Tag Archive | Grief Loss and Bereavement

Mum reminders

Yellow mums

Yellow mums (Photo credit: Hiro Protagonist2004)

Time passes. It always amazes me how it does, but should it? When summer days ease into cool nights and the bright, showy colors of fall appear everywhere I am once again reminded that another year has passed. Today was the perfect day to buy an end-of-summer-sale mum. The pickings were slim at the roadside stand, but I found a pretty one that reminds me of daisies. It is large and full with sunny yellow centers surrounded by white petals. Today it is pretty day and  it will look nice where I put it, but no one will notice. He won’t see it either and It won’t last long. Like everything else in life, it will soon die as frost nibbles at its petals.

Today I will set this mum on my son’s grave. I did the same thing 8 years ago when I set out a yellow mum. The weather was the same clear blue sky. Today, I plopped down on the lush green grass and stared at the immense blue above me. How could time pass? At first after he died, it seemed like time stood still as well it should! Everything should come to a screeching halt, shouldn’t it? There should be no rushing, noisy traffic, no hustle and bustle of business. Life should stop for everyone in respect for my loss, but it doesn’t work that way. Time passes, even if slowly, but it does pass. Life goes on as if we have been dropped on life’s conveyor belt whether we choose to be or not.

I couldn’t lay on the grass too long or I wouldn’t be able to get up (okay, no comments). Groaning as I did so, I remembered that 8 years before  I took a walk after I placed the yellow mum on my son’s grave. It was a beautiful fall day just like today. I couldn’t help but talk in my heart to my son, telling him about all the beauty he was missing. But his heart was too broken for joy. In spite of my pain, he is where he needs to be. It was his decision and his actions force me to live with the result. He is unaware of the passage of time, the rush of living or the pain he has forced on his family. He is at peace. I’d rather he be just sleeping in his bed and I could call him awake or call him mid evening to see how his day has gone, but I can’t. Where he is, I can’t call. All contact has been cut off. The wires are severed. There is no communication from my loved ones who have been laid to rest. Not yet anyway. But soon that will change. God says in His promises that Jesus will return! He will come in the clouds and turn our mourning into dancing! We will shed tears of joy at the glad reunion in the beautiful, immense sky above. Instead of the jarring noise of traffic, heaven’s choir will burst into song and, we will forever be with our loved ones, where not even mums will die.

You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.  Psalm 30:11

Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him . . . and He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”  Revelation 1:7; 21:4

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Anniversaries Hurt

 

Rest in Jesus, sweet boy, 1974 – 2005. See you when Jesus returns.


1st August 2013, Thursday, Sunny start to the ...

The months roll around totally outside of our control. Anniversaries are supposed to be a celebration,  but these aren’t happy anniversaries. We miss our boy! As the anniversary date of his death draws near, I thought of a “weeping” text. Jeremiah speaks of mothers mourning for their children because they were no more. I can relate. Can you?

Shedding tears of grief has been a common practice for thousands of years because we share a planet with an enemy whose entire focus is death.  I am learning not to stop there, but to read on:  But God says, Stop your incessant weeping, hold back your tears . . . there’s hope for your children.  Jeremiah 31:15

When this text came to my mind today, Lord, it was as if You placed Your strong hand gently on my shoulder and breathed comfort and peace into my sorrowful soul. Yes, we still have tears, but we also have reasons for joy. Your Word says that Your eyes are on those who hope in Your unfailing love.

So we hopefully wait for You, Lord, our Help and our Shield.  Psalm 33:18 & 20.

Shattered by Suicide:  My Conversations with God after the Tragic Death of My Son”

It’s That Time Again

Weeping Girl Satue

Weeping Girl Satue (Photo credit: Wonderlove’s Flickr)

“My tears are the words with which I tell God of my pain.”  Adolfo Quezada

We are rounding another calendar year and heading for that horrible milestone. Dear Lord, why is it still so hard? For days now, I find myself dreading the approaching date worse than I dread a root canal. I am a basket of tears, becoming emotional even with totally unrelated topics. No one would dare mention our loss now . . . and they rarely do any other time of the year.

