Friday, December 31, 2010

Have a Tender New Year! ~ Poem: A Letter from Heaven ~Unknown Author

Have a Tender New Year!

A Letter from Heaven

To my dearest family
Some things I'd like to say,
But first of all to let you know
That I arrived okay.

Please do not be unhappy
Just because I'm out of sight,
Remember that I'm with you
Every morning, noon, and night.

That day I had to leave you
When my life on earth was through,
God picked me up and hugged me
And He said, "I welcome you...

"It's good to have you back again
You were missed while you were gone,
As for your dearest family
They'll be here later on.

"I need you here so badly
As part of My big plan,
There's so much that we have to do
To help our mortal man."

Then God gave me a list of things
He wished for me to do,
And foremost on that list of mine
Is to watch and care for you.

And I will be beside you
Every day and week and year,
And when you're sad I'm standing there
To wipe away that tear.

And when you lie in bed at night
The day's chores put to flight,
God and I are closest to you
In the middle of the night.

When you think of my life on earth
And all those loving years,
Because you're only human,
They are bound to bring you tears.

But do not be afraid to cry~
It does relieve the pain.
Remember there would be no flowers
Unless there was some rain.

I wish that I could tell you
Of all that God has planned
But if I were to tell you
You wouldn't understand.

But one thing is for certain
Though my life on earth is o'er,
I am closer to you now
Than I ever was before.

And to my very dearest friends~
Trust God for He knows best.
I'm still not far away from you,
I'm just beyond the crest.

There are many rocky roads ahead of you
And many hills to climb,
But together we can do it
Taking one day at a time.

It was always my philosophy
And I'd like it for you too,
That as you give unto the world,
So the world will give to you.

If you can help somebody
Who's in sorrow or in pain,
Then you can say to God at night
My day was not in vain.

And now I am contented
That my life... it was worthwhile,
Knowing as I passed along the way
I made somebody smile.

So if you meet somebody
Who is down and feeling low,
Just lend a hand to pick him up
As on your way you go.

When you are walking down the street
And you've got me on your mind,
I'm walking in your footsteps
Only half a step behind.

And when you feel that gentle breeze
Or the wind upon your face,
That's me giving you a great big hug
Or just a soft embrace.

And when it's time for you to go
From that body to be free,
Remember you're not going...
You are coming here to me!

And I will always love you
From that land way up above,
I'll be in touch again soon.
P.S. ... God sends His love.

I am so sorry... but remember... God knows best!
My prayers and thoughts are with you always.
I love you more than you will ever know.
(Unknown author)

Poems found on

Friday's Faith - The Child-Loss Mommy . . . Who Lost her Mommy

Me, my mother, and Merry Katherine (2003)

Friday's Faith

The Child-Loss Mommy . . . Who Lost her Mommy

Three days ago, on Tuesday, December 28, I got the dreaded call, that my precious mother had passed away. (My siblings had been trying to warn me Mother was getting weaker since the day after Christmas, but I could not bear to hear my mother was getting weaker when I was so far away from her and could do nothing to help her. I could not even answer the phone. I could not even bear to hear their messages or read my brother's text, so Tommy had to listen and read for me, then relay the general messages.) And now it is SO painful to lose the mother who has loved me every day of my life, the mother who understands child-loss like no other person in my family ever could as she lost my brother Buddy, her oldest child--her first-born son, thirty years ago when he was only 38 years old.

Flash back to four years ago. On the night of the day we discovered Merry Katherine was killed, Tommy and I each felt such a coldness in the center of our heart that neither one of us was able to sleep. Our baby girl was gone from the face of this earth? It could not be. And what did she go through on her final day? Our bodies could not rest. Our hearts viscerally felt the ice-cold reality that our minds could not fathom.

So again, three nights ago, on the night of December 28th upon going to bed after my mother had died, my heart was feeling what my mind could not conceive - that my mother, the nurturer of my entire existence, was not here? Had left the face of this earth? My body was restless and could not sleep. If I did lightly drift off, I was immediately awakened with a coldness in my heart, with a concurrent strong pining for my mother. I was feeling a combination of feelings, wrestling with what did she feel on her last day, in her last moments before leaving this world, along with feelings of desperation of how am I to live on the face of this earth without my mother, the one who had understood my heart from day one of my life?

I could not sleep. The pining was too great. A poem began going through my head. I could not sleep until I got up to get the feelings out and to write the poem that was incubating inside, trying to process this aching cry down in the core of my heart. I flashed back to the icy feelings I had when Merry Katherine died. So I decided to get up and write this angst out as best I could. I began to write...

The Child-Loss Mommy . . . Who Lost her Mommy

They all cried out, each and every one

Each and ev'ry sibling. -- I could not come!

