Monday, May 31, 2010


Sorrow has become a second skin,
I am learning to find acceptance within,
A new layer, an added depth,
Bound by the tears that I’ve wept.

Unfathomable, the tragic cost,
When your beloved child is lost,
Your heart literally aches,
Torn apart in heartbreak.

Other losses compound this pain,
So many things in my life have changed,
The hopes and dreams I thought would be,
Are gone or laced with uncertainty.

We were almost living a fairy tale,
A beautiful family where all went well,
Our future looked positive and bright,
Filled with happiness and light.

I am a mother with a broken smile,
Who held my children’s hands for awhile,
One child has died, the other is on her own,
I never thought to be this alone.

Losses make you much more aware,
That everyone has crosses to bear,
I pray daily for God’s healing embrace,
Supported in heavenly love and grace.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Thoughts of You

When in grief so very deep,
I often wonder how to keep,
The sense of joy I used to have,
When life did not seem so bad.

Your smiles, your laugh, your handsome face,
Are always there for me to trace;
No matter what I do each day,
Thoughts of you always stay.

Precious boy, unlimited joy,
You were a gift to treasure forever;
Time and space will not replace,
The love that was ours to discover.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Balloons of Love

     The Bereaved Parents USA/Northern Virginia chapter held their 3rd annual Memory Walk, Picnic and Balloon Release on Sunday.  My husband and I attended for the first time.  It was a very meaningful event.  There is a connection that goes beyond words between bereaved parents.

     I read a couple of my poems as part of the program before the balloon release.  I was so pleased that the words came to me for this poem.  My husband took a lot of wonderful pictures.  Here is a picture of the balloons soaring to our children.  We celebrate their lives and love!

Today under a  clear blue sky,
Wiping tears from our eyes,
We will release our balloons,
 Commemorating lives gone too soon.

On wings of love we set them free,
For our angel children to see,
Floating through space and time,
Past the staircase we wish we could climb.

A symbolic gesture that helps us to heal,
From the sorrow that we feel,
Another means for us to say,
You live in our hearts every day.

Balloons filled with laughter, balloons filled with tears,
Balloons filled with memories for the time you were here,
Dancing in the sunlight on currents of air,
Brimming with thanks for all that we shared.

We imagine our children on the other side,
Catching the balloons as they glide,
Red and yellow, purple and gold,
They know which balloon is theirs to hold.

We know our children are happy, they are dancing now too,
And we want to always celebrate you,
Forever our daughters, forever our sons,
Only temporarily parted, our precious ones.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

With Us in Spirit

     When we had a patio and a deck added to the back of our house, it left an open triangular area between the stairs from the deck and the patio.  We decided to put gravel in that area and plant some azalea bushes and flowers.  We wanted to put weed cloth down first to keep weeds from growing.  When Graham came home in May for the summer he cleared the area and put the weed cloth and gravel down for us.  That was such a big help.  Four months later Graham died.



     This area has now become a memory garden.  We found this beautiful fountain and a memorial plaque that we put there.   The fountain is inscribed with the line, "The earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal," which was partially the inspiration for my poem.  I cry every time I look at these pictures of my beautiful son working on the area that has become our remembrance garden.

Earth has no sorrow that Heaven cannot heal,
My soul longs for this to be real,
These are the words on a memorial fountain we bought,
And I meditate on them a lot.

The fountain is in our back yard,
Where you worked very hard,
Chopping down weeds,
And planting your trees.

Mowing the grass and digging holes,
For the plantings we wanted to grow,
You are everywhere that I gaze,
Remembrances of all that you gave.

A sanctuary of faith and love,
That you are such a part of,
A spiritual oasis that helps bring you near,
Because you are not physically here.

Who could imagine that you would be gone,
But your spirit is here and lives on,
As I sit on our lovely patio,
Watching the fountain water flow.

I think of the years we had together,
All of the moments we have to treasure,
Searching for inner peace,
With Heavenly grace to heal and ease.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Family Tree Afghan

     I ordered this afghan after Graham died.  It is another way of keeping him close.  I couldn't stand the feeling of separation.  It's comforting to have this on our sofa, and to wrap up in.  Family is forever.

Every day seated on my couch,
I wrap an afghan all about,
Upon the afghan a family tree,
With the names of my husband, daughter, son, and me.

The roots of the tree are the mother and father,
The branches hold our son and daughter,
Two generations, a family of four,
Nothing could ever mean any more.

Two years ago our son died,
After twenty-two years of him in our lives,
A day never passes without any tears,
Missing our son for the rest of our years.

The family tree is not the same,
There will be no continuation of our name,
How can our son be gone?
Everything now feels so wrong.

Moving through unimaginable pain,
I work on enjoying life again,
Comforted in my afghan of memories and love,
Grateful for the years we were all a part of.

The afghan helps me feel our son is close by,
And to remember that love never dies,
You cannot separate a branch from the tree,
Forever we will be family.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Winged Messengers

Dragonflies, butterflies, hummingbirds and crows,
Through many winged things you help us to know,
That you are still here with us,
And that we must,
See life in a deeper way,
To be able to recognize the signs that say,
I love you mother, I love you dad,
I don't want you to be so sad.

I surround you with my love and care,
Look and be aware,
My body died, but that wasn't me,
I am still here for you to see,
I want you to heal and to feel,
The connection that will always be,
Between you and me.

I am trying my best,
So that you might rest,
And understand, this is part of a divine plan,
To come to know that it was my time to go,
That each of us gains a rest,
When we pass our life's tests.

