The Compassionate Friends of Atlanta 

Sharing Ideas for the Holidays

Poems/Candles

Ornamental Memories

Twas the Night Before Christmas

Holidays in Heaven

My Holiday

Thanksgiving

MILLENNIUM CANDLES

Candles in the Night

Lights of Love

"For Children..."

One Little Candle

A Candle for Your Child

~Christmas Without You~

Christmas With The King

A Mother's Christmas Wish

An Angel's Christmas Wish

Angels In Heaven

Christmas In Heaven

Christmas Memories

Going Home For Christmas

I'm Spending Christmas With Jesus This Year

Letter to Santa

Light A Candle

Memory Candles

Santa's Secret Wish

Special Handling Please


Christmas cards  --- to send or not to send, what to write, how to cope with sending a card and to include or not include our child's name in some way...  That is a dilemma facing bereaved parents every year.  The first couple of years after James died we did not send any cards.  Then when I wanted to send cards, it seemed impossible to sign just mine & my husband's name and leave James out.  How to compromise and do something in between?  Every year we've added some verse or quote or phrase that includes James in the card; usually on the other side of the card is something special for that year.   This year I found cards that had three ornaments on the front - three is symbolic to me representing mom, dad & James.   Beside the first red & silver ornament "Remembering the past", next to the second green and silver ornament "Celebrating the present" and next to the third blue & silver ornament "Believing in the future"   - these quotes seem so especially appropriate to how far we've come, this is our 12th Christmas without James.    Then I wanted to come up with a poem about ornaments.   This is what I wrote opposite the card's inside greeting of  - "Wishing you a delightful Christmas filled with joyful memories and bright hopes"   which again is so perfect, what I savor the most about Christmas are memories. 
Hoping everyone has a Christmas with treasured memories of years past, special new memories and treasured gifs of love, hope, joy and peace...
Meg Avery
James' mom
7/15/83 - 9/22/97


Ornamental Memories
 

Ornaments brightly decorate the Christmas tree,
Some delicate, some sturdy, some old, some new,
Different shapes and sizes,
Crystal, glass, wood or ceramic,
Ornaments dangle on the branches,
Catching colors from a window, or a candle,
Or a twinkling light.
The old ornaments bring back memories of Christmases gone by,
The new ornaments represent hope & promises for the future.
And when the holidays are over,
The ornaments safely wrapped & packed away in their boxes
 till next holiday season,
We still recall the priceless ornaments
That are our precious memories.
 Some funny, some happy, some sad,
Times of celebrations, birthdays, holidays, and vacations.
They glow and sparkle in our minds, catching the light of our memory
From hearing a favorite song, or seeing a familiar sight.
We never pack away these ornamental memories, 
We recall them fondly and often, they are cherished & treasured.

They brightly and forever decorate our family tree
Throughout all seasons of our life.

In Loving Remembrance, 
especially at Christmas,
of our son, 
James


 


'Twas the Night Before Christmas" 
~ For Bereaved Parents ~

'Twas the month before Christmas and I dreaded the days,
That I knew I was facing - the holiday craze.
The stores were all filled with holiday lights,
In hopes of drawing customers by day and by night.

As others were making their holiday plans,
My heart was breaking - I couldn't understand.
I had lost my dear child a few years before,
And I knew what my holiday had in store.

When out of nowhere, there arose such a sound,
I sprang to my feet and was looking around,
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash

The sight that I saw took my breath away,
And my tears turned to smiles in the light of the day.
When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a cluster of butterflies fluttering near.
With beauty and grace they performed a dance,
I knew in a moment this wasn't by chance.

The hope that they gave me was a sign from above,
That my child was still near me and that I was loved.
The message they brought was my holiday gift,
And I cried when I saw them in spite of myself.

As I knelt closer to get a better view,
One allowed me to pet it - as if it knew -
That I needed the touch of its fragile wings,
To help me get through the holiday scene.

