Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Blessings

Friday, March 29, 2013

Friday's Faith - Good Friday Blessings

Friday's Faith

Good Friday Blessings 

On this Good Friday, we may ask,

"What could be 'good' about God's allowing His own Son to die on the cross?"

We know from Scripture that Jesus made it clear, it was His choice whether or not to go to the cross, but that He was willing to make that choice because He knew His Father's heart, and lovingly agreed to give up His own life, knowing what His own death would accomplish for us. . .

What wondrous love is this, O my soul?!

In Merry Katherine's funeral, the preacher read several of Merry Katherine's favorite passages that she had marked in her own Bible. The following passage was one of those favorites that he read to us that night, and it seems to capture both the Easter story and her own journey. God's love pours out through this passage, as well as His tender provision for each of us, His children. 

Tommy related as I re-read this passage to him, that he has never told me this, but besides the verses of, "Who told you you were naked?" in Genesis, and "Why do you look for the living among the dead?" in Luke, this is the third of his favorite Bible passages! It seems father and child think alike; it is remarkable how the passage simply captures the whole gospel in just a few verses. Of course I wept as I read it because it also maps out my child's final years and days of her journey in the Lord:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade---kept in Heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith---of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire---may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

~I Peter 1:3-9 (New International Version)

Thank You God, for Your amazing love, and Your faithful provision, made available through the greatest of all sacrifices a Father and Son could ever make. It renders us speechless . . .

~Picture, thanks to ~The Broken Hearted

Happy Birthday, Angel!

Happy Birthday, Merry Katherine!

Merry Katherine Prince
March 29, 1987 - August 2, 2006

I face each day, doing pretty well now,
Facing this life, this life without you,
Surviving daily, I don't know how,
When my heart, I admit, is broken in two.

Why then, when I write, are the tears falling down
When I picture your face, or your laughter rings out,
When I feel, in my tears, I really might drown,
And I'm returned to square one of this terrible drought,

This drought that was brought by that terrible day,
That day, despite prayer, you were taken away,
This drought that claws at my heart every day
Yet somehow I go on, somehow find a way…

It seems I face each day, doing pretty well now;
I'm doing more work, a seeming progression,
But only you and God really see how
I'm doing inside, my tears, my true confession.

And now, once again, your birthday arrives,
Yet you are not here, for us to celebrate…
(How is it, amidst drought, the rest of the world thrives
When we are left behind, to watch our hearts break?)

Yet, you see, I am learning to cope,
To live amidst death in this terrible drought:
Your smile, as you lean into God, brings me Hope
And your continued Love forges a way through death's drought,

As our life on this earth lives on in the prayer
Fully realized in Christ once we are There!
And then we will joy in God's grand celebration
Where pain pales in the face of our Father's elation.

Happy 26th Birthday, Merry Katherine!
We love you and long to see you again,

Mommy, Daddy, Rollin, Stephanie, Merry Elizabeth, and Nathan

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Thursday's Therapy - Nutrients for a Traumatized Brain

Thursday's Therapy

Nutrients for a Traumatized Brain

Ever on the look out for any helps for our Child-Loss-Grief-and-Trauma traumatized brains, I ran across this article this week. Research seems to indicate that movement in the form of regular aerobic exercise several times a week can be one of the best treatments for a traumatized brain. The following foods seem to provide some of the best nutrients for our brain as well.

Eat Smart for a Healthier Brain

Add these 'superfoods' to your daily diet, and you will increase your odds of maintaining a healthy brain for the rest of your life. 

By Carol Sorgen
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

There's no denying that as we age chronologically, our body ages right along with us. But research is showing that you can increase your chances of maintaining a healthy brain well into your old age if you add these "smart" foods to your daily eating regimen.


