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HELPING THROUGH THE GRIEF

PAGE 6

"Even his griefs are a joy long after to one that remembers all that he wrought and endured."
--- Homer

 

Today has been one of the most difficult days of my life. When all is said and done, I will have lost 12 brothers and sisters - each of whom, I have never met. That is what makes today so difficult. I feel the same, way today as I did four years ago when I lost my grandmother to cancer - she was like a mother to me. I have never been so proud to be an Aggie as I am right now. Tonight I sat in Reed Arena with close to 20,000 of my extended Aggie family in a memorial service for those who lost their lives this morning and to pray for those still in need of medical care. It was THE most moving experience of my life. Just thinking of it as I type brings tears to my eyes. The following is a message that was posted to the CNN.com web board by the Vice President of the student body at the University of Texas at Austin.

"I had the great privilege of attending the memorial service at A&M tonight and was deeply moved by the events I experienced. The A&M student body is truly one of the great treasures of our State. As part of the UT delegation, we sat on the floor of Reed Arena, and immediately following the end of the service, I heard this rustling sound behind me.

I looked over my shoulder and saw the sight of close to 20,000 students spontaneously putting their arms on their neighbor's shoulders, forming a great circle around the arena. The mass stood there in a pin-drop silence for close to five minutes, then, from somewhere, someone began to hum quietly the hymn "Amazing Grace".

Within seconds, the whole arena was singing. I tried too--I choked, I cried. This event brought me to tears. It was one if not the defining moment of my college career. I learned something tonight. For all us Longhorns discount A&M in our never-ending rivalry, we need to realize one thing. Aggieland is a special place, with special people. It is infinitely better equipped than us at dealing with a tragedy such as this for one simple reason. It is a family.

It is a family that cares for its own, a family that reaches out, a family that is unified in the face of adversity; a family that moved this Longhorn to tears. My heart, my prayers; and the heart of the UT student body go out tonight to Aggies and their family and friends as they recover from, this great loss. Texas A&M, The Eyes of Texas are Upon You-and they look with sincere sympathy upon a family that has been through so much tragedy this semester. "

---University of Texas Student Body Vice President

The Spirit of Aggieland is stronger than it has ever been! In THEIR loving memory, the tradition carries on - Aggie Bonfire 1999.

Please keep in your thoughts and prayers those who lost their lives, those still injured, and the families & friends of each.
God Bless them.

Steven Anderson --- Class of '99

--- Sent in by Angela M., Class of '97 --- Texas

On November 15th 1999, it will be a year since I lost my husband, Greg, to a car accident. He was only 32. It's been a really tough year. I miss him more with each day. His mother has also had a really tough time. I've tried to find ways to help her through her grief of losing him. I came across this poem she really found comfort in it and I hope it can help someone else find some too. May God Bless everyone.

HE ONLY TOOK MY HAND


Last night while I was trying to sleep,
My son's voice I did hear.
I opened my eyes and looked around
But he did not appear.

He said, "Mama you've got to listen,
You've got to understand,
God didn't take me from you, Mama,
He only took my hand.

When I called out in pain that night,
The instant that I died,
He reached down and took my hand,
And pulled me to His side.

He pulled me up and saved me
From the misery and pain.
My body was hurt so badly inside,
I could never be the same.

My search is really over now,
I've found happiness within.
All the answers to my empty dreams
And all that might have been.

I love you so and miss you so,
And I'll always be nearby.
My body's gone forever,
But my spirit will never die!

And so, you must go on now,
Live one day at a time.
Just understand -
God did not take me from you,
He only took my hand.

Author Unknown

In loving memory of my husband & best friend
Gregory Dean Jackson - 9/17/66 - 11/15/98

With love, T. Jackson --- Ohio
"He held my hand for a short time and my heart forever."

You were lying in the casket and you looked at ease and rest.
I thought to myself "Why God?"
And he whispered "I only take the best!"

I began to think of good times, the memories and some pain.
Then I knelt down and started crying, screaming out your name.

Even though I wanted you here by my side once more,
I began to wonder what your journey was like
Walking through heaven's door.

And I know that if there was a button on your casket,
That would make you come home,
I would not push it for a million reasons
Because God had a plan unknown.

It would be selfish of me to bring you back to such a place
When I know you're sitting right by me,
With angel-like wings stroking my face.