Can they not see, I cannot lose another one!

Now I cannot sleep ~ my heart cries out:

Where is she ~ who always looks out

to care for me ~ I cannot find

her anywhere ~ where'd she go?

Can I go there? ~ Does no one know:

A child-loss mom can't lose her mommy!

I can't look up; I can't look down...

My child's not here, now my Mom's not roun'?

Dear God in Heav'n, can You hear my guttural cry?

Did You need her with You, more than I?

I know I prayed - You her soul to take

if she must go ~ hold her in Your arms to take...

But now she's gone, my heart cries out:

"I've lost my child! Where's my Mom?" I shout!

Please dear God, how much pain can I take;

And yet, sweet comfort -- in Your arms, she'd wake.

Please dear God, help Your hurting child!

Father of all Comfort, come to me.

Losing a loved one is hell on earth.

And yet, even in Heaven, You felt death's dearth.

You know this pain:

You lost Your Child when He lost His mother.

You've felt the worst pains --

Pains worse than any other.

You hear these cries of a grieving mother.

Who lost her child and now her mother.

Hold me in Your same loving arms

That rescued my mother from any more harms.

Thank You for Your love on both You've poured out

At the greatest loss to You ~

Thank You that this life's not all there is;

Your Child conquered death by giving us His.

Now we'll live with Him in eternity,

Held in Your arms and held in His.

Hold my mother ~ she is Your child --

While I pine for her ~ nurture each of us, Your child:

The mommy, the grieving mommy, and the

grieving mommy's child.

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles..."

~2 Corinthians 1:3-4a NIV

Merry Katherine reading Grandmommy her Mother's Day card
with Aunt Lyn looking on
Mother's Day, 2004

My precious Mother
Mother's Day, 2004

My brother Rick and I, cutting up with Mother
Thanksgiving, 2004

Me with parents, siblings, and nephew
Left to Right, back row,
Angie, Daddy, Mother, Curt (Buddy's son)
front row, Dianne, Lyn, Don, and Rick
October, 2003

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thursday's Therapy - TRAUMA Therapy Toolbox: Guided Imagery

Thursday's Therapy

TRAUMA Therapy Toolbox:

Guided Imagery

In the words of a premier trauma specialist Belleruth Naparstek,

...(I)mages in the mind are real events to the body.

Our bodies don't discriminate between sensory images in the mind and what we call reality.

Although images don't have the same intense impact on the body that real events do, they elicit the same essential quality of experience in the body...

The good news, of course, is that we can deliberately introduce healthful images, and the... body will respond as if they, too, were approximations of reality. A spate of research findings shows the physical changes that can occur in the body as a result of such engineering with the imagination.
(Imagery refers to any perception that comes through any of the senses. That means sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and feel... These sensory images are the true language of the body, the only language it understands immediately and without question.)

There is one study...that measures the effects years later. (The results of the study showed) evidence that the effects of either group support or imagery or both didn't stop at psychological implications, but showed up in profound, lasting physiological results.

So images in the mind are real events to the body.

Perhaps you can remember, for instance, what it felt like to be read to by Gramma when you were little: the delicious warmth of sitting in her soft, warm lap, the feel of her favorite old sweater and the scent of her soap, the sound of her low, loving voice, saying the same words for the hundredeth time, leaning so close to you that her breath tickled your ear. And perhaps, too, you can remember the blissful feeling of being prized and precious, safe and protected, that came from sitting there. That memory is a real event to the body. As Far as your body is concerned, regardless of intervening years, age, or pounds, while you're remembering all that rich, sensory detail, you're still on Gramma's lap.
And whatever profound emotional nourishment you got there is yours to have again. Whatever neurohormones, or chemical messengers, went coursing through your bloodstream as you sat on Gramma's lap, sending happy-to-be-alive white blood cells all through your body, these same substances get activated again. As far as your body is concerned, Gramma is forever available to love and sustain you.
And so with any sweet memories: a wonderful vacation; a perfect moment, either alone in nature or with someone else; a time when you felt filled with purpose or madly in love; or a time of great triumph. As long as it is grounded in sensory memory, the language of the body, you can revisit that moment over and over each time taking from it all the richness and nourishment it has to give you.
She goes on to say:
In the altered (meditative) state, we are capable of more rapid and intense healing, growth, learning, and change...
By altered state, (she) mean(s) a state of relaxed focus, a kind of calm but energized alertness, a focused reverie. Attention is concentrated on one thing, or on a very narrow band of things. As this happens, we find we have a heightened sensitivity to what we are focused on, and a decreased awareness of the other things going on around us, things we would ordinarily notice.


