Newsletter of the Atlanta Area Chapters
of The Compassionate Friends

July - August 2001

"The mission of The Compassionate Friends is to assist families toward the positive resolution of grief following the death of a child of any age and to provide information to help others be supportive."

A Nonprofit Self-Help Organization Offering Friendship and Understanding to Families
Who are Grieving the Death of a Child


We Need Each Other
Many living things need each other to survive.  If you have ever seen a Colorado aspen tree, you may have noticed that it does not grow alone.  Aspens are found in clusters, or groves.  The reason is that the aspen sends up new shoots from the roots.  In a small grove, all of the trees may actually be connected by their roots. 

Giant California redwood trees may tower 300 feet into the sky.  It would seem that they would require extremely deep roots to anchor them against strong winds.  But we're told that their roots are actually quite shallow - in order to capture as much surface water as possible.  And they spread in all directions, intertwining with other redwoods.  Locked together in this way, all trees support each other in wind and storms.  Like the aspen, they never stand alone.  They need each other to survive.

People, too, are connected by a system of roots.  We are born to family and learn early to make friends.  We are not meant to survive long without others.  And like the redwood, we need to hold one another up.  When pounded by the sometimes vicious storms of life, we need others to support and sustain us.

Have you been going it alone?  Maybe it's time to let someone else help hold you up for awhile.  Or perhaps someone needs to hang on to you.

~From the book, RICHES OF THE HEART by Steve Goodier.  Special permission to reprint granted to The Compassionate Friends by the author.

The Heart hath its own memory, like the mind.
And in It are enshrined the precious keepsakes, 
into which is wrought the giver's loving thought.
~H.W. Longfellow

The Ultimate Magic Show

Come one, Come all,
Gather round,
The young and the old,
The hopeless and the hopeful,
This stage is set,
The magic show can now begin.

Out of the bag
What do I pull?
A collection of photos,
Treasured and dear,
Shades of the past,
Memories to cherish,
And what is the trick you ask?
Pouf!  And in an instant
The past becomes an integral part of the present.
The pictures are gone,
The people in them whom we’ve loved and lost
Are no longer with us alive and visible
But no one can see they are a very real part of us,
Alive within the one who loves them forever.
Just because they’re absent and missing
Doesn’t mean they are gone and forgotten.

What’s next you ask?
A disappearing act, perhaps?
Just look and see
Behind the screen I go
That was me then
This is me now
I have disappeared and,
Instead here is the new me
Looking the same, but never
Feeling the same nor living the same life.
I entered the church that day
Said all the prayers and sung all the songs as we
Said our earthly good-byes to our son 
to send him on his way to heaven.
I left the church that day
And emerged a totally new person,
Whom today, is still not “over” it,
Nor ever will be.

So you see the disappearing act was a success,
It looks as though I have reappeared 
but only those who really care
Truly know that I am not the same person.

Another act you beg for?
What kind of magic show is this you wonder?
Will perhaps an arm or leg be sawed off,
Or will I be cut in half and
Will I  magically appear whole?
That could be tried – that could be achieved –
Instead a piece of my heart was torn out
And you cannot see that I look whole and in one piece,
But appearances can be deceiving.
Walking, talking, laughing, crying, surviving,
With a piece of my heart gone
Do you not yet see the effects this has had on me?

Tis the end of the magic show
If you look closely you will see
It’s the day to day living that is the magic,
It’s what is inside you giving you courage, hope and love
That is true magic
And the rest?
It’s all just an illusion.

March 28, 2001
In Memory of James Avery
July 15, 1983 to September 22, 1997
~written by Meg Avery
TCF Lawrenceville, GA

In Asian Countries, one can still find delicate tear vases used by mourners.  The tears shed into the little vases are considered sacred.  The tear bottles are kept and often buried with the person mourned.  Even if our tears are for ourselves, for our ache of loneliness, for our pain of loss, they are still sacred, for they are tears of love. ~Rabbi Jack Stern, Jr.

Memories Are Elusive;
Capture Them While You Can

If I were to recall my many memories of James, they surely would begin on the very first day of his life.  And what an unusual day it was – so hot and rainy, with flashing bolts of lightening and loud claps of thunder.  Late that afternoon, I was holding him in my arms, and the feeling of joy and happiness is something I can still hold in my heart.  After that, the visits were so much fun to see the progress James was making from month to month.

