Thursday, December 31, 2009

A New Year

In 2007 you went to heaven,
Now it is 2009,
Where is the time?
I cried when the new year came,
For nothing was the same,
Without you here it felt so wrong,
To have time move along.

There was the fear,
That with each new year,
Your memory might fade,
 Taking us further away,
Crazy, I know, because where could you go?
You are always here with me,
In every single breath I breathe.

It doesn't matter how much time passes,
Or what year it is,
Because love never disappears;
So march on, time, you can never erase,
The cherished moments forever embraced;
Deeply embedded within our hearts,
Neither time nor distance can ever part.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Key That Binds

Graham helped us with so many things after we moved into our new house.  This is a picture of him helping me paint the deck.  I miss the companionship and fun that we had spending time together.  He was my son, and my friend.

Your death has taken a heavy toll,
I feel so lost without the role,
Of mother to my wonderful son,
Adviser, friend and companion.

My energy is not the same,
It’s slower now and laced with pain,
A heaviness lies within my heart,
Now that we are physically apart.

I am working hard every day,
To understand my life this way,
I am weary and want the faith,
That your death was no mistake.

With God’s holy grace,
Take away my heartache,
Only love I want to feel,
Help my broken heart to heal.

To remember and be grateful for,
Every year we had before,
You crossed over to the other side,
In peace and harmony to abide.

Together still, but differently,
Help me to more clearly see,
That we are bound beyond constraints of time,
Because love is the key that binds.

Saturday, December 26, 2009


Dear God, help me find the peace,
That comes with the sweet release,
Of all resentments, fears or pains,
Anger or judgments where nothing is gained.

These emotions only hurt yourself,
Take a breath, then breathe them out,
Making room inside,
Inviting Spirit to reside.

 I want a harmonious living space,
With strength and courage to be able to face,
What each day holds in store for me,
Walking forward confidently.

In happiness, trust and faith,
Surrounded by God's holy grace,
Consciously moving toward the light,
Surrounded by love day and night.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Family Christmas Tree

Family Christmas Tree

There are many special ornaments to see,
Upon our beautiful Christmas tree,
Bought with love from far and near,
They tell our story from year to year.

Our first Christmas together was 1980,
The year that we were married,
We became proud parents in 1982,
When our lovely daughter joined us two.

Three years later our son was born,
On a March Korean morn,
In the Army while stationed overseas,
Was where our son joined us three.

Major milestones in our life,
Once we became husband and wife,
With ornaments to mark these occasions,
In happiness and celebration.

A red and gold angel is on top of the tree,
Gazing out in serenity,
A celestial guardian of all we hold dear,
As we decorate the tree each year.

There are angels and stars,
Saxophones and guitars,
Musical instruments our children played,
On the branches all arrayed.

Old fashioned Santas and Sheltie ornaments too,
Bells and birds to name a few,
Soldiers and trains, snowmen and dolls,
With red and gold poinsettias surrounding them all.

A Christmas tree that tells a story,
Of love and family in all its glory,
Sadly, there is also pain,
For we will not see our son again.

Two years ago he suddenly died,
Leaving us to wonder why,
Memorial ornaments now also adorn our tree,
Keeping our son close in loving memory.

A tree of love, a tree of hope,
A tree of sadness and of ways to cope,
Within its branches a tale to tell,
Of a family who loved long and well.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Night Sky

Night Sky

My husband and I,
Sleep underneath a beautiful night sky,
Painted on the ceiling above our bed,
As we gaze directly overhead.

A September sky with a lovely full moon,
And shining stars that fill up our room,
The Aries constellation is painted there too,
Our son’s Zodiac sign for us to view.

The sky as it was on the night he died,
Painted by his friend with an artistic eye,
With a line from a poem painted on one end,
A memorial written by my dear friend.

It comforts me as I go to sleep at night,
And when I wake with the morning light,
Our son is never very far,
Our bright and shining golden star.


He was a bright and shining star,
I could see his reflection in your eyes,
Now he runs across the night,
His magic lights up the skies.

Vivian West

Saturday, December 19, 2009

I Love You So

If I could, I would hold you tight,
I would hug you with all my might,
I would never let you go,
My son, I love you so.

I never wanted to say goodbye,
Every day I still cry,
Why can’t you be here?
It’s so lonely without you near.

You filled my life with so much joy,
But now there is a terrible void,
What can ever fill the hole,
That has been torn into my very soul?

The anguish is almost more than I can stand,
What is my life’s plan?
I thought I was doing what I came here to do,
I found so much meaning in being the mother of you.

I pray for Spirit to enter in,
To feel God’s love from within,
And with divine wisdom to come to see,
What my soul’s purpose is now to be.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Ever since your demise,
I see the world with different eyes.
The world I thought I knew,
Now has a different view.

Through this loss, pain and ache
There is a different road to take;
I don't know where it will go,
But I am on it, this I know.

Heal my shattered, broken heart,
Help me find the fresh, new start;
I long to have my spirit mend,
Let me feel the love you send.

Like the Phoenix, I want to fly,
Wings outstretched, flying high;
So that when I am gone,
The message is, love lives on.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Day of Remembrance

  We went to our local Compassionate Friends candle lighting observance earlier today (see my last posting
I read three poems.  Here is the one that I wrote specifically for the day, and pictures of  our precious children (click on the pictures for larger versions).

Worldwide Candle Lighting

All of our lost children, young and old,
We gather now and gently hold,
Remembering with our every breath,
That love never ends, not even in death.

A heartbroken group of fathers and mothers,
With a sorrow unimaginable to others,
Struggling to overcome the most devastating blow,
Bonded in grief we never thought to know.

