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Love Never Dies
Love Never Dies, A Newsletter about the Journey from Loss to Love
(but delivered in July, 2004, *cowering in shame*)
Sandy Goodman, Editor
Welcome to the "LOVE NEVER DIES" newsletter. Please e-mail me after perusing this issue with any ideas, submissions, or questions for the August issue. Thank you!
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IN THIS ISSUE
=> From the Editor
=> News and Tidbits
=> Tips and Ideas
=> From our Readers
=> Copyright and Subscribe/Unsubscribe information
FROM THE EDITOR
First things first. I apologize for the lateness of this newsletter. It should have arrived in your inbox before Memorial Day. I have no excuse, no illnesses, no deaths, no out of town and away from my computer. I forgot. Plain and simple. In June, I couldn't think of a thing to write and if I did, I forgot what it was before I could get it written down. Again, I'm sorry.
Secondly, I want to publicly congratulate Cyntha Crayton, aka Ocallah, for her recent marriage to Dave Mayberry of Driggs, Idaho. I've met Dave, and agree that he's definitely a keeper. Congratulations Ocallah and Dave. We (and you know who "we" are) love you!
I remember many hours of watching our boys as they pitched pebbles into lakes and ponds. Their intent was to "skip" the rocks across the surface, but I was always more interested in the outcome when the rocks plopped into the water and sank. As each tiny stone created ripple after ripple on the glasslike surface, I felt childllike wonder at the anticipated result, as if each occurrence was a total surprise.
Last month, I was honored to present at the TAPS conference in D.C. TAPS is a peer support organization for families who have lost someone in a military incident. Since I also presented in 2003, I looked forward to seeing familiar faces and visiting with them. On my first night at the magnificent hotel, I hurriedly unpacked and set off to find someone I knew. However, after wandering the lobby and hallways looking for anyone vaguely familiar to talk to, I had to admit defeat and give up the whole idea.
Resigned to room service, I headed back to my room and suddenly found myself at the beginning of a long hallway which just happened to be attached to a shopping mall. Hallelujah! Shopping was just what I needed to make the day complete. Much to my dismay, by the time I got to the wonderful shops of my dreams (remember, I live 120 miles from the nearest mall) they were all closed. Back to the room.
Sitting on my bed, eating a ten dollar burger, I remotely clicked through the channels. I found Joan of Arcadia and paused long enough to note that it was a rerun...but a rerun of the one show I had missed. Joan of Arcadia is the only show I claim as "my show" at our house. All the other ones are Dave's, but this one is mine. I settled in to watch it.
If you haven't watched Joan of Arcadia, a short summary is called for. Joan is a teenage girl who lives in the town of Arcadia. In the first show, for no apparent reason, Joan is approached by God. In each subsequent show, God visits with Joan, inhabiting numerous bodies, and gives Joan assignments which end up teaching her (and the tv viewers) something in the end.
In this particular show, Joan is mourning the death of Rocky, a young boy Joan had babysat. She is questioning life and death and all that goes with it, when she is told, by God, that Joan's friend Adam might be suicidal. God explains that while the ripples from Rocky's death are good and filled with love, Adam's mother's suicide has left him with not so good ripples. After some investigating, Joan learns that Adam's mom left him a note when she died. Adam, however, has not read it. Joan sets out to help Adam get past the fear to read the note, which turns out to be a very positive letter, filled with the love of a mother for her son. In the end, because Joan cared enough to pay attention and help Adam, she changed the ripples of his mother's death from fear based despair to pure unconditional love. In Joan's own words "He has good ripples now." By the time the credits rolled, I was in tears. The zinggggggs were abundant and I was thankful I had found absolutely nothing to do on my first night in D.C.
Fast forward to the next night. Relaxing in the lobby, a group of us listened to a young widow share the story of her husband's death. Widowed when "John" died in a plane crash in Germany, "Susan" was left with five young children. Although she lived close to her father, she explained to us that she had eventually moved because her dad could not understand her need to grieve, to talk about her loss, to go through it. He was so adamant in his need to "put his grief on a shelf in a box and leave it alone" that Susan had to distance herself to grieve without guilt. After she told us about her father's brusque and detached demeanor, she suddenly grew quiet, smiled, and said, "My dad also gave me one of the greatest gifts I could ever ask for. He told me about a dream he had . . . and I think that is when I was able to start grieving."
Susan explained that one day her dad said, out of the blue, "I had a dream about John last night."
Unable to hide her excitement, Susan replied, "WHAT??! You had a dream about JOHN??! Tell me! Tell me right now!"
