would like to talk with you about infant loss in memory of my daughter,
Mary Elizabeth Karg. Mary was born on Sept. 3, 1998 and lived for
36 hours. While still in the womb, she was diagnosed with a fatal
birth defect, called anencephaly. Anencephaly is a condition in which the
brain does not form completely.
of us who have lost an infant, we are left to wonder what might have been.
We are reminded that we will never see that first tooth, see that first
step, hear our baby's first word or see our child attend kindergarten for
the first time.
comfort in writing letters to Mary Elizabeth. As I write, the tears
always come and they are somehow healing to my heart. In the letters,
I share with her the hopes and dreams that never had the chance to come
going to a parent grief support group in Conyers even before Mary Elizabeth
was born. Knowing that my baby would die, I needed a group of people
who would somehow understand how I felt and I found what I needed there.
I am very thankful for the friends that I have there who
better than anyone else. Thank you for letting me share my daughter
with you, and may all of our children's lights shine forever.
Karg, Conyers, GA
shared her story of Infant Loss at the Centennial Park Candlelighting)
3, 1998 - September 4, 1998
Parson, TCF Atlanta
24, 1991, I became a bereaved parent when my 15 year old son, Robert, died
run out of time for prevention and/or intervention. It was now time to
begin grieving. Death by suicide (because it is normally seen as a choice
thus the stigma attached to it) typically elicits a more significant amount
of anger and guilt. This added dimension often takes longer to work through
and the "what if" questions are relentless with no answers. I HOPE to give
you some insight into the things that helped me and gave me the courage
to grieve and gave me Hope for the future. These are things that I put
in what I now call my HOPE CHEST.
comes to us in many ways, people, places, things, in looking back and in
looking forward. Many of our "hopes" come to us before we even know what
they are and how significant they will be down the road.
is in support groups like Survivors of Suicide and TCF. I learned the language
of a bereaved parent and received encouragement, unconditional acceptance,
and hope. I learned to work toward changing my anger to forgiveness and
my guilt to regret. Two of the hardest hurdles were forgiveness of self
that came with the "why" questions and letting go of the guilt, real and
imagined. How could my strong, yet sensitive child with a belly laugh that
is still music to my ears, make this choice? Leaving these behind brought
is passing on knowledge that you have gained thru your journey and/or circumstances
or using it for change.
is in time...we need time to heal and that time frame is different for
each of us.
is in the grieving process, you heard that right. Grief opens us up and
bares all...showing us our strengths and weaknesses. We foster hope within
ourselves when we use our strength to bolster our weaknesses and vulnerable
areas, gaining confidence with each step.
is in the memories we have of our children. Hope is in Heaven, knowing
that we will one day be reunited with them. The candles we light tonight
in memory of our children are to celebrate their lives, to show them, the
community, and the world how much we love them and miss them. The candles
also represent hope for us, they reflect our courage to stand here tonight,
even tho wounded, to show we have taken up the challenge to grieve with
as much courage and grace as possible and make our children proud of us.
about without a care
for food on morning’s air.
icon for a soul set free
of love and liberty.
wings abound with colours true
brown, red, green and blue.
noble’s shields in days gone past,
the patterns that were cast
the world doth envy thee!
seasons come and seasons go
remain, and even though
has left this life of pain
reborn on high again,
life is short lived too, it seems
visions of a shattered dream.
can you not see
so special now to me?
God’s creatures great and small,
no doubt, the best of all.
is your second home
spirit fly, where I may roam
your path on silken wings;
then turn to other things.
with coloured form and grace
of Lepidoptera’s race,
now set to symbolise
form up above the skies.
must wait and watch for thee
for some serenity.
