GriefSpeak: Revisiting High School as An Author – by Dr. Mari Dias

By: Dr. Mari Dias

I am a proud graduate of Bay View Academy, class of 1970. I am surprised as I write this… Initially, I didn’t want to attend.

“No way. I refuse to go. I’ll run away. I’ll fail the entrance exam.” My 14-year-old self thought that attending classes with all girls (NO BOYS!!!), in the same outfit day in and day out and a two-bus trek to East Providence was analogous to … well… Hell.

I cried, I pleaded. I cajoled. I lost the battle but won the war. My dad offered me a deal.

“Mari, go for one year. Just your freshman year. Give it a chance, have the experience. If you hate it, you can transfer.”

My excitement rallied. Only one year. And not a calendar year – an academic year. Given school vacations and sick days it didn’t seem to be as daunting.

I agreed. The rest is, as they say, history. I loved Bay View. You couldn’t have dragged me out of there. I loved the friendships I made. Mari Nardolillo was assigned a homeroom alphabetically (all the Ms and Ns), so I was with the same girls for four years. I learned how to diagram a sentence, read a book a week, and “memorize, define and include in a sentence 20 new vocabulary words a week.”  

I never anticipated how helpful these lessons would be as a professor.

I did get suspended a few times, for issues today that would be considered de riguer, and shocked that in 2014 I was named Alumna of the Year! Me! The troublemaker! Yet those four years are solidified in my memories. Friendships have lasted 50 years. I miss the consistency, the expected, and the rituals. I felt like I was home.

Since then, I have often driven by, sometimes even parked in the back lot and bask in reverie. I sent my daughter, Lindsay, there as well. (She didn’t argue or cajole).

We just celebrated our 50th reunion. We have lost some, but many of my sisters attended. In April of this year, my book, GriefSpeak: Stories of Loss, Volume 1 was published. I wanted to give back to a high school that afforded me so much. I contacted the “Bay” and offered to host a book signing, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Class of 1970 scholarship fund. My offer was accepted with grace, excitement and gratitude. (The book signing is open to the public, regardless of what high school or year you attended!)

I humbly invite you, my readers, to attend this meet and greet. If you have already purchased the book, I am happy to answer any questions about the stories.

My book is a gift to grievers, past, present and future. It includes stories that normalize the grief narrative, and my wish is that I provide justice to the people who shared their grieving hearts with me.

I hope to meet many of you on Tuesday, May 11, 2021 at 7:30. I have included the link for your ease. Registration is free. Thank you. Be Well. Hope to see you there.

Virtual Book Signing – St. Mary Academy – Bay View (


Dr. Mari Dias is a nationally board-certified counselor, holds a Fellow in Thanatology and is certified in both grief counseling and complicated grief. Dias is a Certified death doula, and has a Certificate in Psychological Autopsy.

She is Professor of Clinical Mental Health, Master of Science program, Johnson & Wales University. Dias is the director of GracePointe Grief Center, in North Kingstown, RI.  For more information, go to:



  1. Bob Nardolillo on May 7, 2021 at 12:12 pm

    Mari I had the same situation with dad when he wanted me to go to LaSalle. Same offer and same results wouldn’t have changed it for the world!