Sunday, September 30, 2012

Monday's Mourning Ministry - Ronan ~Taylor Swift

Monday's Mourning Ministry


~Taylor Swift

Dedicated to a 4-year-old boy, Ronan Thompson, who died of neuroblastoma
Taylor and his mother wrote the lyrics together
Also to be used in the "Stand Up to Cancer" Telethon

I remember your bare feet
Down the hallway
I remember your little laugh
Race cars on the kitchen floor
Plastic dinosaurs
I love you to the moon and back

I remember your blue eyes
Looking into mine
Like we had our own secret club
I remember your dancing before bedtime
Then jumping on me waking me up

I can still feel you hold my hand
Little man
And even in the moment I knew
You fought it hard like an army guard
Remember I, leaned in and whispered to you

Come on baby with me
We're gonna fly away from here
You were my best four years

I remember the drive home
When the blind hope
Turned to crying and screaming why
Flowers pile up in the worst way
No one knows what to say
About a beautiful boy who died
And its about to be halloween
You could be anything
You wanted if you were still here

I remember the last day
When I kissed your face
And I whispered in your ear

Come on baby with me
We're gonna fly away from here
Out of this curtained room
And this hospital grey will just disappear

Come on baby with me
We're gonna fly away from here
You were my best four years

What if I'm standing in your closet
Trying to talk to you?
And what if I kept your hand-me-downs
You won't grow in to?
And what if I really thought some miracle
Would see us through?
And what if the miracle was even getting
One moment with you?

Come on baby with me
We're gonna fly away from here

Come on baby with me
We're gonna fly away from here
You were my best four years

I remember you bare feet
Down the hallway
I love you to the moon and

Saturday's Sayings - The Presence of An Absence

Saturday's Sayings

The Presence of An Absence

I have found in the years that have passed that I am most vulnerable at times of  remembrance. The word "anniversary" no longer holds a promise of celebration. Instead, holidays and birthdays, family gatherings, and otherwise joyous occasions contain an undertow of sorrow. If I get caught up in it, I quickly get pulled under and wind up gasping for breath. It is ironic that the presence of an absence can be so emotionally devastating.

~Bill Jenkins

This quote seems so very true for those of us who are bereaved parents, siblings, and grandparents. Do you find yourself particularly connected with the final sentence?
~The Compassionate Friends/USA


~Photo, thanks to "Grieving Mothers," B. J. Karrer

We feel like screaming, 
pulling our hair out, 
punching our pillow, or 
throwing dishes against the wall. 
Sometimes we're too weak to cry, 
so we make muffled sounds that don't even seem human. 
Other times we walk around like a zombie that hasn't slept for weeks on end. 
No, we're not crazy. 
We are a parent whose child has died, 
and we have lost all sense of purpose 
and no longer do we know how to live life. 
Don't pull away from us like we're a freak in a circus. 
Please stand by our side and simply be there. 
God knows, we just need somebody to stick by our side through this horrible thing called child loss.

~via Grieving Mother, Jill Compton


~Photo, by My Special Angel

Do you see me?
Hello, do you see me?
When you look at me, 
what do you see?
Do you only see the strong confident woman that I have always presented?
Does anyone see my grief?
Can anyone see how I am barely coping?
How can you not see the pain in my face?
Have you missed the tears in my eyes?
Do you only see the smile facade and fail to see that it is superficial?
Did you realize how hard it was for me to reach out and ask for help?
When you did follow through and help,
Can you not see that I don't have the strength to ask again?
Is anyone aware of how hard it is to go on and actually "live" life?
Do you know what a struggle it has been to accept that life goes on?
Do you know how it hurts to see his friends move on,
attend weddings,
get new jobs,
have kids?
Do you know how hard it was to go vacation without him?
Did you think I would post anything but the so called "happy" pictures on Facebook?
I am grieving,
worried and 
Do you see me?

~By Mardi Slagle Peaster

via Grieving Mother, Jill Compton


~Photo via Wings of Hope~Living Forward


~By: Betty Baggott, Alabama Baptist BOD

· I wish you would not be afraid to speak my child’s name. My child lived and was important, and I need to hear his name.

· If I cry or get emotional if we talk about my child, I wish you knew that it isn’t because you have hurt me; the fact that my child died has caused me tears. You have allowed me to cry, and I thank you. Crying and emotional outbursts are healing.

· I wish you wouldn’t “kill” my child again by removing from your home his pictures, artwork, or other remembrances.

