Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Thursday's Therapy, Growing Through Loss: 10 Essentials to A Grief Well-Met ~by Cara Barker

Thursday's Therapy

Growing Through Loss: 

10 Essentials to A Grief Well-Met

~by Cara Barker

Posted: 03/21/2012 

There's nothing like loss to cancel your to-do list and plans. There's nothing like grief to erase what you thought was top priority. In the wake of what was, we must lay aside the demands of the world, attending to what's "in your face."

Sometimes loss is literal: the death of someone you love. Sometimes the grief involves what I have come to call a "living loss." Living losses include, but are not limited to: lost dreams, profound disappointments or betrayals, untoward changes in health, work, relationships, or abandonments, that feel like a "hit and run." Sometimes the loss comes when someone dear suddenly turns away from you abruptly, with a hardened heart.

While grief may be thought of as a noun, anyone experiencing it knows full well that grief is an altered raw state, a dynamic at work that affects not only the one who grieves. Deepest grief comes in waves. In the throes, we are confronted with unpolished and un-manicured scary parts of ourselves. When the ground of what we thought once was slips away, this is an earthquake no one else can measure. Historical identity flies out the door. Self-created illusions of certainty predictability vanish. When the loss is big enough, we are left impotent to fix it. No wonder many opt out through anything that will numb the pain and anxiety. But when our favorite method of self-medication/excess fails to work long term, making matters worse, we are left to face the inevitable. We live in an ever-changing universe. What is present today will not last forever. Nothing alters this fact.

The 10 Essentials to a Grief Well Met

Herein comes the challenge. We must accept there is nothing to fix. As my friend Linda puts it: "There is nothing to do or undo." All we can hope for is that out of the present darkness something unexpected will flower beautifully in the garden of our heart. This is possible. In fact, it is highly probable to the degree we are willing to roll up our sleeves and meet our loss with authenticity and sincere intention to find growth where it seems least likely. Following are 10 aspects to consider:

1. "Harden not my heart." While tough times can bring out the best in people, it can also bring out the worst. Our words can turn nasty, our temper impatient, our desire for retaliation inflamed. Reacting, rather than quietly responding, hardens the heart. When this happens, may we meet our grief with self-compassion. When the worst in me flares, my practice is to send forth a request to that which lives deepest in and through me that goes like this: "Harden not my heart."

2. When our disposition turns sour, may we press the pause button and seek what restores our Spirit in the natural world. Leaving the phone behind, simply going for a walk in a beautiful spot in nature, while practicing deep breathing can bring back perspective and ease in the system.

3. Find evidence of new life before you. One method is to wear your watch on your opposite wrist, reminding you, every time you check the time to take time to notice something new or fresh. Breathe deeply. Life is here.

4. Collect these demonstrations daily. Record them in a demonstration journal, a reference for the future when you need a reminder, that "spring" will come again.

5. Recall we have choice. Life is fragile, fleeting. We have the capacity for mean-spiritedness or warmth, depending on what we choose. A sharp look, a mean word, a thoughtless gesture with those we encounter, might be our last communication. Is this the legacy we wish to leave behind?

6. Always, there is an opportunity to clean up our mess. Where I have caused injury, I can do my best to make things right. There is no guarantee, however, that this will change the situation. The only guarantee is that expanding the way we treat ourselves, and others, in the fire of pain, will surely open our own heart.

7. Facing the most difficult with self-compassion and kindness brings forward the possibility for what Chogyam Trungpa called an "enlightened society." Not only we, but our children's children are the beneficiaries of our intention.

8. Grief can give way to grace. I'd heard the word "grace," before my son was killed 21 years ago this March 21. But it was not until afterward, sitting in my wingback chair, when I simply could not hold the pain any longer by myself, did I experience grace. One minute, from the bottom of my heart, everything in me silently screamed, beseeched that presence beyond my understanding: "Help me, I cannot do alone." From some inexplicable place, a deep and abiding calm washed through me so profoundly that I've never been the same since. The burden had been lifted. Now, I'm not saying that my bereavement was over. I am saying, however, that this altered my relationship to it and to my life. In an instant, I knew the meaning of these words:

"Help us to be always hopeful Gardeners of the spirit Who know that without darkness Nothing comes to birth. As without light, Nothing flowers." -- Kali "A Grain of Mustard Seed"

9. Grief well met affords us the opportunity to untangle ourselves from what no longer serves life well lived. Resisting experience lessens the joy of living. Experience need not be pleasant to find joy. Joy comes from leaning into and "giving over" the burden, trusting that who we are is much, much more.

