Monday, October 31, 2011

Tuesday's Trust - 'Tis the Optional Season!

Tuesday's Trust

'Tis the Optional Season!

For the past two years, we have not "done" Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is now just three weeks away. From this distance, we are thinking maybe we can have the family over again (just our little family - our son Nathan, our son Rollin, his wife/our daughter-in-law Stephanie, and their baby/our new grand baby Ellie). But then again, we pause, and question ourselves…

Are we lying to ourselves???

What can and can't we do these days?

How different are we?

One hazard for me is having to celebrate the holiday at a certain given time, and I have no idea how I am going to be at that given time. Putting holiday pressure on myself (on top of my-already-demanding-grief) feels claustrophobic -- nowhere to run, nowhere to hide if all expectations are there to "perform."

There are cultural expectations for the holiday. There are familial expectations for the holiday, so there is some level of anxiety beginning to creep in. Early on in our grief, we didn't think in terms of options as we do now. We just felt we had to "celebrate." Now we give ourselves room to have "options"!

Otherwise, it seems like a "holiday" could easily turn into a "get-through-it" day.

So a day that should be "special" for the intended sweetness entailed in it, could become more like a "going through the motions" day, just trying to keep our deep sorrow at bay…

Last year, my family-of-origin down in Georgia had a combination Thanksgiving Dinner AND Birthday Celebration for my precious mother. I knew I could not do that get-together because a large crowd of family is too overwhelming for my system now. But it made the holiday especially sad because I couldn't be with my mother to celebrate a special time with her. (What was great though was, as it turned out, my 97-year-old mother didn't even want to go!!!)

(I wish just my mother and I could have gotten together. That was our style when I went home to visit -- just she and I would spend time together, maybe one brother and his wife would come over for a little while, but most of the time, it was the two of us (and one of her helpers). We would have the best times together. Quality time. Relaxed. Unhurried. Special. Often we would laugh together. And often, we would cry together. (We were both child-loss parents, so we had that in common; we each "got it.") So sweet.

But, I digress… So as of right now, I have no idea what we'll do.

But I do hope for some sort of sweet quality fellowship with my precious "little" family.

We'll take it one step at a time and trust that the best solution surfaces . . .

What about you?

What are your holiday plans so far?

(There is a sweet story about holidays and loss that goes with today's picture; you might want to check it out at the following blog site:)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Monday's Mourning Ministry - Knowing What I Know About Heaven ~Sarah Darling

Monday's Mourning Ministry

Knowing What I Know About Heaven

~Sarah Darling

I bet the trumpets played

And the angels sang

Every sweet refrain

Of Amazing Grace

And that Heaven's hands

Opened up the Gate

And the children danced

When they saw your face

As happy as they were to see you coming,

I was just as sad to have to watch you go

Oh but

Knowing what I know about Heaven

Believing that you're all the way Home

Knowing that you're Somewhere Better

Is all I need to let you go

I could hope that I could pray you back

But why on earth would I do that

When you're somewhere Life and Love never ends

Oh just

Knowing what I know about Heaven…

For every single voice

Makes a joyful noise

How sweet the sound

As the saints rejoice

To every broken heart and every wounded soul

New Life begins on the Streets of Gold

With every tear that's raining here from my eyes,

I know the sun is shining where you are


Knowing what I know about Heaven

Believing that you're all the way Home

Knowing that you're Somewhere Better

Is all I need to let you go

I could hope that I could pray you back

But why on earth would I do that

When you're somewhere Life and Love never ends

Oh just

Knowing what I know about Heaven

I could hope that I could pray you back

But why on earth would I do that

When you're somewhere Life and Love never ends

Oh just

Knowing what I know about Heaven…

Friday, October 28, 2011

Saturday's Sayings - Looking Up Amidst Grief

"You look in front of you and there is drama;

You look behind you there's (chaos);

You look to your right and there's anger;

You look to your left there's pain;

Which way do you look?

You look UP;

You look up drawing faith and courage to soar above it all."

~Grieving Mothers

Saturday's Sayings

Looking Up Amidst Grief

Be cautious of the word (and concept) of 'closure'. While there are levels of healing, I do not believe that full closure is possible. We are always connected to our loved ones in obvious and mysterious ways. Closure is not for the human heart . . . it is for business transactions! Learning to live with loss means staying connected to your loved one even as you begin to move forward into a new chapter of living and loving.

~from Wall photos of the late Debra Tuohy, grieving mother


A Memory Hug

Your loss has left a hold in our heart

That hole never goes away...

We learn to live with it

With acceptance of the loss

and changes in our lives, the pain lessens.

Eventually memories fill up the space,


Then, when you least expect,

a memory spills out of the hole in your heart

and washes your (heart) clean again with tears.

Think of it as a


~by grieving mother, Lois Baker


‎12 long years and I long to see your face
to hold you in my arms again to feel your sweet embrace.
Not a day passes that you (aren't) on my mind, and in my heart
12 long years and I still grieve for you sweetheart.