In the days that followed I carried the thought,
Of the message the butterflies left in my heart -
That no matter what happens or what days lie ahead,
Our children are with us - they're not really dead.

Yes, the message of the butterflies still rings in my ears,
A message of hope - a message so dear.
And I imagined they sang as they flew out of sight,
"To all bereaved parents - We love you tonight!"

 -By Faye McCord - TCF, Jackson, MS
(the following poem is submitted in loving memory of my son, Lane McCord (/26/65 - 9/13/98) and is dedicated to all bereaved parents)

Holidays in Heaven

The Holiday Season is just not the same,
A smile is missing when saying one name.

For parents who’ve lost a daughter or son,
Nothing can bring back the delightful fun,
Of watching them talk, laugh, or just run.

The memories are all that we do have now,
We do go on…..only God knows how.

A New Year comes as midnight arrives,
Our Angels still a big part of our lives.

If only we could trade the presents we receive,
For one more day with those whom we grieve!

But nothing can bring back our beloved child,
The one that laughed, cried, and often smiled.

They are together in a much better place,
Watching us cry…..touching our face!

Although we miss them on Holidays to share,
Be assured their loving presence fills the air,
At home, in church, at New York’s Times Square!

So celebrating the Holidays are now hard to do,
But always remember they are thinking of you too,

Wishing you happiness and showing their love,
Not on this Earth, but from Heaven above!

-Dan Bryl, Lawrenceville, GA TCF
In Memory of his daughter, Jessica
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My Holidays

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
Celebrate with joy and good cheer
But don't blame me if I can't comply
For if I did, it would all be a lie

Be glad that you're you and not me
because the holidays only bring pain you see
My thoughts are of a Christmas past
And only my heartache seems to last

My only son that I loved so dear
That grew into a man, That I saw so clear
Never did I think that he would leave me
especially with all the presents neatly under the tree

I miss his laughter, his giggle, his smiles
For one of those, I would walk a million miles
His presence was a wondrous thing
And his absence has brought this poisonous sting

My other kids just don't understand
why I can't seem to make a life plan
This, I won't get over and that won't change
I now know love on a different range

So go, be happy and shout with glee
But please don't look with disappointment at me
For my child is in Heaven and I miss him so
Just be on your merry way, but I can't go.

~by Judy Craig, West Memphis, AR
In Memory of her son Larry "Travis " Shaun Carter
10/27/72 - 12/24/98
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THANKSGIVING 

The time draws near 
And the calendar says 
Thanksgiving is really here.

Time to reflect and time to gather 
Thoughts of what to be thankful of.

Thankful? I think not.
My life is not full these days
And to be thankful is beyond my grasp.

But to give thanks? This, I believe, can be done. 
Searching my soul deep within 
Reasons to give thanks surface to the edge

Yes, I give thanks 
For the memories of yesterdays, 
The love, the laughter, the joy of each day when James was with us 
The trials & tribulations of being an active parent,
The rewards & the challenges of raising a child, 
The days of blissful ignorance when I thought tragedy would never visit our home, 
The days when life was normal, even though I took it all for granted. 
For the treasures of todays, 
The sunrise, sunset, the changing of the seasons, 
The new found friends along this journey I reluctantly travel 
The tried & true friends who stand by me still,
The strong and everlasting love of my husband 
The warmth of wet kisses from my canine companion & feline friend,
The encouragement & support, compassion & caring I give & receive as 
I survive and help others survive. 
For the hopes and possibilites of a peaceful tomorrow, 
With faith, love, & perseverance as I struggle to move on 
With James in my heart forevermore, spiritually guiding me with his new presence, 
With sorrow and reluctance, each new day, 
To yet, somehow, be open and loving, 
Not to forsake what I've learned Because of what I've lost. 

You see, it's not about keeping up with the Jones' having an SUV or two in the garage, having the largest beanie baby collection having so many CD's, video games, or the newest, most improved, latest and greatest new gadgets, not even being up to date with state of the art technology -

It's about love - it's about the gifts of yesterday, blended with the blessings of today to make meaning for tomorrow.

