To Our New Members .....Welcome to TCF Atlanta Online E-Newsletter

We at TCF Atlanta Online hope you will find comfort and healing from our

e-newsletter.  We will share articles, poems and messages from other bereaved

parents and siblings.  Our hope is to give you "hope" and let you know you

"Need Not Walk Alone".

Jayne Newton
TCF Atlanta Online Editor/Moderator

Rosemary Altea was on Fox News this morning talking about Princess Diana.  She said most of her work is with parents who have lost children.  I wanted to share her new book for those interested.

A Matter of Life and Death
by Rosemary Altea

Spiritual medium and healer Rosemary Altea touched the lives of millions with her New York Times bestseller The Eagle and the Rose. In this classic work, Altea described how she discovered her gift, and recounted the miraculous experiences she had in her early years of connecting the living with the dead. In The Eagle and the Rose Take Flight, she shares inspiring new stories of working with her spirit guide, Grey Eagle, to help sick and troubled people heal, to help people recognize their true path in life, or to help people find peace in reuniting with departed loved ones.

Born and raised in England, from the time she was a young girl Rosemary Altea heard voices and had visions of people who had died. But feeling threatened by her mother, the young Rosemary kept silent about the strange, menacing faces she saw in the dark. In the 1970s, now in her midthirties with a ten-year-old daughter of her own, Rosemary was abandoned by her husband. Nearing rock bottom emotionally, she began to nurture her spiritual gifts. She claims it was her spirit guide Grey Eagle who advised her to publish her first book, The Eagle and the Rose. Even as the world has come to accept-even revere-people who have the ability to communicate with the dead, with various mediums gracing the bestseller list and with such television shows as The Medium and Ghost Whisperer high in the ratings, in recent years Rosemary Altea has had to struggle to realize the transformational power of her work. From defending her integrity as a medium in a vicious lawsuit to coping with the loss of a friend who was very close to her heart, now Altea brings us The Eagle and the Rose Take Flight, detailing a new chapter in her rich personal history as she recounts story after story of remarkable encounters with the spirit world-encounters that will amaze and inspire Altea's millions of fans.

~to order online go to

Please help support TCF Atlanta will donate 7% of all your purchases to TCF Atlanta if you enter  through our web site.


Welcome...The Classroom for Learning to Live Again

Many of us are very aware of classrooms at this time of the year as the new school year begins for our children and young people of all ages.  For some, the experience is not one they look forward to with pleasure, and it means the end of the carefree, unscheduled days of the summer.  There was no need in their lives for continuous disciplined thinking and living. There were happy vacations, lots of swimming in a pool, picnics, and lots of baseball playing --- all requiring lots of running and yelling, and of course the quiet lazy times when they could read about their special interests, work on hobbies, or just do nothing.

Now they are required to settle down into a set schedule and routine of doing what they may not especially enjoy at school, in the classroom and at home.  They must adjust to the confinement of sitting behind a desk for a specific time and to the need to concentrate for long periods of time on courses that are required for their education, but in which they have no special interest and which they may not even be able to comprehend.  So, they must discipline their thinking, or they will be disciplined with extra work, low or failing grades, seemingly unfair, demanding teachers, and with questioning parents.

We can liken this setting somewhat, but in a much more intense way, to bereaved parents as they attempt to pick up the pieces of their lives after their child has died, and attempt to make some sense out of it all.  Our happy carefree summer was the time before we experienced this most crushing loss, no matter how large or numerous our problems may have been in reality. Compared to this loss, all other problems simply fade away as if they never existed.  And now, at least for a time, we are faced with the belief that there can never be any more summers.  We must learn to climb out of this abyss.  For those who have accomplished this, they report that this education is the most difficult work anyone will ever do.

We can imagine that we are in a classroom. Here, we are encouraged because we learn that all the other students are bereaved parents. So, the first step upward is when we learn that we are not alone, that there are those around us who do understand, and who really do know how it feels and how painful it really is.  Next, we discover that there are no teachers to tell us what is right and what is wrong.  Instead, there are guides to assure us they and others more advanced than we are, have also had the same thoughts and feelings, or similar ones.  This assurance that we are not "cracking up" gives us the confidence we need to climb up several more steps.

At this point, we find that it is becoming easier to concentrate on at least some of the simple daily tasks, such as grocery shopping or planning and preparing a meal or making a special dessert the family hasn't had for so long.   Seeing their approval and appreciation gives us the power to discipline ourselves to try even harder because we see and feel that we have made a lot of progress with this "course" which we are required to "pass".

It doesn't matter if, during our most difficult periods, we slip back down a few steps.  Because by this time, we have climbed the steps of concentrations and disciplines.  We have the assurance that there are many hands reaching out to us and voices encouraging us, assuring us that we are almost there.  However it is always necessary for each one of us to take each step by himself.  Finally, we just know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that if others did it and they believe in us, then we can do it, too.  So no matter at what step you are in the "course" in this classroom, you can receive the help, the assurance, and the encouragement you may need to "graduate".  Then you may help the many others who every day are just beginning and are just entering this classroom.

