Thursday, September 30, 2010

Friday's Faith - Wish I Could Hold You Near~ Talking with my baby girl in Heaven at bedtime...

Friday's Faith

Wish I Could Hold You Near~

Talking with my baby girl in Heaven at bedtime...

"How we long to be known to one another..."

And Baby Girl, Mommy loved to know you~

It is a joy~and was~to be your mother

And what a joy to know we'll share a Heav'nly view.

For now I know only in part but Then~

I'll know fully e'en as I've been fully known.

And now faith, hope, and love abide~these 3~but Then

The greatest of these lovewill be fully shown!

As you know, I miss you and wish you were here~

And yet~I know you're completely at peace There.

I guess I just wish I could hold you near...

But you oft remind me~now~we can, our spirits share!

Come to me my child~draw near by spirit,

Let your mommy hold you close beside...

That would make me happy to have you near me~

Though~at just the thought of it~I just cried.

Baby, I saw both your brothers today.

It was so sweet to get to hold them near.

We told funny stories of things you'd say;

When we shared your antics, it's like you were here...

So now Baby Girl, I'll go rest and pray

And I'd truly love it if you would curl up near...

P.S. I had a nightmare about you night

before last. I was walking on tiptoe

to not upset you so

you would stay...

I awakened in my agonized state.

I am relieved that your and my spirits

are both at peace with one another today~

I wouldn't have that part of us change in any way!

I am finding God's sweet treasures in grief's darkness~

it makes grief's gloom fill with light :0)

(and it reminds me~I'm to see now~looking with faith's sight)~

So now I'll go and hug you, and my pillow tight!

Night Night!

And I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness—
secret riches.
I will do this so you may know that I am the L
the God of Israel, the One who calls you by name.

~Isaiah 45:3 NLT

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.

Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.

But the greatest of these is love.

~I Corinthians 13:12-13 NIV

Picture: Merry Katherine and me, Mother's Day, 2005
Quote: How we long to be known... ~Martha Whitmore Hickman
NLT: New Living Translation of The Holy Bible
NIV: New International Version

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Thursday's Therapy - Damaged

Thursday's Therapy


~Tommy and Angie Prince

"Central to the experience of traumatic stress are the dimensions of

  • helplessness
  • powerlessness, and
  • a threat to one's life.

"Trauma attacks the individual's sense of self and predictability of the world."

~Bessel A. van der Kolk

We are impacted on so many dimensions by our Grief and our Trauma:

  • body
  • soul
  • spirit
  • mind
  • emotions


I am a damaged person. Yes, I can function through a day (well, it may not be pretty, neat, or as organized as someone else's functioning, but it is functioning). I can walk, I can talk, I can think, I can smile, I can even laugh. I can relate in many different ways. And yes, I can work. I still have a practice in psychotherapy which I love. I love helping people. But my case load is not up to par -- it is about 1/3 of what it once was.

One of my clients is a creative designer in advertising. He had seen me a few years back, and he has now re-entered therapy. I believe he must sense I am different. (He knows we lost Merry Katherine.) The other day, he asked me if I had enough business coming in. Why he asked this I'm not sure, but creating business is his line of work after all. But I stopped and thought about it. My studied response was

"I have as much business as I can handle right now."

Fortunately, he seemed okay with my response.

But you all know:

Losing a child is downright debilitating. I am a different person now. My life has been damaged. I spend a great deal of time grieving. In terms of working and knowing what I am capable of handling, I do not even know who I am anymore! My system has been ripped up. I am hyper-vigilant. I am fragile, for my system, my entire being, is compromised. For the past month, I have been unable to sleep through the night like I did before. I am agitated. My body is hyper-aroused as if ready for danger.

Many psychologists say PTSD includes avoiding triggers that remind one of the trauma. I cannot relate to that symptom really.

I do not avoid triggers that remind me of the loss of my child -- I welcome them and cry over them. They remind me of my child, and in their own way serve as my only way of "being with" my child right now. And so I feel them to the full and work to grieve them.