Meg Avery (James' mom)
TCF Lawrenceville, Ga

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MILLENNIUM CANDLES 

For National Children’s Memorial Day and 4th Annual Worldwide Candle Lighting 

December 10, 2000 

As December’s second Sunday 

Does approach its 19th hour... 

Special sunset for this one day 

Of exquisite Candle Power! 

Starting in the Land Down Under 

As the strokes of seven chime, 

Waves so bright—rip night asunder 

“...that their light may always shine!” 

Lustrous gleams worldwide are glowing, 

Circling this earthly sphere, 

Love, remembrance we’re showing 

For beloved children, dear! 

Dancing lights each tell a story, 

Represent a precious one, 

Send them shimmering up to Glory, 

Let our beams eclipse the sun! 

Down concentric paths we’re roaming 

Moving o’er the grassy park, 

Singing softly in the gloaming, 

Whisper names ‘round velvet dark! 

Now, ‘tis thru ‘til next December, 

Tho’ the candles flicker still, 

Sparkling stars we do remember, 

In our hearts, and always will! 

Vicki Douglas-Otto TCF, Tucson, Arizona

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Candles in the Night

Candles flame in darkness,

flicker, steadily glow,

bringing light from shadows

and help to soothe us so.

Our daughter, like the candles,

gave our lives true light.

We use the candle's beacon

to connect us in the night.

As we light the candles,

our wish and our request

is that she'll see our signal

and know our love's expressed.

As her light joins our light

our worlds touch and flame

As we put the candles out

we softly say her name...

~written by Genesse Bourdeau Gentry, 
from her collection of poetry, Stars in the Deepest Night - After the Death of a Child

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Lights of Love

Can you see our candles 
Burning in the night? 
Lights of love we send you
Rays of purest white

Children we remember 
Though missing from our sight 
In honor and remembrance 
We light candles in the night

All across the big blue marble 
Spinning out in space 
Can you see the candles burning 
From this human place?

Oh, angels gone before us 
Who taught us perfect love 
This night the world lights candles 
That you may see them from above

Tonight the globe is lit by love 
Of those who know great sorrow, 
But as we remember our yesterdays
Let's light one candle for tomorrow

We will not forget, 
And every year in deep 
December On Earth we will light candles 
As................we remember

Written by TCF Member Jacqueline Brown For National Children's Memorial Day

Jacqueline Brown Peace Valley TCF, New Britain PA

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For Children's Memorial Day Worldwide Candle Lighting December 10, 2000

We light these candles in the winternight 
Reminding our world of grief and loss. 
We are a part of love, in tender league 
With grievers everywhere a part of us.

A slow and shiny dance of candlelight 
Now makes its way from hand to loving hand 
For children who were once by our side
But have their home now in another land

The chain of candles sends its gentle glow
Around the planet as the hours pass
And every candle carries joyful tears, 
A song of light to celebrate what was.

The children are with us, a friendly band, 
They know the meaning of these candles best 
They hear the love, they see the message move 
Around the world, alive from east to west.

Let our candlelight remind the world 
That all the children who have left this life
And all the children who are with us now 
are kindred spirits when they first arrive.

And as the candlelight sends forth its glow 
'cross artificial borders man invents,
let our children say again "
we know that peace on earth must be what life intends."

Now in the sky, the peaceful stars behold 
Not only what we do, but what we mean -- 
Be our memories new or scarred and old, 
The stars will not forget what they have seen.

We light these candles in the winternight 
Reminding our world of grief and loss.
We are a part of love, in tender league 
With grievers everywhere a part of us.

By sascha - © 1999

Initially written for the Global Candle Lighting in Denver, at the request of Helen Holden, TCF Chapter Leader, Loretta's mother.

Reprint permission to The Compassionate Friends 

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ONE LITTLE CANDLE

I lit a candle tonight, in honor of you
Remembering your life, and all the times we'd been through.