But then the day came when he came to say good-bye for a while because he was moving from Connecticut to Georgia, which seemed to be very far away.  Then it was time for phone calls and letters with photos enclosed. 

I had summer visits to look forward to and of course, always at Christmas.  I remember the fun I had with James in the joy that he loved about the holiday.

When it became possible for me to live here my happiness was complete because then it meant I could see him more often.

The soccer games – always proud days because James played so hard to win for his team – the times he stayed at our house where we played games – none of which I could ever win – the help he loved to give me doing crossword puzzles – and the delight in his eyes when he found the piece of the jigsaw puzzle that I just knew had been lost.  The vacations we took together – he so enjoyed seeing new places, sharing “The Little Mermaid”, “The Velveteen Rabbit” his very favorite movie and book.

All these and so many more will be cherished in my mind and heart and James will remain there for all time.  I am his grandmother, will love my precious grandson, my James, for all eternity.  May God hold him in the palm of his hand for us all.

~Written by Georgianna Stempien
Austell, Georgia 
Submitted by her daughter & James’ Mom, Meg Avery
Lawrenceville TCF
In Memory of James Avery, III 
July 15, 1983 to September 22, 1997

That Summer

The summer wore on, hot and dry.
The forecast always the same.
We watched the sky, prayed for rain;
As the corn withered,
Lakes receded,
The trees dropped their fruit,
And the wells went dry
From lack of moisture.

Then came the awful news.
My Amanda was dying.
Her beautiful body, 
so filled with life,
Was breaking and shattering
Upon the news that had fallen.

My Amanda did die.

After the funeral,
I lay on her bed.
Fingers intertwined,
My mind numb with pain.
Oblivious to the weather;
And everything else except my sorrow.
Longing for the healing oblivion of sleep.
Sleep that would not come.

And all at once come the sound of 
Raindrops falling,
Gently on the roof.
I listened.
I heard the Almighty.
A Loving Father, Also Weeping.
Feeling my sorrow.
Needing comfort.
And waiting for sleep.
For sleep that just won't come.

~by Maureen Jones, Dahlonega, Ga
In Remembrance of My Daughter
Amanda Diane Jones
May 9, 1986 - July 19, 1996

"A knowledge that another has felt as we have felt, 
and seen things not much otherwise than we have seen them, 
will continue to the end to be one of life's choicest blessings" 
~ Robert Louis Stevenson

Mrs. Butterworth

Every supermarket decision has a family memory connected to it. You’d never expect a package of spaghetti or a can of creamed corn to leave you crying in the aisle at the store…Excerpt from Charlie Walton’s book, When There Are No Words.

Every parent who has lost a child knows these words to be true. Whether it is baby food or a toddler’s newly discovered favorite food, junk food for teenagers or an adult child’s old time favorite, the grocery store can be a tough trip.

I lost my son, Stephen, when he was eighteen, so it was the junk food - potato chips, Funyuns, French bread for pizzas, Ragu sauce, pepperoni, Cheetos, cheesebread, cereal of all kinds, Chex mix and so on that haunted me and made me not want to grocery shop. But – it was the golden face of Mrs. Butterworth that brought me to my knees.

As I stared in horror at her face, I remembered sticky little handprints on the wall when the highchair had been just a little too close, I remembered a chubby little toddler sitting next to me at the table, talking seriously, his green eyes wide. “I sink I saw her wink at me,” he said of Mrs. Butterworth, sounding a little like Tweety Bird.

“Really?” I asked. Mrs. Butterworth always winked on the commercial – she seemed quite lifelike.

I took Mrs. Butterworth and made her walk toward his plate. She tripped when she was just the right distance from his plate and syrup spilled from her head right onto his pancakes. He looked at me and I saw it coming in his eyes – laughter. There is something so precious about a toddler’s laughter. It seems to start deep within and rolls from their chest until they lose their breath. He cackled, he gasped, his body shook with laughter as Mrs. Butterworth regained her footing and said, “Oh, my – silly me!”

He laughed even more.

Therefore, Mrs. Butterworth made a ritual of tripping and spilling syrup onto his pancakes. Sometimes she would let out a shriek as she fell, other times she would say in an embarrassed, dainty voice something about how clumsy she was or how she had tripped over her apron. Whatever she did, he rolled.

