Perhaps they are not stars in the sky, but rather openings where our loved ones shine down to let us know they are happy.
- Eskimo saying
In Memory of Those Who Diedby Nicholas Gordon
In memory of those who died
We weep and walk away.
Tears run into swollen streams.
No trace of us remains.
Even those who grieve are gone,
And those that grieve who grieve,
And those whose lives are ravaged by
A frantic urge to be,
And those who wander silently
Among the empty rooms:
Immortality is theirs,
Though they must vanish, too.
We bear astonished witness to
The passage of the soul.
No bridge exists that can connect
Our passion to the whole.
My grieving page
When I was young my Grandma Swan (my dad's mom) passed away. I was about 8 or 9. It didn't effect me the way it did my niece Susie. She bawled at the funeral. I didn't understand what the fuss was. At least she no longer was suffering and she would be around again in the "new world." It just didn't seem to me to be a big deal. Then when I was 14 or 15 my Grandma Loebrich, (my mom's mom) passed away. She had been sick for a while and we knew she wouldn't last forever. I was a teenage girl then and things effected me more. I really cried when she died. I had always loved my Grandma Loebrich so much. My mom spent most of her days taking care of my Grandma during her last few months and I spent a lot of time there, too. I always remember her house because we always got Ovaltine there and she always had chocolates on her coffee table. She had a lot of nick nacks, like old salt and papper shakers and stuff. She was great lady and I did miss her when she left this world. My Aunt Louise followed her closely in death, only surviving for a few months after my grandmother passed on. My dad said she died of a broken heart because she loved my grandma so much and she had never gotten married. She had taken good care of my Grandma.
As an adult, I've learned to deal with loss in different ways. In March of 1985 we got word that my BELOVED brother Tim passed away from a heart attack. He had been teaching school in England for a short while and had a fatal heart attack. It was devistating news for me. I thought I wanted to die. I mentioned this to my favorite uncle, Uncle Jack, and he told me that I was silly for thinking that way. He reminded me that I had two young children to take care of and if I died there would be no one for them. He was right, of course. But I was still very depressed. I went on a drinking binge that lasted a few days. I really had no idea how to handle the distress I was going through. I thought life was too unfair. I did take this opportunity though to write some poetry about Tim. The hardest part of Tim's death was that he died in March and we had a memorial ceremony for him at Pam's Church. Then in August, near his birthday, we buried his ashes in Michigan. I was just getting over the fact that he was dead and we had to go through the grieving again. That was really hard for me. I felt that no one understood how I was feeling. I felt so alone in the world. My kids were only 5 and 1 at the time and I had no one to cry to at night when the pain was the worst. I can only imagine what my sister-in-law, Doni, and their kids were going through.
A few years later, in 1988, shortly after my marriage began, my sister, Pam, passed on to her better life. I know that she went on to a Summerland. God definately blessed her life and He is sure to have taken her to a better place than this earth. She left behind five kids, ranging from 3-15 at the time. Her husband seemed so strong at the time of her death. He was left with small children to raise and teenage girls to help him manage the household. Her death came as a blow to me though, as I thought we were just becoming good friends after years of sibling rivalry. I know that my family didn't want to upset me because I was pregnant and was in a mess with my marriage, but I knew even before they told me that there was a problem with my sister. You see, I had a gut feeling that something happened to Pam and I called her house to talk to her but was told that she was at a bowling banquet and would call me later. (I had just changed my phone number and Pam was the ONLY person in the family to have it.) Anyway, I felt there was something wrong and it was a feeling that would not go away. There was a bond there and I felt that tug of things not being right. She didn't call me back and I didn't think much of it that night but the next day I went to a brand new mall with Andy, my son, and I told him that Aunt Pam would have loved this mall if she were still here. I knew at that time she would only see it from up above. No one had told me yet of her situation. That evening around 9 or 10 the operator called me and said I was to call my cousin Sarah. I knew then that something had happened to Pam. Sarah tried to take her time telling me what had happened but I already knew there was a problem with Pam. I found out from Sarah that Pam was in a coma and she would probably not come out of it. The family decision was made to pull the life support from her the following day as her brain was already dead. I found out from a nurse at my church, who was attending at the time of Pam's arrival to the hospital, of other things that transpired there. My sister had been part of my lifeblood for a while and I mourned her parting (and still am) for a long time. I drank so much Ovaltine (my comfort food) that I thought I would float away. Of course, I was dealing with an abusive mate at the time, too. The only thing that kept me going was that I was pregnant and my plan was to name the child, if a girl, after Pam. Only ten days later, I lost the babies I was carrying. That was very hard for me to believe. They couldn't be dead. No way! I dealt with the grief by going to a grief counselor and by reading all I could on grieving. If it hadn't been for the counselor I probably would have had a hard time pulling out of the grief. I did write a song in her memory. The lyrics will be on my poetry page. That song made me feel so good, that I was honoring her. I still miss Pam quite a bit and I wonder what life would be like if she had survived. She would be able to see her grandchildren and attend the weddings of her daughters. That would make her happy.
