MamaBlogger365 – Give Sorrow Words by Patti Ashley, Ph.D.

February 4th will mark the 42nd anniversary of my father’s death. Every year on that day, I remember the morning I awoke to the excitement of a rare event in Virginia Beach, Virginia — snow, and then I heard the sound of my mother’s voice saying “Patti, put your robe on and come downstairs.”

I remember sitting at the kitchen table a short while later and being told to eat a piece of toast. I can still see that piece of toast on the plate and feel the lump in my throat that was refusing to allow the bread to pass through it. I went back to school within a week, and I recall a daze that fell over me, as I walked into a familiar setting feeling completely out of place.

I continued on with my life as I was told to do, somewhat removed from the “normal” adolescent dramas of playground fights and lost lunch money. My life seemed very different from my peers’. I wondered often why no one would talk to me about this loss. What is it really like to lose a father at the age of eleven and how does a child cope with that type of grief?

In high school I decided that I wanted to be a therapist to help other children with their pain, to give them a safe place to grieve and better deal with their sorrows. It took me many years to achieve this goal and also many more sorrows to add to my life’s experiences to become a well-seasoned psychotherapist.

Every day I am grateful to be able to be of service to children and parents. Studies of resiliency have shown that people who have a purpose for their pain and are able to give back to others are the ones who are most resilient to trauma.

All of the losses in my life have deepened my level of compassion and they also have given me the gift of being able to witness another’s pain with an intense level of empathy and desire to help bring healing and joy back into that person’s life.

Every loss has a hidden gift. A transformation happens when we turn lead into gold. Look deep into your sorrow and know that pure love always carries you and that true love never dies.

About Patti Ashley: Mothering Beyond Image helps women connect more deeply to themselves and others, therefore feeling more authentic, mindful and whole. I will be presenting the five main themes from the soon-to-be-released book in a weekend workshop in Scottsdale, AZ, on March 9 & 10, 2012. For more information, or to register for the weekend, please visit Please sign up to be on my mailing list to stay updated on workshop information. Mothers always want to know whether or not they are doing a good job. This workshop will help you know that you ARE!

The Museum Of Motherhood is the first and only facility of its kind, celebrating the “her”story of mothers around the world. We need your help — please make your tax-deductible contribution today!Visit the Museum of Motherhood, NOW OPEN in NYC – Tues.-Sun., 10:45-6:30.

Photo credit: dorne | MorgueFile

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