About Marianna

I am not famous, perfect, skinny, or rich, but I am earnest. I laugh a lot and I’ve overcome hardships, probably just like you.

Nearly everything came late to me. Confidence. Being honest about my vulnerabilities. Dropping perfection. Learning intimacy. But I’ve been attentive to my life for a long time. I reside inside my skin and have some things to say. I’m not afraid to write or speak about the intimate stories of my life, and I’m respectful of the privacy of others.

Mostly, these days, I’m learning to take what comes, let go of what goes, feel it all, and be more courageous with my love.

If my life were a stage play, I’d say that in act one, I knelt at the fire of grief. In the second act, I served at the altar of two good non-profit organizations. And now, as the third act opens, life has picked me up, turned me 180 degrees toward an inner landscape and said, “Now... attend to love.”

There is a Sioux Indian legend that says, “The longest journey you will make in your life is from your head to your heart.” I have not arrived at that destination, (do we ever?) but on a good day, I find myself at home in the neighborhood.


I’ve been working most of my life to improve the quality of life on earth.

In 1988, I founded Children to Children—a Center for Children and Families in Grief which has brought healing to thousands of children and adults in Tucson, Arizona. Today, I serve as a Lifetime Emeritus Board Member of Tu Nidito, the parent agency for Children to Children.

I started my tenure in 1998 as Executive Director of Bread for the Journey–a national philanthropic organization dedicated to grass-roots, neighborhood giving, founded by author, therapist and minister, Wayne Muller. From just a single chapter in Santa Fe, NM, it grew to become a national organization with affiliate chapters throughout the United States that have given away over 3 million dollars. It was there I learned about generosity from the inside out.

Being There for Someone in Grief, my first book, contains essential lessons for supporting people grieving from death, loss, and trauma. My second book, coming in 2018, Stitching the Heart Back Together opens our ideas of grief and suffering to include the ways generosity and love lift us. It shows how our losses deepen our capacity for love. It reveals the way a dark night can ironically lift high our regard for generosity and kindness—illuminating its astonishing breadth of influence. Grief is hard, but there are things we can know which make that hard job just a little bit easier. 

Join me.
I'll keep you up-to-date on my work, and I promise not to share your address with anyone.