It's not that I loved him less it's just I would leave his body at rest,
Of a life with no worries or fears simply the best.

So when a loved one passes on----
They miss you just as much and they Love you too,
And every time it rains, they are sitting there watching YOU.

In Loving Memory Of My Daddy
Michael-Wayne Butts --- March 31, 1959 - February 16, 1999

DeAnna B. --- Mississippi

I just wanted to send you a little poem which I came across just before my mother passed away. I read this at her funeral and I believe these words will bring comfort to others has it has to myself and our family.

TOGETHER


Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.

Call me by my old familiar name,
Speak to me in the easy way which you always used.
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.

Let my name be the household word that it always was.
Let it be spoken without effort.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was; there is absolutely unbroken continuity.

Why should I be out of your mind because I am out of your sight?
I am but waiting for you, for an interval,
Somewhere very near, just around the corner.

All is well, nothing is past, nothing is lost.
One brief moment and all will be as it was before,
Only better, infinitely happier and forever,
As we will all be one together with Christ.

Author Unknown
Submitted by Teresa Pelegrin

I wrote this poem for a dear friend who had lost her son to cancer. He died before he could see the birth of his son "Cameron". His widow had this poem engraved on his head stone. I felt proud that they chose to do so.

THE CHOSEN SON


Cameron you don't know me son,
But we'll meet again someday.
It was "You" I chose to be with Mom,
When God took me away.

Your job will not be easy,
She'll need you through the years.
To be strong and brave but most of all,
To wipe away her tears.

Those tears will not be sad ones,
But filled with love and pride.
And through her eyes I'll watch you
As you take each learning stride.

You'll always know I love you,
You can tell so easily.
When your mom gives you an extra squeeze,
That hug will be from me.

I'll always be here somewhere,
Though invisible it seems.
I'll speak to you in whispers,
From inside the land of dreams.

When you have grown and your days are done,
A man will take your hand.
He'll lead you to this peaceful place,
Before him you will stand.

It's there you will begin to tell the adventures you have had,
And when you see him smile and nod,
You'll know it's Me, your Dad.

I Love you Son, and I always have.

Copyright © 1996 --- Pat McKnight

I wrote this poem in memory of one of my closest friends who died when I was a Junior in High School.

You left me with a legacy of brilliant smiles and sweet laughter,
As you guide me through the days from the hereafter.
Your voice like a singing bird chirping to my heart,
Your precious friendship was a gift from the start.

You left us too quickly with many milestones yet to face,
But you will always be there in my heart and embrace.
Proms, graduation, college, marriage, children, and more,
You will miss so much of what life has in store.

But I will take your memory down all the roads to come,
You're the glimmer in my soul and an inspiration to some.
I dedicate my life to living for both of us together,
Because your time with me will be treasured forever.

The tears I now shed stand for much more than sorrow,
But for the fact that you will never see tomorrow.

I love you Sarah!!!
Wishing to remain anonymous

I loved you so.
So why did you have to go?

Why did God take you away from me that day?
I never got to tell you all the things I had to say.

Never did I tell you the way you made me feel when you were around.
And now I will never get to tell you now that you are in the ground.

I wanted to tell you that I loved you so much,
And that I loved it when I felt your touch.
Never again will I be able to hold your hand,
As we walk along the sand,

Or watch the waves crash up on the shore.
That is something I really adored.

But you are gone.
Now I will have to wake up alone when a new day has dawned.

My heart is broken and I don't know if it will ever be able to mend,
Until the day when I see you again.

You made me see life in a different view,
And because of that I will never forget you.
I will live my life for you
And will do the things you never got a chance to do.

You changed my life in the very best way.
You made me the person that I am today.
I will always remember you each and every day.

My only regret is that I never told you how much I loved you,
But hopefully you can hear me now when I say I truly did love you.

Lindsay G., Age 15 --- Pennsylvania

GONE

gone is my angel,
damaged by shame.
no more good mornings,
not even goodbye.

gone are my quiet times,
deafen by choices.
all illusions,
all pre-made.

gone are my tomorrows,
all shattered by today.
for there never was
and never will be.
gone is my life,
CHOKED by reality...

Ma. Ella B. Calaor --- Manila, Philippines

For my Mother Lucille:
As I have grown older and wiser, I have finally come to realize what your Father, my Grandfather meant while he said in is last days:

"All there is love, and love is all there is."