But I do avoid something else.

Secondary Trauma is what I avoid because my Primary Trauma of Losing My Baby Girl is ALL I can deal with right now.

I do not need any complications of further trauma to my heart.

What is one of the secondary traumas that I face?

Unrealistic Expectations: We child-loss grievers are experiencing a damage that the world is not willing to accept, especially the Christians it seems --

There is a pressured expectation of a rush to heal, a sprint, a drag-race expectation really, to heal, be-done, fini, instantly recover.

This expectation alone is harmful, so misguided, and in many ways downright cruel.

There are indeed benefits to this Refining of Fire through which we are going. We find we do not have the "layers of stupid" on us any more. We are no longer walking through the world looking through the lenses of Idealism nor Romanticism. We relate to people -- not for how we want them to be, as we once did... I used to assume people were there for me. I was assuming they cared for me and that they had my best interests at heart -- but now we try to see them for who they really are... We no longer just assume such sweetness to be there.

Now, thanks to our increased vigilance and God's sweet discernment, we have a Clarity we did not have before about the world and about people. For example, we can very quickly sniff out if other people have their own self-serving agendas for us, despite our being in very raw grief.

How dare anyone have their own self-serving agenda for us when we are Under Assault, Under Siege in this ongoing Grief-and-Trauma-War we are having to fight in every single dimension of our lives: body, soul, mind, spirit, and emotions.

We therefore expose ourselves to these people in a different way, in a much more protected way.


Dr. Bessel A. van der Kolk, a psychiatrist specializing in trauma (even helping to coin the term Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder), says about PTSD and traumatic event(s)' effect on our being:

"It is this Sense of Being Damaged, rather than the immediate horror of the Trauma, that many victims describe as the worst aspect of their ordeal in the long term."

~Dr. Bessel A. van der Kolk

(capitalizations and highlights mine)

This is a very important statement. This sense of being damaged IS overwhelming. Some even call it an "Invisible Disability."

NOW, ADD to Severe Trauma the absolute Worst Grief in the world--that of losing your child!

Losing our child is the worst thing that could happen, but it did happen, and our child's death and the inherent loss of her life here with us while we're on earth is the worst aspect of our ordeal. And while trying to grapple with such great hurt and loss, we have the debilitating damage to all dimensions of our very being brought on by the trauma, and you've got one sick puppy -- who needs to do Grief work, Trauma work, and oh-yeah-by-the-way, carry on with your job and your life and pay all your bills, all the while trying to avoid any secondary traumas on top of all this.

It all feels well nigh impossible...


Traumatic Stress: The Effects of Overwhelming Experience on Mind, Body, and Society, Dr. Bessel A. van der Kolk, Alexander C. McFarlane, and Lars Weisaeth, Editors, pp. 136, 137 and 215.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Wednesday's Woe - "The Great Reversal" or Right-Side-Up in an Upside-Down World?

Wednesday's Woe

"The Great Reversal"


Right-Side-Up in an Upside-Down World?

~Tommy and Angie Prince

If the New Testament is full of suffering, why are we surprised?

All the disciples suffered (all were martyred but one of the entire group of Apostles that closely followed Jesus)! So then, why are our "Assumptive Beliefs" the opposite...That life should be predictable, that we should be able to manage our own lives, that if we do the right things we will be kept safe-prosperous even, etc.

As a Christian, we are supposed to be exposed to The Truth. The world view has compromised and distorted the Christian gospel message.

"We have been lulled into a sense of complacency by our sense of invulnerability."

~Loss of the Assumptive World: A Theory of Traumatic Loss, Jeffrey Kauffman

(This statement was not said about us, Tommy and Angie Prince, though it very well could have been.)

Rather, it was said of America after "the shock of the 9/11 attacks" occurred.

That world-view we had all fallen for at some level, is no different than that world view the psychologists describe as our "Assumptive Beliefs" that come crashing down when a major tragedy occurs:

There are, however, as we have seen repeatedly...certain life events that bring us face-to-face with the fact that our existing assumptive world can no longer keep us safe. What follows (after such a major tragedy) is a painful and protracted struggle to find a new set of assumptions to replace those that are now obsolete.