10. Welcoming whatever comes sets us free to welcome life in all its forms, without attachment or resistance, and with connection to all who have known this experience in the universe. One day, as I was untangling myself from feelings of self-pity that bereavement can bring, I saw a robin feeding her newly-hatched in apple tree outside my window. Suddenly, one of her babies over-reached and fell out of the nest, hitting the ground dead. As I witnessed mama bird fly to the side of her fallen, I became aware of all creatures who birth and know loss. We were One. I could send her compassion, and it returned ten-fold.

11. Let the "whole" find you from the "hole." There is no instant fix to suffering. Whenever I am asked "can you get over it?" by the bereaved, I respond as follows. "The real issue is are you willing to grow through your loss?" A well-met grief teaches there is a presence beyond the personality. What has been hidden behind our self-constructed personality shows itself as new expansions of who we've believed we are as they begin to shine and bloom. Become faithful to what can flower, even if you cannot see or name it yet. Hold the space, for the yet to emerge. It will come if you choose.

...Today's piece is in memory of you, Matt. So many thanks for the love that remains.

And now, A Love Letter to the One Who Grieves:

Days like today are bitter reminders that life is neither fair nor easy. There are no words for times like this. Neither pretty nor profound words can ease your pain, take away the source of what you suffer. Every loss is different. I would not presume that what I experienced when I lost my son is what is so for you.

What I can tell you is that I know you are out there, doing the best you can. As I think of you, I remember to breathe more deeply for the two of us. As I think of you, I thank life for who you are, for your sincere heart, even in times like these. When I meet a stranger on the street, I think of you, that this might be you. Of course, I do not know, but, I act "as if," just in case.

May I wish you ease in the system? May you be free from careless remarks or unwanted advice. May this day and evening bring you comfort. May you be reminded that spring will come again, even in the hardest winter of the soul. May you be reminded in infinite ways that you are not alone.

My love your way,


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Wednesday's Woe - She is Everywhere… ~Tommy Prince

Wednesday's Woe

She is Everywhere…

~Tommy Prince

I saw her everywhere today but I didn't see her… 

College girls were everywhere today in Walmart preparing for Halloween maybe, and so many of them "were" her…

I saw her height. I saw her hair...

I heard her laugh. I saw her outfits. 

I smelled her fragrance. I saw her festive personality.

I saw little bits of her all over the place.

I wasn't undone by it today ~ that was different. I was startled; I did have to do some deep breathing to stay present. We are going into the sixth year, but in the past ~over the past 5 years~ I would have broken down, would have had to go out to the car and cry for an hour; and then I would have been ruined for the next two to three days. 

But today… I saw her everywhere.

She was everywhere, but she was nowhere…

Pictures, thanks to Google Images

Monday, October 29, 2012

Tuesday's Trust - Loss and Gain...

Tuesday's Trust

Loss and Gain...

What happened to my family, dear Lord, I cry:
So close, intimate, worshipers together of You
And yet now, there's so little of which we see eye-to-eye,
And their hearts seem so merciless, at least in my view.

And yet, my hubby of 33 1/2 years is dearer to me than ever;
My sons have hearts for You;
My granddaughter's heart so precious,
And my baby… is entwined with You.

It seems I have lost so much...
And yet I have so much I've gained:
Your heart, O God, with mine does touch,
Even melted together through pain.

My mother and my daddy, now with you, 
Our hearts enveloped together o'er time,
The bonding with them so precious
Has all the fingerprints of The Divine.

So I thank you for my blessings
Even as I grieve
For ones no longer with us,
And for hearts who've been deceived.

Melt me, break me,
Mold me, make me;
In this sweet time that's left, make me more like Thee!

You break our hearts to pour them out,
And yet we're drawn closer to Thee ~ in sweetest intimacy.

God's unique economy: You empty us, yet ever pour Your glory out…
Comfort us, O comfort Lord; Draw near, e'en as You give the Enemy rout.

First picture, thanks to ~Memories from Miloh
Last picture, thanks to ~365 Promises 
Poem - Loss and Gain - Angie Bennett Prince - 10/29/2012

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Monday's Mourning Ministry - I Want to Stroll Over Heaven With You ~Alan Jackson

Monday's Mourning Ministry

I Want to Stroll Over Heaven With You

~Alan Jackson

I Want to Stroll Over Heaven With You

~Alan Jackson

If I surveyed all the good things that come to me from Above
If I could count all the blessings from the storehouse of love
I'd simply ask for a favor of Him beyond mortal king
And I'm sure that He'd grant it again

I want to stroll over Heaven with you some glad Day
When all our troubles and heartaches are vanished away
Then we'll enjoy the beauty where all things are new
I want to stroll over Heaven with you...

