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

Am I the only one who feels a deep sadness and dread of autumn to start? Something about this time of year always saddens me. The tired look to the trees, flowers starting to fade, and the thought of a long bleak winter. Oh to be a bear and to hibernate away this season, instead we must endure the season and the coming of the holidays. I know the calendar still says it's summer...but I feel autumn in my heart.

The Fall of Fall

What is it about the season that takes me back in time
Everything I do, I find you are on my mind.
Haunting dreams find me at night when I try to sleep
And every little detail is replayed,
and the sadness falls so deep.

Something about the close of summer
seems to bring it back
Making it so hard to move onward and stay on track.
Something about the dying and fading of the trees
Brings my heart to sorrow, with the falling of the leaves.

How I long to stop it, to keep the fall away
But time marches on, and summer just won't stay.
I know with the fall, winters not far behind
Another lonely season, and the memories flood my mind.

I cry my tears of sorrow, and pray for spring to come
A rebirth of the earth, and the warmness of the sun.
It makes the memories softer and gentler to recall
But now my life is saddened with the nearing of fall.

Sheila Simmons
In Memory of my son Steven
March 24, 1970 – October 19, 1999
~reprinted from TCF Atlanta Online Sharing
Tuesday’s Child Section

~reprinted from TCF Atlanta Newsletter Sept/Oct 2002

Unbroken Dreams

I grew up believing in dreams. As a child, my dream was to some day have children. I remember looking into the night sky and believing angels were watching over my unborn babies until it was time for them to become a part of my life.  Years later, when I first learned I was going to have a baby, I wanted to stop strangers on the street and tell them. I was absolutely filled with love.

I was in disbelief when months later my baby boy died soon after his birth. I felt the first crack in my dream, and thought my twenty-five-year-old heart would break. The love which had filled my heart so completely had suddenly turned into emptiness, and I was touched with the reality that life is too brief and fragile.

My second little boy was born the next year, also prematurely, and like his brother before him, he lived only a short time. It was a different place, a different time, but the same deep heartache and darkness returned to my world. A part of me had died with each of these babies, and there were no words to explain how I felt. I kept my heart closed, my feelings unshared, and my silent hurt buried deep inside.

I had not yet learned that from every loss there is something gained. Living through the loss of a child can lead us to a deeper knowledge of life’s gifts, and a kind of strength we never knew we had. The time came when I could no longer dwell on questions which had no answers, and I searched for insight and a right of passage to change my focus toward positive memories and feelings. My healing began when I realized I could not have felt this sadness about losing my babies unless I had first been blessed with the joy of loving and wanting them. The real emptiness in my heart would have been never having had them at all.

As I worked through my grief, I was beginning to learn some of life’s lessons. The pain of losing someone we love, especially a child, never really leaves us, for it is a part of our lives that will always be unfinished and unexplained. It’s never easy to accept the unfairness of life, and yet it touches us all. And sometimes, only because life has touched us in this way, do we become more aware of its wonder and the pure blessing life gives us.

I came to understand that each time I had allowed myself to love, it meant taking a risk. And each time I had reached for a dream also meant taking a risk. I knew the only way I could live life fully was to let go of the emptiness and become unafraid to risk again. I promised myself that I would let love back into my heart, for it is much too precious a gift to waste, and my days and nights too precious to be covered with sadness. I began to cherish life even more.

My third baby son was born the next year, and two years later, my baby daughter. Both again premature, but thanks to God, a wonderfully dedicated pediatrician, and advanced medical technology, they survived. Their hospital stays were long and filled with frightening moments, but in spite of the odds that faced them, they clung tightly to life. Months later when they came home, I slowly found I was mending my broken dreams with the love I was giving to them. And I was beginning a new dream.

Many years have passed, yet the thought of unfairness still comes, and I still feel my tears when I think of my first two babies, or when I hear of precious children being abused and neglected. This is when I remember the lessons I have learned and, instead of dwelling on loss, I strive to embrace the hope I know is real. I now give my love and support to organizations that dedicate themselves to the lives of children and to mending their broken dreams. Giving of myself is the only way I can ever give back the blessings life has given me.

We all have something to give, and it is through this act of giving and risking to love again, that we ultimately find a way to heal. Often we uncover sacred gifts of our own just by listening to others who are hurting, or by holding someone’s hand and letting them know we care. Each of us has a story, and each of us feels alone with our heartache. Yet we are never truly alone when we let ourselves be unafraid to share our feelings, and to give what is in our hearts. Sharing connects us and makes us realize how much people need one another in this world.

