The house is silent, your music
no longer plays
Your art work and trinkets,
remain on display.
Your bed made up, with soft
comforter of down
Waiting for you, with the
sheets turned down.
Clothing folded, put neatly
Lillie, your kitten waits
patiently, maybe today?
Little reminders of you everywhere
But without you here it's
so empty and bare.
All remains, as if waiting
OH! For the reunion our hearts
But the sound of your steps
eludes our ear
No longer your voice calling,
The days are long, nights longer
Wishing for your presence
a space only you can fill.
We gaze at your picture, as
if you are there.
Yes you are gone, but you
Should we take it all down,
put it all away?
Pretend it didn't happen, that
you'll return someday?
We may fool our minds, but
our hearts give it away
You'll not be returning, the
emptiness is here to stay.
In loving memory of our son,
Steven W. Simmons 1970 - 1999
~written by Sheila Simmons
years I never knew whether the twilight was the ending of the day
or the beginning of the night
and then, suddenly one day,
I understood that this did
not matter at all,
for time is but a circle,
and so there can be no beginning
and no ending,
and this is how I came to
know that birth and death are one,
and it is neither the coming
or the going that is of consequence.
What is of consequence is
the beauty that one gathers in this interlude called life."
From "Come Walk Among the Stars,"
by Winston Abbott
Anonymous in Raleigh, N.C.
The following is a response sent to Ann Landers by Dawn
Morville Johnson, sibling representative on the TCF National Board of Directors.
Dear Ann Landers:
As a bereaved sibling, I was
disappointed in your response to "Anonymous in Raleigh, N.C.," who asked
whether it would be appropriate to send her parents a card on the anniversary
of her brother's death. You advised her not to send a card, but to take
her parents to dinner "with no mention of the sad anniversary."
Bereaved parents will tell
you that the one thing they want to do is talk about their child. Ignoring
the anniversary of a child's death is the same as ignoring the child's
birthday: it makes bereaved parents feel as though their child did not
exist. Many bereaved parents have told me that their surviving children
will not talk about their brother or sister who has died. Often this is
because they are afraid of upsetting their parents. However, bereaved parents
yearn to hear their children mention the dead child's name. "Anonymous"
should be encouraged in her efforts to remember the anniversary of her
brother's death by sending a card to her parents.
On the anniversary of my brother's
death, I send a special card to my parents to tell them that I am thinking
about them and remembering my brother. We open our hearts to each other
and share our memories of him and how much we miss him. We also put flowers
on his grave that day and have flowers on the church altar in his memory
on the Sunday closest to the anniversary of his death. In other words,
the day is not like any other day, so I don't treat it as such. My life
and my parents' lives changed forever the day he died. Making no mention
of it would only be another tragedy.
lifted from TCF Southern OR Online Newsletter
The Fourth of July, Independence
Day, Our Nationís Birthday. Whatever you call it, we celebrate Americaís
independence from England on July 4 each year.
As a nation, we have endured
for 200+ years to become a significant independent and powerful force in
the world. We were founded on the principles of equality and religious
tolerance, of equity and opportunity, and of rights and responsibilities.
Several generations of men and women have defended our precious freedom
with their lives.
As we celebrate this year,
letís take a moment to remember those who paid the ultimate price for freedom
Ė and to remember their families. It is sometimes easy to think only of
the glory of their sacrifices, and to overlook the sacrifice of their families.
War is never glorious, no matter how romantic the notion created by Hollywood.
War has casualties that go farther and deeper into the fabric of our nation
than we may realize. Those who died are buried with fanfare, as befits
a nationís fallen valiants. And their families learn to go on, just as
we have, in spite of their loss.
But think for a moment of those
who were declared missing in action, or who were prisoners of war. Their
families must endure, often for years, and sometimes without an end to
their pain and loss.
Remember all of our nationís
fallen when you celebrate this year. Remember those ceremoniously laid
to rest; remember those who were captured, imprisoned, even tortured; remember
those whose fate remains unknown. And remember, too, the families of all
Death, no matter how noble,
is never easy for those left behind.