Do I sound bitter? Perhaps I am . . . just a little, or a lot, I’m not sure. But the awful memories come up and choke me this month more than any other in the year. Perhaps I let them, more than any other time too. The loss of our son was so horrible and we miss him so much, even though we have come to accept his death better now than we did.

I try to have good memories about him and his dad and I talk about those a lot. It helps. But the family members who fell away from us over his death never speak of him to us. I can’t seem to find good memories to erase those ugly ones. My mind understands that each of Your children is Your responsibility, but my heart still hurts for all the things said and done during those few, awful days we were together.

Lord, do those memories ever cross their minds? Do they look at the calendar, realizing that the anniversary date of our son’s death is approaching and feel sadness or remorse? I don’t doubt that they loved him and miss him, but do they feel any sorrow for the way they treated us? Is it guilt, Lord, that keeps them silent? There are no answers to these questions. Perhaps I am not supposed to wonder, but I can’t help it. I do wonder.

I dread the day, but dreading won’t keep it from coming. I will try to occupy myself with other things and with You by my side, I will get through it. We will get through it. That’s my goal. Simple and yet loaded. You are the only one I can count on that day, right? You have been with me all the days . . . before and after . . . even though I must admit that there are many times when I have felt all alone. Please remind me that I am not.

Please remind me that you will carry me through this anniversary like You carried me through the others. And please remind me that You won’t forget to return. Please remind me that it will be soon. I have nothing else I can count on but Your return. And then, any lingering memories will vaporize when I first see Your face and then see my son’s face . . . together. Now won’t that be a scene to commit to memory and savor for all eternity?

Sharing from the book, “Shattered by Suicide: My Conversations with God after the Tragic Death of My Son”

Beloved son, forever 30 (1974 – 2005)    

DRAFT – work over to repost -“Surviving the Stigma” need to copy to new page

62.365 i know it hurts to feel so all alone, ...

I know it hurts to feel so all alone      (Photo credit: ashley rose,)

I am scorned by all my enemies and despised by my neighbors ~ even my friends are afraid to come near me. When they see me on the street, they run the other way.  Psalm 31:11

I know David is writing about his personal enemies . . . and I never thought I had enemies and perhaps I don’t, but there are days when I feel just like David. It seems that every person I meet runs the other direction.

Society may show more understanding and acceptance than it did in previous generations, but we still feel sort of contagious. There lingers a stigma about suicidal death. Perhaps there also lingers the “stench” of death causing doors to shut, blinds pulled and strict adherence to social codes and comfort zones. Am I meddling a little?

Not only have we lost our son to a tragic death, but we have also lost family, friends, and acquaintances. Family members disagreed with our choices and chose to step outside the family circle ~ maybe due to their sorrow and confusion, but what about our sorrow? We lost our son! Our youngest lost his only brother! Why blame the parents? Why blame anyone at such an awful time?

I lost my precious son. The grave swallowed him up. All that remains is grief, pain, suffering, sorrow, and now we are forced to face guilt and shame? Yes! Shame for the way he died. It’s as if the enemy, through familiar voices, shouts at us:

Shame on you for allowing this to happen! Why weren’t you more watchful? Couldn’t you see that he was about to snap? Why didn’t you call in the professionals? Don’t you know the grave does not release those who kill themselves? How could you embarrass us this way? You are no longer welcome in our family. Stay away!

Waves of pain roll over me as I write these words. Remembering puts a bitter taste in my mouth and brings tears to my eyes. How could family members ever treat grief-stricken parents and siblings this way? It’s unthinkable, but it happened and it happens to others too.

It’s as if satan squeezed the life out of our child and then went on the war path to bring anger and bitterness into everyone who should have been there to comfort us in our time of sorrow.

Lord, thank You for allowing me to vent these wretched feelings to You. Only You can take them away forever. I have forgiven those who hurt us and I choose to continue to forgive them . . . the pain and disbelief of it all runs deep. I am not responsible for anyone else’s well-being. However, I must respect their disapproval and keep a safe distance out of respect for their wishes. But I am curious.