"Brainberries" is what Steven Pratt, MD, author of Superfoods Rx: Fourteen Foods Proven to Change Your Life, calls these tasty fruits. Pratt, who is also on staff at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, Calif., says that in animal studies researchers have found that blueberries help protect the brain from oxidative stress and may reduce the effects of age-related conditions such as Alzheimer's disease or dementia. Studies have also shown that diets rich in blueberries significantly improved both the learning capacity and motor skills ofaging rats, making them mentally equivalent to much younger rats. Ann Kulze, MD, author of Dr. Ann's 10-Step Diet: A Simple Plan for Permanent Weight Loss & Lifelong Vitality, recommends adding at least one cup of blueberries a day in any form -- fresh, frozen, or freeze-dried.

Wild salmon. 

Deep-water fish, such as salmon, are rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids, which are essential for brain function, says Kulze. Both she and Pratt recommend wild salmon for its "cleanliness" and the fact that it is in plentiful supply. Omega-3s also contain anti-inflammatory substances. Other oily fish that provide the benefits of omega-3s are sardines and herring, says Kulze; she recommends a 4-ounce serving, two to three times a week.

Nuts and seeds. 

Nuts and seeds are good sources of vitamin E, says Pratt, explaining that higher levels of vitamin E correspond with less cognitive decline as you get older. Add an ounce a day of walnuts, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, filberts, almonds, cashews, peanuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, flax seed, and unhydrogenated nut butters such as peanut butter, almond butter, and tahini. Raw or roasted doesn't matter, although if you're on a sodium-restricted diet, buy unsalted nuts.


Avocados are almost as good as blueberries in promoting brain health, says Pratt. "I don't think the avocado gets its due," agrees Kulze. True, the avocado is a fatty fruit, but, says Kulze, it's a monounsaturated fat, which contributes to healthy blood flow. "And healthy blood flow means a healthy brain," she says. Avocados also lower blood pressure, says Pratt, and as hypertension is a risk factor for the decline in cognitive abilities, a lower blood pressure should promote brain health. Avocados are high in calories, however, so Kulze suggests adding just 1/4 to 1/2 of an avocado to one daily meal as a side dish.

Whole grains. 

Whole grains, such as oatmeal, whole-grain breads, and brown rice can reduce the risk for heart disease. "Every organ in the body is dependent on blood flow," says Pratt. "If you promote cardiovascular health, you're promoting good flow to the organ system, which includes the brain." While wheat germ is not technically a whole grain, it also goes on Kulze's "superfoods" list because in addition to fiber, it has vitamin E and some omega-3s. Kulze suggests 1/2 cup of whole-grain cereal, one slice of bread two-thee times day, or 2 tablespoons of wheat germ a day.


Beans are "under-recognized" and "economical," says Kulze. They also stabilize glucose (blood sugar) levels. The brain is dependent on glucose for fuel, Kulze explains, and since it can't store the glucose, it relies on a steady stream of energy -- which beans can provide. Any beans will do, says Kulze, but she is especially partial to lentils and black beans and recommends 1/2 cup every day.

Pomegranate juice. 

Pomegranate juice (you can eat the fruit itself but with its many tiny seeds, it's not nearly as convenient) offers potent antioxidant benefits, says Kulze, which protect the brain from the damage of free radicals. "Probably no part of the body is more sensitive to the damage from free radicals as the brain," says board-certified neurologist David Perlmutter, MD, author of The Better Brain Book. Citrus fruits and colorful vegetables are also high on Perlmutter's list of "brainy" foods because of their antioxidant properties -- "the more colorful the better," he says. Because pomegranate juice has added sugar (to counteract its natural tartness), you don't want to go overboard, says Kulze; she recommends approximately 2 ounces a day, diluted with spring water or seltzer.

Freshly brewed tea. 

Two to three cups a day of freshly brewed tea -- hot or iced -- contains a modest amount of caffeine which, when used "judiciously," says Kulze -- can boost brain power by enhancing memory, focus, and mood. Tea also has potent antioxidants, especially the class known as catechines, which promotes healthy blood flow. Bottled or powdered teas don't do the trick, however, says Kulze. "It has to be freshly brewed." Tea bags do count, however.

Dark chocolate. 