Bartlett TCF Queensland. Australia
remembers with gladness
when you were small,
reached out as I held you,
your hand upon my face
in the arms of God,
out to place
hand upon His face
smiling in peace.
by this vision,
softly in my mind,
somewhere beyond the field
and I wonder . . . . .
you moving on the wind,
with the hawks?
you be the gentle ray of light
the ethereal sky
gilding the falling leaf?
not seem possible
all the world's not lonely,
life continues in such eternal sameness
everyone stopping to seek and wonder
long for you.
me, I'll always be listening
watching for you
uncounted sounds and sights of life,
bless your memory at the briefest glimpse
call of love to love.
memory of Lance Porter Hopkins
20, 1975 - November 30, 1999
Hopkins, Lawrenceville TCF
Good Grief: Healing Through
the Shadow of Loss
Avery, TCF Lawrenceville, GA
this book a couple weeks ago and finally picked it up a few nights ago,
and randomly opened it to this page. These paragraphs really said
a lot to me and made me think a lot about the comments some unthinking
people tell us bereaved parents about how we have to put our grief behind
us and move on. Like we're supposed to forget about our child and
carry on as though everything is fine, yeah, right... Let them
be in our shoes and try moving on. Like Jayne wrote, we are moving
on. We have changed, grown, reached out, been through hell and back
and it has changed our lives, unlike some people who are still rooted in
the same spot they were in 4 years ago, but they can tell us to move on.
chapter was about "losing" and what that term means. It is from the
book "Good Grief - Healing Through the Shadow of Loss" by Deborah Morris
our grief means continuing to love in the face of loss. The face
of loss - what we see - is that someone or something is gone. The
heart of loss teaches us that nothing - no thing - we have ever known can
be lost. What we have known we have taken into ourselves in such
a way that it has become part of the very fabric of our being. It
is part of who we are and as long as we are alive we have the capacity
even that which is no longer a part of our daily reality. This means
that we will need to "change our minds" about many notions that we have
had about loss: that what we can no longer "see" is gone. That what
no longer touch doesn't continue to live. That if there is no response,
the relationship is over. Close your eyes and see that which you
can no longer touch; that which is gone from your presence. Reach
inside of you to the feeling of touching, hearing, smelling, being with
your experience of what you believed was
We are haunted by societal fears that we should not continue to stay connected
with what is gone, what is past, what has been lost. There is a pitfall
here, a caveat, symbolized by Dickens Miss Havisham: be wary of that
part of us that might want to live in the past. The challenge is
to bring the past along with us in such a way that we haven't lost anything.
We don't ignore the challenge because of the pitfall. Truth
we could not forget our past if we wanted to.
we choose to leave in the past, we can. What we choose to continue
loving, we can. We are being asked to give new form to what was contained
in an earlier
Our grief becomes the container for what we feel we have lost and in the
process of grieving we come into some new wholeness. We create a
way to incorporate, literally to take into our bodies, that
has become formless. Like the caterpillar, we go into a cocoon to
a safe place so that the old self can dissolve and a new self can be created.
the art of losing, this metamorphosis is not automatic. It does not
happen simply in the course of time. Rather, it is a self-conscious
can be a path to self-realization because in the process of grieving we
acknowledge that which we chose not to lose. In the art of losing
we can choose who we will be. We break, but we break open so that
we can include more of life, more of love. We get bigger in order
to carry with us what we choose to continue loving."
chapter begins with this quote:
you bring forth what is within you,
you bring forth will save you.
do not bring forth what is within you,
you do not bring forth will destroy you."
Courage to Let Life Go On
is not the absence of fear and pain But the affirmation of life despite
goes on"….I have often heard this sentence, said perhaps to console me,
or perhaps as a way to put an end to conversation about loss and death.
Of course life goes on, no matter how shattered our lives are by the loss
of someone we love so dearly. Life doesn’t ask whether we want to go along.
We want the world to stop turning because of our loss. Days turn into nights,
again and again, and this is how we arrived at this day. Suddenly another
month, another year has gone by, although we all probably asked ourselves
how we would be able to go on living. It just happens. We do not die because
of the pain. We keep on living and I still wonder how this can be.
not want life to go on, but to stop it right here, or better yet, to turn
back to the day when I lost my sister and baby niece. I do not want the
changes life brings. Each change seems to increase the distance between
the life I knew with them and the life I live today. I cannot ask my sister’s
opinion about the new things that happen. I cannot share then with her,
tell her about them, laugh or cry with her about them, Changes make me
aware that in fact life does go on, without her. My birthdays make me sad
because they change the difference in age...my sister was always four yours
older than I was, and now we are down to three years.