I still look up into the night sky sometimes and think about those two little boys that were with me for such a short while. And sometimes I find myself wondering what they would be like today if they could have grown up with their brother and sister. Then I remember that although they are with the angels, in some wonderful way they are still with me — because love never dies. It is the strength we carry with us forever.

Written by Flavia Weedn
copyright Weedn Family Trust – All rights reserved
(Reprint permission granted to TCF )

~reprinted from TCF Atlanta Newsletter Sept/Oct 2002

Again a new school year is upon us, with it, it brings on a new feeling of our loss.
Even though Steven was long out of school, it still brings on the memories.
So if you are dreading the sight of the yellow buses, know I am thinking of you.

 School Day's

The summer is mellowing as the days grow shorter
The green on the trees seem to droop, and look a little duller.
The lazy days of summer take on a busy hustle
As families shop for school,
each gets a new book satchel.
Soon the quiet streets will be filled
as children gather waiting
The yellow bus to pick them up. OH! the anticipating.
Another teachers face the greet upon their arrival
But the same old lessons to be learned,
to them seems so trivial.
New friends to make, and old ones too
Make their days fly past to soon.
But back at home a mother weeps
for the child that this year misses
No new clothes to buy,
no more good-bye hugs and kisses.
For her this joyful time just brings on more heartache
Another school year starts,
another milestone the child cannot make.
So she dries her eyes
and tries to go on for the children that remain
But each new start, breaks her heart,
it's hard to see the gain.
So if the yellow school bus brings
on tears for you this year
Don't forget your Compassionate Friends,
we are always standing near.

Sheila Simmons, TCF Atlanta
~reprinted from TCF Atlanta Online Sharing
Tuesday’s Child Section

Sheila is the author of our “Tuesday’s Child” section on TCF Atlanta Online Sharing.  Sheila lost her son Steven in October 1999 and has been contributing her poems and articles to TCF Atlanta for several years.  Sheila lives in Dallas, GA with her husband, Wayne  She has one surviving son, Michael.

~reprinted from TCF Atlanta Newsletter Sept/Oct 2002

What is a memory?

It is the faculty of beholding the golden rays of the sunset after the night has fallen.

It is the ability to bear in mind the sweet melody after the instruments have ceased playing.

It is a conversation with someone who can no longer speak and seeing a smile on a face no longer here.

By Karen Russell
National Grief Support Services and


Your Anniversary date in Heaven is growing near,
And I miss you so much with each passing year.
I think of you and my heart constricts in pain,
And I question whether I'll ever be whole again.

I wonder if you count the time as I do.
Since you left us for Heaven - is it still new to you?
Or does time count in Heaven like it does for us here?
Do we seem far away to you? - or do we feel near?

So many questions arise in my mind.
Questions like:
"Do you miss us since you left us behind?
Is it possible for you to be sad? - for you to feel pain?
Do you question why this happened?
Do you feel the same?

The answers to my questions will be mine someday,
As I cross to where you are –
through Heaven's pearly gates.
Then I will know the joy that you experience there,
And we will be together, forever in Heaven so fair!

Oh, how I wished God had made a plan,
Where loved ones in Heaven could reach down to man.
Just one simple word - just one gentle touch -
But who am I fooling?  Once would never be enough!
There are no words to describe the unspeakable pain,
Of losing a child - Our loss is God's gain!
So, Happy anniversary in Heaven,
my precious child, so dear.
I'm so glad you're there with God ---
if I can't have you here.

-By Faye McCord,
(Newsletter editor, Jackson, MS TCF) -
~in loving memory of my son, Lane McCord
 (1/26/65 - 9/13/98)

And also in remembrance of those who lost their lives on 9/11/01

Not long ago I read in the sharing group about the upcoming 9/11/01 anniversary of the Attack on America...and that you were looking for poems, articles, etc that would reflect on this anniversary.  I have also been reading messages on this sharing line from other bereaved parents who, like me felt that the 911 tragedy was almost an anti-climax in comparison to their own personal tragedy........and while none of us wants to belittle the Attack on America, our 911 tragedy was/is so personally painful, that we found it hard to be as upset as most of our associates were at the time.  For me,  it seemed especially so, because the 3rd anniversary of my son's heaven date was 2 days later on 9/13, so on this up-coming FIRST anniversary of our American tragedy, and also on the up-coming 4th anniversary of our personal tragedy of our son's Heaven date, I submitted the poem “Anniversary Date In Heaven” in remembrance of all those who died on 9/11/01 and also in loving remembrance of my son, Lane McCord ~ (1/26/65 - 9/13/98)