Let's end with the good stuff. Dark chocolate has powerful antioxidant properties, contains several natural stimulants, including caffeine, which enhance focus and concentration, and stimulates the production of endorphins, which helps improve mood. One-half ounce to one ounce a day will provide all the benefits you need, says Kulze. This is one "superfood" where more is not better. "You have to do this one in moderation," says Kulze.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Wednesday's Woe - Where O Where Did My Good Friends Go? ~Tommy Prince

Wednesday's Woe

Where O Where Did My Good Friends Go?

~Tommy Prince

I called a good friend this weekend, and I ended up going over to his house for a visit over a hunting opportunity we needed to discuss. The last time I saw him was at a Christmas dinner with friends. Which was great, except that the last time I saw him before that was two years ago at another Christmas dinner with friends… It is very unusual for me not to see this good friend as over the years we had pretty much stayed in contact, but I knew he had been very busy with his business and his teenaged children, so I wasn't too worried. 

But he had been one of the few that had kept up with me during that first year of my grief. We would go to lunch together fairly routinely, and he didn't seem to mind asking the hard questions… like, "How are you really doing?" and that was always nice. But it seemed like after the one-year mark hit, he fell off the face of the earth. I chalked it up to his busy-ness, and went on with my life, uh grief, uh life of grief. 

His family was not at home when I went to see him this weekend, so we were able to have a nice visit and even got past all the joking after awhile and entered into some serious talk. He began apologizing to me (which is totally out of character for this cut-up kind of guy) that he has not kept in contact with me any more than he has. His words were something to the effect, 

"I haven't been able to call you --- I've wanted to, but I just haven't known how to comfort you." 

Later on in the conversation however, he admitted, as he is a very honest guy, that 

I really do represent "the unimaginable" to him... 

(as his children are nearing the age that Merry Katherine was when she was killed). 

I reassured him, and pretty much responded to him, 

"To a Child-Loss griever, minimal contact is best. Anything more really feels too intrusive. 
"All I need from you is just an occasional pat on the head  and a little scratch behind my left ear."

Picture, thanks to ~Deeper than Tears: Promises of Comfort and Hope by Terri Gibbs

Tuesday's Trust - Our Ongoing Bond with Our Child ~ How God Made It Possible

Tuesday's Trust

Our Ongoing Bond with Our Child ~

How God Made It Possible 

In this past week's Saturday's Sayings, I made the comment, "Bodies may have boundaries but spirits have none. Why shouldn't we feel the potent, abiding presence of our beloved child when we are at our most vulnerable, and therefore open in our spirit?" 

As we go into this Easter weekend, may we stop to consider what made our ongoing bond with our child possible.

This weekend, we will celebrate Easter, first on "Good Friday" as we meditate and soberly consider what our Lord Jesus Christ accomplished for us on the cross, and then on Sunday as we celebrate what God our Father accomplished by raising Him from the dead three days later in what we call Jesus's  resurrection from the dead.

Jesus's death on the cross, His resurrection from the dead, and His later ascension into Heaven was the culmination of Christ's work on earth wherefore Christ won victory forever over Sin, Satan, and Death for each and everyone of us who look to Him in faith and believe in His saving work for us. Jesus made it clear while He was on earth that He did not have to die; He willingly chose to die in obedience to God the Father. The price for Sin has been paid; Death has been conquered; the Victory over Satan has been won!

Jesus breathes the Holy Spirit into His children-by-faith, so the Living Son of God lives in each of us and in each of our children who trust Him by faith. God's Holy Spirit is living and active then in each of His children and communes to us and in us from and with our Lord God.

How precious to know that our "angels" who have gone before us into Heaven are just beyond the Veil and are alive in Christ because of the sacred events that happened on that first Easter weekend over 2000 years ago.

We know that Jesus continues to care for us, for our children, for all His flock like a Shepherd cares for his lambs. Even today, we know that He carries us and our lambs in His arms and holds us close to His heart. (Isaiah 40:11) He became the Lamb of God, taking away the sins of this earth. He is the Lamb, and He is our Shepherd!

