargy, studies, phone call with Mom, and a sharpening of focus

September 17, 2012: Uranus/Pluto Tales: of a sudden shift at night, insomniac

September 21, 2012: Uranus/Pluto Post-Dad: Reliving a pattern that binds

[On September 23, I fell and fractured my right wrist. On the sixth day I began to see this event as part of my grieving process and decided to call this subsection Fractured Wrist Chronicles.]



September 23, 2012: OOPS!

September 24, 2012: surgery today

September 27, 2012: WOW! Can move fingers without pain . . .

September 28, 2012: Fractured wrist chronicles, day six

September 29, 2012: Fractured Wrist Chronicles: Day Seven, victory and perspective

September 30, 2012: Fractured Wrist Chronicles: Day Eight, more victories and perspective


October 1, 2012: On Mining My Life for Meaning

October 3, 2012: Fractured Wrist Chronicles: Day Ten, doctor appointment

October 7, 2012: Fractured Wrist Chronicles: Two week anniversary and WOW! A Narrow Escape



May 21, 2012: Lady Renee has arrived

May 21, 2012: Lady Renee continued: photo at airport

October 12, 2012: Post-Loss: In the middle of her sorrow, Lady Renee rebirths herself

April 24, 2013: Let us sing the song of the Self; and let us sing the song of the Other — with them, to them, for them.

June 11, 2013: Growing Older: No nursing home for Lady Renee. How about you?

June 12, 2013: On military suicides, Lady Renee’s re-engagement, permaculture, and OUR future

October 9, 2013: Lady Renee drifts through her Jupiter Return, alive and well

October 8, 2013: Suddenly called to Baton Rouge to attend Lady Renee


October 14, 2013: “I want to see Ben, but not yet!”

August 7, 2014: Our Very Own Lady Renee, the Saga Continues

September 15, 2014: Lady Renee and Her Legacy

September 15, 2014: I’m in Seattle with Lady Renee’s Ashes



September 28, 2015: And how was YOUR rare perigee blood full Moon?

September 28, 2015: My world just shifted 180° again. Did YOURS?

September 29, 2015: Suddenly it appears that sister Mary decides to pass

September 29, 2015: Sister Mary’s death chart

September 30, 2015: Sister Mary’s death, day two: How I loved thee!

October 8, 2015: Mary Kreilkamp Cowan: “Is that all? That’s easy!”

October 14, 2015: My Sister Mary: One of her many aspects that was unknown to me . . .

October 14, 2015: Thinking about Sister Mary, how she wanted to postpone death indefinitely — until she didn’t!







3 Responses to The Grieving Time

  1. kimmiekim28 says:

    My deepest respect and thanks to you, Ann, for this page and for all that you do. As a writer who has recently lost a beloved animal of mine, I have also been exploring themes of grief and loss–all the while knowing that I am rubbing firmly against the grain of established norms in moving into deeper spiritual and emotional realms than many in this society seem comfortable with. Your work on this site is truly lighting a path for us who have few resources to turn toward in our quest for understanding the interconnections between life, death and everything else in our universe. Many thanks to you, as always.

  2. Susan Gifford says:

    I’ve been reading your blog for several months and want to thank you for your honest sharing. I’ve studied astrology for a number of years and keep wondering if you have a strong Scorpio/Puto presence in your natal chart? I have 5 personal planets in Scorpio in the first house and feel that I am also strongly attracted to the “shadows”. Thanks again!

    • Susan! You want the short answer or the long one? I was born 12/19/42 at 8:02 am CWT, in San Antonio, Texas. You’re welcome to check out my signature.

      Tropically: I have NO planets in Scorpio! I do have Pluto in Scorpionic 8th house, trine Mars in Sagittarius in the 12th.

      Sidereally: I have Mars and the Ascendant in Scorpio, and Mars trine Pluto.

      Heliocentric: Mars in Scorpio.

      Most of my friends are either Scorpio or have a lot of Scorpio in their tropical charts.

      From a tropical perspective (Sun and Ascendant, plus Mars in Sagittarius), my penchant for the shadows is more a Sagittarian quest for Truth, and since the shadows are rarely investigated in this culture that worships the smiley face, that’s where I naturally gravitate.

      Hope this helps!

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