We send our thanks to the veterans
- living, dead, and missing Ė and their families.
Tom and Sondra Wright,TCF,
Fireworks Are Like
the Love In Our Hearts
July brings Central Oregonians
lingering blue skies, lazy afternoons and the Fourth of July celebration,
complete with the grand fireworks finale bolting from the top of Pilot
Butte. This was one of my son's favorite holidays. When he was six I asked
him why fireworks were so special to him. He said, "The lights explode
in the dark and make the whole sky light up!" That was obvious. I said
"Hum?" He gave me one of his "Oh mom" looks, then went on to say "The fireworks
are like the love in our hearts, we should always try to spread our love
out to others". I knew then and I still am aware today that profound wisdom
comes from the lips of our children. From the summer on, in my mind, fireworks
have been a triumphant testament of love's enduring power and wonder. I
miss my son, Joshua terribly. I comfort myself knowing that his wisdom
and kindness were precious gifts in my life.
Wherever you are on the Fourth
of July, I hope that the splendor of sparkling fireworks might comfort
as you acknowledge that the love you hold dear for your child is the light
that is able to shine through you. We all have known grief well, yet as
compassionate friends we need not walk alone in the darkness. We can lighten
the path for others.
Grief can cripple and destroy
us, but as we gather to share each other's burden, we are able to gain
strength. Love for our children is our common flame, sharing and caring
keep the flames afire. I look forward to our next meeting and the opportunity
to hug and listen to my comrades.
~lovingly lifted from TCF Salem,
~written by Jane Oja, TCF,
Central Oregon Chapter
"True friendship is like sound
the value of it is seldom
known until it is lost." ---
Charles Caleb Colton
"Everyone hears what you say.
Friends listen to what you
Best friends listen to what
you don't say."
Where is my child now?
by Claudia Waller, TCF Alexandria,
So many times after our son
died, I found myself asking questions. Where has he gone? Is there really
life after death? Is there really a Heaven? Was his life with us worth
I read. I talked to people.
I prayed. I cried. I became depressed and I yelled at my God. Then I found
Elizabeth Kubler Ross's book, "On Children and Death." She responded to
a mother's letter and shared her wisdom and experience. She told that grieving
mother (and through her, me) that out of her pain - if she chooses - comes
a great amount of compassion, increased understanding and wisdom, and love
for others who are in pain. It is her choice whether out of tragedy comes
blessing or a curse, compassion or bitterness.
She concluded her letter with
these words: "I want you to know that our research in death and life after
death has revealed beyond a shadow of a doubt that those who make the transition
are more alive, more surrounded
with unconditional love and
beauty than you can ever conceive. They are not really dead. They have
just preceded us in the evolutional journey all of us are on; they are
with their former playmates (as they call them), or guardian angels; they
are with family members who proceeded them in death and are unable to miss
you as you miss them since they are unable to feel any negative feelings.
The only thing that stays with them is the knowledge of love and care that
they have received and of the lessons they learned in their physical life.
God Gives Us Memories
So That We Might Have Roses
Precious Moments Figurine is
now available in local stores in your area.
Sam Butcher, creator of the
popular Precious Moments, is a bereaved parent. His son Philip died in
an auto accident.
Two Lives From One...
The Ultimate Gift
God has granted us these bodies
for our short time here on
but have you ever stopped
to think about
what your bodyís really worth?
The body is a miracle equation;
the sum of its parts, greater
than the whole
and it is a really just a
offering protection for the
And if God makes the decision
that your time on earth is
you could have the opportunity
to make two lives...out of
The heart knows no greater
than the joy it feels by giving,
and the finest gift you can
is the precious gift of living.
We donít think about these
as we go about each day...
but there are many unexpected
as we travel lifeís highway.
Only you can make the decision
on the route that you will
but why take with you these
that someone else can dearly
Here is a chance to make a
like a candle in the dark;
itís a chance to leave a legacy,
a chance on earth...to leave
Grieving loved ones can find
through heavy hearts and many
if their loss gives someone
else a chance
to live on for many years.