~by grieving mother, Sheila Simmons regarding her son Steven


You are forever changed after a major loss. You cannot expect to be the same person any longer. If people ask when you'll be your 'old self' again, you need to let them know that a new self is emerging. You might not know yet who that new self is, but you will gradually live into the answer. Know that even as you're changed by loss, you have also been changed by a profound love that lives within you still.



So You Want to Understand?

You say to me, "It's been a year,

When will your grieving end?

Why can't you be like once you were,

my smiling and happy friend?"

If you really want an answer,

though I wonder if you do,

I'll take you deep inside me

where sadness dims the view.

First, my friend, for your sake,

come close and take my hand,

and we will pray that what I share,

you won't ever have to understand.

The "me" you once knew is no more,

it died right with my child,

a voice was stilled forever,

yet the echo drives me wild.

You say you lost Aunt Bertha,

so you have known death too,

Aunt Bertha, however, was not your child,

and she was 80, not 22.

I barely survived those first few months,

coping was a dreadful task,

I'd tell you I was doing fine

while sobbing behind my mask.

If I talked about my precious child

you turned away in fear,

you couldn't stand to see me cry,

nor would you share my tear.

I wanted you to speak of him,

please, won't you say his name?

But you pretended he never was,

so he died over and over again.

Oh, I see that you're uncomfortable,

you no longer want my hand,

so as it was before we talked, my friend,

you don't want to understand.

Author Unknown


I align myself with people who support my growth. If you meet someone whose soul is not aligned with yours, send them love and move along.

~Dr. Wayne Dyer, contributed by •*´¨¸.• ´*.*¸.•dotsie


"The death of a child is the single most traumatic even in medicine. To lose a child is to lose a piece of yourself."

~Dr. Burton Grebin


Resilience refers to the ability to be able to cope with adversity. The human spirit is quite resilient naturally. Although you may be feeling exhausted, weak, and broken, those experiences are actually a form of strength. Letting yourself grieve takes tremendous courage. And then . . . you keep getting up and doing what needs to be done. Try thinking of yourself as resilient, knowing that the entire up and down process of living with loss is contained in that word.



I came to believe

As bereaved parents, one of the hardest things there is to accept is that our child is really gone. He or she won’t come home again, won’t walk through that door, yelling, “What’s for dinner?” It’s hard to get to the point at which we believe that we can go on living or that we can even believe they are really, finally gone from this plane of existence. Personally, I don’t believe they are ever really “gone” from us. I’ve seen too much to the contrary. But we certainly can’t put our hands on them.

I saw an affirmation the other day for a 12-step program that said:

  • We came
  • We came to
  • We came to believe

This set of statements roughly conforms to the first three steps in AA and Al-Anon:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

We can substitute our situation in this set of statements like so:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over our child’s death–that our lives had become unmanageable
  2. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him

What does this mean? It means that eventually, out of our abject and intractable grief, we will find that we are still living, still breathing, still waking up every day. We have to then make the decision that we will look around us and see the mess that has happened since the worst day of our lives. No blame here. It’s just the way it is. Our lives fell apart that day, and rightfully so. Who ever expects to lose a child when we first seek to conceive one? None of us. But we do carry on. We do wake up, and we have to deal with the unmanageable state of our lives.

Finally, regardless of what you believe, whether your higher power is an all-knowing, omnipotent God..., you will look somewhere for help. You will look to a sane being for some sanity. You will realize that this problem is bigger than you are and that you need to talk to someone, pray to someone, or just walk out in nature and breathe in the scent of the rain.

Those first simple steps are your road back to sanity. Nothing is as painful or as insane as losing your child, but (there) is life after loss. We didn’t die. It’s the truth. And we will go on until it is our time to go. Taking a few steps in the right direction, even dancing around them, will lead you back to a good place.

Peace and love, D

~by grieving mother Doris E. Pavlichek, posted 9/15/2011


You are more than your grief. It is overwhelming at times, yes. It is all consuming at times, yes. And then a wave passes. Grief is part of your life experience now, but it is not the whole of you. You are a deep and vast Spirit who knows love and has been shaped by sorrow. You are more than your grief.



It takes enormous strength and courage to walk into the valley of the shadow of grief. Even as you are broken by your sorrow, you are whole in your brokenness. Tears, grieving, moving on day after day, bearing heartbreak, choosing life -- each of these experiences makes you stronger. You may feel weak as you crumble, but in truth, you are strong as you dare to touch the tender center of living and loving.

~By Transcending Loss: Understanding the lifelong impact of grief

contributed by grieving mother, Samantha Hart Tripp

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Friday's Faith - Till Our Faith Becomes Sight…

Friday's Faith

Till Our Faith Becomes Sight…

My brother sent your pictures in the mail;

They pierced through my heart, sharp as a nail.

(Why couldn't you hear us that fatal day?

You made your decision; you had your say.)

Now we're left without you, our world's not right;

Ev'rybody else here, you're not in sight.

We thought we had grieved and grieved and grieved, yet

We see your picture; grief's bad as it can get.

Our hearts are broken; our world is just crushed.

