Friday, April 29, 2011

Saturday's Sayings - Grief Needs a Safe Place

Saturday's Sayings

Grief Needs a Safe Place

The first thing that grief needs is a safe place. People rarely grieve in a foxhole or when under pressure/stress. There are exceptions such as when our grief is so overwhelming that it comes pouring out whenever it wishes. But most times our grief seeks a place where we have a sense of safety. Children often will find their grief when they are "tucked in" and ready to go to sleep. At that moment they sense a certain safety and when this is combined with a loving presence from a parent their grief can often flow.

Think about your own safe places. Where does your grief flow? Where do you feel safe? In your bedroom? With a close friend? Talking with others? Alone in a quiet place? At the cemetery?

You can be pretty sure that where ever your grief flows freely you likely feel safe.

It is important to point out that we all find safety in very different places.

Differences in Men and Women's Grief, generally:
Recent research has helped us to understand that men and women tend to have very different safe places. The work of Shelly Taylor, Ph.D. of UCLA has shown that under stress women will be more likely to move towards interaction with others while men will be more likely to move towards taking an action or moving towards inaction and self-reflection. The women seem to prefer a face-to-face mode while the men are more likely to prefer a shoulder-to-shoulder or solitary approach.

Knowing our loved one's safe places can be a big help in being sensitive to their grief and paths to work with it.

Once we have a safe place we then find a way to tell our story within that safety.

~Tom Golden (highlights and subtitle, mine)

~Tom Golden -

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Friday's Faith - Amidst My Despair, Love's Latitude

Friday's Faith

Amidst My Despair, Love's Latitude

At times, feeling abandoned, yet I'm not;

Walking through death, shadows hover above...

Heart heavy, mind muddied, energy shot,

Oft feeling bereft of my God of love.

Even God's Son, midst death, felt forsaken,

Bearing the sin and evils of this world;

Why then wouldn't I feel lost and shaken

When death seemingly stole my baby girl?

But when the Son comes and splits the shadows,

I get a glimpse of her smile in the Heav'ns...

Then I know Life extends beyond shadows.

Light penetrates dark; my spirit leavens.

Though my baby's body was placed on a gurney,

Her Life continues on in a marvelous journey...

God give us strength as on earth we travail;

Remind us; o'er death You did truly prevail.

When all is dark, and we often feel lost,

Your Love prevails, though at Ultimate Cost.

May we never fail to express our gratitude:

You freely gave Your Son, Love's Latitude.

You gave Your Son's life, that our child may live,

Will You not also all things freely give?

So when we feel lost and by You forsaken,

Remind us of Love's greatest acts undertaken.

Lord, by Your strength, may our faith not be shaken...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Thursday's Therapy - Unpackaging The Princes' Top 10 TRUTHS about Child-Loss Grief -Truth #5 Everybody is different, so Everybody's Grief is different

Thursday's Therapy

Unpackaging The Princes' Top 10

TRUTHS about Child-Loss Grief

Truth #5) Everybody is different,

so Everybody's Grief is different.

We know that our grief will never end. We will mourn for our children every day for the rest of our lives. We will never return to normal. But we will live again... Life will be forever colored by what has happened. For every parent who loses a child, one life ended and another life is indelibly changed...

Events of bone-crunching intensity inevitably leave us different. The emotional journey people take to regain equilibrium, to be able once again to feel good and value life, to reform themselves so that their loss is somehow integrated into the fiber of their existence--that is the process of mourning.

~Judith R. Bernstein, When the Bough Breaks, (highlights mine)


And that process of mourning for us child-loss parents will look similar to one another in some ways, and very different from one another in other ways.

Some of the differing variables in the ways our unique grief may impact us child-loss parents:

  • Length of time of grief
  • Intensity of grief
  • Impacts of grief on one's coping methods (For example, some parents feel compelled to move from their house in which they raised their deceased child, while other parents may feel compelled to stay in the same house in which they raised their child after the child's death.)
  • Behaviors by which one prefers to express the deep grief (For example, some parents like to frequent the cemetery to do much of their mourning there. Others prefer the privacy of their home, or in their car.)
  • Unique details of the child's particular death
  • Uniqueness of one's relationship to the child
    • Age of the child at the time of death and the degree of dependence on the parents
    • Degree of closeness of parent to the child
    • Intensity of the relationship between the parent and the child
    • Developmental age of the child, and what particular dynamics were going on relationally between the parent and child in regard to that time in the child's life. (Our child was going into her junior year in college, the time that is typical developmentally for establishing more and more independence and decision-making apart from the parents even though still greatly dependent on them in many ways.)