Hebrews 11 speaks to us about our loved ones who have gone on to Heaven before us (we often refer to them as "being just beyond the Veil,") pulling for us as we continue to accomplish the good works that they started. (What a beautiful picture of the active involvement our loved ones have in our lives!) (See Hebrews 11:39-40 through Hebrews 12:1.)

Hebrews 12 starts out acknowledging that since we "are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses" watching us, "let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:1-2)

Remember these words this Easter as you mourn for Jesus on Good Friday as He gave His all for us on the cross, and then as you celebrate on Sunday that He rose from the dead, having conquered death for all of us who look to Him in faith. (Many days later, many watched as Christ ascended to Heaven where today He sits at the right hand of the Father.)

What a cause for celebration both for us and for our beloved children!

How beautiful that Jesus assures us in His Word, "he who believes in Me will live, even though he dies"!!!

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 shall never die."
~John 11:25-26a

Because of Jesus's great love for us, and His Father God's greatest sacrifice ever known to man (now that we know what it is like to lose a child, we are even more amazed that our loving God loved us enough to give up His only Son for us), we and our children can live again even though we die.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him shall not perish but shall have everlasting life.
~John 3:16

And we can trust that our child is not only alive, but is actively watching over us, ever pulling for us from just beyond the Veil in Heaven!

