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


Holidays 2006
Issue #20
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 Spring 2007 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

Well, here we are. Right smack dab in the middle of another holiday season....okay, I guess it is actually nearing the end. It seems like only last week I was preparing myself for the craziness of November, and suddenly December is on its way out the door.

I wrote an article for John Edward's Evolve and Living with Loss that I would like to share with you. It's a little late for this holiday, but perhaps it will help some of you see Christmas a little differently from here on out.

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year


It's here. Winter. Which means…holidays. Happy happy, joy joy, merry merry and all that crap. My usually positive outlook takes a sudden nosedive, my dog starts to resemble Godzilla, and the mailman might as well be Ted Bundy. I am full of black energy and nothing anyone can say or do will eradicate it. It stays with me for a good three months. Two months of celebrating, and then a month of getting used to the idea that the celebrating is over. I become the "B word" of the neighborhood. It isn't pretty folks, and if you're bereaved, you know exactly what I am talking about. You're probably nodding your head right now and maybe even grinning a little. But don't get too comfy, because you probably aren't going to like where I am going with this little ditty about our temporary holiday insanity.

Having experienced ten holiday seasons without my son Jason's physical presence, I've had some time to evaluate my snarky (which is quite an improvement over what used to be hopeless, devastated and raging) outlook during this most wonderful time of year. I've also detected a similar attitude amongst other bereaved persons who, like me, are a few years out on their grief journey. I've watched and listened, pondered and meditated, journaled and read, formed a hypothesis, tested it, and found it to be true. The reason we are so out of sorts during the holiday season is because we are . . . grieving? No. We have moved forward. Sad? A little, but not enough to cause this distress. Angry? Nada. Wrong again. All of that is behind us. No, there is another emotion, another thought, that comes to us about this time every year, no matter how "far out" we are in our journey. We hold onto it, nurture it, act on it, but refuse to acknowledge it. It is a feeling of entitlement. A belief that it is our right, and sometimes even our obligation, to be unpleasant, bitter, and down right nasty from the first day of November until the end of January. And that, my friends, is what I'm talking about.

Please note that I am not referring to the early stages of our grief, when we are justly selfish. We are so focused on our loss that nothing else seems to exist. We have tunnel vision in a tunnel that is only wide enough for our self and our loved one. This "in the pit" period of our bereavement is normal and necessary. It's the piece of the process that we have to go right through the middle of. It's the part that waits for us to come in and sit a spell. It's the period of grief where we need to hold and nurture ALL of our feelings, until they change. During this crucial stage of healing after loss, any feelings we have are valid and allowed, even in December.

However, somewhere along the road there comes a time when we are once again able to smile when we think of our loved one. Love returns as the prominent feeling, rather than sadness. A feeling of joy for having known them overrides the despair we felt over their death. Life begins to pulse again and we laugh without guilt. We are healing. We have survived and life is good . . . . . until November. Suddenly we make like a chameleon and metamorphose into aliens. We become egotistical, repulsive jerks. It's as if we have been handed a ticket at the funeral that says "Good for three months of hateful obnoxious behavior every single year from November to January, FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE!"

Working through a significant loss is probably the most difficult task a human being encounters in a lifetime. Nothing hurts so badly for so long as the death of someone who has played a major role in our existence. But grief doesn't mean that we are entitled to a lifetime of resentful behavior every time the holiday juices start to run. It doesn't mean we have a right to alienate or hurt our living family members because we are "bereaved." It doesn't permit selfishness or make cruelty and disrespect justifiable. Being bereaved doesn't mean we can suck the energy out of every person who comes near us, and it doesn't make obscene gestures directed at department store Santas appropriate. It's plain and simple folks. Loss does not provide us with a get out of life free card. Grieving does not negate our responsibility to live . . . and to love.

So pull out the decorations, polish the silverware, and put in a CD with that chestnut song on it. Stock up on enough Kleenex for the season, dozens of candles, and a bunch of angel thingamajigs. Force yourself to smile at the sales clerk when she tells you Merry Christmas, and throw some change in the bell ringer's can. Bake some cookies, look through some photo albums, and don't be afraid to remember…or to laugh. Christmas and Thanksgiving and the New Year are seasons full of light, gratitude, and inspiration. We owe it to ourselves and to our loved ones (both here and on the other side) to soak up as much of that "good stuff" as we can. To that, we are entitled. Not because they died, but because we live.

POETRY

TEN

ten christmas dinners
ten lighted trees
ten nights of candles burning by your grave.
ten years,
a decade . . .
of missing you
and still my breath catches
when i close my eyes and call you to me
and see your smile
and hear your laugh
and feel your love.
you are not gone from our season of joy.
you live on and touch us to remind us
that trees and candles and family dinners
are the memories
we fill with the light of love
to sustain us
for eternity.

RESOURCES

Love Never Dies 4U is up and going. We have a chat room and a Board of Directors. We have a mission statement. We have you. Please visit the site, read what we have planned so far, and then check out the chat room. Evenings are best, and please bring your friends. Let us know what we can do 4 U.

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The Compassionate Friends, grief support for bereaved parents, grandparents, and siblings, has totally revamped their chat room. The link is on the home page - "online support community" - and registration is required before joining the scheduled chats.

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Deepak Chopra's newest book, Life After Death is out. "Chopra presents a fascinating account of life after death for Westerners that will certainly please his avid fans and draw in new readers as well."

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John Holland's newest book will be out in January. Titled Power of the Soul: Inside Wisdom for an Outside World the description reads: "This fascinating book provides some of the tools to help you to tap in to one of the most powerful forces in the Universe—your soul! Step by step, it will guide you to follow your true soul’s path and help you reconnect with your natural spiritual abilities. . ."