Edwin

"We do not see things as they are, we see things as we are."

In memory of Matt Lopez
Submitted by Tierra V., Age 17 --- California

WHERE IS HE NOW?

We are in sorrow,
he is in total joy -
We see the separation,
he is in the presence of the Lord -

We know weeping,
he has had all the tears wiped away -
We shall know a deep loss,
he has gained a crown that will not fade away -

We are aware of his absence.
He has been welcomed home!

Author Unknown
Kindly sent in by Mabel Khoo --- Singapore

"Too weak to live, Too strong to die."

For Heather Phillips 9-5-99 RIP --- Swansea, Massachusetts
With Love from K.S. --- Massachusetts

It's been a while since I've even visited this website, but I was drawn to it yesterday because of the death of a friend. His "celebration of life" was yesterday and it was a beautiful and emotional experience for everyone.

This is the first time I've had to deal with a death of someone I was fairly close with and I found great comfort in the grieving section of your site. I wanted to add something to this site because I know how much it helps to share when you are coping with a tragedy like this. It's so much easier to know that there are others feeling the same way, in the same situation.

My friend, Mark J. Madigan, was a bright star in the lives of those who knew him, and though he died long before his time at the age of 20; he will live on in my memory forever. I miss you Mark.

HEARTSTRINGS


When those we love go away, they never really leave us;
They are with us now, wherever we are.
Those whom we have cherished, live on forever,
For love wraps itself around the heart.
Although it's difficult now,
Someday beyond our tears and all the world's wrongs;
Beyond the clouds and all that we can see and touch,
We shall all understand.

In Memory of Mark J. Madigan
Author Unknown --- Sent in by Shireen G, Age 18 --- California

For those few weeks - I had you to myself
And that seems too short a time to be changed so profoundly.
In those few weeks I came to know you...and to love you.
You came to trust me with your life;
Oh what a life I had planned for you!

Just those few weeks - when I lost you,
I lost a lifetime of hopes, plans, dreams and aspirations...
A slice of my future simply vanished overnight.

Just those few weeks - it wasn't enough time
To convince others how special and important you were.
How odd, a truly unique person has recently died
And no one is mourning the passing.

Just a mere few weeks - and no "normal" person would cry all night
Over a tiny, unfinished baby,
Or get depressed and withdraw day after endless day
No one would, so why am I?

You were just those few weeks my little one.
You darted in and out of my life too quickly,
But it seems that's all the time you needed to make my life
So much richer and give me a small glimpse of eternity.

Copyright© Susan Erlin
Sent in by Nora --- Singapore

I lost my daddy, my hero, my prince. The Lord took him from me, my daddy, my friend

Hours go by and the days seem hard
Never to hear "I Love You" or get a Christmas card

People say that "The pain will leave" but it hasn't left yet
All the things I should have said everything I regret

Nightmares come often and tears just flow down my face
I don't understand why God left me in such a place

I prayed to God to keep him safe
I guess God thought this was the only way

One day it will come and these knives that stab my heart will stop
I will see my daddy again and these tears will no longer drop

So until then I will look to the sky blow a kiss and smile
And understand that I was left here to make
MY DADDY, MY HERO, MY PRINCE; PROUD!!

In Loving Memory of My Dad
Deanna B., Age 16 --- Mississippi

REFLECTIONS OF A FATHER NOW PAST

She was raised the only girl of five boys and being the youngest was difficult. Being the daughter of a police lieutenant topped it off.

The relationship between her and her father was a strong one through theyears. It was a bond that no one could break. They played cards every night, in which she won most times. She let her dad know her secret of HOW she won years later. He wore reading glasses and the cards reflected his hand making it very easy for her. They laughed about this on may occasions. They had their secrets and would laugh till the wee hours of the night just like friends.

She was daddy's little girl, in every sense. She took right after him. Her intelligence, her cunning, her way with words, and she shared most of his outlooks on life. I say most because her dad being a cop and raised a strong Italian was very prejudiced. He saw a person's color, race and creed before he actually saw the person. She was the opposite she saw the person from the inside out and never passed judgment her key phrase to her dad was "I won't throw stones from my glass mansion and you shouldn't either dad." He heard the words but never did he grasp the meaning of them.