· I will have emotional highs and lows, ups and downs. I wish you wouldn’t think that if I have a good day my grief is all over, or that if I have a bad day I need psychiatric counseling.

· I wish you knew that the death of a child is different from other losses and must be viewed separately. It is the ultimate tragedy, and I wish you wouldn’t compare it to your loss of a parent, a spouse, or a pet.

· Being a bereaved parent is not contagious, so I wish you wouldn’t shy away from me.

· I wish you knew that all of the “crazy” grief reactions that I am having are in fact very normal. Depression, anger, frustration, hopelessness, and the questioning of values and beliefs are to be expected following the death of a child.

· I wish you wouldn’t expect my grief to be over in six months. The first few years are going to be exceedingly traumatic for us. As with alcoholics, I will never be “cured” or a “former bereaved parent,” but will forevermore be a “recovering bereaved parent.”

· I wish you understood the physical reactions to grief. I may gain weight or lose weight, sleep all the time or not at all, develop a host of illnesses, and be accident prone – all of which may be related to my grief.

· Our child’s birthday, the anniversary of his death, and holidays are terrible times for us. I wish you could tell us that you are thinking about our child on these days, and if we get quiet and withdraw, just know that we are thinking about our child and don’t try to coerce us into being cheerful.

· It is normal and good that most of us re-examine our faith, values, and beliefs after losing a child. We will question things we have been taught all our lives and hopefully come to some new understanding with our God. I wish you would let me tangle with my religion without making me feel guilty.

· I wish you wouldn’t offer me drinks or drugs. These are just temporary crutches and the only way I can get through this grief is to experience it. I have to hurt before I can heal.

· I wish you understood that grief changes people. I am not the same person I was before my child died, and I never will be that person again. If you keep waiting for me to “get back to my old self,” you will stay frustrated. I am a new creature with new thoughts, dreams, aspirations, values, and beliefs. Please try to get to know the new me – maybe you’ll like me still.

I believe that instead of sitting around and waiting for our wishes to come true, we have an obligation to tell people some of the things we have learned about our grief. We can teach these lessons with great kindness, believing that people have good intentions and want to do what is right, but just don’t know what to do with us.

~via Wings of Hope-Living Forward


Be Kind To Yourself; 
"Healing Is Baby Steps"

~Photo, thanks to "Grief The Unspoken"

Any parent who has been tossed onto the rough road of child loss is a hero simply for opening your eyes in the morning. Beyond that, all else you do is miraculous. When a large chunk of your heart has been suddenly yanked from your body, it's a daily struggle to walk, talk, think, focus, and do even the simplest of tasks. Yet, you're doing it! God bless every parent of child loss!

~Silent Grief, Child-Loss Support


~The Compassionate Friends

Many years after his son died, the great actor Gregory Peck responded perfectly in an interview when asked if he thinks of his son every day.

"I don't think of him every day ~ I think of him: every hour of every day."

~Gregory Peck (in an interview many years after his son's death)


I've lived through things I would never 
have thought I was capable of, 
and I'm much less afraid than I used to be. 
The process of wounding awakens us to our strength. . . 
It shuffles our values, and the top priority 
is never what you thought it would be. 
It's never about perfection or power. 
It always turns out to be about LOVE
Knowing ourselves to be vulnerable 
and our time here to be limited, we're 
freed to live more passionately and fully… 
than we have before, to discover 
what's worth fighting for and who 
we are… real strength lies buried at the 
depths of any wound we have SURVIVED.

~via Acts of Simple Kindness, Inc.


"Remember that grief is as personal
as a fingerprint. Don't tell me how I 
should or shouldn't be doing it or
that I should or shouldn't feel better
by now. Don't tell me what's right or
wrong. I'm doing it my way, in my
time. If I am to survive this, I must
do what is best for me."

~From the blog of Dr. Joanne Cacciatore

~via Grieving Mothers


I close my eyes, I see your face, 
when I open them there's no trace
I realize that you're not around, 
emptiness, loneliness, just no sound...
I miss you so, I wish you were here, 
my life is so sad and full of fear.
I'm so alone I need you so, why did you die?
why did you have to go?
Forever in my heart you will always be,
I will always love you to eternity.

~Debbie Bellis

~via Death of a Loved One Quotes


~via Grieving Mothers



Saturday, September 29, 2012

Friday's Faith - God's Faithfulness Amidst Our Angst

Ellie, on Friday afternoon, 9/ 28/2012

Friday's Faith

God's Faithfulness Amidst Our Angst

Late with my post again today, writing it in the wee hours of Saturday morning instead of on Friday, having chosen the pillow over the pen in last night's evening hours…

Keeping our grandbaby Ellie three days in a row! Delightful but exhausting!!!