When Stephen was 15, the two of us often shared a quick breakfast before rushing out the door. He usually ate pancakes that he cooked for himself and I joined him for a granola bar and a diet coke. I was lost in thought one morning, a particularly stressful day ahead of me, when out of the corner of my eye, I saw Mrs. Butterworth come walking toward me. She was helped by a hand as big as mine with slender fingers wrapped around her base.

“So – how you been?” Mrs. Butterworth asked in a voice that tried to sound feminine but came out a little like a drag queen. She tripped suddenly and screamed in apparent horror. “Oh, crap!” she said as she stood back up. It may be the only time that Mrs. Butterworth has ever said crap – I’m not sure.  I laughed until I was sick and left for work with a smile in my heart.

But now, I did not laugh or even smile when I saw her face. I cried. Other shoppers probably thought I was insane. I walked away. I couldn’t look at her. Cheetos and Funyuns and potato chips had already stabbed at me over on aisle four, Captain Crunch had almost tripped me, the Tombstone Pizzas had made me as cold as they were in the freezer just to look at them, but the little golden faced lady broke my heart.

For the next four years, I had a peculiar interest in shortening and oil – you see, they were across the aisle from Mrs. Butterworth and I had to keep my back to her. She was an old friend, but I couldn’t face her. She was an unintentional emotional grenade. It was a sad situation and such a shame for two who had been so close not to acknowledge each other’s presence, but I just couldn’t look at her.

I always knew she was there, kindly smiling and understanding that I couldn’t face her. But just last week, I felt the golden stare strongly on my back as I once again feigned interest in the Wesson and the Crisco. For the first time in four years, I dared turn and peek at her. She boasted of ½ the calories  - so, she, too understood being mid forties, huh?

I dared turn a little more to fully face the little lady who had meant so much to Stephen and me – the fully golden one, with all the calories. The tears came, but a smile came with them. The memories that the golden face evoked were gentle, worth remembering forever. Older grief is, indeed, kinder.

I put her in my shopping cart and took her home with me. She stands on one of the top shelves in my kitchen pantry, guarding my granola bars and my memories.…..handprints on a wall, a toddler’s laughter, a teenager making his stressed mom laugh.

And, Stephen – you know, buddy, this morning when I grabbed a granola bar, I sink I saw her wink at me.

In Memory of Stephen Beam
July 17, 1978 - April 13, 1997
Submitted by his mom, Marcia Carter, 
author of Stephen’s Moon.
Waleska, GA


The door to my heart was opened
when God gave you to me.
You were such a little doll--
Oh that was plain to see.

For many years we had it rough
We struggled to make it and oh how tough.
We did though son and with those hard times
I knew I had to make it for you were mine.

Just as times were getting better
 and we were on the down side of life's ladder,
The door to my heart was closed.
The Master called you home. 

With that now, I'm left alone.
My hearts broken, my spirit crushed.
Life for you had been tragically silenced

~Joyce Brooks, Conyers, GA
In loving memory of my son
Stephen Bradley Turley 9-19-82  -  7-29-99


Written in loving memory of Laura Maria

Born on the threshold of summer,
you were sheltered and loved
and you grew and bloomed
in colors of sun, sky and starry nights.

You ran and played and climbed
and laughed through the years
at the antics of people and other animals.
You changed but somehow stayed the same.

Once in the midst of living and growing
we looked around and realized with shock
that you were already at another threshold -
between being a child and being a young lady.

You were so proud as you faced that door,
took a deep breath, gathered your courage
then rushed headlong into that new world
of moods and pajama parties and boyfriends.

You progressed and looked ahead to the point
in time where you thought your freedom resided.
"I can't wait until I'm twenty-one," you'd say,
"I'll do . ." "I'll go . ." "I'll have . ." "I'll be . ."

That threshold never came for you,
you were called too soon to cross another
that took you forever beyond our reach
into a place of which we've only dreamt.

So here today, on your twenty-first birthday,
the threshold you were so impatiently awaiting,
we gather to honor your memory in a joyous toast
and celebrate the everlasting wonder of your life. 

~written by Harold Hopkins, Lawrenceville, GA
Struck by the closeness of Laura Maria's death to my son, Lance's, parting, I wanted to write this In Memory of Laura Maria's 21st birthday - June 9th.  I hope it speaks to Laura Maria's mom.