She and her dad had many fights on this issue because she dated outside her race. He despised this. She wound up leaving the house at the age of 17 after a horrible fight with her father. She at the time was dating a Puerto Rican man and her dad would follow him and investigate him. When she found out she approached her dad and they had it out.....she packed up her things as fast as she could and she left. The words of her father ringing in her ears. "You won't be allowed back in this house if you get pregnant with that Puerto Rican's baby" They cut her deep, much deeper than he ever realized. Even after that they were able to patch things up.

She supported herself and put herself through college and became a surgical nurse. He never said he was proud of her and she never knew why. Her brothers could do the simplest little things and they were praised by their father, yet no matter what she did it just was never good enough. She found out why in years to come.

In her senior year in high school she was offered many scholarship to many universities for dental science. The one she picked was the University of Honolulu they offered half a scholarship which was outstanding for them to offer. When she went to her dad he seemed to have no interest he just said "sounds good" and that was the end of the subject. He knew how intelligent his daughter was and how strong she was but her dad had a dark secret he kept from his daughter and when that secret came out it destroyed their relationship.

She was told at that time that college was out of the question because he couldn't afford it. The truth was she was JUST a woman. Yes, as sad it sounds he was also prejudiced of women. He was raised a strong Italian with the key phrase embedded in his head, "A women's place is in the home, barefoot and pregnant." He told her this after many years why she wasn't offered that chance of an education from him and it destroyed the relationship. Her brother's didn't want an education but her father pushed them to go and it blew up in his face cuz they failed out by the second semester.

She never forgot that day and his words "You are JUST a woman, why would I waste my money on an education for you when your only going to get married and pregnant anyway?" It was as if he placed a curse on her being born female. The worst part of the curse was when she got ovarian cancer and her chances of having a child were taken from her too. She forgave her dad of all this but she never forgot. It was when he started treating her mother poorly that she stood her ground and locked him out of her life for 4 years. She even told her dad "I despise you for all you have done to me and my mother." A mistake she will never forgive herself for.

After not speaking or seeing each other for 4 years she received a phone call. It was her older brother telling her "daddy suffered a stroke and he is at the hospital." She immediately got on the phone and called the hospital emergency room. You see, she was 2 1/2 hours away and she needed to know how severe it was cuz she had things she needed to tell her dad.

She was patched into the trauma nurse by means of a cordless phone. The trauma nurse was in the room with her father and she told her "your uncle is here speak with him." She heard the familiar voice of her uncle say "Hi" and she said "how is he?" silence came from the phone line but in the background she heard people's voices and a commotion going on...she heard someone's voice holler "Code, Code " She knew what that meant and so she screamed at the top of her lungs "Please Uncle Marty Tell him I love him, tell him I'm sorry and I never hated him, I love you daddy, Daddy, I love you!"

She could hear the sound of the monitor flat line but nothing else, a silence had come over the entire room except for the steady, flat beep of her father's heart rate. She knew he was gone.......he was dead. She screamed "noooooo.....not yet, he needs to know I love him." Her uncle then coldly said "You're too late kid, you will have to try and live with yourself now."

The next time she saw her father was on the cold steel table in the morgue. She walked into the room with her brother but he got sick and ran out. She was alone with him again like so many times when she was growing up. She was with her dad, with her friend. She stood above him and bent over and kissed his forehead and said "I love you Daddy, I've always loved you." It was then she saw a single tear come from his eye, it most likely came from the tears dropping from hers but nonetheless, it was there.

I have now lived with this pain and regret for over two years. I look at myself in the mirror and all I see is my shame. He couldn't help the way he was raised and I should have been the bigger person and never lost contact with him. I broke a very important commandment in the eyes of God....Thou shall honor thy Mother and thy Father...

He was a stubborn man. I learned his ways and I am very stubborn also. There is no winner in the game "who can hold out the longest," I lost the day my dad died never knowing how very much I did and still do love him. I hope we meet again so I can finally tell him, "I love you daddy, always and forever."

~~In Loving Memory of My Dad, Mario~~
Written by his loving daughter, Gabrielle O.

On May 29, 1999, one of my good friends, Mikey, passed away. He had an asthma attack and his oxygen tank at home did not work. His sister called the paramedics, but they were too late. He was already gone. I found out what had happened 2 days later, on Memorial Day while I was at work.

