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The Energizer Blog

  • Writer's pictureEileen McDargh

Small Stuff Matters... in Life and Death

Dr. Richard Carlson hit international fame with his Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff series. But on December 13, 2006, a pulmonary embolism took Richard’s life and plunged his wife Kristine and two daughters into shock, heartbreak and a journey through grief. Not everything is small stuff. Kristine Carlson’s new book, Heartbroken Open, sits on my desk, waiting for my review. I glance at the pages and what jumps out—even in a cursory fashion—is the value of  the small stuff that connects us to life. It is the small things that friends do when we are  in pain. Small gestures. Small rituals that comfort through their familiar patterns. Small signs of promise--like wedding candles that remain lit when winds off the Columbia Gorge suddenly stop. I already know this book channels raw emotion, brutal honesty, and poignant navigation through the swollen, muddy rivers of grief. I need to read this book-- first and foremost to understand the little things I can do to support friends going through such intense periods. But the other reason I will read this book-and keep it in my library is that I sense Kristine will show me small steps that can help in many other kinds of losses. At the start of another decade, surrounded by disasters, tragedies, downturns,  economic pressure, and unimaginable violence like that which claimed innocent  lives in Tucson, our hearts will break many times.  But it we learn to keep our hearts open, I believe we  can grow to become more authentic and caring people.

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