So many places of beauty, we long to see here below
But times and treasures have kept us from making plans as you know
But come the morning of the rapture, together we'll stand anew
Then we'll stroll over Heaven with you...

I want to stroll over Heaven with you some glad Day
When all our troubles and heartaches are vanished away
Then we'll enjoy the beauty where all things are new
I want to stroll over Heaven with you...

I want to stroll over Heaven with you...

Picture, from video "I will never leave you"

Saturday's Sayings - True Grievers

Saturday's Sayings

True Grievers

~via Grieving Mother, Jackie Wergin Trudeau


To Our Loving Friends Nearby:

~Darlene's Photos


And Thank you to our Online Friends!

~Words of Wisdom


~Missing Loved Ones


~Healing Hugs


~Grief the Unspoken



~Steeping through Grief


Recipe: Raw Grief: blog


Message from Our Child in Heaven:

~thanks to Jody Riggs-Martin's son Tony Diaz 12/16/80 - 3/2/2011


Message to Our Child in Heaven:

First picture, thanks to ~Whoop de doo da

Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday's Faith - A Day in the Life of Grief, 2277 days into our Child-Loss

Friday's Faith

A Day in the Life of Grief,

2277 days into our Child-Loss

I had a wonderful day,
A day of pure delight.
Not one of my nerves did fray;
None of my fears did fright!

The day was a sunny fall day, 
My pink mandevillas still abloom;
Orange maple leaves lit up their bright display,
Shattering any potential signs of gloom.

Having had eight hours of blessed sleep
And my tummy healed up at last,
Daddy and I went out to eat
After good sessions with clients I'd had.

The waitress was gracious and kind,
Introducing a "crispy asparagus" dish;
The grief thoughts that crossed my mind
Brought tears in the restroom along with my fond wish…
With gratitude for such days of love,
Reminders of sweet memories with Mother
As I'd just shared with my client that two years ago, she'd gone Above,
But she'd had years with me, sharing my grief over you like no other,
For we both had in common, being a Child-Loss Mother…

Daddy and I went to the bookstore, having fun making a choice
Of a little pink sock-monkey we'll get to share with baby Ellie today;
We even had time to early vote, both celebrating getting to have a voice,
As well as getting to have an exceptional day!

It's wee hours of the morning now,
As from another nightmare I would awake,
Discovering your daddy's still awake, as his racing heart, no sleep would allow,
And now I too cannot sleep, as I'm having a painful tummy ache...

As you can see, there's delight amidst our pain:
We are blessed by so very much
And yet we know we're forever changed
As we still have loved ones like you we long to touch.

But I must say amidst my falling tears,
We're still so very grateful for so many blessed years.
Those years too, were filled with joy… and pain,
But somehow the joy overshadows the pain!

We so look forward to that Final Day
When our Joy will forever overshadow our pain
When we'll get to forever rejoin with you and our scattered loved ones again!

Pictures, thanks to ~Star bright angels via Grieving Mother ~Jill Compton, and ~Wings of Hope-Living Forward, via Grieving Mother ~Kathy Martibello-Stieff 
Poem - A Day in the Life of Grief, 2277 days into our Child-Loss - Angie Bennett Prince - 10/26/2012

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Thursday's Thursday - Is Grief an Illness?

Thursday's Thursday

Is Grief an Illness?

HealthDay News
Is Grief an Illness? The Debate Heats Up

Psychiatric experts torn on whether bereavement should be included in new diagnostic manual.
By Alan Mozes, HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Feb. 16, 2012 (HealthDay News) — The loss of a loved one can trigger deep emotional turmoil, but is the grief that follows a normal part of being human or is it a form of mental illness in need of diagnosis and treatment?

That's the gist of a "major debate" now unfolding in the world of psychiatry, as the American Psychiatric Association (APA) prepares to issue the fifth edition of its seminal reference guide to mental disease, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).

The issue: For the first time, the manual — a touchstone for mental health professionals across the United States — may not exclude the concept of " bereavement" from the constellation of behaviors and experiences that it deems worthy of consideration when clinicians set out to diagnose a major depressive disorder.

What does this mean? That feelings or outbursts accompanying the passing of a family member or close friend — such as crying, insomnia, fatigue, confusion and profound sadness — may now be viewed as a treatable illness rather than as a normal reaction to life's most shattering moments.