When my friend told me, I dropped the phone and started shaking. I burst into tears. At first I didn't want to believe what had happened, I didn't want to believe it was Mikey. But it was, and no matter what I hoped and prayed for, I knew he couldn't come back to us.

That day I was a zombie at work, my eyes were glassy and red-rimmed. When I went home a few hours later, I went into my room and found comfort in the Tweety doll he gave me. I cried, fell asleep crying, and woke up crying.

I dragged through the morning at school. I felt like everyone chose me that day to pick on. I couldn't take it anymore, so I went to my guidance counselor. I sat there crying. I couldn't stop. Then she explained to me that Mikey isn't dead...that he has just entered another kingdom of peace and happiness and that although he is not with us physically, he is in spirit. She handed me a card, with a prayer, that I read every night before I go to sleep:


"We seem to give them back to you, O God,
who gave them to us.
Yet as you did not lose them in giving,
so do we not lose them by their return.
Not as the world gives,
do you give, O Lover of Souls.
What you give, you take not away,
for what is yours is ours also if we are yours.
Life is eternal, love is immortal,
and death is only a horizon
and horizon is nothing, save the limit of our sight.
Lift us up, strong Son of God,
that we may see further.
Cleanse our eyes that we may see more clearly,
draw us closer to yourself,
that we may know ourselves to be nearer to our loved ones
who are with You.
And while you prepare a place for us,
prepare us also for that happy place,
that where You are,
we may be also, for evermore."

I clung to that card the remainder of that day, and that night was the wake. I signed the guest list, entered the room. I saw him laying there in the casket, so limp and lifeless. That's not Mikey-I said to myself. That isn't him. When I said that aloud, my friend turned to me and said quietly, "Yes it is, Toni. That's him."

He looked so...different. I sat down, and just watched him. I was waiting for him to sit up and start laughing, but sadly I knew it wasn't going to happen. My heart ached and I had a lump in my throat. All the memories flashed in my mind. I just broke down in tears.

I went up to his casket and knelt in front of it. Softly, I spoke to him..."Mikey, why did you leave?" I was hurting so bad, I can't put into words the feeling I had in my body. Before I stood up to leave, I gently touched his head. It was so cold, that my hand reflexed. That scared me and I broke down and started sobbing.

I heard the cries and moans of others. I went back to my seat where my boyfriend awaited with open arms. Then his mother walked in, crying out words in Spanish. I couldn't take the pain in her voice so my boyfriend Alex and I went outside for fresh air.

My guidance counselors words echoed through my head "Mikey isn't dead...that he has just entered another kingdom of peace and happiness and that although he is not with us physically, he is in spirit."

Then a light breeze ruffle through my hair and I knew in my heart it wasn't mother nature. It was him, giving me a hug.

I understand now what my counselor was saying. The point I am trying to make is that your loved one is always with you. And God doesn't take anyone away from us...he just takes them back..."In putting our loved ones to rest, God proves to us that he only take the best."

I guess God just needed an angel...


In Loving Memory
Mike Torres
10/15/83-5/29/99
Rest in Peace


Antonia---New York

A death in our family brought me to your site,
and on the pages I found, words that fit just right.

As I read and typed
I saw one that was not there,
It's about grieving,
and how one can bear.

Here it is...I used my mom's name...

ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM...


There's an elephant in the room.
It is large and squatting, so it's hard to get around it.
Yet, we squeeze by, with, "How are you?" and "I am fine."...
And a thousand other forms of trivial chatter.

We talk about the weather.
We talk about work.
We talk about everything else-except the elephant in the room.
We all know it's there.
We are thinking about the elephant as we talk together.

It is constantly on our minds.
For, you see, it is a very big elephant.
It has hurt us all.
But, we do not talk about the elephant in the room.

Oh, please, say her name.
Oh, please say "Lorraine" again.
Oh, please, let's talk about the elephant in the room.
For if we talk about her death,
Perhaps we can talk about her life.

Can I say "Lorraine" to you and not have you look away?
For if I cannot, then you are leaving me
Alone...In a room...
With an elephant.

Written by Terry Kettering

In loving memory of my Mom,
Lorraine Tedrow
Oct. 3, 1936 - Feb. 28, 1993

Her loving daughter, Cathy A. Johnson

 

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