The life events that cause the most difficult psychosocial {and I would add spiritual} transitions are those that violate core assumptions concerning

  • Self-trust, the assumption that, most of the time, I can cope with the world I meet;
  • Other-trust, the assumption that, when necessary, I can count on others to keep me safe; and
  • World-trust, the assumption that the world is a reasonably safe place.

Traumatic life events can undermine any or all of these assumptions of security.

~Loss of the Assumptive World: A Theory of Traumatic Loss, Jeffrey Kauffman


What if the tragedies we have all undergone that have turned our lives "upside-down" are in reality the events that are restoring us to Jesus' view of what is "Right-Side Up"?

What does Jesus' "Right-Side Up" view of the world look like? Quite the opposite of what we in the west believe about the successful, upwardly-mobile life, I'm afraid..

Why did Jesus tell the rich young ruler (one who seemed to be "managing" quite "well," having achieved a fortune even), that he should go and sell it all???

"Go...Sell all you have, and give to the poor..."

"If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor and you will have treasure in Heaven. Then, come follow Me."

When the young man heard this, he went away sad for he had great wealth...

As He watched him go, Jesus told His disciples, "Do you have any idea how difficult it is for the rich to enter God's Kingdom? Let Me tell you, it's easier to gallop a camel through a needle's eye than for the rich to enter God's Kingdom."

The disciples were staggered. "Then who has any chance at all?"

Jesus looked hard at them and said,

"No chance at all if you think you can pull it off by yourself. Every chance in the world if you trust God to do it."

Then Peter chimed in, "We left everything and followed You. What do we get out of it?"

Jesus replied, "Yes, you have followed Me. In the re-creation of the world, when the Son of Man will rule gloriously, you who have followed Me will also rule, starting with the twelve tribes of Israel.

"And not only you, but anyone who sacrifices home, family, fields -- whatever -- because of Me will get it all back a hundred times over, not to mention the considerable bonus of eternal life.

"This is the Great Reversal: many of the first ending up last, and the last first."

When did we fall for the Great Lie --that we should be self-sufficient, that people around us can be trusted to keep us safe, and that the world is a reasonably safe place...?

So tell us, what do you think...

Suffering: Exception or Rule?

Loss of the Assumptive World: A Theory of Traumatic Loss, Jeffrey Kauffman, Editor, Dr. Therese Rando, Series Co-Editor, (Brunner-Routledge: New York), 2002, pp 238 - 239.
Scripture from The NIV and The Message, Matthew 19:16-21

Monday, September 27, 2010

Tuesday's Trust - Walking Around with No Skin On: Love's Insurrection!

Tuesday's Trust

Walking Around with No Skin On:

Love's Insurrection!

We walk around with no skin on, my friend and I,

Our hearts on our sleeve, open for all to see.

Insensitive ones, with logs in their eye

Seem ready to pounce folks weak as we.

How to survive in this cruel world:

Sin run amuck, hooks at sea...

These same hooks snagged our girls,

Took them out to sea...

There's just one way

In Grief's plod

To live...


He's LOVE!

He loves us,

Hovers above,

Watching over us.

He gives us eyes to see

Other folks with hearts tender...

Broken by God...swim in our sea...

Nurturing hearts, ready to render

Christ-in-the-flesh to folks like you and me.

He gives discernment; He gives sweet protection;

He gives us strength in His love...Love's insurrection!

Poem dedicated to my precious grieving child-loss friend Danielle Helms, mother of precious Kristin Helms...

Danielle Helms


Yea though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I will fear no evil for Thou art with me, Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me...

~Psalm 23:4

For the Lord will go before you, the God of Israel will be your rear guard.

~Isaiah 52:12b

Picture: Hammer and Heart,
Poem: Walking Around With No Skin On: Love's Insurrection - Angie Bennett Prince - 9/21/10
Picture: Danielle Helms, hers