Marianna Cacciatore, MDiv

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 I can, 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 in act three, I’m writing the things I’ve learned, building an online community of meditators, and growing my 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 but on a good day I find myself at home in the neighborhood.

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 organization with whom we merged in 2000. 

I started my tenure in 1998 as Executive Director of Bread for the Journeya 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, Reinvesting in Life—The Infinite Journey from Grief to Generosity & Love, is about the final task of grief. It expands the scope of grief and suffering to show  how our losses can 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 help us gently traverse the depth of our sorrows without getting lost in despair or cynicism. This book is like a deep bow to grief and a map to its ultimate gift.