What will they say when you
Did you help others? To what
Will they say you left in
a parentís eyes
the look of gratitude... and
So when youíre asked to donate
and think you wonít, or that
think of the faces of the
who are now in need of a transplant.
Stop and ask yourself this
what if it was me, or someone
who was benefiting from someone
who had been called from up
And when you reach those heavenly
and His Kingdom so divine...
youíll be directed to the
most beautiful cloud
with "organ donors" on the
by Linda Ellis www.lindaslyrics.com
Copyright-1998 reprinted with
(Linda Ellis is also the author
of "The Dash")
I miss you son, since youíve been gone.
One whole year Iíve been all alone.
I miss your smile. I miss your voice
I will get through, for I have no choice.
Iíll never see you graduate, or join the Marines.
Your life wasted, or so it seems.
Iíll never see you marry. Iíll never see your child.
You were condemned, without even a trial.
You were only sixteen when you were taken away.
It was one year ago, on this very day.
My life has changed since youíve been gone.
It will never be the same, but I must live on.
I love you Brad and Iím so proud of you.
You gave life to others, as you chose to do.
Your heart beats on; itís just not the same.
The gift of life; but not your name.
As I remember your face on this summer afternoon,
Without a doubt I know; I will see you soon
I send you my love, Brad, on this anniversary date,
Iíll meet you in Heaven; make no mistake.
~written by Joyce Brooks, Conyers, Ga
In Memory of Brad
9-19-82 - 8-2-99
TCF Atlanta Online Sharing
TCF Atlanta Online Sharing
is an online sharing group available to anyone with internet access.
The Online Sharing began in
September 1999 when I felt there was some very good resources available
to me as newsletter editor and co-webmaster and I wanted to find a way
to share this information with other bereaved families on a weekly basis
rather than bi-monthly through the newsletter which we are limited for
space. I had currently subscribed to "Chicken Soup for the Soul - Online
Daily" and this gave me the idea to put together something for bereaved
parents and siblings. Thus it began. Currently we have 445 members.
To Join Go To The Following
We are going to include various
things from the Online Sharing in our Linked Together Newsletter for those
who are not able to join us online.
Do You Ever Feel Like Me?
~from TCF Atlanta Online Sharing
Do you ever feel like me? Right
now I am utterly tired of grief. I am sick of it. I can't get away from
the always aching pit in my heart and soul. I search for understanding.
I do all I can in the memory of my child who is gone and the others who
are like her. I try to move into life again. I smile. I laugh but inside
I ache, my soul literally burns inside my body.
Some say it gets better WHEN????
That is what I want to know, when in this life am I going to feel better.
Oh what I would give for the bliss of ignorance once more.
only child died four years ago. A friend of mine lost her daughter two
years before that. Although she lives in IL and I live in GA, we've kept
touch these past four years.
Two years ago, I met with Mary.
We asked each other, "How are you doing?"
I described for her (even though
she knew it) the pain I was feeling. The same pain and despair that you
Mary said: "I woke up one day
and said to myself: 'I am tired of feeling this way. I do not want to feel
this way any longer. I won't.'"
I did not understand, then,
how she could possible let go of the everyday pain. That pain was a comfort,
to me. I felt that, if I was in extreme pain, every day, then I was paying
tribute to my son and to my love for him.
I am beginning to understand,
just now, a desire to NOT spend every day with the pain. It's been four
years since my son died, and two years since I
heard Mary's words.
There IS hope for "better days",
for you. And, when those days come, you will not be giving up love for
your child, but beginning to love yourself, once more.
Teal Snapp, Conyers, GA
Billy's mom, always June 23,
1981 - February 25, 1996
Yes Grandparents Do Grieve!
Thank God, some one stepped
up and said. "Hey" This child was and is my grandchild!!! And I hurt too!
Not looking for sympathy, but wanting the world to know that Yes, the mother
and father are hurting from the loss of their little angels, but Granny
and Grandpa loved these children with their hearts and souls. Totally unconditionally!!