At almost 14-months-old, Ellie is beginning to walk for up to 10-15 steps without falling. Steps I often need to follow so closely to keep our precious little one out of any danger.

I'll give you a few snapshots of our day on Thursday…

Bleary eyed in the early morning hours, I am feeding her the slightly-warmed Gerber chunky-applesauce (Yes! She has just enough teeth that she can chew soft foods and tiny crackers!) in my stupored, dazed-out state, while her effervescent personality soon snaps me out of my fugue with just a peppered little patting to her chest, an inside-joke from such a wee little tot, grinning mischievously with her signal to me to do my "beat on my chest and make the gruff sounds of a gorilla" feat. I obediently snap out of my daze and into my instant gorilla mode as I am immediately greeted by her peals of laughter. What a delight is this tiny bundle of life, this ray of sunshine to my ever-shadowed heart!

Later in the afternoon: 

Ellie makes her way through the blades of grass in our back lawn, trying to follow our little rat terrier dog Prissy as she patrols the back yard. Ellie (Merry Elizabeth, as she is Merry Katherine's little namesake) crawls most of the way, but as she endeavors to take on the rising terrain of the yard, she decides she will walk instead of crawl for the climb! But as the hill inclines, I watch her step… and… fall, pull herself back up, step… and… fall… delightfully pushing herself to climb the hill with her newfound skills. She makes sure I trail closely behind her, so I am enjoying this venture into God's wide expanse of wonder along with her. She leaves the shaded ground behind her and enters the dappled sunshine, ever heading toward, but never quite reaching, always-on-the-move Prissy. On some of her falls, Ellie will stop for a moment to pluck up hand-fulls of grass to feel its texture, gaze at it, and then smile. Then when she rises to stand, she lingers to touch the leaves of the almond bush (planted in Merry Katherine's memory, blooming all in pink in the spring) as its branches wave out to her at just her height. 

Flowering Almond Shrub as it blooms in the spring

After quite a while, we finish our trek as Prissy now decides to go rest on our patio. We join her there, and I am able to take a breather for a bit on our patio swing as I watch Ellie painstakingly begin to remove hand-fulls of dirt from my potted geraniums and lobelia to then drop them over into the bigger pots of petunias and mandevilla as these pots are just about as tall as she is. By the end of her hard work there, I had stripped all her clothing off including her then-sagging diaper, and she is now sporadically covered from head to toe in layers of dirt. Her dig comes to a fast end when she finally decides she needs to taste this luscious-looking black dirt and suddenly grabs a hand full and stuffs it abruptly into her mouth. Her face is scrunched, and her mouth flies open as I begin to dig what I can out of her tiny mouth!!!

A nice bath, supper, and a bottle, and she is ready to crash (after protesting the end of her day for about 30 minutes of course!).

That night, I had my usual fits with sleep, although, thanks-to-Ellie, my night of sleep started much earlier in the evening as Granna GiGi was quite tuckered out from all our day's adventures. I found myself, despite my exhaustion, retreating back to my familiar pattern of sleeping a couple of hours… to wide awake… to reading awhile… to back to sleep. But as Satan so often likes to do in the moments between my restful sleeping to my lying there wide-awake before finally succumbing to turning on the lamp to read, he picks his nightly fights with me. It seems he likes to challenge me with all the "what-if's," "if-only's," and "now-how-do-I-live" battles that challenge me when I am the least up for them. So, instead of reaching for my novel that usually distracts me long enough to lure me back to sleep (I had already tried that tactic, but on this night it doesn't seem to work), I pull out my Bible, this time "The Message" version, and open it up to one of my several book-marked pages. This book-mark happened to lodge amidst chapter 55 of the Psalms. I began to read:

"My insides are turned inside out,
specters of death have me down.
I shake with fear,
I shudder from head to foot.
'Who will give me wings,' I ask---
'wings like a dove?'
Get me out of here on dove wings,
I want some peace and quiet.
I want a walk in the country,
I want a cabin in the woods.
I'm desperate for a change
from rage and stormy weather."

I plunge through the readings that touch several dimensions of my grief-and-trauma, touching that deep pain that it may rise up from its depths inside me, even if just a bit, for some relief as God's Word resonates with my pain, and brings God closer to me.