To read more of Harold Hopkins's Poems visit A Special Web Site

"Though life is not as it was before,
And never will be again,
Our memories are much richer,
Than if love had never been."

Lost on the Road of Life

One Red Leather Mary Jane shoe, left foot, size 2: circa 1987, lost somewhere on Santa Teresa Blvd, San Jose California. Thrown from a school bus window, by a little girl who was probably unaware that she would never see it again. They were her favorite shoes, she wore them everyday even if the red color did not go with anything else she had on. Thrown out the window, as the bus was bringing her home, probably as an experiment in cause and effect. "wonder what happens if I do this?"  Maybe she thought the bus would stop, maybe she was just having fun. But she arrived home with only the right shoe on, and a report from the aide on the bus as to what she had done. 

I remember loading the kids in the car and driving up and down that busy  street looking for one lonely shoe, that had been discarded without much thought to the aftermath the loss would bring to its innocent owner. We never found it. 

I hope that whoever came upon it, be a city worker cleaning the streets or whomever, knew how much that shoe was loved. I hope that when they saw the scuff marks on the toes, they understood the little girl that owned it, had worn them everywhere. The scuff marks came from dragging your toes while an older brother pushed you on your bike, up and down the driveway.... 

Further proof of the love that surrounded the former owner of the single red shoe. I hope the lonely left shoe...found it's mate eventually. For it took me forever to discard of the right shoe that had made it home that fateful day. I think I loved them as much as she did. I loved them because they meant so much to her. They were the only shoes she ever picked out herself...the only shoes she ever showed an interest in choosing. Farewell, little red shoes. You live on in sweet memories now.

One White coffee cup, with a rainbow logo: circa 1989, lost somewhere in the desert, along the highway between Bakersfield California and Phoenix Arizona. Again, thrown out the window by a little girl. I wonder if the cup actually survived being flung into the great outdoors at 60 mph? IT was a ceramic mug. Tossed suddenly and unexpectedly away. 

I wonder if whoever found it could hear the echo of my surprised gasp as I realized what my daughter was doing with my cup? 

I wonder if the sound of our laughter can still be heard, as we wondered what she was thinking as she tossed that poor little cup out the window? I wonder if they knew that both her father and I grabbed the other coffee cup sitting in it's holder between our seats and hid it away for its own safety? Does the finder of such a seemingly meaningless treasure as a old ceramic coffee cup...probably broken in a million pieces, know that we carried memories of that little road trip in our hearts? For at the time we never knew how precious that memory and shared laughter would come to be.

One Trachea Tube and cleaning tray: circa 1995, left behind in room 237, in a hotel somewhere in the hills of California outside of Los Angeles. Still sitting on the sink, as we checked out, to load into our van and continue our move back home to Kentucky. Found probably by the maids who would have had no idea what it even was, never mind the memories it carried. 

If only they knew how tired we were that night when we checked into the room. Road weary, and emotionally exhausted making one final bid at saving a little girls life. Having packed up our home in Colorado, pulled our boys from school, we drove to California first. Yes we knew that was not the way to Kentucky! But we needed to spend some time with family in California, before we moved 2500 miles away. 

It was a long trip, full of tears and hope. Wonder if the maid knew how much the owner of that forgotten trach was loved? Would they have known that her brother was leaving behind what he thought would be his first and only love? Such sacrifice on his part, easily made when it meant his sister had a better chance for life. Did they know we checked into that room with 3 kids, a big fluffy black dog and a full size oxygen tank that had to be loaded and unloaded with a dolly every evening when we stopped for the night? 

The room must have echoed with the sound of a barking dog, a laughing girl, a snoring Dad and a too tired mom pleading for quiet. We carried away memories from the room...just left a trach tube behind.
 Lost on the Road of Life (continued)

One 3 Carat Diamond Ring: circa 1999 lost again, somewhere in Louisville Ky. Oh yes, we knew it was actually cubic zirconium. The ring had been found orginally in a desk at my work, left behind by the Sales Director as she moved on to a new position and place in her life. No one wanted was gawdy. But I retrieved it from the trash bin. One person's trash was an extremely valuable treasure to a little girl who believed in fairy tales. 