Such a small little light the candle made
until I realized how much in darkness it lit the way.

All the tears I've cried in all my grief and pain
what a garden they grew,watered with human rain

I sometimes can't see beyond the moment, in hopeless dispair
But then your memory sustains me, in heartaches repair.

I can wait for the tomorrow,when my sorrows ease 
Until then,I'll light this candle, and let my memories run free

~written by Sheila Simmons, Dallas, GA
In Memory of Steven Simmons
3-24-70 - 10-19-99

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A Candle for Your Child

Today you will light a little white candle
and say aloud your child's name. 
For one fateful day, your life was changed. 
The holidays will never be the same.

Today you will light a little white candle
and hang an ornament on a special tree.
Who would have thought you would be in this place? 
Sharing your child as a memory.

Today you will light a little white candle, 
a small gesture to some others. 
Here we share the pain of our loss, 
with Mothers, Fathers, Sisters & Brothers.

Today you will light a little white candle, 
and as you gaze into the flame, 
may comforting memories flood your mind, 
as you proudly say your child's name.

Today you will light a little white candle, 
With us your compassionate friends...
For all of us know that though they're not here, 
our Love for Them NEVER ends.

Tammy Tobac for TCF service 1996 
in memory of my brother Tommy Dolby

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~Christmas Without You~

It's going to be a sad Christmas this year
without your laughter & without your cheer. 
I'll miss the sight of you with your Santa's hat, 
and the smile you shared from where you sat. 

I'll think about all the Christmas's in the past,
and hold to the memories that slipped so fast.
For they're all I have left to remember,
on this sad Christmas morning in December. 

I'll think about you and cherish each though; 
I'll think of your smile & the happiness it brought. 
And as I listen to the church bells ring, 
your voice will echo as the choirs sing. 

I can never tell you, my love, how sad it will be 
to spend Christmas without you here with me. 
I just wish you'd touch my heart in such a way,
that I could live through the pain of Christmas Day. 

And, help me to remember that your love 
is still sent to me from the Heavens above. 
And although you won't decorate my Christmas tree, 
Your spirit will light the lights for me to see.

Oh, I'll hear your voice in each Christmas song. 
I'll see your face in each child that comes along. 
And although my heart will be broken and torn... 
I'll know you're with Jesus on this Christmas morn. 

No, Christmas won't be the same without your smiling face
but I'll know you're in a much better place.
I'll think of my precious child in everything I do... 
Cause, it just won't be "Christmas Without You!" 

Written by Kaye Des'Ormeaux 
Copyright 1998 Kaye Des'Ormeaux 
Dedicated to Karen in memory of Jamie 
http://www.geocities.com/Wellesley/Garden/4922/
~reprinted with permission

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Christmas With the King

To my dearest family that I left behind, 
I need to touch your heart tonight.
For it's Christmas and you're missing me,
And the season doesn't seem so bright.

While others are celebrating the holiday, 
you find it hard to do the same.
You watch other families gather in splendor,
while you tearfully mention my name.

I know it was painful for you this year, 
to decorate your Christmas tree.
For you cried as you hung each ornament. 
Your thoughts were focused on me.

You shopped for presents for others. 
Although you felt out of place.
When each day was over,
I could see loneliness written on your face.

You can't seem to get into the spirit. 
To enjoy any festivities this year. 
But think of the Christmases in the past,
and you'll feel my presence near.

Yes, and I come tonight to let you know 
I'm happier than I could ever be.
I'm spending my Christmas in Heaven; 
With the one who died for me.

So go out and feel that Christmas cheer.
Listen to the choirs as they sing. 
And know that I'm happier than I've ever been... 
Spending Christmas with the King.

Written by Kaye Des'Ormeaux
Copyright 1999 Kaye Des'Ormeaux
~reprinted with permission

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SPECIAL HANDLING PLEASE

I was handed a package the other day.
It was wrapped securely to be mailed away 
Attached to the outside as plain as could be
Was a simple note for all to see.