The psalmist then visits the too-familiar-to-me, pains of friends-and-family betrayals:

"This isn't the neighborhood bully
mocking me---I could take that.
This isn't a foreign devil-spitting
invective---I could tune that out.
It's you! We grew up together!
You! My best friend!
Those long hours of leisure as we walked
arm in arm, God a third party to our conversation.
Haul my betrayers off alive to hell---let them
experience the horror, let them
feel every desolate detail of a damned life."

(OK ~ I balk at the starkness of King David's wishes somewhat at this point ~ as you and I know, we wouldn't really want to wreak this havoc, this hell of child-loss-grief-and-trauma, on ANYbody, but oh how we wish they would at least just TRY to understand some of our dilemma in its midst!!!)

He goes on . . .

"I call to God,
God will help me.
At dusk, dawn, and noon, I sigh
deep sighs---He hears, He rescues.
My life is well and whole, secure
in the middle of danger
Even while thousands 
are lined up against me.
God hears it all, and from His judge's bench
puts them in their place.
But, set in their ways, they won't change;
they pay Him no mind."

(Oh, what a breath of fresh air it is that Scripture gets it! --- So in touch with the realities we try so hard to whitewash-over out of love for our friends and loved ones, but all too often, the reality really is… "But, set in their ways, they won't change; they pay Him no mind.") 

King David continues . . .

"And this, my best friend, betrayed his best friends,
his life betrayed his word.
All my life I've been charmed by his speech,
never dreaming he'd turn on me.
His words, which were music to my ears,
turned to daggers in my heart. 

"Put your troubles on God's shoulders---
He'll carry your load, He'll help you out . . . "

King David goes on in Chapter 56 to further protest these people ~who proclaim their love, even while dishing out their secondary injuries on us~ injuries that (counter-intuitively it seems to me) sometimes loom larger even than our already great loss we grapple with every day. (I guess the betrayals of love rise up, magnified in our lenses, as they are in our face, and break our hearts even further in two.)

Then he goes back to the internal struggles we all face in our child-loss angst---

"You've kept track of my every toss and turn 
through the sleepless nights,
Each tear entered in Your ledger,
each ache written in Your book.

"If my enemies run away,
turn tail when I yell at them,
Then I'll know
that God is on my side.

"I'm proud to praise God,
proud to praise GOD.
Fearless now, I trust in God;
what can mere mortals do to me?

"God You did everything You promised,
and I'm thanking You with all my heart.
You pulled me from the brink of death,
my feet from the cliff-edge of doom."

And, get this ~the kindness of God~ who, like Ellie, plunges through my travail with the warmth of His spirit, lifting my heart to the day's delightful images of walking in the sunshine with my precious grandbaby girl . . . 

"Now I stroll at leisure with God
in the sunlit fields of life."

Ahh! The peace! The comfort! No matter our darkness, no matter our travail, He steps out of the darkness to shine His love into our hearts, to remind us of His touches of Heaven on this earth, to draw us back to His side, back to His eternal perspective . . . 

I turn out my light, lulled by God back into my much-needed sleep, mulling these delightful words that evoke such peaceful experiences in my heart, over and over, and over, until I too ~like Ellie~ am able to sleep… like a baby . . . 

"Now I stroll at leisure with God
in the sunlit fields of life."

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Thursday's Therapy - Forms of Depression that Grief Sometimes Mimics

Thursday's Therapy

Forms of Depression that Grief Sometimes Mimics

Most of us in having lost our child to death will feel many of the symptoms of depression as our symptoms of natural, healthy grief often overlap those of a genuine case of depression. (Most consider the blues that come with grief as a natural and healthy form of sadness, not necessarily a "depression.")

But we are coming up on the season where certain people may be especially susceptible to "winter blues," which can often be an actual onset of a type of depression called "Seasonal Affective Disorder." This information is found through the Mayo Clinic, provided to readers by "Grieving Mothers":

Seasonal Affective Disorder (also called S.A.D.) is a type of depression that occurs at the same time every year. If you're like most people with Seasonal Affective Disorder, your symptoms start in the fall and may continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody. Less often, seasonal affective disorder causes depression in the spring or early summer.

Treatment for seasonal affective disorder includes light therapy (phototherapy), psychotherapy and medications. Don't brush off that yearly feeling as simply a case of the "winter blues" or a seasonal funk that you have to tough out on your own. Take steps to keep your mood and motivation steady throughout the year.

Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.)
By Mayo Clinic staff

In most cases, seasonal affective disorder symptoms appear during late fall or early winter and go away during the sunnier days of spring and summer. However, some people with the opposite pattern have symptoms that begin in spring or summer. In either case, symptoms may start out mild and become more severe as the season progresses.