Needless to say, not everyone agrees with this shift in thinking.

"To me, grief is a normal condition, not to be tagged with a diagnostic code and to be treated," stressed Dr. T. Byram Karasu, chairman of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and psychiatrist-in-chief at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. "Everyone loses someone in their lives at some point. So, this would be classifying everyone at some point. No one would be immune to this."

"And that does not make sense, because grief is a normal and very healthy behavior," 

said Karasu, who also chairs the APA's National Task Force on the treatment of depression. 

"One has to feel joy as well as pain and depression, otherwise life is not worth living. And one should not interrupt the grieving by medication or psychotherapy. You have to feel the loss, and only by feeling the loss and recovering from it will the person become a better person. Interrupted grief will remain unfinished business."

Karasu's stance is in line with those expressed by the editorial board of the British medical journal The Lancet, which lays out its opposition to the new clinical approach in its Feb. 18 issue.

"Grief is not an illness," 

the journal's editors argue, noting that a diagnostic change in the APA's forthcoming manual would empower clinicians to interpret any post-loss despair that endures beyond a two-week window as a troubling sign of sickness rather than a standard sign of coping.

The Lancet team suggests that, instead, an intense but normal bout of grief can last six months to a year, depending on the very individualized nature of the particular relationship that has been severed by death. 

{Or as we Child-Loss Grievers know, our grief will normally last a life-time!}

"Medicalising grief, so that treatment is legitimized routinely with antidepressants, for example, is not only dangerously simplistic, but also flawed," the authors noted.

They acknowledged, however, that sometimes grief can morph into something much more complicated, longer lasting and "pathological." In such instances, true clinical depression may ensue along the lines of a so-called "prolonged grief disorder," a potentially new designation now under consideration by the World Health Organization. And such patients, the board agreed, might stand to benefit from some form of mental health intervention.

The concern over exactly when normal grief becomes a condition that perhaps requires treatment is what's driving the notion of inclusion in the DSM, said University of California, San Diego, psychiatry professor Dr. Sidney Zisook.

"It is well recognized that the death of a loved one, just like any other serious stressor, [such as the] loss of a job, diagnosis of a fatal illness, divorce can trigger a clinical depression,” he said. "The ensuing depressive syndromes are no less severe or debilitating when brought on by bereavement as they are after any other life event or, indeed, when the depression seems to occur out of the blue." {Well, now, that concept is debatable! Child-Loss Grief does feel quite severe and debilitating, but it does allow us breathers between the grief-bursts which clinical depression is not as likely to do.}

"Acknowledging that bereavement can be a severe stressor that may trigger a clinical depression in a vulnerable person does not medicalize or pathologize grief," he suggested. "Rather, it prevents clinical depression from being overlooked or ignored, and facilitates the possibility of appropriate treatment."

"This acknowledgment," Zisook cautioned, "does not mean that we think acute grief should end in days, weeks or even months. For some, it may last for years, {or in Child-Loss Grief, a life-time,} whether or not there is also a clinical depression. But, acknowledging that clinical depression may also be present in some bereaved individuals may go a long way towards helping those individuals get on with their lives."

For University of Michigan Medical School psychiatry professor Dr. Randolph M. Nesse, the debate boils down to a tug-of-war between basic common sense on the one hand and science's search for diagnostic consistency on the other.

"Everyone knows that grief is something that happens to everybody," he noted. "And just because an emotion feels bad doesn't mean it's wrong or unhealthy. Most often it's a common-sense response to a real problem."

"So, my take is that it would be senseless to eliminate the grief exclusion [from the DSM]," said Nesse, who is also a professor of psychology at UM's College of Literature, Science and the Arts. "But, because it can be so damn hard to figure out when an emotion is normal or not normal without really knowing what is going on in a person's life, there are undeniable advantages to having a neat, clean, simple check-box kind of classification system for diagnosing depression. It makes it easier. So, you include grief as a box to tick, whether or not there is a real problem to be diagnosed."

"But that is what is so troubling," 

he added. 

"Because when someone gets a diagnosis of depression it then encourages giving that person treatment. And the getting of that treatment then pushes the person being treated into believing they do indeed have a problem that needs treatment to begin with. And that can be very unhelpful in many, many cases in which grief is really a normal and healthy response to a life event."