NEWS AND TIDBITS

The Suzane Northrop Show Listen every Monday from 7PM - 8PM EST. Yours Truly will be chatting with Suzane on Christmas night. Tune in!!

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Jason's Deal: Ten books (Love Never Dies: A Mother's Journey from Loss to Love) for Ten dollars, plus shipping. Call 800-569-1002 between now and Christmas, leave a message, and they will call you back to take your order. The only condition is that you must pass the books on to those who need them.

TIPS AND IDEAS

The only tip or idea I have for you at this late date, is INCLUDE your loved ones who have passed in whatever your plans for the holiday are. Talk to them, light those candles, talk ABOUT them, listen for them, and use the power of love to connect with them. There is incredible energy flowing this time of year, use it to feel their presence.

PONDERINGS

I read this, The Olson Interviews with Laura Scott, How Grief Relates To The Work Of The Soul and liked it so much I am sharing it for my ponderings. I think you'll like it too.

FROM OUR READERS

Free

One tear slips past clenched eyes
Refusing to be denied release
Evidence of the pain she tries
To hold captive within
Staking it’s claim on her heart
She lets it fall and with it
Sets herself free to be
Comforted again.


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Sent to us by Natalie Blakeslee:
Balloons 4 Healing Project
As I was speaking by phone to Denise Platz, the bereaved mom of a precious son named Aaron, I realized that she was now living too far away to visit her son's grave. She had moved from the Fairview-Girard PA area to California.

We spoke about the upcoming sixth anniversary of her son's passing. She had just visited home a couple of months earlier and couldn't come back again this soon. I asked myself how I could help her make the day less stressful for her, as she would be missing and grieving her child even more on that day.

And so I told Denise, "You can still lay flowers, balloons, gifts, whatever you wish, at your son's grave. I would be more than happy to do it in your place."

With her imagination as her only limitation, she was free to get her feelings out, knowing that someone who truly empathized would stand in for her and present her gifts to her son.

She called a shop near my home and placed an order for the kinds and colors of flowers and balloons that she wanted, with a yellow rose accompanying her special note.

On that Saturday I picked everything up and went to her son's gravesite. With Denise on the phone, Dr. Steve Hodack and I took pictures and made a video recording, as we released the balloons and placed the flowers on his grave. Scissors and markers were left behind the tree for any members of the family that might visit. As it rained, tears flowed. We shared stories of our children and I listened as she told me about Aaron. I had lost my eldest daughter Carrie almost a year earlier. It turned out that we were not only joined in our grief, but that our children had both passed from the same illness, leukemia.

Dr. Steve ventured out in the rain one more time to grab a few photos, one of which included the gravestone of Denise's husband, which she hadn't yet seen. Her husband, Aaron's father, had passed just one year prior. We laid balloons at his grave with a note asking him to give Aaron a huge heaven hug for her. As we drove away from the cemetery, Dr. Steve said, "I think you have developed something here that could help bereaved parents all around the world."

And this was the start of "Balloons 4 Healing".

WE ARE MOMS HELPING MOMS THROUGH THE GRIEF....

"Keeping our child alive through the memories we share and the balloons and butterflies we release" is our slogan.

Group name: Balloons4Healing
Group home page: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Balloons4Healing
Group email address: Balloons4Healing@yahoogroups.com
For information, please email nataliemedium@adelphia.net

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Whispers of Love

I see you when I open the closet door
empty hangers where your life once hung
empty shoes that litter the floor
so many songs still left unsung.

Dreams are crushed
like light bulb glass
and the implosion
floods our mind,
is nothing sacred?
our child dies
and we are left behind.

Part of my spirit left that day
to guide my son to the light
part of my spirit left that day
when life grabbed my heart
and took a bite.

The heart is slow to heal
its a muscle severely bruised
but for a muscle to recover
it needs only to be used

So allow your heart to shine
wherever you may go
let your heart beat rule the day
and allow the love to grow

Live love, be love, look for love
imbue it in what you say
and even though our child died
the love does not go away.

It is then that our soul shall recover
and we can sigh without a cry
knowing our child is right beside us
their spirit didn't die.

They seek from us
what we seek in them
just a moment
to be as one again

They have the need just as we
to feel that love
that tingles the soul,
a connection made, a circuit complete
in our togetherness we are the whole

Whispers of love are everywhere
my lost child now is found
and although his body is forever gone
My soul can hear his song

Music to my ears
when he leaves a penny on the floor,
an orchestra in my heart
when he whispers through the door.

Turn the light on, turn it off
he speaks to me in metaphor
using what ever that he can
to let me know that there is more

There is more to life than life
death is not an end
and I find comfort
in the messages; whatever he can send.

Spirit lives on as pure energy
its in our hearts we find the switch
to turn on that connection
and receive that special gift.

Knowing that love is eternal
and that life is just a dance
will not provide answers to the whys
but can give us a second chance

To chance to say what's in our hearts
and to listen with our soul
finding solace in a dialogue
no one else could know

Whispers of love
are just that,
gentle murmurs
we hear in our despair
and we know deep in our soul that love never dies
- our child is always there.

For our kids in spirit
Mitch Carmody
Author of Letters to my Son

INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE(S)

"I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise, since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness and the willingness to remain vulnerable." ~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Expect Miracles, and find a quiet moment to remember them this Christmas.....
Sandy

COPYRIGHT INFO
Copyright 2006-2007, All Rights Reserved

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Love Never Dies
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