Degree of Functioning (Some people cannot do their life's work at all anymore or may be able to do only a small percentage of it. Others may find work a relief and almost are able to escape into it.)

  • Physiological Differences - Some parents who were dealing with a challenging medical condition before their child's death may find their condition worsened or more debilitating with the added stressors of their child's death. Some parents may be accident prone after their child's death.
  • Types of emotions parents experience, how these are exhibited, and how they are processed may differ. We were expecting sadness and depression, and those we got, but along for the grief ride around year two of our grief came the unexpected emotions... agitation, anger, and anxiety ... or as Tommy calls it "The Triple-A Emotional Club." (Such emotions are very common to PTSD.)


Trauma as shattering and cataclysmic as losing a child...leaves indelible imprints on our lives. We are not the same having traveled that road as we would have been had we been spared that journey.

~Judith R. Bernstein


Everybody is different. Everybody's grief is different. We each find our own ways to navigate through our unique grief. Being able to establish the necessary boundaries and actions needed to attain safety are crucial. Having the freedom, the support, and the ability to accommodate our limitations is crucial. Respecting one another's uniqueness in processing grief is critical.

Love, respect, and support for one another in any ways we can, will go a long way in supporting one another in grief. Showing care and concern for the other's unique needs in expressing grief can effectively "lift just a corner" of one another's grief burden. Such love and support is an incredible gift amidst our grief and will facilitate our bonding to one another even, and especially, amidst our differences in the ways we find we need to grieve.


When a child dies, the very ground on which we depend for stability heaves and quakes and the rightness and orderliness of our existence are destroyed. Nothing in life prepares us; no coping skills were learned. Parents who lose children are thrown into chaos. The loss of a child is shattering, unique among losses.

~Judith R. Bernstein

Picture thanks to
Quotes by Judith R. Bernstein, Ph.D. were taken from her book, When the Bough Breaks: Forever After the Death of a Son or Daughter

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Wednesday's Woe - CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW???

Wednesday's Woe


God, what is happening to me?

Can't people see?

Grief has ripped the heart out of me!

They can't seem to hear

The words I "scream" out ~

I must withdraw

Lest I lash out...

I did not choose this life I've been given,

With my brain shaken up, my poor heart riv'n.

Tears flow out now ~ whom have I become?

A shadowed version of the "other one" --

I am impatient, restless, and weak...

Why do they always ~my "other one"~ seek?

Please give me patience ~

Perhaps like I grieve my baby, they my "other one" grieve,

But they, like me, only this harsh reality receive:

My baby's not coming back,

And neither am I ~ another sad fact...

Photo thanks to FotoSearch

Monday, April 25, 2011

Tuesday's Trust - What Did Jesus Christ's Death and Resurrection Do for My Child Who Died?

Great Cloud of Witnesses...

Tuesday's Trust

What Did Jesus Christ's

Death and Resurrection Do

for My Child Who Died?

Life's Breath!

Up from the grave He arose,

And with that move, He conquered death,

And with that truth, this same truth goes...

At your death, He restored Life's breath!

Though I grieve, I must, too, rejoice:

As Death stole my heart, Life restored your voice!

Come, Lord Jesus, O quickly come~

In my life, may Your will be done.

Help us know though while here we'll mourn,

On that Day, sweetest joy is born.

Lives removed due to Death's cold blow

Will be rejoined ending all earth's woe,

For all those who bow their knees to You

Will weep with joy when we're restored anew,

And live, together, forever with You!

Jesus said to her,

"I am the resurrection and the life.

He who believes in Me will live,

even though he dies,

and whoever lives

and believes in Me will never die..."

~John 11:25-26, NIV


Jesus: God is the God of the living

Jesus replied,

...But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.

~Matthew 22:31-32, KJV

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses...

~Hebrews 12:1a, NIV

--Jesus, according to John in The New International Version of the Bible, and to Matthew in the King James Bible (22:31.32)

Picture thanks to

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Monday's Mourning Ministry - Exactly What Did Jesus Do For Us?

Monday's Mourning Ministry

Exactly What Did Jesus Do For Us?

"Grieving Like Christians"


Glorious Day (Living He Loved Me)

~Casting Crowns

The following essay I had posted on 2/22/11, but today, the day after Easter as we continue to celebrate Christ's resurrection, I felt this essay would be a nice reminder of where grief fits in for a Christian, that even though we KNOW Christ conquered death, and God resurrects life, and that for these gifts we are forever grateful, there is still a place for grieving for our loved one while we are here on earth, ripped apart from one another for this while.