Pictures, thanks to, (chronologically, from first to last:)
~Jesus Christ Savior by BeliefNet
~Blowing Kisses to Heaven
~Grieving Mothers
~~~~Becky's Encouragements~~~
~Grieving Mothers
~Grieving Mother, Ce Thibodeau

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Monday's Mourning Ministry - What Wondrous Love Is This? ~Connie Dover

Monday's Mourning Ministry

What Wondrous Love Is This?

~Connie Dover

What Wondrous Love Is This?

~Connie Dover

What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul?
What wondrous love is this, O my soul?
What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss
To send such perfect peace to my soul, to my soul,
To send such perfect peace to my soul?

Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down His life for His friends.

~John 15:13

The winged angels fly, bear the news, bear the news
The winged angels fly, bear the news
With loud and joyful cry bear the news, bear the news,
With loud and joyful cry bear the news

For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many.

~Mark 10:45

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

~John 10:10

To God and to the Lamb, I will sing, I will sing,
To God and to the Lamb, I will sing.
To God and to the Lamb, behold the great I AM
And to the Son of Man, I will sing, I will sing,
And to the Son of Man, I will sing!

musical interlude

The Lord bless thee; The Lord make His face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee; The Lord lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.

~Numbers 6:24-26

When we're from sorrow free, we'll sing on, we'll sing on.
When we're from sorrow free, we'll sing on.
When we're from sorrow free, we'll rise and joyful be
and through Eternity, we'll sing on, we'll sing on,
and through Eternity, we'll sing on!

The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen

~Philippians 4:23

What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul?
What wondrous love is this, O my soul?
What wondrous love is this, that caused the Lord of bliss
To send such perfect peace to my soul, to my soul,
To send such perfect peace to my soul?

The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil; He shall preserve thy soul. The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore. 

~Psalm 121:7-8

Pictures, Michaelangelo's la Pietà, thanks to YouTube

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Saturday's Sayings - Progress in the Healing Journey… - Part Nine

Until you're broken,
You don't know
what you're made of.

via ~Death of a Loved One/Facebook*

Saturday's Sayings

Progress in the Healing Journey…

Part Nine

"He who has gone, so we but cherish his memory, abides with us, more potent, nay, more present than the living man."

~Antone de Saint-Exupery


"Amidst our Child-Loss Grief and Trauma, when you think about it, we have been assaulted emotionally, physically, and spiritually! We never really 'heal' from Child-Loss Grief and Trauma, but we're always in recovery. 
"We can be in a process of healing, but healing will not completely happen this side of Heaven."

~Angie and Tommy Prince
Mother Grieving Loss of Child blog


"The case of a parent losing a child is very special because the most deep-seated protective and nurturant emotions are brutalized. Because this “injury” is so severe to such primitive emotional processes, the grieving parent is likely to feel and express the pain associated with it for the rest of his or her life."

~Dr Joanne Cacciatore


If indeed there are "stages" to our Child-Loss Grief, then this may be the best list:


1. Sadness
2. Overwhelming Sadness
3. Incomprehensible Sadness
4. Crippling Sadness
5. Misery and Despair
6. Acceptance of Your Never-Ending Sadness

via ~Wings of Hope-Living Forward


My emotions are too much to bear

I'm blinded and can't imagine the ones who care

It starts with a memory, then the sadness creeps inside

I debate whether to tell anyone; I have too much pride

I have soo many friends and family but feel so alone

However though, I don't want any visitors in my home, 

putting on a front so no one can see the sad unhappy lonely me

Feels like a fight; beating the ever life within me

Flashbacks of my Loved one haunt me every night

It's like it's happening all over again and I don't like the sight

having a battle in my mind and I'm losing the war

My tears stream down my face as I lie on the floor

I'm usually a very happy person and can brighten anybody's day

But when it comes to my painful grieving, it doesn't work my way

via ~Death of a Loved One/Facebook* 


"To overcome Grief
One has to fully surrender to the process."

via ~Death of a Loved One/Facebook*


Please do not tell me how I should be

You really don't know what is happening to me.

You may feel exhausted by my grieving so hard

Doesn't make you an expert to drill me with no regard

I'm doing my best to overcome my grief

Living in this hell daily; I wish it was brief!

If you don't like what you see just turn around

I don't have a light switch to shut it down.

I know I can overcome this in time you will see

for this grieving process to be ceased

So Understand my dilemma or don't say a word

Either/or, crying and sadness needs to occur.

via ~Death of a Loved One/Facebook*


You never stop loving 


You just learn to live

without them.

via ~Remembering Loved Ones/Facebook* 


I will always be near,

although you cannot see me.

~Unknown author

via ~Death of a Loved One/Facebook*


Grief was never meant to keep us sad or (too) lean
but how does one come out of it when people are so mean.

When someone you love deeply is not living anymore,
