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


Old Grief

It is a milder storm and not so dark.

It lets you see the shore where life goes on.

Old grief finds words of peace, and brings us gifts of memories and joys from treasured living.

But nothing takes away the emptiness

Of all those years, of all those haunted nights, of all those lost embraces.

It is a milder storm, but just as grave.

Old grief does hover over soul and mind: A heartbreak song of timeless disappointment.


~reprinted from TCF Atlanta Newsletter Sept/Oct 2000

by Cathy Seehuetter ~ TCF, St. Paul, MN

Shortly after Nina died, I re-member well-meaning friends talking to me about hope. My reply was usually, "What was there to have hope about?" The only thing I prayed and hoped for was that my daughter would come back again, that the accident that took her life had never happened. Since that wasn’t possible, what was the point of having hope?

Our lives have been turned upside down and we feel so out of control. We feel like we have failed – that the one thing we as good parents had tried to do was to keep our children out of harm’s way. We made sure that we locked away poisons, that they got their immunizations on time, that they buckled their seat belts; when older we taught them about the dangers of drugs and unprotected sex—all the things that we hoped would ensure their safety and well-being. And still they died. How could that be?

With the knowledge of our total loss of control, we look for some-thing to cling to that will help pull us out of the valley. I desperately sought out things that I could be hopeful for; I needed something that let me know that my daughter’s life went on…that at 15 ½ years old she didn’t just stop "being".

Many of you have heard my story of what I call the "miracle pictures". I told my story and brought the pictures with me to share at a Com-passionate Friend’s meeting about a year ago. But for those who haven’t heard it, I would like to share that story, be cause if anything brings with it a message of hope that our children live on, I think it is this story. We were vacationing in Florida when the unthinkable occurred.

We were driving back from a day at Daytona Beach en route to my celebratory birthday dinner. Just a mile from our destination a drunk driver fell asleep at the wheel, crossed the median, and hit the side of the car where my beloved Nina was sitting. She was killed instantly. As we know, all too well in each of our own circumstances, the next few weeks were a blur. But the one thing that I remember, and was obsessed with, were the pictures that had been taken that day before the horrific accident that took my daughter’s life. Shortly before we left the beach that day, only hours before the accident, Nina had handed the camera to her brother, Dan, and asked him to take a picture of the two of us together. It was the last picture taken that day. In the days following her death, I repeatedly cried out, "I need that picture" to anyone who would listen. They could only helplessly turn away knowing I was asking the impossible.

In our conversations with the highway Patrolman who was in charge of the accident, we repeatedly asked if the pictures were found yet. The officer said that the trunk of the car where I had put the camera that day had been demolished and that it would take "nothing short of a miracle" to have survived the impact. For brevity’s sake, I won’t go into all the details, but I will tell you that three weeks after the accident, Corporal Gordon Jennings of the Florida Highway Patrol sent me a package. He had listened to this mother’s hopeful plea that someone look for the camera, though he knew in his heart he’d never find it. Even so, he walked that stretch of freeway and came upon a drainage ditch, looked down and saw the flattened cardboard disposable camera covered in water with a tire track mark over it! It had been im-mersed in water for weeks and run over by a lawn tractor! He took the compressed camera to Walgreen's and asked them if they could try to salvage any of the pictures. Remarkably, 7 of the 24 pictures that had been taken had survived.

And one of those pictures was the last one of mother and daughter Together, her head on my shoulder, arm around me, smiling her dazzling smile. The watermarks seemed to split as they stretched toward the picture of the two of us on the beach—it was as if the waters had parted to allow the picture of the two of us to re-main intact!

I had read in a past newsletter that the people who put together the Chicken Soup for the Soul books were looking for stories from bereaved parents. I felt this was such a hopeful story that I wanted to share it with as many people as possible. Even though I didn’t expect it to be published, I felt I had nothing to lose. Amazingly, the story about the day my beloved Nina died and the "miracle pictures" was accepted and will be in the Chicken Soup for the Christian Family Soul, to be released in book-stores in late March of 2000.

I believe those pictures were a gift from Nina so that I could share this story of hope with all of you, to let you know that our lost loved ones are still very much with us. They don’t always show themselves in such obvious ways, but they are with us.

~reprinted from TCF Atlanta Newsletter Sept/Oct 2000

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