A side note from me:

(Perhaps that is why the Biblical injunction is given...

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things."

(Philippians 4:8 NIV, 1984)


The following is Belleruth Naparstek's Guided Imagery sample from her book Staying Well with Guided Imagery.

Read this meditation aloud slowly to yourself, or have someone else read it to you so that you can more fully focus and concentrate on it's content. (You could also record it on a tape recorder yourself and then play it back to listen and meditate with your full focus.)

Imagery to Release Grief*

(approximately 14 minutes)

Please get comfortable . . . shifting your weight so that you're allowing your body to be fully supported . . . with your head, neck, and spine straight . . .

And taking a couple of deep, full, cleansing breaths . . . inhaling as fully as you comfortably can . . . sending the warm energy of your breath to any part of your body that is sore or tense or tight . . . and releasing the discomfort with the exhale . . . so that you can feel your breath going to all the tight, tense places . . . loosening and softening them . . . and then, gathering up all the tension . . . and breathing it out . . . so that more and more you can feel safe and comfortable, relaxed and easy, watching the cleansing action of the breath . . . with friendly but detached awareness . . .

And any distracting thoughts or feelings that you might have . . . those, too, are sent out with the breath . . . so that inside you can be still and quiet, like a lake with no ripples . . .

And now, imagining a place where you feel safe and peaceful and easy . . . a place either real or imaginary . . . a place from your past . . . or somewhere that you've always wanted to go . . . it doesn't matter . . . just so that it's a place that feels good and safe and peaceful to you . . .

And allowing the place to become more real to you . . . looking around you . . . taking the place in with your eyes . . . enjoying the colors . . . the scenery . . . looking over to your right . . . and over to your left . . .

And listening to the sounds of the place . . . whatever they might be . . . wind or water . . . birds or crickets . . . just so your ears can become familiar with the music of your special place . . .

And feeling whatever you are sitting against or lying upon . . . or perhaps feeling the quality of the ground beneath your feet . . . whether it's sand or grass . . . a pine-needle forest floor . . . or you might be in a cozy armchair . . . or sitting on a nice, warm rock in the sun . . .

And feeling the air on your skin . . . either brisk and breezy . . . or soft and still . . . crisp and dry . . . or balmy and wet . . . perhaps you are inside, feeling the warmth of a cozy fire on your face and hands . . . or maybe you are outdoors, and there's just the subtlest caress of a fragrant, gentle breeze . . . so just enjoying the feel of the place on your skin . . .

And smelling its rich fragrance . . .whether it's the soft, full scent of flowers . . . or the pungent smell of salt sea air . . . or sweet meadow grass . . . or maybe the pungent smell of peat moss in the forest . . .

And as you become more and more attuned to the safety and beauty of this place . . . feeling thankful and happy to be there . . . you begin to feel a kind of a tingling on your skin . . . a pleasant, energizing something in the air all around you . . . something that contains expectancy and excitement . . . and you know with some certainty . . . that it is good and right to be here . . . that there is magic in this place . . . and something wonderful is just about to happen . . .

And as that certainty settles around you, you notice that the tingling is taking on a kind of a glow . . . that the air is alive . . .

And from somewhere above you, a cone of powerful white light is softly and steadily moving down, forming a tent of vibrant, tingling energy all around you . . . surrounding and protecting you . . . illuminating everything it touches with exquisite brightness . . . highlit definition . . . vibrating color . . . giving everything it shines on a fresh, new beauty . . .

You can feel the air around you intensifying . . . glowing . . . dancing with sparkling energy . . . and with a sense of gentle wonder for such stunning beauty, you feel the light moving down into your body . . . softly entering your head and neck . . . moving into your shoulders and torso . . . sending a warm, vibrating softness all through your body, all the way down into your legs and feet . . . moving with deliberate intelligence to the deepest places where pain and fear are stored . . . and feeling the spaces begin to soften and open . . . as you breathe into them . . . fully and deeply . . .

You suddenly realize you are not alone . . . that you are aware of a warm presence all around you . . . and looking around, surprised but not surprised . . . you see that you are surrounded by gentle, loving beings . . . immediately recognizable as allies . . . smiling and nodding in the remarkable light . . . warming you with their protective presence . . .

One of them softly approaches you . . . and with a wonderful, deep, gentle look, directly into your eyes . . . gently touches the center of your chest . . . with warmth and softness . . . sending comfort and solace deep into your heart . . . waves of nourishing, loving comfort, right into the heaviness of your heart . . . soothing the torn, jagged places . . . opening and warming and softening all around the pain . . .

