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".
TCF Atlanta Online Editor/Moderator
TCF Atlanta Online E-Newsletter Archives
Dear Jayne & Group,
We are coming upon the 9th anniversary of our son, Lane's death and I saw where you had posted my poem "Anniversary Date In Heaven". I am so appreciative of that and of the service you & Wayne provide to so many hurting and bereaved parents.
To the many friends I have found on this online sharing group: To me, you are MUCH MORE than simply a support group. You are each individuals that have touched my life in a very tangible way. You have inspired me and encouraged me and I offer the following in tribute to the many wonderful friends and "family" I have found through this medium, and also in loving memory of my son, Lane..
Hugs to each of you,
WITHOUT YOU: THE TWO-EDGED SWORD
By Faye McCord - in loving memory of my son, Lane McCord (1/26/65- 9/13/98)
(Written September 4, 2007)
WITHOUT YOU - MY PRECIOUS CHILD…….
My life “then” would have been without the many times of sweetness and pleasure you brought to my soul…..
My life “now” would be without the many precious memories you bring to my still grieving heart…..
My life “then” would have been without the many nights I spent worrying about you and wondering where you were, what you were doing, and when you would be home. For those were the days before cell phones and the days and nights of you “sowing your wild oats” … or as you called it, “partying”. But, it was no party for me then, and certainly no party for me now as I continue to grieve and miss you (the good and the bad times) and mourn your passing from this life…..and would call you back (the good and the bad) if I could. For, the bad “then” pales in comparison to the best of my life “now”.
My life “now” would be without the constant ache that I carry in my heart for YOUR presence, YOUR smile, YOUR voice, YOUR nearness…..
WITHOUT YOU - MY COMPASSIONATE FRIENDS AND FAMILY…..
My life “now” would be without the support, love, understanding and inspiration each of you have provided in your own way…..
To be included in THIS family is a two-edged sword. One edge is filled with the sharp pain of having lost a child. When “that” edge cut into my life, I lost my heart. “That” edge pierced into the inner part of my life, cutting into the softness, the sweetness, the gentleness, the peace …..and threatened the core of my being. It left me weak and vulnerable. My security and my faith were on the verge of shattering. “That” edge of the sword brought dark, ominous clouds of fear, doubt, despair, hopelessness and darkness. “That” edge left me wondering what had happened to “ME”, for I did not recognize this person I was becoming. I no longer felt the protection and security that my faith in God had always given me. I felt like I was on the edge of the tallest diving board in the world with only a void of nothingness below me in which to dive. And there was no one below me to catch me if I fell. I had always believed God would be there to protect my children and me. But “that” edge of the sword had pierced my belief system and left me wounded and bleeding and feeling so alone.
Then I found the “other’ edge of the sword, the edge that The Compassionate Friends and family provides. “This” edge does not eliminate the pain of the other edge, but oh, how “this” edge makes it possible to breathe again, to understand that there are others who are also living with the same two-edged sword in their lives. “This” edge helped to heal my brokenness, my despair. “This” edge brought back a part of me that I may never have found otherwise. While “this” edge can never replace my child, it certainly provides a sense of belonging to and being a part of a “cause” or a purpose of providing a safety net into which other bereaved and hurting parents can fall. A safety net of love, support and encouragement. “This” edge helped bring back a part of the “ME” that had been lost by the other edge of the sword. And while the family of Compassionate Friends lays no claim to being a religious organization, my security and my faith have been renewed and strengthened by the understanding and tenderness of “this” edge of the sword. We come together acknowledging always, the piercing pain of one edge of the sword, that of losing our children, while allowing the enveloping sweetness and support of the other side of the sword to enfold us and appreciating always, the compassionate understanding “this” edge brings.
Memories Surround Me
I have learned that there is a comfort in keeping my son here, beside me,
sharing my life’s journey as he once did. No, he is not here in a physical sense.