This isn't the end of grieving. In September 1990 I lost another very close brother, Russell. He and I had shared some of our father's wrath and he was always there for me to just talk to if I needed someone to confide in. He was 19 years older than I and I think he was the father figure I was missing. He was understanding and he loved me unconditionally. Russ died of a cerebral hemmorage. It was sudden. I was not ready for that news. I had just moved into a new apartment and was in a good space in my life. It would have been impossible for us to go to the funeral if it hadn't been for my sister-in-law, Ruby. She made sure we had the money to get to Ohio for the funeral. My father made a gesture that was unexpected. He allowed Russ to be buried next to our brother Clair, who had died years before. My father also told me that there were three other plots if anyone in the family ever needed them. Russ's death caught a lot of people off guard and we all felt my dad was softening. I wrote a lot of poetry and a lot in my journal about Russ.
In June of 1991, my dear sis-in-law, Ruby passed on to her new life, too. She went on to be with Russ in Summerland. I began to think all of the people I loved would die. This made it hard for me to love many people.
In May of 1991, the love of my life, the one I'll always pine for and love, even though I've allowed myfself to love others, my soulmate, John Michael Tewksbury (Tewks) passed away. I still grieve him and I find it hard to write about him so I will leave it at this. I do have the product of our relationship, though, to remind me of him. My oldest son Joshua, is Tewks' son.
I have also lost both of my parents. My mom died in November of 1997. She passed away on my parents' 61st anniversary, shortly after they had dinner together. She had been sick for quite some time and people say it is suppose to make it easier but it really hasn't. I feel guilt for not being there for her in the end. I was living 1300+ miles away. The day after her death my sister Ruth called me early in the morning to tell me. I went to work anyway. It hadn't sunk in yet, I guess. At work though, I broke down in tears. It finally hit. I have been reading grief books again to deal with this loss and have included those books in a selected reading section. A few days after my mom passed on I asked her for a sign that she was okay. I felt a great big hug wrapped around me and her voice said that she was with the other family members and everything would be alright. Read my poem for my mom, called "Two Roses for Mom" or visit my page devoted to her. I believe that I will see my mom and my loved ones again. Not too soon, though. Click here to read my memories of Mom. Or here. Or here. Or here.
On January 3, 1998 my father followed my mother in death. He had been on kidney dialysis for 14 months and he finally just gave up and he died. It was just 6 weeks after mom's passing. I had a hard time dealing with his loss, because I had not forgiven him for the abuse dealt when I was a child. I have worked through the anger I had towards my father and can say that I have forgiven him. I know he was only doing what he thought was best. Click here to read my memories of my dad. Or here.
Well, that is not all... my niece Becky died in July of 2001. She was on her way to the Grand Canyon with her 9 year old son when someone crossed the line and hit her head on. She died instantly. Her son was severely injured and will live with the memory of the accident the rest of his life. Becky was only 39...too young to die. She also left a daughter who was 18. Click here to read the memories of Becky.
If you are dealing with your own losses I hope that I have not made them worse. I hope that you too can find peace in knowing that a greater place awaits us out there after we die.