Grieving Like a Christian

We have had two losses among our Christian friends and acquaintances recently. One was a teenage boy who drowned while canoeing, leaving his recently widowed mother and six siblings. Another was a thirty-four year-old mother of two young children who died after a long battle with cancer. Losses like these leave us saddened, stunned, and sometimes even angry. As Christians, though, we can face death and suffering without despair, for our hope is in Jesus Christ, the Giver of Life, the Conqueror of Death.

Yet it seems that Christians sometimes think that if we outwardly show the sorrows we feel, we are somehow demonstrating a lack of faith. In order to honor God, we reason, we must accept His frowning providences without even a flinch, like an abused boy accepts his whippings. This stoicism can become a mere exercise of will, so that what appears to be piety and faith is actually a work of prideful flesh.

God loves life and hates death. He is sovereign over death, and He ordains it, yet He made the ultimate sacrifice--Himself--to secure its ultimate destruction. If we love Him, we should love what He loves and hate what He hates. When we love life, we mourn the loss of it. When we hate death, we are angered by its destructive force.

Grieving like a Christian does not mean we do not grieve. It means we grieve without despair. We crawl into our Father's lap and lay our tear-stained cheeks on His shoulder, and trust that what He ordains is always right, will always work out well in the end, and that all our losses will one day be restored to us. It is running to Him and asking, "Tell me again the story of what You have done and what You will do to destroy this enemy." It is going to Him and asking for the strength and comfort we need to face the new reality of our temporary, mortal lives--a reality without someone we have grown to love, without someone we are used to having as a part of our lives and perhaps mistakenly assumed would always be there. It is knowing that although there is loss, all is not lost.

God does not tell us we will not have sorrows. He tells us that He will be our comfort in sorrow. He does not tell us we will not have tears. He tells us He will be there with us to wipe our tears away. He does not tell us there will not be times to mourn. He tells us that on the other side of that mourning is the promise of joy indescribable.

~Dory, wife and mother, and principal of a classical Christian school


Casting Crowns was one of the first of Merry Katherine's favorite Christian bands in her high school years. Her church youth group often used Casting Crowns' music for their worship time at Sunday School, on retreats, and at their summer camps. The song by Casting Crowns for today's post is a re-make of a hymn that gives a great summary of exactly what Jesus Christ did for us when He came to earth, witnessed to people about His Father~the Living God, then later was killed, buried, raised from the dead, then appeared to many people, and later ascended back to Heaven. He also will come back for us, for all those of us who love Him and trust Him to be our Savior. His death and resurrection effectively conquer eternal death ensure ultimate resurrection for each person who repents of his/her sins and shortcomings and who believes by faith in Jesus as his/her Savior. Each of these actions in Jesus' life provides for us to be saved for all eternity, and thus to be with Him in Heaven as fellow "brothers" and "sisters" in God's family. Casting Crowns has the reputation of sharing such important Biblical truths through music that appeals to young people. I know all three of my children enjoyed them, so I am so very grateful for their ministry.

Glorious Day (Living He Loved Me)

~Casting Crowns

Easter Crucifixion Resurrection Video

One day when Heaven was filled with His praises

One day when sin was as black as could be

Jesus came forth to be born of a virgin

Dwelt among men, my example is He

Word became flesh and the light shined among us

His glory revealed

Living, He loved me

Dying, He saved me

Buried, He carried my sins far away

Rising, He justified freely forever

One day He’s coming

Oh glorious day, oh glorious day

One day they led Him up Calvary’s mountain

One day they nailed Him to die on a tree

Suffering anguish, despised and rejected

Bearing our sins, my Redeemer is He

Hands that healed nations, stretched out on a tree

And took the nails for me

Living, He loved me

Dying, He saved me

Buried, He carried my sins far away

Rising, He justified freely forever

One day He’s coming

Oh glorious day, oh glorious day

One day the grave could conceal Him no longer

One day the stone rolled away from the door

Then He arose, over death He had conquered

Now He’s ascended, my Lord evermore

Death could not hold Him, the grave could not keep Him

From rising again

Living, He loved me

Dying, He saved me

Buried, He carried my sins far away

Rising, He justified freely forever

One day He’s coming

Oh glorious day, oh glorious day

Glorious day

One day the trumpet will sound for His coming

One day the skies with His glories will shine

Wonderful day, my Beloved One, bringing

My Savior, Jesus, is mine

Living, He loved me

Dying, He saved me

Buried, He carried my sins far away

Rising, He justified freely forever

One day He’s coming

Oh glorious day, oh glorious day

Glorious day

O Glorious day