Lord, touch our hearts with Your gentle sweet hush;

We don't receive all our promises here,

But one day we'll see our loved one so dear.

She is with You; she's okay; she's alright.

Just because we can't see her in our sight

Does not mean You have not crushed death's vile blight.

You died so that our faith will become sight:

When we reach the shore where there's no more night,

We'll see our baby ~ a beautiful sight;

We'll be together; our world will be right!

We'll live in the warmth of Your love, Your light.

Guard our hearts now while we live death's dark night,

Encourage us while we finish our fight.

You comfort and caress amidst our plight,

For You've lived the loss of Your Son, Your Delight…

Please keep us close, held in Your arms so tight;

Draw near through Death's Darkness, till our faith becomes sight!

Poem - Till Our Faith Becomes Sight... - Angie Bennett Prince - edited 10/27/2011

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Thursday's Therapy - Complicated Mourning? I'll Say!

Up From the Ruins...

Snow plant grows in the thick humus of mountainous coniferous forests from 4000' to 8000' high.

A Sierra Wildflower: Snowplant from Carson Iceberg Wilderness

The Snow Plant is so rare, it is protected by Law!

Thursday's Therapy

Complicated Mourning? I'll Say!

When a loss hits us,

we have not only the particular loss to mourn

but also the shattered beliefs and assumptions

of what life should be.

These life beliefs must be mourned separately.

Sometimes we must grieve for them first.

We can't grieve the loss if we are in the midst of

"It's not supposed to happen this way" . . .

We intellectually know that bad things happen ~

but to other people, not us,

and certainly not in the world we assumed we were living in . . .

Your belief system needs to heal and regroup as much as your soul does.

You must start to rebuild a new belief system from the foundation up,

one that has room for the realities of life

and still offers safety and hope for a different life:

a belief system that will ultimately have a beauty of its own

to be discovered with life and loss.

Think of a lifeless forest in which a small plant

pushes its head upward, out of the ruin.

In our grief process, we are moving into life from death,

without denying the devastation that came before.

~Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and David Kessler, in

On Grief and Grieving : Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss

Snow Plant: Sarcodes sanguinea Torrey, Snow Plant, Ericaceae (Heath Family)

Picture and info from the following two sites:

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Wednesday's Woe - No Hits, No Errors, but a Whole Lot of Hurt… ~Tommy Prince

Wednesday's Woe

No Hits, No Errors, but a Whole Lot of Hurt…

~Tommy Prince

I was making a WalMart run. Usually I don't like to see anyone I know when I run errands, but especially this particular day because I was shopping for diapers… not for our granddaughter, but for myself…! Yeah, that's what comes with recovering from prostate surgery!

So, what happened was… in the store, I briefly encounter this guy, recognizing him as a guy that I knew from high school (Yeah, I'm living in the same city that I grew up in), and his son played sports with one of our sons as they were growing up, only his son pursued a professional career in athletics and was called up to the major leagues this summer to play catcher for a professional baseball team. I saw this acquaintance briefly and then he was gone; I began remembering some things about him.

I finished shopping and was leaving the store. As I was approaching my car, I spotted him coming to his vehicle that was parked fairly close to mine. I went over to talk to him. I told him ~ "I've only watched two baseball games this year, yet your son played in both of them, and he was even featured in ESPN Sports Center because of the outstanding plays he made as a catcher!"

As we were talking along and catching up with each other, his question comes back to me, "So what all's been going on with you?" and I haven't seen him in over ten years….

Chronologically, my dad has just died, and I've had a radical prostatectomy in the last few weeks, but I find what comes out of my mouth was,

"Our 19-year-old daughter was killed five years ago!"

It overrode everything, and I heard myself saying how horrible it has been for us. Fortunately he was very kind and told me how sorry he was, and that (the death of a child) sounded AWFUL, and that he can't imagine how bad that is.

We talked about whether or not we go to class reunions, and I heard myself say,

"I don't go very often because this is what would happen -- I would say my daughter got killed, and there's nothing like that for a conversation stopper."

We continued to talk along and ended up on an upbeat note.

So, I walk away from the conversation, glad that it went okay, but feeling so vulnerable. Telling about Merry Katherine's death in a spontaneous encounter like that, and for it to be his first time in hearing the news, effectually exposed my deep woundedess.

This encounter happened on Thursday, but it affected me all weekend. I was depressed all weekend. It's like at some level, I think I have my grief over her death at a "manageable" or at least tolerable level, yet such an encounter tends to blow it wide open.

I was surprised at how I was so powerfully impacted by all (that conversation) in such a negative way. It's like I let the wound out, and it was not going away. And to think, this was actually a positive encounter with a caring dad that, at some level anyway, could "get it."

An innocent conversation with an old acquaintance opens up the woundedness, and it takes three days to get it back to a manageable level. Just a brief encounter, yet I'm down for the count for at least 3 days… And who are those people who think we can somehow be "over" our deep loss? It couldn't get much better than what happened in this impromptu meet-up, yet my heart was sent back to square one…

Picture, thanks to The Compassionate Friends, USA