Freedom to Grieve

Protecting grief from "closure," consumerism, politics, and other cultural distortions

A 96-year-old Man’s Grief Lights Up the World

A man writes a love song for his beloved but does not expect what happens next.

An elderly man’s grief is inspiring people around the world thanks to the work of Green Shoe Studio. Possible you are one of the millions who have already heard the story.

About a month after his wife died, Fred Stobaugh wrote a love song for her, “Oh Sweet Lorraine.” He sent the lyrics in for a song contest where songwriter Jacob Colgan enters the story. Jacob set Fred’s lyrics to music and made a mini-documentary about the couple.

Why has Fred’s story and the resulting song become such a hit?

It can be a difficult video to watch because the story touches our fear of losing someone so close. It starkly shows how quickly life passes by. But it also shows that love lasts beyond death.

Fred’s story strikes our fear of mortality while giving us courage to face what comes. And I think deep down we know we would be so lucky to have the love and perspective Fred shares.

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I hope Fred’s story helps people give themselves permission to share their grief, talk about their loved ones, and live life to its fullest.

Fred’s love for his wife continues to touch people’s hearts through Green Shoe Studio. If you have not already, take the time to hear the story and the song inspired from a couple’s love.



Nancy Berns, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Drake University and the author of Closure: The Rush to End Grief and What It Costs Us.


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