Please rush through the holiday season;
Too painful to open for any reason.
Contained within, find one broken heart- 
Fragile, broken, falling apart.

Tried to go shopping the other day; 
The hype of the season blew me away.

Sat down to write cards, 
That was insane.
Couldn't find the list 
Or think of my name.

People say, 
"Come over, be of good cheer." 
"Celebrate the holidays,
Prepare a New Year."

But my grief overwhelms me
Like waves in the sea.
Can they cope with my crying,
an unsettled me?

I don't have any holiday cheer. 
Decorations, traditions, big family meal 
I can't do this year.
Do you know how I feel?

Guilty and frustrated!
I've let everyone down!
Our holiday celebrations 
used to be the best in town.

So just ship me away 
Address unknown 
When my grief is better
I might fly home.

author Mary J. Pinkava `lovingly lifted from http://www.geocities.com/Wellesley/Garden/4922/christma.htm

Santa's Secret Wish

On Christmas Eve, a young boy with light in his eyes
Looked deep into Santa's, to Santa's surprise 
And said as he sat on Santa's broad knee,
"I want your secret. Tell it to me." 
He leaned up and whispered in Santa's good ear 
"How do you do it, year after year?"
"I want to know how, as you travel about, 
Giving gifts here and there, you never run out.
How is it, Dear Santa, that in your pack of toys 
You have plenty for all of the world's girls and boys? 
Stays so full, never empties, as you make your way 
From rooftop to rooftop, to homes large and small, 
From nation to nation, reaching them all?" 
And Santa smiled kindly and said to the boy,
"Don't ask me hard questions. Don't you want a toy?"
But the child shook his head, and Santa could see 
That he needed the answer. "Now listen to me," 
He told that small boy with the light in his eyes, 
"My secret will make you sadder and wise.
"The truth is that my sack is magic.
Inside It holds millions of toys for my Christmas Eve ride.
But although I do visit each girl and each boy
I don't always leave them a gaily wrapped toy. 
Some homes are hungry, some homes are sad,
Some homes are desperate, some homes are bad.
Some homes are broken, and the children there grieve. 
Those homes I visit, but what should I leave? 
"My sleigh is filled with the happiest stuff,
But for homes where despair lives toys aren't enough.
So I tiptoe in, kiss each girl and boy, 
And I pray with them that they'll be given the joy
Of the spirit of Christmas, the spirit that lives
In the heart of the dear child who gets not, but gives.
"If only God hears me and answers my prayer, 
When I visit next year, what I will find there 
Are homes filled with peace, and with giving, and love 
And boys and girls gifted with light from above.
It's a very hard task, my smart little brother, 
To give toys to some, and to give prayers to others.
But the prayers are the best gifts, the best gifts indeed, 
For God has a way of meeting each need. 
"That's part of the answer. The rest, my dear youth, 
Is that my sack is magic. And that is the truth. 
In my sack I carry on Christmas Eve day
More love than a Santa could e`er give away. 
The sack never empties of love, or of joys 
`Cause inside it are prayers, and hope. 
Not just toys. The more that I give, the fuller it seems,
Because giving is my way of fulfilling dreams.
"And do you know something? You've got a sack, too.
It's as magic as mine, and it's inside of you.
It never gets empty, it's full from the start. 
It's the center of lights, and love. It's your heart.
And if on this Christmas you want to help me, 
Don't be so concerned with the gifts `neath your tree. 
Open that sack called your heart, and share 
Your joy, your friendship, your wealth, your care." 
The light in the small boy's eyes was glowing. 
"Thanks for your secret. I've got to be going." 
"Wait, little boy," Said Santa, "don't go.
Will you share? Will you help? Will you use what you know?" 
And just for a moment the small boy stood still, 
Touched his heart with his small hand and whispered, "I will."

By Betty Werth

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A Mother's Christmas Wish

I guess if I could make just one Christmas wish, 
I would wish I could see you. 
To hold, to snuggle, to just kiss, 
This is something I'd really like to do. 