The feelings are great, beyond words can (implore).

It knocks a strong man to his knees begging and (pleading),
Makes our Faith be questioned, searching for meaning.

It's an unexplainable jolt, a pain that devours our sanity,
Keeps us wondering if we can save our own family.

All I have mentioned is part of the Journey;
You can't rush grieving, there's no such remedy.

Days become months, then Years soon to follow;
Whatever it takes, Don't let (any)one make you shallow.

via ~Death of a Loved One/Facebook*


My Loved one has gone and the pain is so deep.

It's like living on auto pilot with a triggered weep.

So many scenes and reflections run through my mind

A Happy Strong Family we all were; once upon a time

Does God know my devotional faith has shook?

I can't go on pretending or open His good book

I feel so betrayed from all that has happened to us.

People say it's part of a master plan. "We need to trust"

"God has his reasons and one day you'll find"

"Why your precious Loved one had to die"

I replied, "Spare me your religion and repetitive speech"

"There's nothing left from me; My faith has breached"

Total disappointments, my mind left with conscious reality

Crying hard not knowing it's getting the best of my sanity.

Only time can make me come back to understand

For now I'm living in this torture with no future plans.

via ~Death of a Loved One/Facebook* 

Our faith has been "breached" at some level by our child's death. God is real, but there are some myths somewhere along the way that we have swallowed, and now we must sort out myth from truth. Even those of us who have been blessed with a depth of knowledge in Scripture and a long walk with God Himself, have unwittingly swallowed some of the "cliches, smug sanctities, cheap slogans…" running rampant in today's religiosity that ultimately "woo falsely or promise glibly," and now it is incumbent upon us to separate out the chaff from the wheat of our Faith.

~Angie Bennett Prince

(phrases in quotes, by Jerry Sittser)


via ~Death of a Loved One/Facebook

In our western culture, we tend to forget the value that Jesus, God's own Son showed for the children around Him. When we think about our little ones being so vulnerable before they were killed, perhaps it can help us to realize that Jesus spoke many parables about the importance of the Shepherd seeking out His sheep, never leaving one behind but doing whatever it would take to go and find them and rescue them for Himself... 

When His own disciples tried to shun the little children away from One so important as Jesus, Jesus reprimanded them saying, 

"Suffer the little children to come unto Me and forbid them not, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven."

~Matthew 19:14 

~Angie Bennett Prince
Mother Grieving Loss of Child blog


"He who has gone, so we but

cherish his memory, abides

with us, more potent,

nay, more present

than the living man."

~Antone de Saint-Exupery

~Out of the Ashes/Facebook*

Bodies may have boundaries but spirits have none. Why shouldn't we feel the potent, abiding presence of our beloved child when we are at our most vulnerable, and therefore open in our spirit? Newest psychological research recognizes one of the most invaluable aspects of a Child-Loss parent's grief process is that of establishing a bond with our deceased child, and this ongoing bond is vital in enabling us to Progress in our Healing Journey.

~Angie Bennett Prince

Picture, "Broken" thanks to ~Death of a Loved one

*Death of a Loved One/Facebook

*Remembering Loved Ones/Facebook

*Out of the Ashes/Facebook

Friday, March 22, 2013

Friday's Faith - The Answer to the Question Many of Us Ask

Friday's Faith

The Answer to the Question Many of Us Ask

When I recently read in theologian and grief father Jerry Sittser's book When God Doesn't Answer Your Prayer, I found that I had not gotten very far into the book when I suddenly felt the strong urge to pick his book up and throw it as hard as I could across the room…

... Sittser was citing the story Jesus told regarding whose prayer is acceptable and whose is not, as Jesus went to the Temple and observed the prayers of the self-righteous Pharisee whose prayer was prideful and filled with many words, versus the humbled tax colliector's simple cry of desperation:

"His emptiness ran so deep that he could hardly name it, except to say that he needed God's mercy. 
"Barely able to speak, he choked out a short, simple prayer."

Sittser goes on to say, 

"Jesus said that it was the tax collector's prayer that proved to be the acceptable one, because (according to Sittser) he knew his true need and admitted it."

Then Sittser continued on:

"The heart of true prayer is this cry of desperation… (W)hat is most fundamental is the spirit of our prayers, the cry of the heart to get help from the only one who can meet our deepest need. 
"Desperation is the first and primary condition for true prayer...  Desperation forces us to pray as we ought."

When I read these words, I admit, my spirit plummeted. I was so furious, I had to put the book down. Not until tonight did I open it again to record his words here. 

Why was I so furious?

Because these were exactly the kinds of prayers Tommy and I had each been crying out to our God for our child. Abject desperation was present, and God clearly had to know that, sense that, and feel that coming from us. (And I am sure from many of us Child-Loss parents when we still had our child with us!)  So… if "the heart of true prayer is desperation,"

Why were our prayers denied?!