Are we all going to live in the same neighborhood in heaven? Will we attempt to take our hard feelings with us so we can continue to debate who was right and who was wrong? What matters to our tight, little family is that our son will soon rise to meet His Creator, no matter what others may say! And when we see him in the air, we will join him! We will be ecstatic with joy! Our sons are together again!

Our earthly family will be recreated in the twinkling of an eye! We will be hugging each other and our God and King who made it all possible, and that will be enough for us. Just being together again in a perfect heaven.

God, You are an awesome Friend and Teacher. It is amazing how You listen without condemnation and You love unconditionally. May we be willing to follow Your example. And please come soon. I love and trust You so much. Thank You for being my Everything.

And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing, and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.  Isaiah 35:10

~from Shattered by Suicide, My Conversations with God after the Tragic Death of My Son

The heart is free

Many of us travel a road we would never have chosen for our lives. It was chosen for us and without our permission. Even so, it doesn’t have to be a lonely road. I have been on it longer than most of you and I have found kindred hearts traveling with me. We understand pain and sorrow. But we also have sweet memories of our family before we suffered a loss or losses. We are able to share those memories openly and without judgement. We are also free to rage and rant at the injustice of it all.

But what if we consider our loss a prison sentence. Life behind bars without parole. Even there, just like the journey, we are not alone. We are surrounded by others who also have sad stories to share. And like the bird who is not free, he still can sing. This seems the best place to share the poem, “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings“.

Caged

Caged Canary (Photo credit: Brizius)

The free bird leaps on the back of the wind and floats downstream till the current ends and dips his wings
in the orange sun rays and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks down his narrow cage can seldom see through his bars of rage his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings with fearful trill of the things unknown but longed for still
and his tune is heard on the distant hill for the caged bird sings of freedom

The free bird thinks of another breeze and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied so he opens his throat to sing

The caged bird sings with a fearful trill of things unknown but longed for still
and his tune is heard on the distant hill for the caged bird sings of freedom.

~Maya Angelou

Life goes on around us whether we join in or not. We cannot stop time. It marches second by second in even rhythm.  So we walk our journey in the arms of others who share similar pain. We may not think about it, but we are never alone. Never forgotten. God walks with us, providing comfort and understanding through the words and hearts of others while held in their arms of comfort. Whether living a prison sentence or walking a path not chosen, our hearts are still free. We are free to choose what we do with our time, what we say, where we go, who we choose to talk to, and even behind bars, the caged bird still sings.

Rescue me, Lord, as you have promised; in your goodness save me from my troubles!  Psalm 143:11

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is (springs) from God; and he who loves [his fellowmen] is begotten (born) of God and is coming [progressively] to know and understand God [to perceive and recognize and get a better and clearer knowledge of Him].  1 John 4:7

Lean on Me

Giant Oak

Giant Oak (Photo credit: airosche5)

My Child,

 

When the storms of life are threatening ~  lean on Me.

 

When you can’t see where you’re going with your eyes brimming with tears ~ lean on Me.

 

When your back is tired and the sink is full of dirty dishes ~ lean on Me.

 

When the children are whining and pushing your buttons ~ lean on Me.

 

And when the devil pushes your buttons ~ lean on Me.

 

When trouble strikes and you’ve nowhere to turn ~ lean on Me.

 

When the creditors call and threaten you ~ lean on Me.

 

Have you figured it out yet My child?

 

I Am all you need for all the situations you face every breathing moment of your life.

 

I Am your Loving, Almighty, Everlasting, All-powerful God ~ your Tower of Strength when you have none. Your Hiding Place while the lightning flashes and the thunder rolls. Your soft, gentle words of comfort when your heart is breaking with sadness. So . . . lean on My Everlasting Arms where you will be safe and snug, warm and dry. I Love you, I Love you, I Love you, My cherished one. You are Mine and I will never, ever give you up.

 

~God

 

~Shattered by Suicide by Gracie Thompson

 

The etiquette of loss

I found a poem of profound truth on Facebook. It’s a poem about the suffering of loss. If you have wondered what to say or how others feel who have lost a child, keep reading. Tuck the information away. You will have an occasion to draw it out from your memory bank.