My arms ache for my baby boy, 
Who will always remain just that. 
To never grow and experience joy,
I wish I knew where you were at. 

Why is it God thought he needed you more than I,
And why is it wishes can't come true? 
I am just an aching heart who can only ask why, 
And a mother who can't let go of you. 

Please God grant me this one Christmas wish, 
If just for a minute, an hour or a day.
He is someone I really need & miss, 
What more must I say? 

Written By: Beckie/HeavensAngel

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Christmas In Heaven

We’re wondering what Christmas in Heaven is like 
As we grieve alone and pray, 
longing for one who has gone before 
To spend Christmas in Heaven today. 

And so in our dreams we wander far 
From the scenes and sounds of earth 
‘Til we catch the strains of the Heavenly choir 
As they sing of the Christ Child’s birth. 

The Angels we envision there 
As they join in the restal gay
And there amid the throng is our Loved One
Spending Christmas in Heaven today. 

There’s joy in the faith that teaches 
When our life’s work is done
Of a place in Heaven awaiting 
And the crown we worked for is won. 

In our grief may we learn well the lesson 
So to work and suffer and pray
As to merit the joys of our loved one 
And to spend Christmas together some day.

~author unknown

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Letter to Santa

Snowflakes softly falling 
upon your window they play 
Your blankets snug around you, 
into sleep you drift away.

I bend to gently kiss you, 
when I see that on the floor
There's a letter, neatly written 
I wonder who its for.

I quietly unfold it making 
sure you're still asleep,
It's a Christmas list for Santa 
one my heart will always keep.

It started just as always
with the toys seen on TV, 
A new watch for your father 
and a winter coat for me.

But as my eyes read on 
I could see deep inside
There were many things you wished for
that your loving heart would hide.

You asked if your friend Molly
could have another Dad;
It seems her father hits her
and it makes you very sad.

Then you asked dear Santa
if the neighbors down the street 
Could find a job, that they might have some food,
and clothes, and heat.

You saw a family on the news 
whose house had blown away,
"Dear Santa, send then just one thing,
a place where they can stay."

"And Santa, those four cookies 
that I left you for a treat. 
Could you take them to the children 
who have nothing else to eat."

"Do you know that little bear 
I have, the one I love so dear? 
I'm leaving it for you to take 
to Africa this year."

And as you fly your reindeer 
on this night of Jesus' birth, 
Could your magic bring to everyone
Goodwill and Peace on Earth."

"There's one last thing before you go, 
so grateful I would be,
If you'd smile at Baby Jesus 
in the manger by our tree."

I pulled the letter close to me' 
I felt it melt my heart. 
Those tiny hands had written
what no other could impart.

"And a little child shall lead them,"
was whispered in my ear 
As I watched you sleep on Christmas Eve
while Santa Claus was here.

~sent by Jean Spinka
Author Unknown

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I wrote this for the Compassionate Friends Holiday Candlelighting Ceremony 
for all who have suffered the loss of a child.

Angels in Heaven

We have angels in heaven 
Who look down on us here
while the world all around us says 
"Be of good cheer!" 

Everyone else is bustling about 
We simply watch it go by, 
yet we just want to shout~ 
Don't you know it's not merry 
at this time of year,
when our lives feel so empty 
and our eyes fill with tears. 

We can't bear the thought of another holiday
without our precious loved one 
who was taken away. 
But your child's spirit does live on, 
though their physical being may be gone.
Look around and you will see
their soul lives on in your memory. 
You'll see your child's eyes so bright 
In every twinkling Christmas light.

There are angels in heaven 
Who look down on us here 
And they are trying to tell us,
Don't worry we're near! 
We love you and miss you, 
we'll never be far...
Just look to the sky 
and the bright Christmas star.

Take a special moment 
throughout these blessed days 
to remember me in the kindest of ways... 
Give my smile to a person, 
who needs it like you,
and my spirit will live on 
through the things that you do.

