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Love Never Dies, A Newsletter about the Journey from Loss to Love


Holidays 2005
Issue #17
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 February issue. Thank you!

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IN THIS ISSUE

=> From the Editor
=> Poetry
=> Resources
=> News and Tidbits
=> Tips and Ideas
=> Ponderings
=> From our Readers
=> Inspirational Quote(s)
=> Copyright and Subscribe/Unsubscribe information

FROM THE EDITOR

I can remember when Christmas was all about shopping and baking and parties. By this time back then, the first week of December, I was well into the season. With a come hell or high water attitude, I had already rushed through all the local stores, decorated a perfect artificial tree, ran my credit cards up to their limit, and penciled in all the school programs and social gatherings on my calendar. I was exhausted, but triumphant.

If memory serves me correctly, and it's not often it does, my to-do list looked something like this:

Black and white, unfeeling, organized. But don't misunderstand me. I have many happy memories of the Christmases before . . . before Jason died. I loved the season and navigated through it with little trouble. Our family dinners were complete with no empty chairs, and laughter was a prevalent sound. It's just that the holidays were simpler then. Not very difficult, not very unique, just simple. Holidays were simple, my to-do list was simple, and life was simple . . . before Jason died. But now it is after.

The first few Christmases after Jason's death were desolate and raw. Behind my "I'm fine thank you" mask that I wore for the rest of the world, I cringed at everything that resembled joy. I thought that I was doomed to feel that way forever and that what I was feeling was a sign of weakness. I know now that what I was feeling was normal and that the grief I felt would soften and change as I worked through it.

My search for meaning came back into the season of peace and love some time after the fourth or fifth year of "missing Jason". I began wanting to feel the old holiday juices flow and yearning for something new, something different. I think I finally named it "the magic" and in craving it, I found myself creating it. And therein lay the secret. I could not expect a wave of joy and warmth to envelop me when I was behind a wall of negativity. I could not curse the holiday season as if it had come to personally attack me in my anguish. If I truly wanted to experience "the magic" I had to create it, or at least allow it into my life.

Are you wondering the heck I'm rambling about yet? Here, let me show you what I mean. Look at my to-do list for 2005:

I am sure you can see the difference. The "soul" of my Christmas has changed in the nine and a half years since Jason died. It is not difficult to see that it has changed in the direction of good, it has moved toward love. This will be our 10th Christmas without Jason's physical presence. Life, the holidays, this list...none of them are simple any more. They have taken on meaning, they can no longer be taken lightly. This morning, while scrutinizing my current emotional state and the items on my list, I realized that I have to go there again. I have to go to that place where I admit that I am a better person after surviving the death of my child. I have to confess that while his death was horrific, the ensuing grief was transforming. I have to swallow any self-inflicted guilt, look to that which is greater than I, and say, "Thank you. Thank you for this gift of love." For it is only in gratitude that I will find what I need to create "the magic."

POETRY

Your Birth Day

Yesterday,
there were tears
sad thoughts
long sighs
and a bleakness
i had not visited in a while
your grave was cold
the rose beside your rock dead and brittle
bubbles meant to send love your way
frozen
and useless
But today,
one day closer
the sun shines timidly
and I pull my thoughts
out of myself
and share them with those who know
i light candles
say your name
touch your picture
your silly grin warms the chill
i will find my way
around the fear
and come to the place
where I can celebrate
your first breath
rather than mourn
your last.


RESOURCES

Love Never Dies Forum
John Edward's Newsletter-Evolve (it was called Bridges and his website has not changed the name yet)
TCF Chat Schedule for Grieving Parents, Grandparents, and Siblings
My friend, AND an incredible Medium
Suzane Northrop's new book: A Medium's Cookbook: Recipes for the Soul
Shrine of Hope Free online readings

NEWS AND TIDBITS

The Worldwide Candle Lighting® -
In loving memory of all children who are no longer with us, The Compassionate Friends extends an invitation for you, your family, and friends to join tens of thousands of persons around the globe for the eighth annual Worldwide Candle Lighting. The Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting is held every year on the second Sunday in December at 7 p.m. local time for one hour in each time zone around the globe-a 24-hour wave of light for all children who have died.