I feel guilty that I live on. I smell, breathe,
feel. see and experience life, while my sister and her daughter were ripped
away from it.
and I never talked about death or losing each other, but if we had, I am
sure that we both would have said that we could not imagine life without
had been me, my sister would have been forced to do exactly the
same; go on living despite the agony, just because there is no choice.
lost them, I trusted life to be good. I believed in fairness; if we are
good, life will spare us tragedies and besides, these tragedies only happen
to other people, those I do not know, those I read about in the papers,
distant, easy to forget about. I lost this sense of security and trust
in life. I now find that living takes courage. Life becomes meaningful
through love and friendship, but loving someone is what makes us vulnerable.
Daring to invite love into our lives means to increase our vulnerability
to the threats that seem to be around every corner. Instead of asking "why
us?" I often find myself asking "why not us?" Tragedy hits good and bad
people for no reason. It seems the world is just random and unpredictable.
Just because I am a good person and I already lost so much does not mean
that I will be spared from more pain.
goes on and because it does, with all the good and bad things that happen
to us, it scares me to live and particularly. to love. What if more happens?
The fear IS paralyzing. I pray to God, to my sister and my niece to protect
us, although I know they don’t have the power to prevent other bad things
from happening. What then can I ask them for? Courage, I guess.
to let life go on, to give myself a chance that new and good things will
happen to me that will add JOY to my life.
Nielsen TCF, Manhattan, NY
lifted from No. Oklahoma City TCF Newsletter
see the picture smiling back at me.
see the picture with unending sympathy
see the picture with Gods willing mercy
see the picture as my grief
see the picture playing a special part in my life
see the picture as the only remaining song in life
see the picture as the one memory to proceed
see the picture as my little daredevil brother
to Ryan Duffner - by little angel brother
Erica Duffner, Lawrenceville GA
January 8, 1997
March 10, 1999
the death of my sister came some painful realizations -that life isn't
fair or predictable; that sometimes even my best isn't good enough, and
that from the day of her death, the happy events in my life would always
be tinged with sadness.
the pain and loss, death has also left me with some valuable Lessons and
Precious Gifts. As a result of my sister's death - I have a greater appreciation
of life and a greater Compassion for those who hurt.
learned to be a survivor - to have a successful career and productive life
in the face of tremendous grief and loss. I have been gifted with good
friends and special people to help me through the rough times. But most
of all - I have been given the gift of time - time to heal and time to
replace Painful memories of death with Priceless memories of my sister's
Schanberger - from
This Healing Journey - An Anthology for Bereaved
we love remain with us,
love itself lives on,
cherished memories never fade
a loved one's gone.....
we love can never be
than a thought apart,
as long as there is memory,
live on in the heart.
Memory of Melvin Shannon
Atlanta Online Sharing…..
conducted an 18 hour vigil on the one year anniversary of her daughter's
death, at the accident site with a sign asking "teens to please slow down
and wear their seat belts". This is what she shared about her experience…
getting back. What an amazing day! God put this day in motion
two days ago, and amazing is the only way to describe it.
thanks for giving me the gift of their presence - Stacie - Tiffany's Mom;
Robbie - Christopher and Taylor's Mom; Susan - Loren's Mom; Jerri - Tom's
Mom; Patti - Stephanie's Mom; Leo and Barbara who lost their son in a car
accident, and of course you, Jayne - Chad's Mom. You shared your
presence and lent your support when I needed it most. Where would
I be without my Friends? Your kindness will never be forgotten.
idea took on a life of its own - from the friends of Tiffany, to my new
Friends, to the people who saw the TV news program and just stopped by
to share their tears, to the off-duty police officer who happened on the
scene just after it happened. He was so distraught by what he saw
after he found her and held her that he doesn't come down that piece of
the road, but tonight, he "just happened to come by".
Friends helped me "see the Light". I dreaded this day for the longest
time, saying I just knew it was going to eat me alive. But it didn't.