Tammy L. Tobac 1993

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~Christmas In Heaven~

In Loving Memory of all who are spending their first Christmas in Heaven 

I've had my first Christmas in Heaven;
A glorious, wonderful day! 
I stood with the saints of the ages.
Who found Christ the Truth and the Way.

We sang the glad songs of redemption, 
How Jesus to Bethlehem came,
And how they called His name Jesus,
That all might be saved through His name.

Oh darling, I wish you had been here; 
No Christmas on earth could compare
With all the rapture and glory 
We witnessed in Heaven so fair.

You know how I always loved Christmas;
It seemed such a wonderful day, 
With all of my loved ones around me, 
The children so happy at play.

Yes, now I see why I loved it; 
And, oh, what a joy it will be 
When you and my loved ones are with me, 
To share in the glories I see.

So dear ones on earth, here's my greeting; 
Look up "till the Day Star appears, 
And oh, what a Christmas awaits us, 
Beyond all our partings and tears! 

~written by A.S. Reitz 

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`lovingly lifted from My Mom Is A Survivor

LIGHT A CANDLE

And I will light a candle for you. 
To shatter all the darkness and bless the times we knew.
Like a beacon in the night. 
The flame will burn bright 
and guide us on our way. 
Oh, today I light a candle for you. 
The seasons come and go, 
And I'm weary of the change.
I keep moving on, 
you know it's not the same.
And when I'm walking all alone, 
Do you hear me call your name?
Do you her me sing the songs we used to sing? 
You filled my life with wonder,
Touched me with surprise,
I always saw that something special deep within Your eyes. 
And through the good times and the bad, 
We carried on with pride.
I hold onto the love and life we knew.

~Paul Alexander

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Christmas Memories

When snowflakes dance on winter winds
And colored lights shine Christmas cheer,

When children's laughter fills the air
And family gathers from far and near,
I try to celebrate with them
And not let my hurting show,
But the empty spaces within my heart,
At this season, seems to grow
'Till oftentimes it fills the days
And many nighttimes too,
With aching thoughts and memories
Of Christmases I spent with you.
Yes, memories do hurt, it's true
But I have this feeling too.

I'm so glad I hold these memories,
For with them I hold part of you.
So for now I'll wipe away the tears
And join with loved ones dear
To celebrate this Christmas time,
For I know that, in my heart, you're here.

Arden Lansing, TCF Monmouth County, NJ

~written by Sandy Siewers, a close friend, written in memory of Cassandra Radke
~lovingly lifted from TCF Wabash Valley Chapter Newsletter - 1998

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An Angel's Christmas Wish

I looked through the clouds and what did I see,
The face of my mother, and her thoughts were of me.
He eyes filled with tears and her face looked so sad,
My wings fluttered softly and I felt so bad;
For I could do nothing to change how she felt,
Nor could I alter the hand fate had dealt.
My tears fell like raindrops, my heart felt so tight,
I lifted my face to heaven and told God of my plight,
For I can never be free just to fly,
As long as there's one lonely tear in your eye.
My years on earth were spent to please you, 
And though what has happened was not my own choice,
The plan, my mother dear, came from a much higher voice.
As the birthday of our Savior and Lord draws so near,
I have a small plea I would like you to hear,
Remember me, Mom, with happiness and smiles,
And know when you do my soul will soar miles.
My wings will be light, and my heart will be free,
In the brightest sunshine is where you'.. see me.

~written by Sandy Siewers, a close friend, written in memory of Cassandra Radke
~lovingly lifted from TCF Wabash Valley Chapter Newsletter - 1998

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Going Home For Christmas

He little knew the sorrow that was in his vacant chair; 
He never guessed they'd miss him, or he'd surely have been there; 
He couldn't see his mother or the lump that filled her throat,
Or the tears that started falling as she read his hasty note; 
And he couldn't see his father, sitting sorrowful and dumb,
Or he never would have written that he thought he couldn't come. 