I read these letters that are
sent to me, everyday. My heart hurts for these parents for the loss of
their children. But please, let us not forget any of the Grandparents,
who's loss is twofold. One for their child who is hurting so bad and for
the loss of their Grandchildren.
I always thought my Grandchildren
would out live me. At least that's the way it's suppose to be. It doesn't
always work out that way. So yes, my heart also hurts for the Grandparents
~Wanda Bryant, Vidalia, GA
Grammy to Victoria King
April 17, 1998 - April 11,
Whatever Would We Do Without
the Atlanta Online Sharing?
I am so glad to be given the
chance to sing the praises of the Atlanta Sharing Line. I wish I could
remember who let me know that such a thing existed so I could give them
a big hug and a huge thank you, but whoever or whatever led me to this
wonderful lifeline for all bereaved parents, grandparents and siblings,
I am just so thankful!
It is not only a valuable resource
for myself as a bereaved parent, but because I am a chapter co-leader and
newsletter editor, I pass on so much of the invaluable information I get
from all the dear hearts who share their thoughts, pain, and advice. I
can't tell you the countless number of times I have said to our group,
"I read this on the Atlanta Sharing Line." Without The Compassionate Friends
I wouldn't be where I am in my grief journey; I wouldn't be "healthy" enough
to be of any help to my family and other bereaved parents. And when I am
having a hard time and am suddenly blindsided by something that brings
me right back to May 11, 1995, I can read what everyone else says about
having their good days and bad days, whether they are ten months out or
ten years out, and I know that I am "normal", for us, and truly not alone.
I feel so sad when I hear of those that have had negative first-contact
experiences with a TCF group. But, then again, I am able to take that information
back to our first-contact person to make sure nothing like that happens
in our group. Actually, just when I think I have heard it all, another
request for advice comes from another parent on the Atlanta Sharing Line,
and the responses are so informative and help me so much with the other
newly bereaved parents that come to our group.
I too feel like I "know" these
parents and I "know" their children intimately. What better way to know
a child than through the very people who love them the most? I take your
sadness as well as your victories in your journey down the grief path,
into my heart and carry you and your children with me. God bless you all.
And a million thanks to all of you who have shared with us. I feel a personal
connection to each and everyone of you.
With most sincere thanks,
Cathy Seehuetter, Nina's Mom
St. Paul, MN TCF
A friend e-mailed me the "anniversaries"
article written by Peggy and Denis O'Connor's mother. Elaine Stillwell.
Please express to her my appreciation of putting anniversaries into a form
Yesterday we celebrated the
7 anniversary of the murder of our daughter and two grandsons. I love her
comment of - "anniversaries are a time to share with others our special
love for the people we miss. I call it, "Sharing Peggy and Denis with the
world." I love that - sometimes I feel strange talking about my kids to
people - but these simple two sentences have put a different light onto
it - I'm sharing my kids with the world.
Gina's Mom, Shaun & Joshua's
Do You Ever Feel Like I Feel?
How can I not feel like you.
I too would give anything just to see and touch my daughter one more time.
I miss her so much. It seems so unfair to lose someone who was so happy
with life and loved by so many people.
I know none of us are exempt
from hurt and disappointment. But this is something we never expect to
happen. I too feel that if I don't feel this pain and cry my eyes out each
day that I am doing dishonor to my daughter in some way. I know she would
think this was ridiculous and would want me to be happy. But, how can I
be happy without her. She was my first born. She taught me how to be a
mother. She gave me so much joy for 31 years.
I was so very proud of the
woman she became. I wanted so many more years with her. Why couldn't God
take me, and let her live. She had so much to live for. Cari was a successful
singer, she was getting married, she loved her life and all she had in
it. IT IS SO UNFAIR!!!!!
Thank you all for being out
there. You are the only ones who really know how I feel and you don't think
I should be getting over it. A part of our lives has been cut out
of us and we can never heal
from this. Maybe one day I will adjust, but for right now I want to die.