Fall and winter Seasonal Affective Disorder (winter depression)

Winter-onset seasonal affective disorder symptoms include:

Loss of energy
Heavy, "leaden" feeling in the arms or legs
Social withdrawal
Loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed
Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates
Weight gain
Difficulty concentrating
Spring and summer seasonal affective disorder (summer depression)

Summer-onset seasonal affective disorder symptoms include:

Trouble sleeping (insomnia)
Weight loss
Poor appetite
Increased sex drive
Seasonal changes in bipolar disorder

In some people with bipolar disorder, spring and summer can bring on symptoms of mania or a less intense form of mania (hypomania). This is known as Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder. Signs and symptoms of reverse seasonal affective disorder include:

Persistently elevated mood
Unbridled enthusiasm out of proportion to the situation
Rapid thoughts and speech

When to see a doctor
It's normal to have some days when you feel down. But if you feel down for days at a time and you can't seem to get motivated to do activities you normally enjoy, see your doctor. This is particularly important if you notice that your sleep patterns and appetite have changed or if you feel hopeless, think about suicide, or find yourself turning to alcohol for comfort or relaxation.

Wednesday's Woe - Writing About Our Children

Wednesday's Woe

Writing About Our Children

I am in the process of reading and ordering some books by other broken-hearted parents who have written about having lost their precious child,  (Swish: Maria in the Mourning by Pamela Palmer Mutino; Farther Along: The Writing Journey of Thirteen Bereaved Mothers by Carol Henderson; Branch in His Hand by Sharon Charde, Who Is Kim Cress? by Gina Lay, and Beautiful Nate: A Memoir of a Family's Love, a Life Lost, and Eternal Promises by Dennis Mansfield).

Even now, I have tears streaming down for all of these grieving parents. The newest book, soon to appear on the market (March, 2013), is Dennis Mansfield's book Beautiful Nate, about his 27-year-old son Nate who had been struggling with a drug problem before his ultimate death. Dennis had been on the staff of James Dobson's "Focus on the Family" for years. (I was introduced to Dennis by another Christian brother, as soon as this brother learned that Dennis had just lost his son, meeting him on Twitter of all places!)   

Mansfield's excerpt brought tears as it so resonated with mine and Tommy's feelings after having worked in the Christian helping field, trying to save marriages and families all our adult life… only to lose our only daughter to death … A quote from his book description says it so well:

(In regard to) "faith and family…even when you follow all the "rules, "life can go very wrong."

Here is the poignant excerpt from Dennis Mansfield's new book (Click "View Full Note" at the bottom of his entry):

You may have to go here first before you can read the excerpt:

One of Dennis's readers asked him, 

"I am wondering if writing this book was a healing experience for you?"

Here is Dennis's answer:

Dennis Mansfield "Nancy - a good question. It could well have been a helpful tool that God used in having me see Him more clearly, but not really a 'healing' tool in the sense of accepting Nate's behavior and his death.

"There is no true healing with an amputation. There's only ghost-limb movements that an entire family knows will always be there.

"And there is Heaven, waiting for those who see this life as it is - a vapor, here today and then gone. Yet we remain forever. That's where Nate is and where we'll be."

(highlights, mine)

~May God bless each of you amidst your own severe "amputation"…

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tuesday's Trust - Another's Grief...

Tuesday's Trust

Another's Grief...

I heard a message once that faith does not make the grief hurt any less, and I appreciate the honesty of that because I think we do people an unspeakable disservice when we assume that faith somehow ought to make it less painful of a road to walk.

~Alina Sato, in a response to the post by Guy Delcambre printed below

As the following writer also says, 

"one foot in front of the other while the day just burns and trust is the only value holding. it’s a lasting rhythm of grace in our lives..." 

~Guy Delcambre 

May God help us hold on to that trust!

Grief, 3 little girls and God somewhere.

by Guy

Some say death is the ultimate end to all that we know.
For many, it is.

My wife died, and that’s completely all there is to it.
In one moment, breath and dreams and family and tomorrow.  In the next, nothing.  Just that quickly did death find my family and measure our days short.
The end.

No grand finale or poetic poise to faith resurrecting in the damnedest of circumstance but a bludgeoned entrance of death into the innocence of the good we knew.  Death takes without asking, steals without repaying and enters without permission or concern.

