Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Tuesday's Trust - Trusting...Amidst a Suspended Life

Tuesday's Trust


Amidst a Suspended Life

Tommy and I listened last night to a talk-radio program by Michelle Rosenthal, a "Post-Trauma Coach" featuring Dr. Robert Scaer, Neurologist and a premier Trauma specialist whom Tommy and I first met and trained under just this past September of 2011. We are purchasing his new book on Trauma that comes out this month, and he is doing a lot of speaking to promote his book. In this talk, he explained how traumatic it is for us to lose a child:

Death of a loved one is a Trauma - A trauma is something that threatens your life - The death of a loved one threatens your life... Death brings trauma into our life --- Your life is composed of the social structures of your life as much as it is the survival of your body!

The death of a loved one is a trauma, especially he says… 

"Frankly, a Parent's Loss of a child is the most traumatic loss there is." 

You go into a freeze response. Helpless, you freeze. If you don't come out of the freeze, you have PTSD or Trauma. You have to process the traumatic memories to heal enough to develop resiliency. And you will need to process this grief over and over and over.


This week, my son put a post in Facebook:

C. S. LewisYour place in Heaven will seem to be made for you and you alone, because you were made for it—made for it stitch by stitch as a glove is made for a hand.  
~ The Problem of Pain

A child-loss mother friend wrote this next to his post:

What a peace over came me when I read this... My place in Heaven has been made just for me. I can only imagine what (my son) Justin's place looks like :) ... This mama's heart aches for Heaven.

~Patty Sisk Whitaker


I just read a poem of a Child-Loss griever tonight, asking God to give people the grace to understand her need to grieve, her need to still treat her child's birthday as special, and her need to feel her child's nearness. Basically, she, like we, recognizes and understands that the love for our children and the memories we have of them don't ever go away, nor do we want them to...

A Special Birthday

(author unknown)

Please God, make them remember that
Today is a special birthday.
Make them understand that
The memories don't go away.
Bless them, with ears to hear and hearts that care.
Enable them to listen while I share.
Shelter them that they may never know my pain.
Help them to help me know that my child's life was not in vain.
Help them to remember, Lord, that I wish
That my child was here
So we could still celebrate,
To understand that I still
Feel the nearness of my child,
To see beyond my smile and the
Words, "I'm okay."
Please God, just let one remember today
Is a special birthday!


The process of grief, I have found, can mirror that of writing: it is surprising, trying, frustrating, daunting, terrifying, comforting, chastening, challenging, and at times, heartening; grief can provide fellowship with others interested in the experience; it brings out the best in us, and at times the worst, if only because it is utterly human.  It can feel inevitable, but it is so personal, so differently pitched for each, that it can reside across a great gulf.  Yet poetry, like grief, can be the thing that bridges the gap between us, that brings us together and binds us...

I have gathered the poems in this anthology to reveal the many ways poets seek to find words and form to contain loss and to fulfill the reader's need for comfort and companionship in the words of another.  Often, in death, everything else fails.

~From the Introduction to The Art of Losing: Poems of Grief and Healing, KEVIN YOUNG

Another quote of his reads,

To lose someone close to you is to enter an experience no amount of forethought or hindsight can free you from.  You must live through grief.  You cannot outsmart it, nor think through the fact of someone's being gone, and forever.  You must survive the sorrow.  


Unfortunately, the Child-Loss War civilians (who entail most of our friends and family) do not seem to understand our grief is not about the aforementioned "logical" processes where one just decides NOT to be sad, as if we could "outsmart" grief. No, indeed, we "must survive the sorrow."


People don't seem to understand the back and forth processing that we do, and that we must do in Child-Loss Grief. In the grieving mother's poem, there is an appeal to God to help people understand she still loves her child, and still misses her child and always will this side of Heaven. The all-encompassing message we feel is "I miss my child!" We go back and forth with I wish they were here, and yet remembering C. S. Lewis's sentiment of "Thank You God that my child is in Heaven, and that Heaven is a perfect fit for her!" It is a constant back and forth, a re-interweaving of our foundation that's been blasted out from under us with the death of our child. 

As Dr. Robert Scaer says, you can't just eat the right foods to help you heal through traumatic grief; you have to work through all the hurts, all the confusion, all the feelings of betrayal, all the precious memories, processing them over and over and over again. It's all a part of our "healing" ~ never total healing, but a getting stronger, more resilient over time.

The idea with trauma is that you have to get to the point that you can feel your abject pain and loss and grief, and yet still live your life in the process. People do not understand the hurt never goes away; we just learn to accept it as a part of our lives now.

But the hope, as Elizabeth Edwards so lovingly reminds us... is always there.

The real truth is:

"We never move on, we just get used to the pain"

Even as we ever ponder...

While the new reality for our child, we thankfully cry out along with our child:

I am not gone. My soul
lives on but in a better pace,
Surrounded by the light of God
in all His glory and grace.

Pictures: The first two, thanks to Barbara J. Karrer of Grieving Mothers in loving memory of her "forever-6-year-old" Jonathan,
and the final picture thanks to Cindy Goolsby Martin, In loving memory of her precious "forever-19-year-old" April Michelle Pera


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