He is here in my memories and in my daily life. I keep his presence alive on the
In my home are pictures that remind me of my child’s life. A picture in an
announcement…..a beautiful, sleeping baby boy who is just one day old. Next to
that is one of my son standing beside his GTO. Now I can relive any year of my
son’s 35 years of life. Whether it is high school graduation or graduation from
Texas A&M, there is Todd...smiling, happy, radiating the joy of his
accomplishments. He’s in the pool as a teenager and then on another shelf, he’s
holding his daughters, one in each arm, as he stands in that same pool. Smiling,
always smiling. Todd loved life. He looked forward to each new adventure.
This is portrayed in all the pictures displayed and those that are yet to be
brought out from their hiding places.
In my bedroom is a wood shop project that Todd made for me when he was
in eighth grade. It is an alpaca, which rests on a wall stand. Todd made these
treasures with his hands; his name is forever etched into both pieces. Each
week I lovingly dust that alpaca and its shelf and remember how proud my son
was of his first woodshop accomplishment.
And then there are the projects from the “macramé summer.” Todd made a
lovely plant holder for me and then he boldly went to a large wall design that is
something akin to a dream catcher. It has always been displayed in the atrium
of my home. Each time I walk past it, I reach out and touch it and feel the love
that went into this creation. Ironically, I now have another dream catcher
attached to the one that Todd made. This is the dream catcher with his picture
and my words of remembrance that were written for the National Compassionate
Friends Conference in Oklahoma City. I touch them both now….remembering
my beautiful child.
In my bedroom is a Queen Ann desk. This was purchased and refinished by
my son during his “wood working summer” in high school. He painstakingly
sanded and worked the wood to a smooth finish. Then he used fine sand paper
and later steel wool to finish the staining and glossing process. It is a beautiful
desk with a fold out writing area, tiny drawers and hidden compartments. I keep
much in this desk. Every night as I am getting ready for bed, I touch Todd’s
In 1994 Todd and I went out for Mother’s Day dinner and later we stopped
and picked out a new washing machine. Todd recommended the Amana. I
trusted his judgment. I bought the Amana. Each week when I do laundry, I
wipe off the washing machine and remember that shopping trip, his words of
“keep it simple, Mom, and you won’t have to worry about repairs” and consider
that he gave me some good advice and a wonderful memory that day.
Other items come to mind each day. In my home office is plant pot made
by the eight year old hands of my son. Small pieces of fabric were lovingly glued
to the pot to create an interesting look. I have kept that pot all these years. He
was so proud of it; that’s a Mother’s Day present I’ll not forget. Each time I look
at it, I think of Todd.
Next to my kitchen phone is a pencil holder that Todd made in second grade.
It has been in use since then. It’s simply part of who I am and will always be.
Each week I clean out the inside and replace the pens and pencils. One of the
pencils, never used, contains the words “It’s a Boy!” on it. That is the pencil that
Todd gave me when his son was born. He was so proud of his baby boy. What a
great father he was. Memories are everywhere in my home and my office, in my
car and even in places that I go. Todd was here, we did this there….I remember
when we all met at Ritter’s Ice Cream every Saturday night to look at the other
collector cars. When I drive by there, I can see Todd, GTO gleaming, hood up,
talking with other aficionados, holding a child in one arm, gesturing with the
other hand to demonstrate one thing or another.
At night, after I touch the desk that was so lovingly restored, I look at the
wall next to my bed. Two reproductions of German paintings brighten this wall.
These are pictures that Todd bought for me when he was in Germany on an
exchange program with Texas A&M. I always look at them as I begin my
reading, and then, before I turn out the light, I look at them and think about my
son and tomorrow. I remember Todd’s glorious European adventure, smile at
the joy that is his life and turn out the light. These pictures are the last things I
see before I sleep. Good night, Todd. I’m so glad you gave me so much of
yourself to treasure, but I wish you were here. Your mom misses you.
Annette Mennen Baldwin
In memory of my son, Todd Mennen
TCF, Katy, TX
August 30, 2007
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