Janice Olejnik, Covington,
Ga (Cari's Mom)
Tribute to My Sister
You always held within your
heart a strength and purpose that few others would have known. My success
in life and joy I owe to you for helping me along the way. When I was ignorant,
you taught me. When I lacked experience in life, you gave me new challenges.
When I stumbled and fell, you gently helped me up again. When I was lost
in the darkness of depression, you were the beacon on which I focused to
find my way again. When I had gained strength, you trusted me to help you
with your own difficulties. And, always, when I needed a friend, you were
Throughout the years you were
always my family. You honored me with your love and trust, and accepted
me just as I was. More than my own flesh and blood, you were my sister,
and I will always cherish the time we had together. We have laughed, complained,
and sometimes wept, but we always persevered. The good times, the bad times,
the joy and sorrow, will always bind our hearts as long as I am able to
draw my breath.
We traveled together for awhile
and our journey was fulfilling, but now our paths have diverged and we
had to say goodbye. To my years with you, I bid farewell. Ahead of me lies
a life without you, a new definition of myself. For all that I may someday
become, you will always be a part of me.
On some distant day, when something
reminds me of you, I will lovingly think of you and remember the smile
you had. From time to time, I will remember the years spent with you and
what we have shared. I will always miss your sweet voice and your unconditional
support and endless companionship. May we carry that beyond the grave.
For all the smiles and tears,
for all of the love and laughter, and above all, for being the person that
you were, I will carry you in my heart. I will always, always love you.
In Loving Memory of Ashley
January 31, 1978 to October
~from your sister, Lisa Sockwell
What to do on AnniversariesÖ.
~from TCF online sharing
On my brother's 1 year anniversary
of his death my entire family met at church. It was a Sunday so we thought
we'd all go to church and then we went to brunch at a restaurant. At brunch
we talked about my brother and enjoyed the time we had together as a family.
After that we went to the cemetery and held hands and formed a circle around
his grave and we prayed.
My other brother played a song
that we listened to which was very moving. He gave us all copies of the
song. The song is called "Dear John" by Styx.
My brother's name is Rich
so we changed the words a little bit -- mine is on the refrigerator.
My brother will be gone 4 years
this July. I miss him dearly. He'll always be my big brother and remain
in my heart where he never left.
Mary K. Rakytiak
What about Vacations
When your heart is hurting
after the loss of a loved one, you wonder if you will ever be able to "take
a vacation" from grief. There are many answers to this question. The secret
is to find the right one for you.
Vacations for my family were
spent mostly at home. Our work schedules rarely permitted us time to go
away and with three children we found traveling to be expensive. I have
always lived on Long Island (NY), and my parents brainwashed us to think
that living on Long Island was a permanent vacation. Do you think they
worked for the tourist board?
After my 19 year old daughter,
Peggy, and my 21 year old son, Denis, died in the same automobile accident,
I never planned a vacation to "get away" from my surroundings. My home
was my "nest" and the source of great comfort to me. Not everybody feels
Staying with the familiar made
me feel comfortable. Having my support circle nearby was important to me.
Enjoying the pleasures that I had shared with Peggy and Denis kept them
close to my heart. Even though tears could accompany these pleasures, the
tears were healing. Whether it was simply walking along the beach where
we had many family outings, or sitting by the pool where we had spent so
many hours with swim team, or watching a soccer game which took so much
of our time with three teams in the family, or noticing their favorite
colors, flowers, TV programs, or foods. These things helped reinforce their
presence forever in my mind, never to be erased.
Some families agonize whether
to go away for a vacation after losing a loved one and some families canít
get away fast enough! So you see how different we all are. Itís tough for
husbands and wives who disagree about vacation plans to find a reasonable
"compromise" to give relief to their individual styles of grieving.