{Add to that, that many times, so-called Grief "Treatment" has been known to do more harm than good under psychotherapists who do not understand the multi-dimensional, long-term, and enduring aspects of Child-Loss Grief!}

Last Updated: 02/17/2012

Highlights, mine, and {Comments, mine}


Moral of the Story when Grieving your Child:

{Also, pictures/graphics, mine}

Pictures/Graphics, thanks to ~ihaveaspecialangel My Special Angel: For Loved Ones Lost, and Grieving Mother, Jill Compton

Wednesday's Woe - What happens when you tell? ~Angie and Tommy Prince

Wednesday's Woe

What happens when you tell?

~Angie and Tommy Prince

What happens when you tell that your child has died? Does telling it get any easier? 

You make yourself vulnerable to the person who could really undo you. Or, you take the risk of making yourself vulnerable, then find you immediately become speechless to say what happened… 

I even find myself steering the questions away from family so that these kind of questions won't come up: 

How many children do you have? 

Or… Do you have any kids? 

Or… Where are your kids these days? 

I was at a party during the first few months of my grief (yes, I was still in shock, or I couldn't even have attended the party) due to a girlfriend of my daughter's being thrown a party by her family before she left to enter the marines. Someone I hardly knew asked, "How old are your kids?" I was not prepared for this question, so instinctively, I just immediately rattled off, "19, 21, and 23." Then she asked, "Where are they all now?" I had to think and rethink very quickly as I didn't want to say "Two in college, one in Heaven," to shock the poor woman to death at a festive party, so I just rattled off, "Oh, they're all away at college." (All of this had been true just a few months before, after all…)  She nosed her way in even further as I was beginning to realize she had heard, and she knew, but she was wanting to hear me say, "I have a child who died…" Number one, I didn't know this woman that well, and number two, I wasn't ready to deliver that heavy news at a party, so I just brushed her off, "Oh, they're scattered all over!" 

She must have really been surprised then when her husband (who knows me really well) walked up and began telling me how much trouble they were having with one of their sons, and I said to him, "I understand how painful that is," then assured him, "but at least you still have him with you!"

I long to tell, but I do think twice to myself: 

Do you really want to risk everything right here, right now? 

And does this person really want to know, or will what I say just depress them when all they wanted was a little small talk? 

Our lives have descended way below "small talk," all the way down into "death talk." Who is ready to have their lives shocked by our painful truths, especially when our own families can't even talk about or handle our pain. And yet… that is where we live... 

Picture, thanks to Grieving Mother, Jill Compton

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tuesday's Trust - Who Can You Trust?

~via Grieving Mother, Jill Compton

Tuesday's Trust 

Who Can You Trust?

Who knew a world-wide-web would be conducive to one-on-one intimacy? About a year into my grief, I heard Elizabeth Edwards say that the key to her surviving the loss of her child was her online friends; and I remember thinking to myself, 

"Here this woman's husband is running for the presidency of the United States and she couldn't find any friends around her to support her in her grief????"

Little did I know, it doesn't matter how many friends and family you have around you, none but the child-loss grievers will have a clue how to help you, (at least after the first week, maybe even up to the first month, and possibly for the first year). Now I find that I too am like Elizabeth Edwards:

I have more of a sense of these sisters-of-the-heart who have lost a child being my "family" than my own sisters and family and friends who just don't "get it." I should say, they do not, cannot, and will not "get it," and therefore they are no longer safe people for me.

Sisters, family, and friends want me back as I "was," and I cannot deliver! As much as I would love to, I cannot return to a world-as-it-once-was as that world did not have to deal with my Having Lost My Baby!!! Acceptance of the unacceptable now has to be a part of my healing, and that makes all the difference in the world in my life now.

~via "Silly Stupid Statuses & Stuff 24/7"

So, I find myself, too, like Elizabeth Edwards, seeking refuge through the internet to have my daily devastating pain touched by other grieving mothers who know, r-e-a-l-l-y  k-n-o-w, the depths of my pain.

It seems I can trust interacting with other grieving mothers via the internet more than I can anywhere else. 

~via Grieving Mother, Jill Compton

Even going to Compassionate Friends meetings, it seems I cannot manage my traumatization level as well, being up-close-and-personal to everyone-in-the-room's pain once-a-month as I can navigating through what I can and can't handle on any given day on the internet. My grief seems to need daily comfort but also a wide variety of support. Any one group of people may not be where I am in my grief, but it seems on the internet, I can safely run across that specific comfort that I may need at the time. If I need affirmations, I know where to go. If I need music to help penetrate the depths of my pain, I know where to go. If I need interpersonal connection, I know where to find it. If I cannot handle the depths of someone else's pain on any given day, I know I can go back on another day and reach out to them, and they to me.