Unless you’ve lost a child…….then
Don’t ask us if we are over it yet. We’ll never be over it.
A part of us died with our child.
Don’t tell us they are in a better place.
They are not here with us, where they belong.
Don’t say at least they are not suffering.
We haven’t come to terms with why they suffered at all.
Don’t tell us at least we have other children.
Which of your children would you have sacrificed?
Don’t ask us if we feel better.
Bereavement isn’t a condition that clears up.
Don’t force your beliefs on us.
Not all of us have the same faith.
Don’t tell us at least we had our child for so many years.
What year would you choose for your child to die?
Don’t tell us God never gives us more than we can bear.
Right now we don’t feel we can handle anything else.
Don’t avoid us. We don’t have a contagious disease, just unbearable pain.
Don’t tell us you know how we feel, unless you have lost a child.
No other loss can compare to losing a child. It’s not the natural order of things.
Don’t take our anger personally.
We don’t know who we are angry at or why and lash out at those closest to us.
Don’t whisper behind us when we enter a room.
We are in pain, but not deaf.
Don’t stop calling us after the initial loss.
Our grief does not stop there and we need to know others are thinking of us.
Don’t be offended when we don’t return calls right away.
We take each moment as it comes and some are worse than others.
Don’t tell us to get on with our lives.
We each grieve differently and in our own time frame.
Grief can not be governed by any clock or calendar.
Do say you are sorry. We’re sorry, too, and you saying
that you share our sorrow is far better than saying any of those
tired clichés you don’t really mean anyway. Just say you’re sorry.
Do put your arms around us and hold us.
We need your strength to get us through each day.
Do say you remember our child, if you do.
Memories are all we have left and we cherish them.
Do let us talk about our child.
Our child lived and still lives on in our hearts, forever.
Do mention our child’s name. It will not make us sad or hurt our feelings.
Do let us cry. Crying is an important part of the grief process.
Cry with us if you want to.
Do remember us on special dates.
Our child’s birth date, death date and holidays are
a very lonely and difficult time for us without our child.
Do send us cards on those dates saying you remember our child.
We do.
Do show our family that you care.
Sometimes we forget to do that in our own pain.
Do be thankful for children.
Nothing hurts us worse than seeing other people in pain.

~Author Unknown

*”Get on with your life”

I have heard this statement so many times from so many of us that I feel it is time to address it in my own way. Please join me with your own version if you like. Please forgive me if what you are about to read sounds harsh. I don’t mean to offend anyone. As always I welcome your comments, especially if what I have written is not truth to you.

To “get on with your life” said in some fashion ~ just what does that mean, exactly? Does one step over the problem as if it were a speed bump of annoyance or something like that? What if I said this to a recent widow ~ would I intend for her to cut short her mourning and send out signals that she is looking for a replacement? How ridiculous! What about a young couple anticipation the birth of their first child only to be told that the baby was born without a heartbeat. Would I dare presume to tell them to get back into the baby-making groove once again?

What about the recently divorced. Should this person be expected to get on with the business of finding a new mate, better than the last? What is our preoccupation with time? We did not create it? No. It is a gift and not always spent wisely, me thinks.

What about the parents who just buried their son, their one and only son who died of a drug overdose. Do I tell them to get over it, put it behind them and move on? Move on to what, exactly?

Moving on is getting up each morning and giving thanks for a new day in which to live and ease the life of someone else, if possible. At least be grateful that we have fresh air to breathe. The sun rises and sets no matter how my day has gone. There is faithfulness and steadfastness and order in my life even if my heart is in shambles.

God’s Spirit has made me. The breath of the Almighty gives me life.  Job 33:4        

If I had a  zapper, I would magically transport the offender of “juicy pearls”  into the next county to get them out of the griever’s face. No one has any business telling anyone to get on with their lives. If anyone has the right, it would be the God who created us all, but even He is too much of a Gentleman to say such things.

Ideally, we let words like this go in one ear and shoot out the other side so fast that they don’t have time to settle in and take root in our thoughts, because they don’t belong there. Phrases like “get on with your life” may be said in innocence or stupidity, but never by someone who has been there; who has lived through tragedy.