The only reason I could pick the book up again today was I received my answer, not through the book, but through THE BOOK. Amidst Scriptures, I had read many, many times, I read anew these words today, yet this time it seemed my "answer" leapt off the pages at me!

I was reading in Hebrews 11, often known as "The Faith Chapter" of the Bible because it elucidates many of God's early followers who chose to follow Him essentially blindly (by faith), and God used their lives mightily and was commending them for their faith… Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses, to name a few, names we recognize as true fathers of our faith, who lived their faith to the end, yet this is what Scripture tells us:

All these people were still living by faith when they died. 
They.did. not. receive. the. things. promised; they.only.saw.them.and. welcomed. them. from. a. distance. 

~Hebrews 11:13

And they admitted they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country - a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

At the end of the chapter, the Scripture reiterates this message:

These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. 

~Hebrews 11:39

And I say, 

O what a party that will be, when our desperate cries are met--along with our loved ones--- "as only together with us"--- will we all be made perfect, with all of our prayers perfectly answered in one another's presence---together--- but this time, together... forever!!!

Picture, thanks to ~Journey of the Survivor (From Grief to Survival)

Thursday's Therapy - The Road to Resilience - Part Four

Thursday's Therapy

The Road to Resilience

Part Four

Places to look for help

Getting help when you need it is crucial in building your resilience. Beyond caring family members and friends, people often find it helpful to turn to:

Self-help and support groups. Such community groups can aid people struggling with hardships such as the death of a loved one. By sharing information, ideas, and emotions, group participants can assist one another and find comfort in knowing that they are not alone in experiencing difficulty.

Books and other publications by people who have successfully managed adverse situations such as surviving cancer. These stories can motivate readers to find a strategy that might work for them personally.

Online resources. Information on the web can be a helpful source of ideas, though the quality of information varies among sources.

For many people, using their own resources and the kinds of help listed above may be sufficient for building resilience. At times, however, an individual might get stuck or have difficulty making progress on the road to resilience.

A licensed mental health professional such as a psychologist can assist people in developing an appropriate strategy for moving forward. It is important to get professional help if you feel like you are unable to function or perform basic activities of daily living as a result of a traumatic or other stressful life experience.

Different people tend to be comfortable with somewhat different styles of interaction. A person should feel at ease and have good rapport in working with a mental health professional or participating in a support group.

Continuing on your journey

To help summarize several of the main points in this brochure, think of resilience as similar to taking a raft trip down a river.

On a river, you may encounter rapids, turns, slow water, and shallows. As in life, the changes you experience affect you differently along the way.

In traveling the river, it helps to have knowledge about it and past experience in dealing with it. Your journey should be guided by a plan, a strategy that you consider likely to work well for you.

Perseverance and trust in your ability to work your way around boulders and other obstacles are important. You can gain courage and insight by successfully navigating your way through white water. Trusted companions who accompany you on the journey can be especially helpful for dealing with rapids, upstream currents, and other difficult stretches of the river.

You can climb out to rest alongside the river. But to get to the end of your journey, you need to get back in the raft and continue.

(If you haven't done so, you may want to take the following inventory to assess where you might be in your rebuilding resilience after your tragic loss of your child.)

~The American Psychological Association

About this guide

Information contained in this brochure should not be used as a substitute for professional health and mental health care or consultation. Individuals who believe they may need or benefit from care should consult a psychologist or other licensed health/mental health professional.
The American Psychological Association gratefully acknowledges the following contributors to this publication:
Lillian Comas-Diaz, Ph.D., Director, Transcultural Mental Health Institute, Washington, D.C.
Suniya S. Luthar, Ph.D., Teachers College, Columbia University, New York City, NY
Salvatore R. Maddi, Ph.D., The Hardiness Institute, Inc., University of California at Irvine, Newport Beach, CA
H. Katherine (Kit) O'Neill, Ph.D., North Dakota State University and Knowlton, O'Neill and Associates, Fargo, ND
Karen W. Saakvitne, Ph.D., Traumatic Stress Institute/Center for Adult & Adolescent Psychotherapy, South Windsor, CT
Richard Glenn Tedeschi, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
American Psychological Association
The American Psychological Association (APA), located in Washington, DC, is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and is the world's largest association of psychologists. APA's membership includes more than 155,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its 53 divisions and its affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance psychology as a science and profession and as a means of promoting health and human welfare.