For you the first step may be to come to our meeting where you can meet and talk with the other "students" who are still struggling at various levels with the same "course" that you are.  Even if you don't need us, we need you.  Take that first big step and come to the meetings... you will get the help you need.

Reprinted from the
--Bereaved Parents USA of Tri County, MO Newsletter

~reprinted from Autumn 2007 Newsletter Gwinnett GA Chapter


10 Years…How Can It Be Possible?

This Sept. 22, 2007 marks the 10th anniversary of the day James made the decision that ended his life, and in turn, also changed our lives forever.   It just seems impossible that it’s been ten years since that day when we were faced with the most painful unimaginable, grief, sorrow and despair we have ever endured.   When we went to our first TCF meeting in November, it seemed that we would never find the kind of hope and level of acceptance that some parents, further down the road, had seemed to achieve.   Truly, I never thought I would live a year without my son.  The heartache was utterly unbearable, the sadness was a gut-wrenching pain that would leave me physically doubled over.   I thought for sure I would die of a broken heart, and many nights I would wonder if I would wake up the following morning, but much to my surprise, and sometimes dismay, I did.   My husband & I continued to attend TCF for a couple months until we learned that couples grieve differently and while I had found a source of comfort and understanding that I needed, it wasn’t the right place for my husband.   Another lesson that we had to learn was that it is okay for couples to grieve differently, in spite of the fact that we, as parents, were both suffering the same loss, the death of our only child.    Month after month I willingly went to TCF meetings, even though sometimes it was difficult as I drove there, once again realizing that attending a meeting was another jolt of reality that where I was going was a place where I fit in and that because James died, I belonged to such a group.   I listened to other parents and when I heard seasoned bereaved parents talk calmly without crying, I thought “that will never be me”.   My world as I knew it was over and trying to rebuild a life seemed impossible, and I really didn’t even care about tomorrows anymore either.   Just making it through each day, one day at a time, took all the physical and emotional strength I could muster.  It was quite a surprise to me when the first anniversary came to be and I was still alive.  I was convinced that people could die of a broken heart, but it didn’t happen to me.  I knew that I was alive and I had to live; I had to care about myself and the life I had left.   It has been ten long years of rediscovering how to enjoy life, learning coping skills, having to compensate and compromise with what I’ve got and what and whom I don’t have.   Dealing with all the grief issues, handling all the constant questions, being haunted by the what ifs, should be’s and supposed to be’s, the many why’s,  gradually subsided to a level that didn’t deplete my emotional energy on a daily basis.

In these ten years I’ve learned more than I ever wish I had to and I constantly wish I could have learned these lessons from another way.  I’d give anything to have James back but it will never happen. We won’t be reunited again here on earth; every day brings me one day closer to seeing James again in our eternal life.   In the meantime, my husband and I have overcome so many obstacles that it truly seems a miracle that we are alive, still married, and seemingly mostly normal adults (at least to most people) while living a life that is just not the way it’s supposed to be.  Of course we dreamed of the day we’d see James graduate from high school, that we could support his college and career choices, that we’d dance at his wedding and rejoice when he would become a daddy and we would be proud grandparents.  Instead so many dreams are left unfulfilled and we watch friends and relatives life paths follow “the way it’s supposed to be.”    There’s always an ache when it’s someone else’s wedding and someone else’s grandchild, but that’s just the way it is.   We are blessed with the many wonderful memories of the 14 years and 2 months that we had with James, and we try not to focus on the sadness and bitterness that we can no longer create more memories.

For those who are beginning their journey, I wish I could say that it gets better.  Some days are better than others.  Sometimes it gets easier and the pain is not so sharp.  There are still the triggers that bring up tears.   Holidays are not the same and never will be.  I’ve learned that what works for me and how I feel and how to deal with a situation is what I need to do, no matter what people tell me I should do or how I should feel. Their “shoulds” are a burden I don’t need.  Figuring out what I’m capable of and what’s right for a particular circumstance in my world that seems so wrong without James, guides me in the direction for hope & healing.     Not a day goes by that I don’t think of James.   Every morning when I wake up he’s the first person I think of, no matter where I am, at home or away.   I think of what he would say in a certain situation, what he would do, where he would be now, all the wonderings fill my thoughts daily.

There have been many many moments of healing, comforts and support over the past ten years, as well as tons of anguish, pain, guilt, sorrows and regrets.   Compassionate Friends is now a place where I help others, instead of being the one who needs help.   Reaching out to other families in the school where I work has given me an outlet to help others, in memory of James.   My husband continues to volunteer with Scouts and has worked with so many teenagers, in memory of James.  We’ve been host parents to five foreign exchange students and our lives have been enriched.    Our marriage has had more than its share of rocky times, but we’ve endured and recently celebrated our 29th anniversary.     We can’t help James anymore, but we can help ourselves and help others, in his memory.   We know now how important it is to have patience, kindness, compassion, sensitivity, and thoughtfulness toward each other and to friends and family.    We treasure each and every day because we know how precious life is.   James taught us so much with his life and with his untimely death and those are lessons we can’t turn our backs on.   His life was important, made a difference and we remember him every day, miss him every day and love him every single day.    We validate his life by living our lives to the fullest for all three of us.