We were five all together.  Minus her, my wife, we are now four; myself and my young daughters left to a new day foreign, still speaking the language of yesterday.
It’s been two years since my wife drew her last breath in an ICU room after five days of being supported by medicine and machines, and finally I feel as though we are just beginning to level out.  You could imagine the polarized difference between a household balanced with two loving parents being reduced to half and the weight it would add.  Add sorrow and grief into the mix and the emptiness of daughter without mother.  And now add the emotional differences of three little girls and a hollowed out, shell-shocked dad.  That’s a recipe for implosion, full meltdown.
There’s a good chance you can’t imagine it.  I couldn’t prior to the day that found us.
Beyond the one no longer alive is the one no longer living.  Like a fire sale, death bargains for them both or them all.  The one no longer here, body a broken, lifeless temple, and the other left stranded in a hopeless, darkened, echoing day where death cuts deep and the loneliness even deeper.  Those who remain, they are the walking dead alive mostly in haunting, loving memories; lost in and detached from a new arriving, unchosen day.  Every day.

“I wish I could die.”

Those words rang through my thoughts, not violently, but with a weariness of heart tired before sunrise and ill at ease in the dark of night.  Sleep gave no rest and day no advance.  I wasn’t myself anymore.  I was halved.

Faith had a ceiling
and love had end.

Death reaching for two, it’s selfish in that way.

I moved at a pace slowed by shock and sorrow, a half step behind, a shadow shuffling lost into days that kept breaking like waves crashing onto the shore …pulling …and grabbing …and taking with each day crashing into the next more of the broken ground I stood on.
Tragedy in the form of death unexpected and unannounced forever changed my family.  My daughters aged 3, 6 and 8 years old at the time were forced out of comfort and the arms of their mother into an abyss grief and life uncharted.  There aren’t any exact manuals on how to handle life when it turns so sharply.  For the longest time, I just floated and held on for as long as I could, sometimes only minutes.  Then I would let go.  Every day stretched out so big and impossible.  Some days, waking up nearly took all that I had.  Many days were filled with questions belonging to no easy answer and tears just falling free.  But oh my, how their faces seemed to find smiles bent upward honestly!  In this stronger day, I can still hardly believe it or much less handle it.  I am overwhelmed by God’s strong love breaking the brunt of waves crashing in our lives.
We should be so much worse off, but we’re not.  This day is better than the last and the one before.
The immeasurable depth of God’s goodness and grace to find us in every crumbling moment is nothing less than the greatest miracle dawning the darkest of my nights.
For He finds us in the thinnest spaces, where scales threaten our sight and our hearts lose life.  He pursues us to the deepest depth.  His grace ever set upon us with the strength of forever.
Tomorrow belongs to us together and God’s undying grace blossoming buds of hope in the soil of death.

~by Guy Delcambre, as found in the blog post listed below:

Blog Post by Guy Delcambre:

Monday, September 24, 2012

Monday's Mourning Ministry - Music to Pierce the Heart

Monday's Mourning Ministry

Music to Pierce the Heart

~Lamentations of Jeremiah

I have had experiences in which music has "pierced my heart" … when nothing else could---especially, perhaps, in bereavement. 
I was passionately fond of my mother's sister, my Auntie Len; I often felt she had saved my sanity, if not my life, when I was sent away from home as a child, evacuated from London during the war. Her death left a sudden huge hole in my life, but, for some reason, I had difficulty mourning. I went about my work, my daily life, functioning in a mechanical way, but inside I was in a state of anhedonia, numbly unresponsive to all pleasure---and, equally, sadness. One evening I went to a concert, hoping against hope that the music might revive me, but it did not work; the whole concert bored me---until the last piece was played. It was a piece I had never heard before, by a composer I had never heard of, The Lamentations of Jeremiah by Jan Dismus Zelenke (an obscure Czech contemporary of Bach's, I later learned). Suddenly, as I listened, I found my eyes wet with tears. My emotions, frozen for weeks, were flowing once again. Zelenke's Lamentations had broken the dam, letting feeling flow where it had been obstructed, immobilized inside me.

~Oliver Sachs, in his book, Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain

Lamentations of Jeremiah

~Jan Dismus Zelenke

arranged by Thomas Tallis

performed by The Sixteen Choir, 
directed by Harry Christophers

This is part one of his 'lamentations of Jeremiah' which sets to music the two first verses of Lamentations 1.

You will (read on the video and) hear the ensemble sing in Latin which will be translated for you below, with the English just below each Latin phrase or verse:

Incipit lamentatio leremiae prophetae

Here begins the lamentation of Jeremiah the prophet.

ALEPH: Quomodo sedet sola civitas plena populo!
Facta est quasi vidua domina gentium;
princeps provinciarum facta est sub tributo.

