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Danell teNyenhuis Black


My most popular articles

I’ve divided my stories by topic and placed them in indexes for easy viewing. Thank you Paul Ryburn, M.Sc. for the idea!

Why observing death anniversaries doesn’t need to be somber.

Photo by Wil Stewart on Unsplash

April 20th marked five years since my husband Patrick left for his early morning bike ride and never returned home. I try to write something each year to talk about my changes in perspective. This year I am adding some random thoughts and memories.

When Patrick died, strangers reached out to me to tell me how he touched their lives. Some of them have continued to share stories. I’m happy that he had such a positive impact on people.

I took the day off, as I usually do. Patrick wouldn’t want us to be sad all day, so we try…

Technology | E-mail Management

Okay, I didn’t really do it myself, but this service is worth the small cost.

Too many emails | Credit: Irina Griskova | iStock (under license)

Email should not consume your life. Especially emails sent to your personal address. If your unread emails on your phone are in the hundreds or thousands, what’s the point of even using email?

When I worked for Aetna, email management was vital. If I went even a few days without paying attention to managing the volume of emails, it got out of control.

As a counselor, I don’t get many work-related emails, and I don’t need a special system to manage them. My personal email is an entirely different story!

How many email accounts does one person need?

When internet access became common, Patrick and I got our…

If Paul McCartney comes to town, spend the money and go

Paul McCartney in Fresno, CA | Photo courtesy of the author

In early 2016 I heard that Paul McCartney was coming to Fresno. I have lived in the Fresno area most of my life, and we rarely get concerts of this caliber. When I heard the date of the show, April 13th, I knew we had to go.

My husband, Patrick, turned 49 on April 13, 2016. Patrick was a bit of a miser, and I knew better than to ask his opinion on whether I should spend a boatload of money on concert tickets. I decided I would ask for forgiveness instead of permission.

I was too excited to wait…

A fun thrift store family game

Thrift store finds | Credit: Sophie Walster | iStock (under license)

I never would have made it if I could not have laughed. It lifted me momentarily out of this horrible situation, just enough to make it livable. — Viktor Frankl

Laughter has always been an essential element in my family. When my husband, Patrick, died in 2016, we depended on laughter to lift us from the depression of grief.

Patrick had a dry sense of humor, and it was legendary in our family. My daughters, Sierra and Camille, share their father’s sense of humor, and it has gotten us through many difficult times.

One of our favorite things to do…

His watch has kept time for nearly five years

Patrick’s watch | Photo by Danell teNyenhuis Black (author)

When a loved one dies, there is an odd feeling of time pausing and then rushing forward. If you are grieving, this can be an uncomfortable sensation. You want to stay locked in the memories, but you are unwillingly pulled forward.

This happens a lot in life, even when you are not grieving. One of my favorite vacation spots is Catalina Island, off the coast of Southern California. I’ve always had a great time there, and I never want to leave.

When it’s time to go, you line up on the dock to board the ferry. You think of how…

There’s not a manual, and it’s okay to make it up as you go.

Doing grief on our terms | Credit: Danell teNyenhuis Black (author)

Grief is a strange experience. Sometimes you know it’s coming, and it’s a long, drawn-out process. Grief can also visit you in surprising, shocking ways. No matter how it happens, life rarely prepares us for it.

Nearly five years into my grief journey, I can reflect on a few things that made it easier to move forward. I’m not writing a manual because every journey is different. Instead, I will share what worked well for me.

The Concept of Tragedy

I used to think that real tragedies only happened to other people. Sure, I had experienced tragedies. I had front-row seats for several of…


My most popular articles

Danell teNyenhuis Black

Widow, Mother, Wife, Associate Professional Clinical Counselor. Recovering Republican trying to find my way.

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