Instead, taking the suggestions I so often see on the sharing list, the
negative was able to produce a positive. I honestly believe in my
heart, that some young person made it home tonight to his or her Mom because
of taking to heart one family's ordeal. I thank God for that!
with the beautiful red hair (any kin to Peppermint Patty?) had the most
wonderful thought. What if, on a certain day, at a certain time,
all the Moms stood at the site where their child lost their life either
by car accident or homicide or other accident. If there were enough
of us on the sides of the roads, on the way to malls, schools, church,
etc., would it be enough for the teenagers to say to themselves, "I never
want my Mom to have to do that." Would it be strong enough statement
to make an impact? I think it would.
you all and I love you with all my heart. You are my "monkey's fist",
(a knot at the end of a rope that they throw out to people who are drowning).
of Tiffany Vaughn
I smiled, and caught myself humming along with a song, and laughing and
planning an event to look forward to. Hey! wait a minute, this is almost
normal....can it be? Am I truly " getting over you ",moving forward with
and think this through....Yes I can smile at times...but if you look close
you will see a tear in the corner of my eye,...often what brings on the
smile is a memory of you.
me see, OH YES! ..that is the song that reminds me so much of you....Laughing
and planning something?...surely this is a sign I am doing ok?…But if you
listen my laugh is hollow...and the looking forward to the event is just
something I hang on to, to keep my mind from being filled with memories.
am not "over you"...and know deep down inside...the person I am today...is
the person who will remain. You are with me every beat of my heart.
to myself there is a moving forward going on all the time, and my heart
and mind carry you with it. To forget you, to get over you? Yes there will
come the day when others can say "Well at last she is over this" and then
they can go home and go on with their lives, Because then I will be at
home with you.
mom - Sheila Simmons, TCF Atlanta
Newsletter on line is incredible! The writings and poems helped me to finally
shed the tears that have been under the surface for a good 2 months...
really deep sorrow that I had not yet allowed myself to grieve in 16 mos.
Thank you, TCF from the bottom of my heart for all you do. How I wish I
lived near Atlanta! I am in Boston and have never attended a Compassionate
Friends meeting ...but I would very much like to attend this year's Conference.
KNOW HOW IT FEELS
Napoleon's invasion of Russia, his troops were battling in the middle of
yet another small town in that endless wintry land, when he was accidentally
separated from his men. A group of Russian Cossacks spotted him and began
chasing him through the twisting streets. Napoleon ran for his life and
ducked into a little furrier's shop on a side alley. As Napoleon entered
the shop, gasping for breath, he saw the furrier and cried piteously, "Save
me, save me! Where can I hide?" The furrier said, "Quick, under this big
pile of furs in the corner," and he covered Napoleon up with many furs.
had he finished than the Russian Cossacks burst in the door shouting, "Where
is he? We saw him come in." Despite the furrier's protests, they tore his
shop apart trying to find Napoleon. They poked into the pile of furs with
their swords but didn't find him. Soon, they gave up and left.
some time, Napoleon crept out from under the furs, unharmed, just as Napoleon's
personal guards came in the door. The furrier turned to Napoleon and said
timidly, "Excuse me for asking this question of such a great man, but what
was it like to be under those furs, knowing that the next moment would
surely be your last?"
drew himself up to his full height and said to the furrier indignantly,
"How could you ask me, the Emperor Napoleon, such a question? Guards, take
this impudent man out, blindfold him and execute him. I, myself, will personally
give the command to fire!"
grabbed the furrier, dragged him outside, stood him against a wall and
blindfolded him. The furrier could see nothing, but he could hear the guards
shuffle into line and prepare their rifles. Then he heard Napoleon clear
his throat and call out, "Ready! Aim!" In that moment, a feeling he could
not describe welled up within him; tears poured down his cheeks.
the blindfold was stripped from his eyes. Although partially blinded by
the sunlight he could see Napoleon's eyes looking intently into his own
-- eyes that seemed to see every dusty corner of his soul.