ALEPH: How lonely sits the city that was full of people!
How like a widow has she become,
she that was great among the nations!
She that was a princess among the cities has become a vassal.

BETH: Plorans ploravit in nocte,
et lacrimae ejus in maxillis ejus:
non est qui consoletur eam,
ex omnibus caris ejus;
omnes amici ejus spreverunt eam,
et facti sunt ei inimici.

BETH: She weeps bitterly in the night, 
tears on her cheeks;
among all her lovers she has none to comfort her;
all her friends have dealt treacherously with her,
they have become her enemies.

Jerusalem, convertere ad Dominum Deum tuum.

Jerusalem, turn again to the Lord your God.


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Saturday's Sayings - Death Changes Us

Saturday's Sayings

Death Changes Us

How Death changed me.

I thought my son was always going to be here. And I rarely face the fact that we are all not given today nor tomorrow no one is; But, when a mother outlives her child, the world, our relationships, our dreams, our feelings, our goals & our life changes forever. I didn't need to do nothing (sic) to change LIFE OR DEATH from happening. It happens all by itself….and changes day after day.

The way I get up every morning…and start a new day….not with the enthusiasm and ambitions for life I once had and the plans that I used to have.
The way I breathe and look at life that once was, is not the same and never will be again. 

The way I see others…for those that do not know how much I hurt every day missing my son and listening to them sharing their stories of their children; their birthday parties, their scribbled drawings on the refrigerator, their first date, their new shoes, their Summer (activities) with their family~ all remind me of what was and will never be again….and it is hard to smile, and they don’t know the pain of why I don’t smile or they will never understand unless they have lost a child.

It changed the way I listen to music and to every song about missing and losing someone. A song I heard him playing in his room, his music he liked and sometimes hearing a song I liked he said he hated but really like that we listen to while driving somewhere, a song I danced to make him laugh and he would say "embarrassing mom"…The music can magically take you back to a special moment in time… that feeling I get so deep in my gut that it was written just for me to remember him and his beautiful smile.

When I look at all the photos of him and our family through the years, the huge events that made up our family life together, that video my (niece) captured at Easter last year 2008 and the split second of filming, that will now be more precious then anything in the world because (it's) our memories of our time with our son and his family (laughing) and having fun.

When I can laugh or enjoy something, I catch (myself) feeling guilty because my son will never smile or laugh again. It is just not fair.

I have (changed) so much every single day that passes without him. Watching the world change from winter, to spring and then summer, just tells me that time stands still for no one, for no reason.

The little things that used to annoy me, no longer make sense… For I will forever be in charge of My choices, my attitude, my memories, even in the face of such devastating loss words could not even describe the feeling each day I think of my memories with my son and now have stopped.

As I watch the seasons change for the rest of my time here; for every leaf that falls, for every snowflake that touches my cheek, for every ray of sun that brings warmth to my soul I know (it brings) me closer to him. And for every new experience his daughter learns as she grows…it will be a moment that I wished so much for him to have shared it as father and daughter and I could have shared it with him.

It has been 7 months and the pain is still not easy just easier to hide is all. (Seasons) are going so fast it seems and as days pass it gets further and further away from the last day he was last here with me.. I miss my son so much...

Even when I may look good or smile there is always that pain of wondering how he would be right now at this very moment. Not a minute goes by I don't think of my son. 

So many people are being called Home and I will wait (until) it is my time to be called and I will be with my son again and my heart will be whole doesn't get easier with time and who ever said it did well they were wrong...

I miss you my son love mom. 
07-24-2009 twila M. fox 
~via Grieving Mothers




What is normal?

Normal is having tears waiting behind every smile because my son is missing from all the important events in (our) family’s life.

Normal is trying to decide what to take to put on his grave that he would have loved.

Normal is feeling like you can’t sit another minute without getting up and screaming, because you just don’t like to sit through anything anymore.

Normal is not sleeping very well because a thousand what if’s & why didn’t I’s go through your head constantly.

Normal is thinking of the accident continuously through your mind, wondering if my son suffered or was in pain.

Normal is thinking of every happy event in his daughter’s life he will miss and I will see knowing he will not share it with her, breaks my heart. 

Normal is talking of my child’s death and trying to keep from crying each time I say "died" because I still (don't) believe it. And yet realizing it has become a part of (my) “normal.”

Normal is thinking of first year without him coming up with the difficult task of how to honor my son memory and his birthday and how am I going to survive these days. And trying to find a way to get thru these (occasions) without him.