I brought it home to her, and told her to hold out her hand I had a surprise. I slipped it onto her chubby little finger, silently thankful that the sales director also had chubby fingers. The look of sheer joy and amazement on her face will never be forgotten. I wonder if whomever found it thought of it as trash or treasure? I wonder if they know I looked high and low for that silly ring as I packed my daughters room for the last time? I wonder if they know how I cried over the loss of it, and how I could only find comfort in imagining that some  other little princess found it and now treasures it as much as my princess did.

So many things lost along the road of life. But the memories will never be lost. They come back to us, sometimes when we least expect them. And they bring comfort to me. I don't feel my daughter is lost, for I know right where she is...even though she is no longer here on earth at my side. I know where she is...I can hear her in my mind, I feel her in my heart...I know she is waiting for us. And I know that she has both of her red shoes now!

~by Lisa Comstock, Jeffersontown, KY
In Memory of Kristina Lynn Comstock
Feb. 24, 1983 - July 24, 1999


The tide recedes but leaves behind 
bright seashells on the sand....
The sun goes down but gentle warmth 
still lingers on the land....
The music stops and yet, echoes on a sweet refrain....
For every joy that passes, something beautiful remains....

Dear sweet Kristina, even though for now, we are apart...
The beauty of you, lives on, in all of our hearts.

~by Lisa Comstock, Jeffersontown, KY

In Memory of Clayton Sechrist

We grew up together
The best of friends
We meshed to each other
I thought that wouldn’t end
Always the short kids
We teamed up together
The taunts didn’t seem so bad
When we made fun of them

Nights camping in the back yard
The laughter never stopped
You were my first real friend
A bond that can’t be broke
There was never much to do
We were always bored
So bored in fact
I wish it never ended

Then time for high school
We never had a fight,
Never a formal disagreement,
It just kind of stopped
We ran with different crowds
We still said hey in the halls
We had separate interests
The bond was still there

For your 16th birthday
The traditional gift of
Baseball cards seemed trivial
You can’t drive cardboard
Maybe driving wasn’t so cool
Your mom didn’t think so
Just a week later
When she got that call

I myself 2 months shy
Of learning how to drive
We waited for this for years
Thought the day would never come
Driving wasn’t a big deal now
Not when I have to get dressed up
And be a pall bearer
In my best friend’s funeral

~written by Graham Tucker
Snellville, GA
Clayton's best friend
In Memory of Clayton Sechrist
February 1, 1980 - February 20, 1996

Book Review:  Today I Smile 
(Tomorrow I May Cry)
by Diane Wattles
Mahomet, Ill

Today I Smile (Tomorrow I May Cry), authored by Diane Wattles, a mother who lost her 18-year-old daughter in a car accident.  Although there is no Compassionate Friends chapter in Diane's community of Mahomet, Illinois, she attended the 2000-2001 Compassionate Friends Convention in Chicago with her surviving daughter Kelsey Silberg.  Kelsey was a member of Atlanta's Compassionate Friends Siblings chapter before moving to Orlando, Florida, just this past March. 

Diane is an English teacher at Mahomet-Seymour Alternative High School.  After raising Kelsey and Mandy as a single mother for 8 years, Diane remarried and took on the new role of stepmother.  Acceptance into a Leadership Development Program at the University of Illinois, Champaign, led Diane to work toward her Master's Degree.  It was during this five-year quest that she discovered her daughter's drug use and that her own story of grief and recovery began. 

The following few paragraphs not only introduces Mandy but defines the nature of Diane's book. 

My daughter was the typical teenager.  She flaunted the newest trend in jeans, grumbled over chemistry homework, and drove on just enough gas to make it home at night. Mandy cheered for the football team, danced for the marching band pom squad, performed in school plays and musicals, and  participated in Student Council.  Regardless of the activity and the normalcy of her life, my daughter became chemically dependent.  Although Mandy did not provide the stereotypical picture of an addict, her drug use was real.  Today I Smile discusses a family in crisis, from the discovery of Mandy’s use and subsequent addiction to her attempt at recovery.  This book, however, takes the reader one step further into a family’s crisis. 