So on this tenth anniversary, although we are filled with sadness as we remember and relive the tragic moments of that terrible day, we know we have to be proud of ourselves and how far we’ve come and we thank James for coming into our lives, being the terrific son that he was and we celebrate his life, on his anniversary and every day.  He is forever young, forever loved, forever missed & forever remembered.

By Meg Avery, James’ mom
7/15/83  -  9/22/97

~reprinted from Autumn 2007 Newsletter Gwinnett GA Chapter

Autumn Tears

We look back on September and we realize that somehow we made it through those dreaded first days of school.  Whether it was the anticipation or the actual days that were the worst, we survived.  We used our faith, our support systems or just plain hard work and made it over yet another hurdle.  We watched small children heading for their first day of kindergarten, listened to excited teenagers talk of high school and heard stories of children leaving home to attend post-secondary school.  Somehow we rode the waves of grief and found ourselves ashore again.

As these waves subside new ones will build as we head into the holidays that speak of, and to, children.  Halloween will soon approach and for some, painful memories.  Thanksgiving arrives to exemplify family and togetherness and Christmas looms ahead.  These special days are forever reminders of our loss – the costumes we’ll never sew, the empty chair at turkey dinner, the fun and magic we’ll never share with someone we love.  Forever reminders that our child has died.

To survive when these events and anniversary days come around let’s find time to think of the good memories we have – the announcement of our long awaited pregnancy at Thanksgiving dinner, the look of excitement on our son’s first Halloween night, the vision of our daughter helping prepare the turkey dinner.  These holidays will always be reminders that our child died.  Let us also make them reminders that our child lived!  They left us memories more precious than any others to hold and celebrate!

By Penny Young, TCF Powell River, British Columbia
~reprinted from Autumn 2007 Newsletter Gwinnett GA Chapter

Rebuilding Your Life One Piece at a Time

Death, especially unexpected death, changes one’s life in ways that cannot be expected.  With the death of someone close, one’s world is forever changed.

One analogy I have found myself using with clients is the following:  If you were to imagine the day before your loved one died, there was an intact picture of your life.  The picture may not have been perfect, but it was there and it made sense.  There was a beginning, a middle and an expected end.  With death comes the destruction of that picture.  It is as if the picture is taken out of your hands, smashed to the ground in a thousand pieces and then some of the most treasured pieces are forever taken away.

The challenge with grief is to then take all of those pieces which are left and attempt to make a new picture.  The picture of the life you once had is impossible to recreate, as much as one may try, it cannot be recreated with pieces missing.  A new picture must be assembled with the pieces that are left and with new pieces that are picked up along the way.

The process of “putting the pieces back together” is one that often feels chaotic and confusing.  It may sometimes be surprising to find out how much thinking is involved in the grief process.  Thoughts bounce around trying to connect “what was” with “what is” and struggle to make sense out of what seems to be incomprehensible.

With each piece, the bereaved, through trial and error, find where each piece belongs or even if it belongs at all.  This process is different for every person and does not adhere to any kind of timeline. This (what feels like endless) thinking is the work that grief demands – it is the creation of a new picture of your life – created one piece at a time.

Written by Stephanie Elson, lifted from the Tears to Hope August/September 2007 newsletter of The Amelia Center, Birmingham, AL, providing a place of hope for grieving children, parents and familes,

~reprinted from Autumn 2007 Newsletter Gwinnett GA Chapter

Labor Day

The unofficial end of summer. The time by which we need to have new school clothes and supplies. The time to begin meeting new teachers and new friends.

The time to.what? Watch with tear-filled eyes as the bus picks up other children for school, but no longer stops by our house. To see other parents standing with their eager little ones, waiting for that first school bus ride to the "big" school. To see tears of joy in the eyes of other parents through the tears of pain in our own.

Watch with anxious anticipation as the kids begin middle school. New experiences, new expectations, new fears. Time to wonder if we told them enough to keep them safe from peer pressure. Time to wonder if we are giving them too much freedom or not enough. Time to learn that saying "I love you" must be done in private. Time to realize that with us, "I love you" will always be said in silence.

Time to watch our teenagers experience high school and its freedoms and decisions. Time to hand over the sports coaching to someone we don't know. Time to wonder if our child is taking too many academic hours. Time to wonder what temptations await our children. Time to wonder about that car they bought. Time to realize all these things are happening to some other parent.

Time to buy single bed linens for the college dorm. Time to buy a new computer to take to school and keep the old one for us. Time to get an extra credit card for the student, "just in case." Time to give last minute instructions about calling home every Sunday night. Time to listen to other parents talk about these experiences.

No, for us, Labor Day is just that - a day to labor through the memories left behind by the loss of our child, a day that truly signifies the end of the summer of our life.

~Sondra Wright, TCF, Atlanta
~reprinted from TCF Atlanta Newsletter


Please help support TCF Atlanta will donate 7% of all your purchases to TCF Atlanta if you enter  through our web site.

~to order online go to

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