With each candle that we light,
We feel our children’s spirits burning bright,
 Every beloved child’s face we see,
Forever in our memory.

In the candles’ golden glow,
Even though our tears still flow,
We cherish every moment we had with you,
Though the days were far too few.

 We love you now, we’ll love you forever,
As your parents we will always treasure,
The blessing of our daughters and sons,
Our dearly loved, precious ones.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Worldwide Candle Lighting

The second Sunday in December every year Compassionate Friends (a national self help organization for grieving families who have lost children) holds a Worldwide Candle Lighting to honor the memory of children who have died too young at any age.  It's held in December because of the difficult holiday season.  At 7:00 PM local time candles will be lit for an hour around the world to remember all children that have died.  Local chapters will have their own observances.  My local chapter is having their candle lighting earlier in the day.  I have been asked to read a few of my poems for this.  I wrote one especially for the day that I will post on Sunday.  There is a beautiful song on The Compassionate Friends website you can listen to, at the bottom of this page:

A Year Of Firsts

Today is my husband's birthday.  Special occasions always remind us even more of Graham's physical absence.  This is a picture of my husband and Graham in December 2006 celebrating the day.  Graham always made an effort to come home, especially for special occasions. We are so grateful to have these moments in our hearts.

The first year after you died,
I was just trying to survive,
Every day felt like a week,
I was overwhelmed in grief.

Trying to make it through each first,
Was beyond imagining in its hurt,
The first Thanksgiving without you here,
Was the first holiday we had to fear.

Your dad’s birthday came next,
So empty without you to expect,
You always added so much fun,
What a joy to have had our son.

Then it was Christmas when you were sorely missed,
I never thought I’d have to endure this,
My favorite family time of celebration,
Will never be the same occasion.

I could not send a card to you,
On Valentine’s Day like I used to do,
No more cards to sons about love,
Or candy treats you were fond of.

In March you would have been twenty-three,
But it was never meant to be,
No more birthdays to share with you,
Memories will have to carry us through.

Easter was the next special day,
And it was not observed in the same way,
It was a more quiet time of reflection,
With deeper thoughts about Christ’s resurrection.

My birthday was in April and I missed you so,
The pain was more than I could know,
Without you here to share the day,
Was sadder than I can ever say.

Mother’s Day was bittersweet,
I felt so incomplete,
Last Mother’s Day you had spent with me,
And all of the family.

The following month was June,
In which Father’s Day came too soon,
No longer here to share with your dad,
How could we not feel bad?

We had no 4th of July picnic that year,
Like we did when you were near,
No get together of food and fun,
It wouldn’t have been the same without our son.

The most difficult first was in September,
The month you died and we’ll always remember,
An anniversary we never imagined,
Inconceivable this happened.

Somehow a year passed by,
Without a day I didn’t cry,
No more firsts to face with dread,
Screams of why inside my head.

On special occasions we set your place,
And on your birthday we have a cake,
We light a candle for you each night,
To hold you close in eternal light.

Two years now have passed,
Since we saw you last,
I still cry every day,
The pain never goes away.

It’s not as piercing of an ache,
But my heart still breaks,
I’m learning to live each day as it comes,
To find some peace with each setting sun.

The future is never ours to know,
Cherish every moment and learn and grow,
I work to focus on what was gained,
To remember the love and joy, not the pain.

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Christmas Wreath

A Christmas Wreath

This will be the third December,
We will place a wreath and remember,
Every Christmas memory of our son,
From his birth until age twenty-one.

An evergreen wreath with a red velvet bow,
A symbolic sign on his grave to show,
Undying love and gratitude for,
The son we will miss forever more.


Sunday, December 6, 2009

Christmas Sorrow and Joy

These are a few pictures from the last Christmas that we had with Graham.  It was December 2006.  He was a junior in college.  It was a wonderful Christmas.  We treasure the memories of that special time.

Christmas was only three months after you died,
I don’t know how I survived,
The thought of no presents for you under the tree,
Emotionally brought me to my knees.

I had artwork framed that you had done,
Beautiful images from our son,
And ordered an afghan with your picture and a poem,
To wrap up in while I’m at home.

I found ornaments for you with special meaning,
Lovely angels and bright stars gleaming,
Memorial items for the house,
To feel your presence all about.

I was still Christmas shopping for you,
Without consciously meaning to,
Finding some comfort for the anguish within,
Working desperately not to give in.

Two years later I am making progress,
For you I can do no less,
Working to accept each day,
And to understand my life this way.

Change is inevitable, that is true,
But how could I expect losing you?
I have to accept what I cannot change,
Because life will never be the same.

Love is the constant to depend on,
Whether in this world or beyond,
The physical body dies,
But love survives.

So, as the holidays draw near again,
Feel the love to you I send,
And bless you with gratitude and cheer,
For the time that you were here.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Sometimes my chest is heavy and I can’t breathe,
Everything starts to seize,
My heart hurts and I start to cry,
Wondering why you had to die.

Heartache is not just a term,
As I have sadly come to learn,
It’s painful and it’s real,
A hurt you pray one day will heal.

So often scars do not show,
Others may never know,
The pain in varying degrees,
That one may carry that we don’t see.

Your death has opened my eyes,
To anguish that can be inside,
And how many people there are,
Bearing similar scars.

Loss makes you understand much more,
Than you ever could before,
It rips you open and makes you bleed,
More compassionate to those in need.

 Underneath we are all the same,
No one lives without any pain,
Let me in love reach out,
Helping others in darkness and doubt.