It hurts to be away from family this holiday season. And it’s not just the pain of missing someone. If you’re feeling extra frustrated and hopeless this season, what you’re experiencing is grief.

Your idea of Thanksgiving and the rest of the holiday season (and spring and summer 2020 for that matter) were taken from you. And no amount of bargaining, good behavior, or money could bring it back. It was out of your control. You have been forced to give up your expectation. It sucks. The feeling you have right now is grief. You’re grieving.

But grief and joy…

Originally written September, 2013. Republished now with minor changes because it’s still so relevant. In fact, she and I still fight at yoga.


She and I got into a fight at yoga yesterday.

The instructor told the class to do this horrible toe-crunching thing and she was like, “I hate this. Stop.”

And I was like, “Cram it. You and I have been together for decades, and I take you to the gym a few times a week even though neither of us want to, specifically so that you can be awesome. …

Landing in Pittsburgh is special.

I’ve flown to Pittsburgh from lots of places. It’s because I’m flying home from somewhere I’ve been temporarily. But I’ve learned a lot from my flightmates en route to the city of bridges. The city of champions. Yinzer central. That old steel town. That obnoxious city with the Steelers, the Pens, Pitt, and some baseball team.

And every time I come home, I see the city through their eyes.

There’s a series of things that happens when one lands in Pittsburgh.

  1. When the captain comes on and indicates we’ve begun our descent, we’ve either just…

You’ve pissed off the last remaining good teachers. And good luck finding/recuruiting new ones.

Fourteen years ago I walked out of college with a music education degree, took a look at the sacrifices I was going to have to make to get a job, let alone keep the job, be happy at the job, and make money at the job. My fellow graduates had to relocate to the only places they could get teaching jobs — Vegas, DC, the Carolinas. They were in bad schools with bad kids making bad money. As music teachers, they were forced to distribute their…

It’s supposed to be a moment of levity in an otherwise bummer of a conversation.

Friend: “She’s probably going to hate anything we get her because unless all of us fly home and appear at her doorstep with her favorite flower, she won’t be satisfied. Anyway, what are you doing for your mom this Mother’s Day?”

Me: “Nothing, really. My mom passed away, actually.”

Friend: “Oh my God, I’m so sorry… you can borrow mine if you want! She’s totally nuts, but she makes a bomb-ass rigatoni.”

I hear this a lot. The loaner mom concept. It’s surprising how often.

Typically, I treat “Medium” as a place to write personal essays — things I would imagine strangers reading more than friends. But strangers DGAF about my year in review. So… sorry strangers. Just wanted to provide the requisite 2016 reflection.

It began at Spirit, a bar/club in Lawrenceville. We waited a really long time in really cold weather to get in, they ran out of food before we could get any, and ran out of champagne after we’d each received the tiniest thimbleful. It wasn’t great, but at least we started 2016 with friends.

January was typical. It was cold…

Animals are fascinating. I love animals, but I also realize that’s like saying “I love music.” Who doesn’t love animals?

I love all animals. I would say I’m predominantly a cat person though, due to two factors:

1) Both of my parents were cat people. I actually think this is somewhat rare. It’s entirely possible that had my parents been dog people and raised us alongside dogs, I would be a dog person.

2) I had a paper route as a child. I think I was probably 8 when I got my paper route. I’m 5'2" as a grown-ass woman…

What are you passionate about?

Do you love your job? Probably not, but kudos to you if you do. Do you love kids? Animals? Politics? Sports? Travel? Cars? Knitting? Vinyl? Really amazing potatoes? Gardening? Netflix? Dating?

You love something. When you have a free second from the other things you’re doing, there’s a thing you think of. Because you love it.

(Spoiler alert) The Pirates lost yesterday.

Growing up, I didn’t like sports. (People who know me are laughing, but I assure you, it’s true. Await the explanation. It’s sad and necessary.)

One reason I didn’t like sports was that…

I hope this message will somehow reach at least one current Mercyhurst student. At the very least, maybe some fellow grads of any institution will read this and be able to relate.

My undergrad Alma mater, Mercyhurst Coll- er- University, has just declared that on some “surprise” day the first week of October, they shall declare it “Hurst Day.” On Hurst Day, all classes will be cancelled (!!), and there will be scavenger hunts with prizes, picnic food, inflatable fun, music, and to top it all off, a steak dinner at the end of the day.

Mercyhurst students — if…

This is my first “story” on Medium. I stumbled upon this site after someone posted a link to this story about a young woman who suddenly became a widow. My fascination with the macabre and my own experiences with death are a huge part of who I am and what I opt to read on the internet instead of being a productive member of society, so I read that, and fell in love with Medium as a site. I plan to post some death-related things here, but first, some light-hearted fun. Here, I bring you a list of things that…

Claire Pfarr

I really enjoy writing on medium because in my daily life I do a lot of ghostwriting in the healthcare IT industry. I love tackling new topics!

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