~-By Faye McCord , Jackson, MS TCF

~reprinted from TCF Atlanta Newsletter Sept/Oct 2002


Back to School ……………..
To All My Special Friends,

I read about how hard it is to face the first day of school for some of you. This was a hard year for me, too. This would have been Erica's first year in the classroom as an elementary teacher. (I think it would have been in the 1st or 2nd grade) As the first day started here in our county I envisioned her welcoming her new students into her classroom. The classroom she had been preparing for their arrival/she started gathering things for that classroom her Freshman year in collage. She had built an extensive library...I still see her sitting on the living room floor meticulously covering each book with clear contact paper and stamping them with "LadyBug Library".  I want to let each of you that have an elementary student in Heaven, know that she is teaching them today....I know she was on her way to getting her Master's Degree at the time of her death...but THE MASTER needed her in Heaven to teach the little children.

This past weekend we had a tragedy in our town...a 7 year old little boy was killed by a drunk driver as the mother was taking him to his day soon I hope to talk to this mother and let her know that my Erica was at Heaven's Gate to greet him and take him to her classroom. Thanks for letting me share. I hope this finds each of you having a 'gentle day in your journey."

Barbara Coffey, Mother of Erica 8/1/78 – 8/31/00   ~reprinted from TCF Atlanta Online Sharing

Chasing After Closure
By Amy Florian, Hoffman Estates, Illinois

I keep reading in the newspapers about survivors of tragedy or death seeking "closure." Yet no one really defines what closure
means, whether it is possible or how to get there.

For many in our society, closure means leaving grief behind, a milestone usually expected within a matter of weeks or months.
Closure means being "normal," getting back to your old self, no longer crying or being affected by the death. It means "moving on
with life" and leaving the past behind, even to the extent of forgetting it or ignoring it. For we who have experienced death, this
kind of closure is not only impossible but indeed undesirable.

Closure, if one even chooses to use the term, is actually more a process than a defined moment. The initial part of closure is
accepting the reality. At first, we keep hoping or wishing that it weren't true. We expect our loved ones to walk through the
door. We wait for someone to tell us it was all a huge mistake. We just can't accept that this person has died, that we will never
physically see them again on earth, that we will not hear their voices, feel their hugs, or get their input on a tough decision.

Usually it takes weeks or even months for the reality to finally sink in. We come to know, in both our heads and our hearts, that
our loved one has died and is not coming back. We still don't like it, but we accept it as true.

As the reality sinks in, we can more actively heal. We begin making decisions, and start to envision a life different from what we
had planned before, a life in which we no longer expect our loved one to be there. We grow, struggle, cry and change. We form
fresh goals. We face our loneliness. We feel the pain and loss, but except for short periods of time, we are not crippled by it. We
also make a shift in memory. Memories of our loved ones, rather than being painful as they were at first, sometimes make us
smile or even laugh.

This healing phase takes a very long time, and involves a lot of back-and-forthing. We alternate between tears and joy, fears and
confidence, despair and hope. We take two steps forward and one step back. We wonder whether we'll ever be truly happy again,
and often doubt that we will.

Eventually we realize we are taking the past, with all its pain and pleasure, into a new tomorrow. We never forget, and in fact we
carry our beloved with us; he or she is forever a cherished part of who we are. We are changed-by the experience of having loved
this person, by the knowledge of life's transience, and by grief itself. We become different and hopefully better, more compassionate,
more appreciative, more tolerant people. We fully embrace life again, connecting, laughing and loving with a full heart.

Still, there is no point of "final closure," no point at which we can say, "Ah, now I have finally completed my grief." Or, "Yes, now
I have healed." There is no point at which we will never cry again, although as time goes on the tears are bittersweet and less
common. Healing is a lifelong process, one in which we often don't even realize we are healing until we look back and see how
far we have come.

"Closure"? I don't think so. Acceptance-yes. Peace-yes. Hope-definitely. Bu t putting a period behind the final sentence and
closing the book on it? No! Life and love are much too complex for that. The story does not end; instead it awaits the next chapter.

~reprinted with permission from Grief Digest, Centering Corporation, Omaha, NE  402-553-1200

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