These Months Following the Death of My Mom Are Not What I Expected

Photo by Mindspace Studio on Unsplash

In some ways, the continued pandemic has provided a kind of bunker in which I can grieve. It’s been five months since my mom died and I still don’t leave home much. I spend a lot of time on the various couches in my house with my airpods stuck in my ears. When my kids try to talk to me I point to my earbuds and say, “I can’t hear you” and go back to my addictive Netflix show.

I’m a 41 year old married woman working two jobs and raising two kids. When else in my life would I…


Making the case for building a self care practice as a way to examine problematic beliefs.

Photo by Kayvan Mazhar on Unsplash

A few days after George Floyd was killed, I, a white woman, emailed a girlfriend, who is Black, to check in. We both identify with being introverts and I was worried about how she was doing. She responded and I could feeling the heaviness through her words. She reminded me that this was nothing new. She talked about seeing her own young children through the eyes of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd.

Her words stirred some thoughts up for me that I hadn’t fully considered before. While I had always thought that this friend and I shared a lot of…


The timeless wisdom of Sesame Street helped to create a everlasting TV tribute to my late dad.

Me on set for production of Dear… from Apple TV+

Talking with my young kids about death

My kids were only one and three years old when my dad died. It was sudden (a massive stroke) and shocking. In the midst of my own grief I knew I needed to find a way to talk with my daughter, the three year old, about her Papa’s death. I had traveled to my parents house with my sister and my husband was to come up with the kids for the funeral a few days later. Carly, my daughter, was obsessed with Sesame Street at the time. Before YouTube and TikTok came into our lives, there was a time when…


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We Are Grieving The Loss Of Normalcy

Recently I canceled the flights for our family’s trip out West that we were planning to take this summer with good friends. It was a big leap for our family to break out of the mold of renting a house at the beach and try something completely different. Now it’s just gone in an instant. In the click of a “cancel” link on a webpage. Every week it’s something else canceled, changed, gone. Dreams gone up in smoke. Do you feel this way too? That your list of loss is longer than Santa’s at this point?

For weeks now I’ve…


Photo by Jeremy Thomas on Unsplash

At the end of 2019 I was contemplating my word of the year. You know, that thing we do now instead of making an actual resolution? I was reading “Super Attractor” by Gabrielle Bernstein and I was taken with her idea that if I aligned myself properly with the universe, I could attract whatever I wanted into my life. I had started several of the practices she outlines in the book, specifically the one where you write in your journal each day, “I desire to…” and complete the thought. Then I would meditate for five minutes.

I was feeling good…


How Your Story Can Help You Heal From Emotional Pain

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Your Story Can Help You Heal

When I was 18 weeks pregnant with my second child, my husband and I went to the clinic for the routine ultrasound to find out the sex of the baby. We found out it was a boy and we also found out some unwelcome and surprising news: our son had a life-threatening form of congenital heart disease. This was our entry point into a foreign land of fetal anatomy, cardiac pressures, echocardiograms, and intensive care units. We made the gut-wrenching choice to undergo a surgical procedure to open one of his heart valves while he was still inside of me…


The placebo effect is built on the narrative we create.

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…first you have to understand that any placebo or hypnotic induction is nothing more than a device for storytelling. — Erik Vance in “Suggestible You”

This premise, that the power of the placebo effect lies in the story we tell ourselves about it, is a common theme in Erik Vance’s book “Suggestible You”. He tells us (and shows us through many experiments on himself) that two internal forces, expectation and suggestibility, have immense power over our ability to experience pain and healing.

What is the placebo effect? It’s when a sugar pill makes a headache go away. It’s when a…


Lessons from Donut Day in the Children’s Hospital activities room.

My son Griffin, recovering from open heart surgery, in the hospital with his dad in December 2018.

One year ago this week, I was living out of a Children’s hospital room in Boston, as my 7-year-old son recovered from open heart surgery. The physical recovery was shockingly swift. He went from the Intensive Care Unit, to taking a few steps, to playing video games with Dad in bed, to discharge in a week. We were home well in time for Christmas.

One morning after Griffin had been moved to the floor (chest tubes had come out and he was progressing well) we walked down the hall to the activities room. Word on the floor was that they…


Why perseverance is so important during tough times.

Photo by sydney Rae on Unsplash

Over the summer my sister and I took our mom away for the weekend to a quaint little spot on the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia. It was time for us to focus only on Mom instead of being pulled in a million directions, like we typically are back home. We often joke that when my sister and I are out with our four kids (total) and our mom with advanced dementia, it’s like the circus has come to town. This weekend allowed us to dote on her, take her out to eat, shop, get her nails done and relax in…


Letting go of even one physical item helps create emotional shifts.

Photo by Christian Fregnan on Unsplash

The taxi was waiting outside in the driveway, surrounded by the pitch black of a way too early November morning. My bags were all packed, itinerary ready to go, I just needed to make a decision about which coat to bring. Not the big puffy winter one, that would be too much for the plane and unnecessary since most of my time would be indoors. Not the cute, quilted green one because I would be wearing dresses and that wouldn’t look right. The only real option was the red jacket. …

Rachel Nusbaum

Listener. Writer. Teacher. Helping people heal from their stories of struggle at www.orchidstory.com

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