Mandy was killed in an automobile accident, July 30, just a week after finishing her in-house recovery.  Just as I had begun to deal with Mandy’s addiction and with her recovery process, I was thrust into dealing with her death and my grief process.  Past grief and depression and through introspection, I began to draw parallels between my daughter’s physical needs and my emotional needs that left us both in a state of denial, with a void in life, and in a struggle for survival. 
One story is not the direct result of the other as Mandy was a passenger in the two-car accident, and she was the only fatality.  However, because the events happened within the span of one month, disassociating them became particularly difficult.  This book defines those struggles. 

Although Today I Smile was written during desperate times--those early years in grief, Diane says it was a book she needed to write.  Not only did she need to reflect on Mandy's life--how it led to an addiction that stole Mandy of so much; but she also needed to explore her own feelings and fears.  One of the greatest rewards from the book is that--Mandy made the cover! 

Audiences who have heard Diane speak or who have read her book remark that it must have taken real courage to tell Mandy's story.  Diane says she always replies, "It really took no special courage to talk about Mandy or to write about her--she's one of my favorite subjects.  It takes courage to live  without her."--A fact every grieving parent understands. 

Today I Smile can be purchased online at  It should be available through local bookstores within the month. 

TCF Atlanta Online Sharing

The Visit 

A mother kneels at a grave 
and with her head bowed, she cries, 
Every time she comes, 
another piece of her heart dies.

Week after week, day after day,
nothing in the world will keep her away. 
For within the deep grave, 
her beloved son lies.

She will come here until her last dying day; 
when at last they'll be together, 
apart no more, 
and he'll open up the Gates to greet her, 
at Heaven's door. 
- May 10, 2001 

Deborah Odom
Covington, GA 
Mother to David "Ratt" DeLuca 
(4/22/79 - 2/4/00)

"The phrase 'Time moves differently now'… It is so true.  Our lives stop and start over on a different time table that the rest of the world does not have a clock or watch like ours.  Bereaved parents are just in a time zone all our own trying to keep up with the rest of the world."  ~Christi

Dear friends.

Tonight as I was reading the messages from Jayne, I read the heartbreaking story from Tony's Mom.  I almost immediately felt the following words come to my heart.  And, I know they were sent to me from above.  No doubt.  It was as if Chad & Tony were sitting here telling me what words to write & how to express them.  Wow! ~

As I wrote the following poem, From One Broken Heart to Another, I thought of each of you and how much you help other mothers, fathers, grandparents, and siblings somehow learn to survive the loss of a child. 

And tonight, I want you all to know that my life is a better life ...  and it's partially because of you.

With Love.  Kaye

From One Broken Heart to Another

I wrote to you almost two years ago.
Just to sign up for this TCF site.
I've read the many stories you've sent to me ...
And felt comfort in what you write.

You see, I knew that you would understand,
how it feels to lose your precious son.
And tonight there is such an emptiness in me.
In two weeks, my son would be twenty-one.

You see other people's life just go on.
All the while your life stands still.
There is an empty hole in my very soul.
I know that you know how I feel.

It seems that my son has been forgotten.
And that makes me feel so sad.
For his life was beautiful & meaningful.
Losing him still hurts me so bad.

People I work with talk of their families.
And I know they don't understand.
I walk daily in this life without the joy
of my dear son holding my hand.
I still have two younger children with me.
Oh, I wrap them daily in my embrace.
But no matter how much love I have for them ...
They can never take my other son's place.

I guess being a single Mom makes it worse.
I am not quite sure how to behave.
I do know that no one could ease the pain
of visiting my dear son's grave.

There are still so many questions 
that I need the answers to.
I don't know that I'll ever accept this ...
Or the pain that I've lived through.

I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart
for listening to me cry to you tonight.
All comfort I've received in the past 2 years ...
Has come from you and this TCF Site.

So as I am about to face the 2nd anniversary,
I ask that you please remember me.
And to those of you who believe in prayer ...
Ask Him to send me peace & serenity.
~Author~ Kaye Des'Ormeaux
Copyright 2001 Kaye Des'Ormeaux
Dedicated to Tony's Mom In the Memory of Tony 
& To Jayne Newton In Memory of Chad.