The rule of thumb is: Do what
helps you. If taking a cruise, or flying to a distant sunny haven, or visiting
a mountain or seaside retreat, or just relaxing at a nearby resort helps
you gain a moment of peace, do it. But one thing I must caution you about,
donít go alone. There is time to reflect or quietly meditate wherever you
are, but when you are hurting so terribly, it is not wise to be alone for
long periods of time. However, it is good to have someone to share your
thoughts with, releasing some of those feelings that are haunting you.
Having a good listener with you is wonderful medicine for you. Itís also
good to have someone to hug. Remember, you need 4 hugs a day for survival,
8 hugs a day for maintenance, and 12 hugs a day for growth. Therefore,
make sure you vacation with the right person!
Many grieving families that
I have met have found solace in a trip "away" from their home base. Sometimes,
just the change is what they need. Other times, itís leaving work or that
"empty chair" behind. A little sunshine can warm our souls, so the warmer
climates appeal to us and seem to bring an inner cheer. I know I am a "sunshine"
person and can accomplish ten times as much on a sunny day, so Iím sure
a sunny vacation would be productive for me.
In my early days of bereavement,
I found that taking a little photo album like a "grandmaís brag book" with
me, filled with my favorite pictures of my Peggy and Denis, made it feel
as if they were with me. Packing that album in every pocketbook I used,
whether the large everyday variety or the tiny evening bag, it was like
a pacifier to me. When a friend of mine told me that she dreaded going
on vacation "without her daughter along," I suggested she take a little
picture album, crammed full of her daughterís snapshots, with her on the
trip and she did. When she returned, she called me and happily announced
that it had made a difference to her, releasing some of that emptiness
she had felt. So take a chance and try something different to help your
heart. You might surprise yourself!
Other bereaved friends could
not bear to stay home for major holidays and off they flew to far-away
vacation spots. That worked for them, getting away from the hoopla of the
holidays and the family gatherings that they did not feel strong enough
yet to attend. Some of these bereaved families said they found a respite
from their grief while "on vacation" but that coming home was the hardest,
causing feelings of depression when they returned. So, we all have to find
the balance that fits our lives. It doesnít happen overnight. Itís something
that requires "trial and error" by us to find the blend that lifts our
Vacations can be a time of
"renewal" for us. We all know that we need a vacation "from grief." We
just have to figure out what kind of vacation our own heart needs. Good
"Howard" My Teacher
Mercer, Conyers, Ga
My son Howard become my teacher
as soon as I found out I was to be a mother. He taught me to change my
life in order to take care of myself both mentally and physically so that
we both were in the best of health when we first met.
On that day, February 10, 1962
he started teaching me how to become a responsible parent. Through Howard
I learned how to take care of a human that was totally dependent on me.
He taught me to love unconditionally, to put his needs before mine and
to thank God for this child everyday he was in my life. He taught me patience
and understanding. Howard taught me how to be proud of his every accomplishments,
to accept him as he was and respect him as a man. He taught me to be strong
when I needed strength at the hardest time of my life. That day was August
11, 1997, the day he was called home to a place where there was no more
fear or pain. Aids had lost. My son won his last battle. He left this virus
in a body that would not tolerate it any longer.
My child was free and taught
me one last thing, my love for him was so great that I allowed him the
freedom he needed to let us go and have the peace he longed for.
What a great teacher Howard
was. I learned so much from this soul on earth.
Goodbye my love, I miss you
so much and always will.
Summer is a time when things
naturally slow down, a time when many are waiting for the orderly routine
of their lives to begin again. For those of us in grief whose lives are
already in limbo, it can seem endless if we let it. Seeing children, babies,
and teenagers is not easy for us, and in summer we see them everywhere
from shopping centers to beaches. Everyone is out living, loving, enjoying
carefree activities with their children, and we want to scream, "It's not
I was sitting on my patio one
evening at dusk recently listening to the shouts of children outside playing
and I was crying as I remembered the sounds that my child used to make.
I became very depressed as I thought what a long summer this was going
In my reverie I was reminded
of a recent comment I had heard at a TCF meeting: "My child was such a
loving, giving person. He would not want me to waste my life being bitter."