The rain falls merciless from the sky, 
is it because my angel cries?
The thunder echoes my broken heart,
wishing my baby (were) in my arms.
The flood of grief is sometimes (too) deep,
my faith in peace is hard to keep.
The darkness (envelops) my soul,
without her I am not whole.
Clouds surround me everyday,
keeping the light from the sun away. 
I need the warmth on my skin, 
to feel human again.

~Vandy Gibson

~via "Grieving Mothers"

Reaching out via the internet seems to minimize the risk of secondary trauma. I seek refuge there because it is safe whereas reaching out to family or friends, wittingly or unwittingly, they often slip and say a caustic word that sends me plummeting and bringing further injury to my heart and our relationship.

There is no complete healing this side of Heaven, but there is a learning to navigate through my pain by attaining the proper support I need on any given day as I work through the many dimensions of my grief.

Who knew you could be the most intimate on such a "public highway" as the internet to touch the depths of one's pain?!

~via Grieving Father, Tom Zuba

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Monday's Mourning Ministry - Goodnight Sweetheart ~Bing Crosby

Monday's Mourning Ministry

Goodnight Sweetheart

~Bing Crosby

I dedicate today's song, "Goodnight Sweetheart" in loving sympathy over the loss of Pamela Palmer Mutino's daughter, Maria…

I am currently reading about precious Maria in Pamela's book, 
-S-W-I-S-H- Maria in the Mourning. In her book, Pamela tells about having a heart-wrenching premonition as she sleepily awakened to hear Bing Crosby's otherwise endearing song, "Goodnight Sweetheart" in what, ultimately as it turned out, was just days before her 23-year-old daughter died… At the time, she could not sort out what her horrendous premonition was trying to tell her...

As I listened to Bing's song a couple of times, I found I was weeping right along with Pamela for both of our beautiful daughters…

(For a sense of what the book ~and its unusual title~ is about, there are some excerpts from reviews of Pamela's book at the bottom of this post.) Thank you Pamela for sharing your recent comment with us, enabling us to mourn right along with you for your precious child, along with our own...

Goodnight Sweetheart

~Bing Crosby

Goodnight sweetheart, 
'til we meet tomorrow 
Goodnight sweetheart, 
sleep will banish sorrow 
Tears and parting may make us forlorn 
But with the Dawn a new Day is born 

So I'll say goodnight sweetheart, 
though I'm not beside you 
Goodnight sweetheart, 
still my love will guide you 

Dreams enfold you 
and in each one I'll hold you 
Goodnight sweetheart, 

The day is over and it's cares and woes 
In peaceful sweet repose, will fade and die 
A dreamy dreamland beckons you and me 
How happy life would be if we could dream forever 

Whistling Interlude...

So I'll say goodnight sweetheart 
even though I'm not, I'm not always right beside you 
I'll still say goodnight, goodnight sweetheart 
I want you to know that my love, 
My love will always guide you 

And dreams enfold you, 
In each one I'll hold you 
Goodnight sweetheart, 


Excerpts (found on Amazon) from three reviews of

-S-W-I-S-H- Maria in the Mourning, by Pamela Palmer Mutino:

"One minute a mother is relishing the swishing sound of a wedding dress in anticipation of her daughter's wedding. Almost the next minute, it seems, she is mourning the death of that same daughter to horrific addiction and overdose of heroin. It's enough to make her imagine that (an) ornament-less, six-foot Christmas tree is the perfect size of a heroin dealer which she attacks with unmitigated rage...."

~Viviane Crystal, Vine Voice


"A talented writer, Mutino is also a (playwright), and as she tells in her book, she had no intention of ever writing anything. But she knew at some point her writing was her way of working through her personal tragedy. The best way to do justice to such a beautiful and emotional story is to end with Mutino's words.

"'I only knew that there was a story in me that was going to haunt me until it was in print. I did not want pity for my suffering. I wanted Maria's beautiful spirit to live on in such a way that others would connect to their own truths, when it came to loving, losing, living, dying and moving on.' -Pamela Palmer Mutino, Swish: Maria in the Mourning"

~Neil and Tracy, 


"I saw the play first and just had to have the book. Pam Mutino's writing style touches the heart in such a profound way. This is such a beautiful tribute to her daughter. A child remains a part of you forever whether she is with you still in this life or not. I recommend this book to anyone who loves, but that is sometimes all we can do.

~C. Westerman