He little knew the gladness that his presence would have made,
And the joy it would have given, or he never would have stayed. 
He didn't know how hungry had the little mother grown 
Once again to see her baby and to claim him for her own. 
He didn't guess the meaning of his visit Christmas Day 
Or he never would have written that he couldn't get away. 

He couldn't see the fading of the cheeks that once were pink,
And the silver in the tresses; and he didn't stop to think 
How the years are passing swiftly, and next Christmas it might be 
There would be no home to visit and no mother dear to see.
He didn't think about it -- I'll not say he didn't care. 
He was heedless and forgetful or he'd surely have been there. 

Are you going home for Christmas? Have you written you'll be there? 
Going home to kiss the mother and to show her that you care? 
Going home to greet the father in a way to make him glad? 
If you're not I hope there'll never come a time you'll wish you had. 
Just sit down and write a letter -- it will make their heart strings hum
With a tune of perfect gladness -- if you'll tell them that you'll come.

By Edgar Guest

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We put, in our local newspaper, a copy of the beautiful poem...

"I'm Spending Christmas With Jesus This Year"

I see the countless trees around the world below
With tiny lights like Heaven's stars reflecting on the snow 
The sight is so spectacular, please wipe away that tear,
For I'm spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

I hear the many Christmas songs that people hold so dear
But they can't compare with the Christmas choir up here
I have no words to tell you, the joy their voices bring 
For it's beyond description to hear the angels sing 
I know how much you miss me, I see the pain inside your heart 
But I'm not so far away, we really aren't apart.

Please love and keep each other, as my Father said to do
For I can't count the blessings of love He has for you 
I can't tell you of the splendor, nor the peace in this place 
Can you imagine Christmas with our Savior face to face?

I'll ask Him to light your spirit as I tell him of your love
Then pray for one another as you lift your eyes above. 
So, please let your hearts be joyful, and let your spirit sing 
For I'm spending Christmas in Heaven, and I'm walking with the King.

One month, from today, will be two long years since Dustin's wreck. Even after all this time, I still find it very difficult to say the day Dustin died. Time moves in such a strange way now, all the days, weeks, and months, just blend together. Some days the urge to just see a glimpse of him, or to hear him say even one word is so strong, I can hardly bear it. I know God is pulling me through, or I wouldn't have made it this far. It's a pain no one can begin to understand, unless they've had it happen. I still, sometimes, find it hard to pray, even though I know God is the one giving me strength to go on. I just keep trying to keep in my mind the promise that someday we will be with our precious children again, NEVER to be parted again!! 

~Submitted by Lisa (Dustin's Mom)

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Memory Candles

As we light these four candles in honor of you, we light one for our GRIEF, one for our COURAGE, one for our MEMORIES and one for our LOVE.

This candle represents our GRIEF. The pain of losing you is intense. It reminds us of the depth of our love for you.

This candle represents our COURAGE – to confront our sorrow. to comfort each other, to change our lives.

This light is in your MEMORY – the times we laughed, the times we cried, the times we were angry with each other, the silly things you did, the caring and joy you gave us.

This light is for the light of LOVE.

As we enter this holiday season, day by day we cherish the special place in our hearts that will always be reserved for you. We thank you for the gift your living brought to each of us. We love you.

~From Holiday Help: Coping for the Bereaved, by Sherry Gibson, B.S., R.N. and Sandra Graves, Ph.D.

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I lost my 19 year old son Brandon Michael Thomason on October 15 of 97. What I have done to include Brandon and his memory at Thanksgiving and Christmas....I have a very special candle holder that Brandon gave me Christmas of 96. I put a candle in it for the holidays and take it to the dinner table at Christmas and Thanksgiving. I have a collection of poems that I have collected since his death. I pick a special one for the holidays and read it before the meal with the candle lit and leave the candle lit all during the meal. I want his memory with me at these special times. Thank you Georgann Lord ^i^

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