The folks that spout them are repeating what is whispered in their ear by the enemy of our souls. After the death of our beloved one, he sticks around to gloat and to see what more he can inflict on the grieving heart.

It’s time to kick the devil to the curb.

 

 

 

We Couldn’t Bear to Lose Him

I share this pain with you, fellow journeyers, because I know I’m not alone in my feelings and I don’t want you to think you are alone. This is an excerpt from my book.

Dear Lord,

I feel You urging me to write about feelings I’d rather keep hidden ~ memories from a most painful time that remain embedded in my heart like barbed arrows. I have pushed this conversation deep down into the darkest part of my soul ~ hoping to never have to deal with it again, but You are persistent ~ and You know my heart better than I do.

If I could roll back time and begin about a week before our son’s tragic and untimely death, I’d come to a few days of vacation he had off from work. He decided to come home and spend them with us. Of course we were elated. He usually spent a quick weekend once in a while, so it would be wonderful to have some extra time with him. He planned a golf game and other things family and friends enjoyed doing together, but something was off.

How he was really doing was always on my mind and I was eager to see him and check him out for myself. How could I help him? He was seeing a professional so that was encouraging, I thought. Did the golf game cheer him up? He seemed to have a good time, at least that is what I was told. But later my son and I had a private talk and he poured out words of heartache between sobs that wracked his body. I rubbed his back, hugged him and tried to console him.

Our private conversation naturally weighed heavily on my mind and heart after he returned home. There was nagging fear ~ deep in my mother-gut. I sat down to share the details with my husband. He listened to my worry about our son’s pain and my quandary as to whether or not we should push into his life to try to help him. After all, he was a grown man with rights to his own life and privacy. I expected to hear an echo to my fears, but we thought differently as parents often do. He did not seem worried and tried to put me at ease.

We had plans to see our son and celebrate his birthday the following weekend. Perhaps we could talk further with him then. Unbeknownst to us, he would be dead before the weekend. I’ve had to stop and cry my heart out as I write this. The deep ache of remorse is still there, wounding me and the “why” questions linger.

Why was I “pushed” to write about this, God? Was I to write it down so I could hurt all over again? There are no answers to my endless questions so what’s the point of recording it in black and white? How can there be any benefit to come from this agony?

Dear Daughter,

My arms are wrapped around you as you type and I will hold you while you sob. My tears mingle with yours. I miss him too!

Remember My friend, Lazarus? I was moved to tears then too, even though I knew I was going to wake him up within minutes. Since My time frame is different from yours, I will tell you that it will seem only like a few minutes since your son’s death before I will be waking him up again! My dear daughter, your grief is temporary. This world is temporary. Death and the enemy are temporary. I am NOT temporary so hold on to Me!

You and your family loved your son so much and I know that. And your love is just the beginning of My great love for him. I took him to save him ~ there was no other way. He had suffered many years since childhood from taunts and threats by the enemy; things he neither understood nor knew how to put into words. It would not have been long and the enemy would have pushed him over the edge and far away from eternity so I stepped in.

I knew how much his death would crush all of you who love him, but try to understand that I had to let him take a rest to save him for eternity.

Dad and I talked often about his struggle. We knew the enemy was closing in for the kill . . . it was time. This is how Dad put it: “Son, we have delayed as long as we dare. We must move quickly before the enemy strikes a death blow. We can’t bear to lose him for all eternity, so let’s snatch him away from Satan now and save him forever. He’s Our boy!”

I know you are in agony, precious daughter. I am too. But remember that Satan does not have the last word here . . . I do! I AM the Author and the Finisher of your faith (Hebrews 12:2) and the Victor over sin and death (1 Corinthians 15:57).

So weep when you need to while your precious son sleeps and I will always be there to comfort you. Put your hope in eternity where I AM . .. and where your son will be .  . . all brand new and ready to live forever when I return.

Love,

Jesus

But your dead will live; their bodies will rise. You who swell in the dust, wake up and shout for joy. Your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead.  Isaiah 26: 19

 

from ~ Shattered by Suicide

I Am Not Alone, by Natalie Grant on YouTube