I also remembered a good friend telling me to "count my blessings" and
naming over all the things I had to be grateful for. I was furious at the
time. Nothing that I had to be grateful for could compensate for the fact
that my child was dead.
Now, sitting in the twilight
of this early summer evening, I began to see things differently. I determined
that this summer would not be an eternity, that I would not let it be.
I decided first of all to stay busy. I know I can find plenty to do if
I only take the time to look. I am also going to try to enjoy the simple
things that used to give me so much pleasure, like working in my garden
and flowers. I then decided to try to be truly grateful for the blessings
that I have, like my husband, my surviving children, my job, friends, etc.
It has been almost five years
for me, and I know that last year this would not have worked. Of course,
I still have times of sadness. I know I always will, but I have decided
that in the process of grieving, we close so many doors that the only way
to recovery is to reopen them gradually at our own pace.
I know I will never be the
same person I was before the death of my child, but I hope eventually in
some ways I will be a better person because suffering can be beneficial
if we learn and grow through it. A year ago I didn't feel this way, and
I know I still have a long way to go, but in the meantime I know the greatest
tribute to my child will be to enjoy this summer as he would have done.
~Libby Gonzales, Huntsville,
lights beside us,
like a sunbeamÖ..
and for a brief moment
it's glory and beauty belong
to our worldÖ
but then it flies on again,
and although we wish it could have stayed,
we are so thankful to have
seen it at all"
We held them in our parent
for days or weeks or years.
Now we hold them in our hearts
and cry the darkest tears.
The cord attached to children,
eternally fine and strong.
We never leave the missing;
it holds us all life long.
Our children now inside us
our souls' tattooed with gold.
Their love, their words, caresses,
are hugs that we still hold.
If we open to the knowledge,
that they aren't completely
we will sometimes feel their
sometimes soft and sometimes
When they show us nature's
we can feel their proud delight,
sending signs to show they're
only far beyond our sight.
"Stars in the Deepest Night
- After the Death of a Child"
is a beautiful book of poetry
written by Genesse Bourdeaux Gentry.
Her 21 yr. Old daughter Lori
died in a car accident on June 28, 1991. This book is dedicated to her
and to all bereaved parents and the families and friends who love them.
Genesse Gentry is also a member of Compassionate Friends.
"Nature's Rainbows" is a poem
from this book.
Written by David L. Kuzminski
Walking down a path through
some woods in Georgia in 1977, I saw a water puddle ahead on the path.
I angled my direction to go around it on the part of the path that wasn't
covered by water and mud. As I reached the puddle, I was suddenly attacked!
Yet, I did nothing, for the
attack was so unpredictable and from a source so totally unexpected. I
was startled as well as unhurt, despite having been struck four or five
times already. I backed up a foot and my attacker stopped attacking me.
Instead of attacking more, he hovered in the air on graceful butterfly
wings in front of me. Had I been hurt I wouldn't have found it amusing,
but I was unhurt, it was funny, and I was laughing. After all, I was being
attacked by a butterfly!
Having stopped laughing, I
took a step forward. My attacker rushed me again. He rammed me in the chest
with his head and body, striking me over and over again with all his might,
still to no avail. For a second time, I retreated a step while my attacker
relented in his attack. Yet again, I tried moving forward. My attacker
charged me again. I was rammed in the chest over and over again. I wasn't
sure what to do, other than to retreat a third time. After all, it's just
not everyday that one is attacked by a butterfly.
This time, though, I stepped
back several paces to look the situation over. My attacker moved back as
well to land on the ground. That's when I discovered why my attacker was
charging me only moments earlier. He had a mate and she was dying. She
was beside the puddle where he landed. Sitting close beside her, he opened
and closed his wings as if to fan her. I could only admire the love and
courage of that butterfly in his concern for his mate. He had taken it
upon himself to attack me for his mate's sake, even though she was clearly
dying and I was so large.