There's not a lot of news this time. Just a couple of things. I have sent in a workshop proposal for The Compassionate Friends National Conference next summer in Dearborn Michigan. Hopefully I will be invited to present and will meet some of you there. I am going to be writing for John Edward's newsletter, Evolve, in 2006. I am especially excited about the new forum on my website and hope that those of you who register use it as a tool for healing. Jason's birthday is Monday and if you feel inclined to do a random act of kindness in his honor, I think he would be pleased.

TIPS AND IDEAS

If you have lost a loved one . . . no, wait. I promised myself I wouldn't say that anymore. We haven't lost them, they have died. Losing means they are gone, no longer with us, missing from our life. Dying means a change in form, no longer physical, but still a part of our lives. So, if your loved one has died, I hope you are being gentle with yourselves during the holidays. It doesn't matter if it has been a year or thirty years, the season of joy can trigger anger and resentment, sadness and pain, guilt and blame. Preparing sometimes helps. I'm not going to list any tips here because the guest editorial by Alice Wisler (below) is excellent and covers the bases. I am simply going to remind you that as you walk your path, there are three things you need:

Now, if you know someone who has lost a significant person in their life, I hope that you will give them the gift of compassion. Ask them about their loved one, ask them if they need your support, let them know that YOU KNOW they may be struggling. Some gift ideas for you:

PONDERINGS

I sat at Jason's Rock yesterday and tried to convince him that he has been quiet for far too long. I explained that I needed to hear from him and that I specifically wanted him to go to "someone" who should then contact me and tell me that he had shown up because I asked him to. I explained to him that even though I know he is "here," I still need to know that he can hear me and understand my need to connect. I also asked him for some help with this newsletter, and with a couple other writing projects I am working on. I think he heard me. It felt like he was listening. However, he apparently isn't in any hurry to comply, because my PONDERING section is going to remain empty. I have no pondering beyond what I did in the first article. Now . . . if I were to ask him what he wants to say, I think he may say this:



FROM OUR READERS

Guest Editorial - Surviving The Tinsel
Published at: How to Make a Family
By Alice J. Wisler
Daniel's House Publications, Tributes editor
Writing the Heartache

That holiday-pang hit my stomach the first October after Daniel died. Greeting me at an arts and craft shop were gold and silver stockings, a Christmas tree draped with turquoise balls and a wreath of pinecones and red berries. What was this? And was "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" playing as well? It was only October.

I had anticipated that Christmas and the holidays would be tough. In fact, I'd wake on those cold mornings after Daniel died in February and be grateful that it was still months until his August birthday and even more months until Christmas. I dreaded living both without him. I would have preferred to have been steeped in cow manure. At least then I could take a hot bath with sweet smelling bubbles and be rid of the stench. But bereavement isn't that way. As those who had gone on before let me know, you have to live through it.

Christmas came. I did live through it. It continues to happen as do the other significant days of the calendar year. Daniel never arrives at any of them although his memory lives on. By incorporating him into these days of festivity, I can cope.

Some of you have your child's birthday and/or anniversary day within the November through January season. These days, in addition to the holidays everyone else is celebrating, make the season even more complicated and painful, I'm sure.

I offer eleven tips I've used to survive the holidays. Some are my own suggestions and some are borrowed from the many who walk the path of grief.


One day you will wake up and it will be January 2. The holidays will have ended. You will have made it. If you are like me, you will find that surviving the tinsel has made you stronger and although you may cry, somewhere within you, you will feel that core of new steel.

From Deb Kosmer:

Sometimes at the End of a Stream

Sometimes at the end of a stream
Of dark and cloudy days
The sun peeks through
And gently shows its face
Sometimes it bursts out
In splendor across the sky
Embracing everything within its reach
In a blanket of warmth

And we know again
That our world is
A good place
As its glow
Wraps itself
Gently around our heart……

And a request from a reader. If you have suggestions for her, please reply to her here
I am a recent bereaved parent of an adult child. I have read many books and attend meetings of Compassionate Friends - I never heard of discord in a family that shares love and grief for a lost family member. Is there anyone in our group who has the added grief of family resentment for any number of reasons? Prayer and counseling have not yet helped. Any suggestions? Terri

INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE(S)

"Seeing death as the end of life is like seeing the horizon as the end of the ocean."
Wishing you peace and good memories this holiday season. Merry Christmas . . .
Expect Miracles,
Sandy

COPYRIGHT INFO
Copyright 2005, All Rights Reserved

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Sandy Goodman
Love Never Dies
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