And so he did. Susan's dad told her that he had dreamt he was with John and the other young man when the plane started to spiral out of control. He told her that he had helped pull it out of the spin, and that they had gone in and landed safely. He said that in his dream, they had pulled the plane over on the tarmac and he had taken off his hat and other gear, and had turned to John and his friend. And herein lies the gift. In his dream, John and his buddy . . . were dead.
Gift? Yes, a gift. From that minute on, Susan was able to give up her anger and her whys and her whens and her whats and her guilt and accept that it didn't matter if he was in a plane that landed or one that crashed or in his bed at home. He died anyway. It was time. She had no control.
A ripple....Susan's ripples had been angry and full of blame and guilt and fear. But her dad, who had refused to talk about John's death and had criticized her need to do so, visibly giving her no support whatsoever, changed the ripples of John's death from fear based despair, back to unconditional love.
Ripples. Changing, widening, encompassing. Surrounding the cause with the effect. How empowering it is to know that we have the power to not only create the ripples we leave behind us, but to also transform the ripples that others are experiencing.
A Step Behind--Sandy Goodman
She stands a step behind me,
just to my left.
She is forty-three years old, and she holds my pain.
She waits for me
when on days like today
the screams of "IT IS JULY AGAIN!"
become too loud to ignore
and my focus slips into her warm embrace.
She shelters me from questioning looks
and well meaning friends
and allows me to feel what I felt then,
when the world I knew ended in
exhalation of breath.
Tonight, when the sun goes down,
and the fireworks sound just like the ones eight years ago,
I will go to her
and take my pain from her outstretched hand,
and hold it to my breast.
And just for a little while...
I will weep....
John Edward's (not yet released) Final Beginnings Eight lives. One tunnel. And the survival of the country is at stake. Against a backdrop of terrorist attacks, psychic medium John Edward’s second novel (co-authored with Natasha Stoynoff) follows the lives of seven New Yorkers and their experiences with life and death on both personal and universal levels.
NEWS AND TIDBITS
In the last newsletter, I wrote that I would be attending the TCF conference in L.A. in July. Circumstances have changed and I will not be attending as planned. For information on the conference, please go to The Compassionate Friends and click on the conference link.
Later this summer, I will be speaking at a fundraising banquet for Kyle's Korner in Milwaukee. I am really excited about this opportunity and feel honored to have been asked to present. Are any of you in the Milwaukee area?
In the February NL, I proudly shared the news of our new grandson, Tayton Cole. He is, by the way, the most beautiful baby I have ever seen (smiling). Well . . . I have more news to share. After a long legal "jump through the hoops and back again" process, Joshua has proven (through DNA testing) that he is the father of 2 1/2 year old Madison. He has started visitation, and we are very proud of Josh for being a responsible dad. An interesting side note: As he told Madison goodbye during the first meeting, she answered him with . . ."bye...Jason." I knew it was interesting but wasn't sure why it happened or if it was just a mistake on her part. This morning I woke up remembering bits and pieces of a dream. I turned to Dave and said without knowing what I was going to say, "Maddi called Josh, Jason, because she has seen Jason. They already know each other..." Zinggggggg......
TIPS AND IDEAS
During the TCF conference mentioned earlier, there is a Walk to Remember for the attendees. At the same time, across the country, local chapters will be out walking the two miles in memory of their child, grandchild, or sibling. If you belong to a local TCF chapter, encourage your fellow members to participate. If you don't belong, consider walking alone or with friends and family. It's a wonderful way to remember those who are not here to walk with us. Again, for information, contact the National office of TCF.
Jason's Park is absolutely overflowing with flowers this summer. I hope to have pictures to share in the next newsletter or before. I thought I was having them developed, but when I picked up the CD, the pictures were of a Christmas light show in 2002.
Speaking with a first year bereaved mom today, she asked about my contact with Jason. Terribly sad still, "Bonnie" was speaking of some "little coincidences" that had occurred recently. I suggested that these were possibly influenced by her deceased son. She questioned my huge validation from Jason, through John Edward, and asked why she only gets little stuff. As usual, words came out of my mouth that I hadn't "heard" before, and I found myself explaining to her that it was the "little coincidences" that occurred during the first year of Jason's passing that set the stage for the entire John Edward thing. Without those prompts, and set changes, and rehearsals, and the incredible directing that went on, Jason would never have known his lines, his place on the stage, or even the location of the theatre. And I would most certainly not have been in the audience.
FROM OUR READERS
I have either lost any submissions I had, or there weren't any. For the August newsletter, please send:
1. What has helped you through grief. What were some of the things you or others did, that really gave you a sense of hope?
2. If you were having lunch with a medium, what would you ask them?
Let me know if you want your name used or not.
Copyright 2004, All Rights Reserved
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They that love beyond the world cannot be separated by it. Death cannot kill what never dies.
Love Never Dies