And you can breathe deeply, filling your whole body with this generous healing energy . . . perhaps letting the tears begin to melt the armor around the heart . . . as the eyes that gently see you, nod and smile . . . showing you that it is understood, how much hurting you have done . . . it is understood, the stony-cold aloneness you have felt . . . the wordless ache of longing . . . the stinging regret . . . the disappointment of interrupted dreams . . . all the pain is understood . . . breathtakingly intense at one moment . . . and heavy and dull the next . . . all of it is understood . . .

You feel the warmth of this awareness begin to collect and radiate through your entire chest . . . sending compassion and forgiveness and reassurance to every corner of your being . . . soft and easy . . . sweet and rich and full . . . as you breathe into the opening spaces of your heart . . . widened by the warmth of the healing hand . . .

And suddenly you are certain . . . you know with your whole heart . . . with your whole being . . . that there is a place where nothing is lost . . . where all the love and sweetness, direct or disguised, that you have ever felt is still alive . . . that all the love you have ever felt for anyone at any time is alive and well in the vast spaces of your own open heart . . . placed there forever . . . rich and nourishing and boundless . . . always available to sustain you . . .

Breathing in to touch it . . . breathing out to let it move through you . . . feeling the body soften . . . sending a gentle, healing forgiveness all through you . . . a new compassion for yourself . . . a different way of looking . . .

Perhaps you understand that you are being shown . . . that even this terrible pain can be a teacher . . . showing you something you need to know . . . about yourself . . . about who you are . . . and who you are becoming . . .

You know that even this will look different to you in time . . . when you know more about who you have become . . . when you are connected to your life in a new way . . . and the pain has permanently softened . . . when this has become part of the depth and richness of the texture of your life . . .

In the deep, gentle warmth of the eyes that look at you, you see that it is understood that you have seen this . . . that you have had a glimmer of your own healing . . . that you understand that nothing has been lost to the vastness of the heart . . . that the whole world spins there . . . and so you can begin to return to the peaceful stillness at your center . . . breathing in to touch it . . . breathing out to let it move through you . . .

And as your gentle band of allies smiles and nods . . . your special one says, "Remember, we are always here. It is you who come and go. Call for us anytime and we will come."

And gathering up a handful of the glowing, vibrating light, places it in your heart for safekeeping . . . your own special supply . . . to use as needed . . .

And so, feeling peaceful and easy . . . you watch as the light slowly begins to withdraw . . . returning to wherever it came from . . . until it is gone altogether . . . for now . . . knowing it is yours to call forth again, whenever you wish . . .

And taking a deep full breath . . . feeling the widened spaces that are now opened . . . you once again see yourself in your safe and peaceful surroundings . . . feeling safe and easy . . . although perhaps the colors around you are brighter . . . the air more alive . . .

You might feel that something powerful has happened . . . that a major shift has occurred . . . and will continue to occur . . . with or without your conscious working on it . . .

And you can see very clearly that you can call forth this place . . . the powerful healing cone of light . . . the special ones . . . whenever you wish to further the work that you have already done . . .

And so . . . feeling yourself sitting in your chair or lying down . . . breathing in and out, very rhythmically and easily . . . gently and with soft eyes . . . coming back into the room whenever you are ready . . . knowing in a deep place that you have done important healing work . . . that you are better for this . . . and so you are . . .

Bellaruth Naparstek, Staying Well with Guided Imagery: How to Harness the Power of Your Imagination for Health and Healing, pp. 17-23, 116- 122

*This guided meditation is essentially taken from the Health Journeys series, For People Experiencing Grief, by Bellaruth Naparstek, produced by Time Warner AudioBooks, Los Angeles, California, 1993.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Wednesday's Woe- Is my life...a series of Getting-Throughs . . . ? ~Tommy and Angie Prince

Wednesday's Woe

Is my life...a series of Getting-Throughs . . . ?

~Tommy and Angie Prince

I'm not "living" my life, I'm just "getting through . . ."

Getting through holidays.

Getting through birthdays.

Getting through death days.

Getting through holidays...

I told my older son last night (Christmas night), when he was wondering why he hadn't yet heard from us on Christmas Day...

"It's like we're on an airplane, gripping tightly to our seat, just hoping we can 'get through' the flight. We are just trying to 'get through' the day."

He said,

"I completely understand. You don't need to explain that to me. Just remember, I'm a passenger too (on that same flight), sitting just down the row from you."

Graciously, our son understands Grief's Plight....

Most of the "getting through" has to do with relatives:

Can we "get through" this wedding? No. So we don't go.

Can we "get through" a family get-together? No. So we don't go.

Can we "get through" a Christmas gathering of the whole family? No. So we don't go.

Is this my life? Is this my new normal? The "Get Through" approach to life?

Like it or not: It IS what It IS....