Napoleon said, "Now you know."
are some things that simply cannot be described to you. If you haven't
experienced them for yourself, you can't begin to know the feeling. If
you've never had to bury a daughter before she was old enough to ride a
bicycle, you can't begin to know what it feels like.
could go on and on.
Alan Smith's Thought for the Day
I go, while you're still here...
that I live on,
to a different measure
a thin veil you cannot see through.
not see me,
must have faith.
for the time when
soar together again,
aware of each other.
then, live your life to its fullest
when you need me,
whisper my name in your heart,
will be there.
is Like a Mobile…..Someone
once told me that when your family changes you need to look at it like
a mobile. It is in this perfect balance until you lose one of the
members. If you yanked off one strand from the mobile it would rock
to and fro for some time trying to rebalance itself. When it finished
rocking it would not though be level like when you started.
time things shift and it becomes more balanced once again. I think
this is a good word picture of what it is that we experience when we lose
a child. You my friend are in the hard rocking stages where the mobile
is trying to right itself and balance out after the piece has been yanked
by Laura, TCF Online Sharing
One More Time"
times have I woke on an Easter morning and smiled, knowing that the baskets
were all set, the eggs dyed, and new clothes were waiting? How many times
have I watched with joy as the little hands reached for chocolate bunnies
and jellybeans? The joy of those mornings will forever be etched in memory,
sitting, waiting for a time to be brought to remembrance.
are grown now, except one, who is forever frozen in time. The egg dye has
been put away, the baskets hid in the attic with all the other keepable
things from holidays and special events. The children now have children
and they go on their way in life, except one, who is forever frozen in
time. The new clothes to be worn are now packed away in storage boxes filled
with mothballs, hoping to be kept forever, never to be worn by one gone
from my sight.
hours of that Easter morn are different now. No longer do I lie in my bed
and wait for those sounds of joy and laughter coming down the hall. The
children are all grown now, except one, and she is gone from me. She was
too old for childish things, stuffed bunnies and jellybeans, yet too young
to give it all up. "Just one more year, mama, let me hold on to my youth
and enjoy the wonders of that day", she said. Just one more year. Now she
is gone, forever frozen in time, and her memory is engraved in my mind.
"Just one more time"...
of Ashley Marie Sockwell 1-31-78/10-22-96
Sockwell, TCF Lawrenceville, GA
Strength of Butterflies
didn't want to change. Their lives were full. The caterpillars crawled
happily through the green leaves, played and rested in the sun, and ate
their fill. Yet, through the darkness and quiet mystery, they did change.
Their luminous beauty now lights the skies, their colors are vibrant, their
airy flight is delightful.
didn't want to change. Their lives were full. They laughed and worked and
sang and played; our children loved their lives. Yet, through the darkness
and quiet mystery, they did change. Beyond our own imaginings they now
live in indescribable harmony and perfect joy. Their new lives are a color
invisible to us, but it is the color of eternity.
want to change. Our lives were full. We cared and nurtured and disciplined
and laughed and mothered and fathered; we loved their lives and them. Yet,
through the darkness and quiet mystery, we have changed. Though fragile
in our forever-longing for them, we are gifted with a growing strength
of spirit called HOPE. We are a resilient and enduring new color as well,
held close to our children by unbreakable threads of love that keep us
tethered for awhile yet between earth and heaven.
Sue Zercher, TCF Marietta, GA
the only animal that laughs and weeps; for he is the only animal that is
struck with the differencebetween what things are and what they ought to
by Judy Blumsack,
between Sympathy and Compassion
you understand that sympathy and compassion are different. According
to Webster, sympathy is an expression of sorrow for another person's distress
or loss. On the other hand, true compassion is a personal, active
involvement that expresses God's merciful heart in words and
deeds, for as long as is necessary. It never says "times
up." Compassion keeps you from getting 'caught up' in your own needs and
allows you to take care of the needs of those around
you, those you love.
Keller, TCF Lawrenceville, GA
keep finding things
I'll know you put them there.
you made my life complete;
you've left me life's intent.
love was wondrously given...
to be saved, but spent.
Vaughan, for Denice,