I am waiting for you until your work is done,
When we'll be together again as one,
Until that time I watch and guide,
With love, from the other side.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Serenity Bench

A prayer from St. Francis of Assisi,
Carved on a bench by our son’s trees,
Inspirational words about wisdom and courage,
Accepting change and not being discouraged.

After our son died we placed the bench there,
Where I often say this Serenity Prayer,
Asking for all heavenly aid,
Surrendering to the plan that was laid.

I sit on the bench and I cry,
Missing my son and questioning “why,”
Amidst the blooms on his apple trees,
Gifts he left for us all to see.

One day I hope to only smile,
With all memories of my child,
And any tears cried will be of joy,
For the years we had with our precious boy.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Broken-Hearted

We are the broken-hearted parents,
Who struggle every day,
Weighted down with sorrow,
For our children who have passed away.

Weary travelers joining many others,
Who are also on this road,
None of us ever imagined,
We’d be carrying this heavy load.

The road is long and filled with anguish,
Flowing with all of our tears,
And the pieces of the dreams we’d envisioned,
With our children through the years.

In a club no one wants to join,
Screaming silently all the way,
We can’t believe how our lives have changed,
And the price we have to pay.

Sometimes we wish we could cross over,
That we too could die,
The pain is almost unbearable,
And all we do is cry.

We listen for our children’s voices,
And feel so terribly alone,
It’s unimaginable living without them,
We just want our children home.

If only it were possible,
There’s nothing that we wouldn’t do,
To be together once again,
Would be a dream come true.

We know they’re happy in Heaven,
Waiting for us to come,
The only consolation,
Until our time here is done.

We may not have the answers,
Or understand the plan,
But we are very thankful,
To have held their precious hands.

We’re separated physically,
In that way we’re apart,
But in all other ways still connected,
Forever within our hearts.

We cherish every moment,
And are grateful through our tears,
To have known the love of our children,
And for the time that they were here.

To have been their parents is a blessing,
And though our hearts are torn,
 We hope to celebrate their memory,
And not forever mourn.

The love we had was priceless,
In it we rejoice,
And if we had the chance again,
We would make no other choice.

Saturday, May 8, 2010


Poets through the ages have tried to express,
The unconditional love that mothers show best,
Searching for words that capture the emotion,
Of a mother’s endless care and devotion.

Their nature is to nurture, to love and protect,
A mother could never do any less,
It is their love that provides the stepping stone,
For their children to launch and come into their own.

Their wisdom and guidance will never steer you wrong,
Children are a mother’s heart song,
Selfless and dedicated to their families,
Beautiful models of what to be.

A wonderful mother is one of life’s greatest gifts,
Her presence never fails to uplift,
No human is perfect, but mothers come close,
That is why children love them the most.

I think this is part of God’s design,
Because life has many difficult times,
Mothers help us to not feel alone,
And provide comfort and security in the unknown.

Thank you for the blessing of mothers,
For their love is like no other,
Value all moments and treasure,
A love that has no measure. 

     I'm thankful every day for the blessing my mother has been in my life.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Mother's Day

     This is a picture taken on Mother's Day 2007.  My husband, daughter, son, and I  met my parents and two of my brothers and their families for a lovely Mother's Day brunch.  My son  died four months later.  We didn't get together in 2008 for Mother's Day, but we did last year in 2009.  I wrote this poem last year a few days before the family gathered again.

I woke up feeling sad today,
I know it’s because of Mother’s Day,
Two years ago you were here,
Sharing the day with family near.

We have beautiful pictures of you and me,
Mother and son, we were so happy,
How proud I was of you,
My handsome son of twenty-two.

I thought that we had forever,
But as the family gathers together,
There will be an empty space,
That no one can ever replace.

I wish with all my heart,
That we were not apart,
I want to see you physically,
To laugh and talk and be with me.

I miss you more than one could know,
And every day I strive to show,
That though our years were far too few,

I was so blessed to be the mother of you.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Family Above All Else

     Graham wrote this for me for Mother's Day 2006.  He was twenty-one years old.  Sixteen months after writing this Graham died.  The original is framed and hanging on my bedroom wall.   I will be forever grateful to have these written words from Graham's heart.  This is the most precious gift.  Thank you, God, for my son, and the love we shared.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Unintentional Hurt

It’s almost unbearable to have your child pass away,
It’s excruciating to get through each day,
When so much reason for living is gone,
It’s all we can do just to hold on.

Well meaning relatives and friends,
Often times unknowingly offend,
With things that they say or don’t do,
With insensitivity dealing with you.

Just under the surface always are tears,
We never know when they’ll appear,
It’s alright for us to cry,
Or if others don’t understand why.

People are uncomfortable thinking about our walk,
So they don’t want to have any talk,
Not realizing acting as if our child didn’t exist,
Is like having our heart hit by a fist.

Without experiencing a child’s loss yourself,
Most people don’t know how to help,
They think we should go on as before,
Our children walked through Heaven’s door.

They question our focus on our departed ones,
Because they have no comprehension,
Of how our world has profoundly changed,
And that we can never be the same.

For the rest of our lives we will live with sorrow,
For the loss of our children and the dreams of tomorrow,
We want to keep their memory alive,
It’s what helps us to survive.

People need to learn to be more forgiving,
There’s no less love for the living,
Love is not finite, it goes on forever,
And as parents we will always remember.