How to survive the death of a loved one

After Helen died, writing this column helped me through my grief. In this, my final offering, I’d like to help others by sharing what I’ve learned

“I open at the close,” says the message hidden in the Golden Snitch, revealed only as the threads of Harry’s story are woven together in the final Harry Potter book. Helen’s great love of these stories makes it an inspiring maxim for this, my final Widower of the Parish column.

My writing has been cathartic and a witness to fact being more extreme, provocative and, frankly, funnier than fiction. I have learned too much about grief, but have discovered even more about myself. So while my column was never a generic guidebook, I can offer some sharp-elbowed nudges to help others who are grieving or who simply need to deal with change, welcome or not. If you want clarification after reading on, you can contact me at

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