For More of Kaye Des'Ormeaux Poems visit Her Special Web Site



My daughter told me you were coming soon, 
as my shining eyes grew as big as the moon. 
I hurried home to clean and prepare, 
for the greatest joy no other could compare. 
I gathered together all my many yarns, 
to crochet a sweater for your tiny arms. 
As the yarn took on a loving shape 
instead of a sweater it turned into a cape. 
Soft pastel colors of fuzzy rayon 
come together with colors of the crayons. 
with the cape all done up with pretty little bows, 
next came booties to warm tiny toes. 
Then came the soft, cuddly blanket of love, 
awaiting your arrival from up above. 
Then came the bonnet as delicate as lace, 
to warm your head and surround your lovely face. 
With each double and single stitch, 
it all comes together without a hitch. 
Then the wonderful day was finely here, 
Your birth came without any fear. 
These memories of you are so very dear, 
as your birth date came with hardly a tear. 
Only tears of joy from those that love you, 
with waiting arms that want to hug you.... 
Now time has past and the tears come from sadness, 
no longer are there days of bliss and gladness. 
For those that loved you more than life itself, 
broken hearts weep as the blanket rests on a shelf. 
Now two years later and still hurting with pain, 
Those torn hearts cannot be mended again. 
As tears fall down and the flowers begin to wilt, 
Grammy's tears now fall on your MEMORIAL QUILT... 
~written by Wanda Bryant 
Forever Vicki's Grammy 
Victoria King 
04-17-1998 ~ 04-11-1999
copyright: June 7, 2001 

What Timetables?

There are no timetables in grief. Unfortunately, the general public doesn't see it that way. That is why it is so important that all of us educate the public. They need to know that we will always hurt and we will always grieve. The hurt will ease, but the pain of the loss will forever be there. We loved our child so much. Having rituals, such as your arranging flowers at the accident site and going to the cemetery to talk to your daughter,  is an important part of our grieving process. 

It has been 5 1/2 years since my sweet Nina died. Though I don't go to the cemetery every day as I did in the beginning, I go once a week to change the seven-day candle in the Eternal Light. And I find times that I need to go there more often than that. 

Please do not listen to the advice of others who haven't been where we are; who haven't lost a child. Though the majority of them mean well and they don't want to see you hurt anymore, they just can't know. The fact that it has been a year means nothing as far as your grief. The second year is a very difficult one, as most of us who have been there can attest to. We don't miraculously wake up the morning after the one-year anniversary of our child's death and "get better!"  I actually had someone say to me on that anniversary, "Boy, I bet that you will be so glad when tomorrow comes. Then you can finally get on with your life!" EEEKKKK!!!!

You need to do whatever it takes to help you through the day. You really still are a novice at this grief experience, being only a little over a year. I luckily had the long-timers of TCF reassure me of that, because I thought maybe something was wrong with me...that maybe I should be "over it" because everyone (of course, not anyone who had ever lost a child) told me I should be. 

I know it is hard to be patient with those who tell you otherwise. But you need to take care of yourself. Be good to yourself, go to the cemetery when you need to, arrange the flowers at the accident site, whatever it takes (as long as it isn't injurious to you or anyone else) then you need to do it...for YOU! It's a long road and those of us in TCF, Atlanta Sharing Line, and all the other grief organizations are there to help you and tell you that what you are feeling is normal; or what we call the "new normal" for those of us who have loved and lost a child. 

God Bless 
Cathy, Nina's mom forever, St. Paul, MN

The Things We'll Never Get To Do

Now as we plan to celebrate the Fourth of July,
I can't help but think about how we'll never get to see 
your excitement at watching the fireworks in the sky. 
There are so many things 
we'll never get to share with you,
You were taken from us too soon,
We'll never get to show you the man in the moon.
We'll never get to see you learn to crawl
 or pull yourself up,
or teach you to drink from a cup.

You'll never get to take your first baby steps
Or feel the tickle of grass under your little feet,
We'll never get to share with you your 
first ice cream treat. 
You'll never get to have your first birthday cake.
Those first day of school pictures 
you'll never get to take.

We'll never get to hear the first song you learn to sing,
Never get to show you a beautiful butterfly
 as it flutters it's wings.
We'll never know the first words you might have said,
We'll never get to hear you say "Goodnight Daddy"
 as we put you to bed.

Your brothers will never hear you say their names
or pronounce them in a funny way, 
giving them both nicknames to make fun of some day!
They'll never get to teach you how to catch a ball, 
or how to ride your first bike 
and catch you when you fall.