Normal is my heart warming and yet sinking at the sight of something special my son loved. Thinking how he would have loved it, but how he is not here to enjoy it.

Normal is having some people afraid to mention my son, “Siaosi”.
Normal is making sure that others remember him.

Normal is after the funeral is over everyone else goes on with their lives, but we continue to grieve our loss forever.

Normal is weeks, and months after the initial shock, the grieving gets worse, not better.

Normal is not listening to people compare anything in their life to this loss, unless they too have lost a child. Nothing compares.
Even if your child is alive and away in the remotest part of the earth away from you - it doesn’t compare.

Losing a parent is horrible, but having to bury your own child is unnatural.

Normal is taking pills, and trying not to cry all day, because you know your mental health depends on it.

Normal is realizing you do cry every day and night just so you won’t cry when (you're) at work or doing every day tasks.

Normal is being impatient with everything and everyone, but someone stricken with grief over the loss of their child.

Normal is sitting at the computer crying, sharing how I feel with Friends hoping they will understand how I feel everyday without my son.

Normal is listening to people make excuses why they did not come and see me or how they could not make it at the time of the funeral and me thinking "it doesn't matter anymore". 

I know my son is in “a better place,” but hearing people trying to think up reasons as to why it was my son that was taken from this earth, makes absolutely no sense to this grieving mother.

Normal is being too tired to care if you paid the bills, cleaned the house, did the laundry or if there is any food.

Normal is wondering this time whether I’m going to say I have four children or three children, because explaining that my son has died to someone is the hardest thing for me to say.

Normal is asking God why he took (my) child’s life instead of (yours) and asking if there even is a God.

Normal is knowing in your heart (I) will never get over this loss of my child, not in a day nor a million years.

Normal is having therapists agree with you that you will never “really” get over the pain and that there is nothing they can do to help you because they know if you say "only bringing back my son from the dead could possibly make me better.” But saying this will make you look insane.

Normal is learning to lie to everyone you run into and telling them you are fine and ok when they ask “How are you” or say “you look good.” You lie because it makes others uncomfortable if you start crying. You’ve learned it’s easier to lie to them then to tell them the truth that you still feel empty and it’s probably never going to get any better — ever.

And last of all…
Normal is hiding all the things that have become “normal” for you to
feel, so that everyone around you will think that you are “normal.”

~via Grieving Mothers 





If I Could Borrow a Pair of Wings

~by Bonnie Bright

If I could borrow a pair of wings, I'd visit you in Heaven.
Your heart decided not to work when I was just eleven.
They told me that the lights came down like fingers from the sky.
Then lifted you so gently up. Then taught you how to fly.
If I could visit, we would laugh and bounce on clouds all day.
And holding hands, we'd fly right up to ride the Milky Way.
I don't have wings, and so I guess we'll have to be apart.
I'll always know you love me 'cause I feel it in my heart.
~I love you.



The Bond God Made

I'm sorry that I couldn't stay. I wanted to, you know,
but my time on earth had ended so God said I had to go.
Do you know that I still love you? Do you know that I still care?
Just because you cannot see me, doesn't mean that I'm not there.
I will be there in the darkness. I will be there in the rain.
I will be there when you're happy. I will be there through your pain.
Death can't destroy the bond God made or the love that we still share.
Our hopes, our dreams, our thoughts are one.
Trust your heart, and know I'm there.
So keep the faith. Don't give up hope. One day you'll understand.
God "is" still great and God "is" good. Now live the life he planned.
A Bond Unspoken... Can Never Be Broken...
It's a Mere Token... Of Our Father's Love.

Until we meet again,
I love you.


What moves through us is a silence, a quiet
sadness, a longing for one more day, one
more word, one more touch, we may not
understand why you left this earth so soon,
or why you left before we were ready to say
good-bye, but little by little, we begin to
remember not just that you died, but that you
lived. And that your life gave us memories too
beautiful to forget.

~author unknown
~submitted by Angie Szily


See, we really need our children, Lord; 
when one has seen in one's life, some morning,
in the midst of cares, hardships, miseries,
and of the shadow our fate casts over us,

how a child appears, a dear sacred head,
a small joyful creature,
so beautiful one thinks a door to heaven has opened
when it arrives;

when for sixteen years one has watched this other self
grow in loveable grace and sweet reason,
when one has realized that this child one loves
makes daylight in our soul and in our home,

that it is the only joy that remains here below
of all that one has dreamed of;
consider that it is a very sad thing
to watch it going away!

--Victor Hugo (1802-1885)