Discovery Health Channel
Discovery Health Channel takes viewers inside the fascinating and informative world of health and medicine to experience firsthand, compelling, real life stories of medical breakthroughs and human triumphs. From the people who bring you the Discovery Channel, the most trusted brand on television, Discovery Health Channel is part of a major, multi-media business designed to help consumers lead healthier, more vigorous lives. Discovery Health Channel and were formed by Discovery Communications, Inc. (DCI), a privately held, diversified media company headquartered in Bethesda, MD.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wednesday's Woe - Grief and Trauma's Toll ~Tommy and Angie Prince

Wednesday's Woe 

Grief and Trauma's Toll

~Tommy and Angie Prince

(Tommy) Once our child's death happens, notice the impact it has on you… physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, etc. Something that happened in an instant is going to affect us years from now.

For Angie, how long did it take her to get her digestive system straightened out? About 5 1/2 years…

6 1/2 years into it, we are still working out our sleep disturbance. For us, a good night's sleep is the exception rather than the norm.

Emotionally, how long does it take to re-enter society? You are rehabilitating everything: your emotional life, your physical life, your brain, your spiritual life. And the cause for this need for "rehab" is nothing you did to yourself; it was done to you, yet you still feel responsible for it!

In other words, you are hit with the same dynamics of someone who is into self-destructive behaviors: not eating right, not sleeping right, "holing up" away from society; yet you are doing nothing wrong!

(Angie) People seem to think they can "tell" you what you should be doing, but it simply doesn't work that way. In my seminar last week the speaker said to a room full of health-care therapists,

How many of you in this room know that it is healthy to 

  • Eat proper nutrients.
  • Get 8 hours of sleep at night.
  • Exercise 4-6 days/week.
  • Meditate daily.

Everyone in the room raised their hand. 

Now, how many of you can say then, that you do these things regularly?  

NO ONE raised their hand! 

(Bereaved parents can barely raise their head, much less their hand. I myself had had only 2 1/2 hours of sleep the night before this seminar!) 

The speaker's point is this: we don't need advice on what to do!  

We all know what to do, but somehow, we don't seem to be doing it. 

She suggested that what we need instead is a reframing of what we want in our life so that we can take ownership of what we want (to accomplish, achieve, etc.), and then we can help ourselves to take the necessary steps to become more resilient.

Let's consider now the life of a bereaved parent.

This week, I had a grieving mother write to me that she is up in the middle of the night, "seeing" her dead daughter who died in her crib with SIDS. Now, who in the world of otherwise "normal" people is having to deal with that trauma? We are not taking only weeks or months to deal with that problem; we are talking years that it takes to deal with such an assault on our being. This problem is all the result of being traumatized over a little one who means more than life itself to us! This requires understanding on the part of people around us, not condemnation because they only see the symptoms that are wreaking havoc in our lives. (They can't seem to "fix" us, and they feel helpless, so they start demanding superficial fixes for our symptoms!) Rather, we need them to attempt to 
"climb into" our reality, and love us in the midst of such debilitating pain, but who in our worlds are going to do that?!

So it starts with us, ourselves. Can we at least learn to have patience with ourselves and our complex grieving process? Can we begin to recognize and accept that it takes one little baby step at a time just to walk through each and every day? Can we have compassion on ourselves and give ourselves the support we need to walk through this incredible journey into which we have been unwittingly thrown?

For instance, Will we ever laugh again? What can you do to make that happen? Nothing! It's just that one day laughter does come back again! 

"Will I ever have a song going through my head again?" Tommy wondered.  

"I couldn't even listen to music, much less have a song going through my head at that time of my traumatized state!" he says. 

"There was nothing I could 'do' about that. It's just one day, it came back again!"

Could I (Angie) do anything about my digestive system straightening out? It's just one day, it seemed the time was right, so then my left brain was able to implement the normal steps toward stabilization, and it worked! But my emotions had to be at a place of better stabilization before any proper steps could be effective, or it would have all been dismantled again anyway!

All of this complexity is going on inside of us, but of course, no one can see that complexity working its way through our system.  

Something happened to all us that we didn't ask for, and it feels like it's going to take an eternity to walk through it all…

The speaker at the seminar ended her talk with this poem that encourages acceptance for some of this overwhelming complexity in our life:

The Guest House 
~Rumi, (born 1207 A.D.)

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

Picture, thanks to Huffington Post