During those two months and six days 
we had the chance to hold you
and tell you how much we loved you,
We never knew you would not get to hug us back
and tell us that you loved us too.
When your father and I heard your first cry 
when you were born,
Our thoughts were about all of the things
 we wanted to share with you,
Now all we think about are all 
the things we'll never get to do.

~written by Peggy Wills, Lawrenceville, GA
In Memory of of her son Jarod Robert Wills
8-22-98 - 10-28-98

Sometimes We Have To Let Go
Written by Hattie Pridgen,TCF Wilmington, NC (Cape Fear Chapter)

How many times did I tell you that you could not die before I did?  Because I could not live if you died.  SO MANY TIMES.  Did I hold you here too long to suffer more than you should?  I could not bear the thought of life without you.  Children should not die before their parents.

How many times has my heart cried "I lied, I lied, I didn't mean it," since that last afternoon when I knew it was time to let you go.  You told me that you loved me more than anything but you wanted to go home to Heaven.  I told you it was Okay, that I wanted you to go and not have to suffer anymore.

I told you that when a child is born the cord that binds a mother and child together is cut, but there is an invisible cord that binds us that can never be broken.  That wherever you go I will always be with you, and no matter where I am you would always be with me.

Because I loved you more than life itself I had to let you go.  But my heart still cries, "I didn't mean it, it was a lie, I didn't want you to die."

But I will always carry you in my heart, and part of my heart and soul went with you that day.  I know that you are waiting for me in Heaven.  ONLY THEN WILL I BE WHOLE AGAIN.

On I-65 in Alabama

….Many years ago our Daughter convinced us that she should be able to go to a concert on a school night.  She had left early in the evening and promised she would be home by 1 AM.  It was 1:30 AM and still no sign.  Where was she?  Did something happen?  Then there was the sound of an automobile and her key in the door.  We just breathed a sigh of relief that she was home and that she was ok.

There were other times when we waited for her at the airport to return from college.   She was always one of the last off the plane.  Just for a minute I would start to panic thinking that she had missed the plane.  She would eventually come down the ramp with a big smile on her face and her big school bag on her arm.

This time it was different. We had been traveling for 7 or 8 hours and were northbound on I-65 in Alabama.  It was late, it was cold and dark and we were exhausted.   The last 2 days had been the worst days of our lives.  We said our good bye to her in a hospital bed the day before.  She had fought so hard but couldn’t hold on any longer.  So on this bleak January night we were speeding toward home for the last reunion with our Daughter.  Somehow I had to make sure she was all right.  Dads and Moms are supposed to do stuff like that.  There was a filling station at the next exit and a phone.  I could barely hear over the wind and the traffic but the voice from Houston gave me a flight number and told me our Daughter would arrive in Greensboro in the morning.  She was coming home to us one more time.

Natalie, you are always in our hearts and in our minds.  We live each day in the memory of the wonderful years you gave us.  You taught us that life is not only about working and being practical.  I believe that someday we will be the last one off the plane and your smiling face will be there to greet us.  What a day that will be.

Terry and Evelyn Sparks, Lawrenceville, Ga  - In Memory of Their Daughter Natalie Sparks


……For years, I had been storing my son's clothing, some of his favorite articles, in boxes in the garage. I didn't want to let go of the clothes, yet I had no use for them. One day an idea came.  I was talking to a woman enthralled with quilting, with fabrics, textures, and the art of creating quilts. She was talking about how she was making a quilt out of her family's old blue jeans, because it created a use for the fabric and gave them a blanket that held the energy and memory of their experiences.  It wasn't just a quilt.  It became a special comfort quilt because of the energy the fabrics held. 

That's when the idea came. My son had died years ago. His physical presence was no longer here.  But the clothes held the memories of his physical presence and the energy of his spiritual presence. I could make them into a quilt, one that would cherish his memory and give me comfort. How do we get our ideas? From other people. From certain triggers in the world, the universe. From our imagination. We are connected to creativity. It's a force in the universe, an energy that runs through us. If we're connected to ourselves, our intuition will guide us as to what to do and when to do it. If we love ourselves, we'll trust ourselves enough to act confidently and joyfully on that guidance. Value your connection with creativity. Embrace your imagination. The universe will show you how, teach you how, help you along the way. ~ Melody Beattie 


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