He did so just to give her
those extra few precious moments of life, should I have been careless enough
to step on her. Now I knew why and what he was fighting for. There was
really only one option left for me. I carefully made my way around the
puddle to the other side of the path, though it was only inches wide and
His courage in attacking something
thousands of times larger and heavier than himself just for his mate's
safety justified it. I couldn't do anything other than reward him by walking
on the more difficult side of the puddle. He had truly earned those moments
to be with her, undisturbed. I left them in peace for those last few moments,
cleaning the mud from my boots when I later reached my car.
Since then, I've always tried
to remember the courage of that butterfly whenever I see huge obstacles
facing me. I use that butterfly's courage as an inspiration and to remind
myself that good things are worth fighting for.
Fourth of July
Each Year on the 4th of July
we celebrate the birth of a great nation - a nation of people "united"
in a dream. It was through hope, determination and a bonded strength that
the people of America strived to achieve their dream of freedom to be a
Nothing, however, is achieved
without a strong will. We, too, as bereaved parents are fighting a battle
to be free - free of the pain that has become a part of our waking days.
We want to be happy. We want to be able to enjoy life again. You are one
of those proud Americans. Refuse to give up. Fight for your dream. There
is peace to be found in freedom!
~written by a member of TCF,
Sobbing Out Loud
After my second child died,
I have wept many times, crying quietly - often feeling like the grief would
choke me, unless I screamedÖ But I have never been able even to sob aloud
again, at least for more than a moment. And since then many grievers have
told me they had much the same experience after death took their child.
I wonder if we should encourage
each other to sob out loud or scream. One author suggested closing the
windows of one's car and screaming. I am not sure that sobbing alone is
quite as "good" as sharing it, but even sobbing alone is probably better
than not sobbing at all. Some cultures deliberatey provide grievers with
rituals for sobbing and screaming. Like the women in African villages,
or the bereaved mothers of Islam - I always envy them and their traditions
of giving sound to their grief. And what about grieving men? Have we been
so "civilized" that we can only weep quietly? Perhaps we should all learn
not to sob in silence. Who knows, we might sleep a little better, have
fewer headaches, feel less alone, if we could sob out loud?
~by Sascha from her book Wintersun
A Circle of Friends
by Darcie Sims
Together, we shall join hearts
and hands across the earth and decorate the
world with hope and healing
and remembered laughter. We shall remain
forever linked through the
love of our absent children, parents, husbands
and wives, siblings, grandparents,
friends-all of our loved ones who dance
across the rainbows ahead
We are a family circle-broken
by death, mended by love. May this day, and
every day, be days for us
to laugh and sing, to dance and dream. May this
day, and every day, be days
of celebration and the chance to give one more
hug, to say one more, "I love
you." May love be what you remember most!
My Son, Another Fallen Comrade
Recently our town had a visiting replica of the Vietnam Wall Memorial
to commemorate Vietnam Veterans' Day. I felt a strong need to go to see
and honor the names of my marine comrades from twenty-five years ago engraved
on the wall. I took my camera to record their names, twelve in all, including
my aunt's nephew, whom I knew as a young boy.
When my twenty-year -old son Chris first died, I had no frame of reference
other than my experience as a young Marine officer. In training, in stateside
operations and finally in combat, I experienced the losses of dear close
friends, brothers in arms. So many, so fine, so young, with all their potential
and enthusiasm for life abruptly wrenched from my life. The loss of the
strong and good friendships and the loss of the chance for a long and meaningful
relationship became a frequent, tragic part of my young life.
These fallen comrades became a double-edged sword in my heart in 1988
with Chris's death. At 20, he was close in age to theirs. As a NROTC student,
he wore the uniform and served the military with eager dedication. I remember
that my first reaction to my son's death was to put it in the same context:
The Ultimate Fallen Comrade. I even arranged for him to have a military
funeral, even though he was still a college student.
So now I grieve for them all. The loss of these friends surges through
my emotions again. There is a parallel perspective for me: they died at
about the same time that my son was born. Somehow I am left with the excellent
possibility that now they all know my son, just as they knew me, a comrade
Ed Kuzela, Atlanta, Ga