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December 25, 2010


  I still hear the songs
I still see the lights
I still feel your love
on cold wintry nights

I still share your hopes
and all of your cares
I'll even remind you
to please say your prayers

I just want to tell you
you still make me proud
You stand head and shoulders
above all the crowd

Keep trying each moment
to stay in His grace
I came here before you
to help set your place

You don't have to be
perfect all of the time
He forgives you the slip
If you continue the climb

To my family and friends
please be thankful today
I'm still close beside you
In a new special way

I love you all dearly
now don't shed a tear
Cause I'm spending my
Christmas with Jesus this year

Copyright 1990 John Wm. Mooney. Jr.

December 14, 2010

Pardon Me!

Pardon me for embarassing you or causing you any discomfort.
Please feel free to enjoy the sun, the sky, the trees,
your smiling partner, your beautiful children.

Yes, I just love your tree this year.
No, you never can have too much tinsel.
After all, it is Christmas!

Yes, I quite understand that you'd rather we stay away.
Its been fun, the family lunch, all these years.
But I quite understand that my incomplete family
distresses you.

Of course, I want you to have a merry christmas
to keep believeing in Santa Claus.
If you see my pain-ravaged face - and don't see my daughter -
you'll see that the sky isn't quite as blue
as you thought it was
you'll feel that the sun isn't quite as warm
as you hoped it was
And your Christmas will be - well, less merry.

And no, I wouldn't want that.
So I quite understand why we're not invited this year.
After all, what's the point?
Santa can't mend broken hearts.

November 5, 2010

Helping a grieving person tip 4: Watch for warning signs

It’s common for a grieving person to feel depressed, confused, disconnected from others, or like they’re going crazy. But if the bereaved person’s symptoms don’t gradually start to fade – or they get worse with time – this may be a sign that normal grief has evolved into a more serious problem, such as clinical depression.
Encourage the grieving person to seek professional help if you observe any of the following warning signs after the initial grieving period – especially if it’s been over two months since the death.
  • Difficulty functioning in daily life
  • Extreme focus on the death
  • Excessive bitterness, anger, or guilt
  • Neglecting personal hygiene
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Inability to enjoy life
  • Hallucinations
  • Withdrawing from others
  • Constant feelings of hopelessness
  • Talking about dying or suicide
It can be tricky to bring up your concerns to the bereaved person. You don’t want to perceived as invasive. Instead of telling the person what to do, try stating your own feelings: “I am troubled by the fact that you aren’t sleeping – perhaps you should look into getting help.

November 4, 2010

Helping a grieving person tip 3: Provide ongoing support

Grieving continues long after the funeral is over and the cards and flowers have stopped. The length of the grieving process varies from person to person. But in general, grief lasts much longer than most people expect. Your bereaved friend or family member may need your support for months or even years.
  • Continue your support over the long haul. Stay in touch with the grieving person, periodically checking in, dropping by, or sending letters or cards. Your support is more valuable than ever once the funeral is over, the other mourners are gone, and the initial shock of the loss has worn off.
  • Don’t make assumptions based on outward appearances. The bereaved person may look fine on the outside, while inside he or she is suffering. Avoid saying things like “You are so strong” or “You look so well.” This puts pressure on the person to keep up appearances and to hide his or her true feelings.
  • The pain of bereavement may never fully heal. Be sensitive to the fact that life may never feel the same. You don’t “get over” the death of a loved one. The bereaved person may learn to accept the loss. The pain may lessen in intensity over time. But the sadness may never completely go away.
  • Offer extra support on special days. Certain times and days of the year will be particularly hard for your grieving friend or family member. Holidays, family milestones, birthdays, and anniversaries often reawaken grief. Be sensitive on these occasions. Let the bereaved person know that you’re there for whatever he or she needs.

November 3, 2010

Helping a grieving person tip 2: Offer practical assistance

It is difficult for many grieving people to ask for help. They might feel guilty about receiving so much attention, fear being a burden, or be too depressed to reach out. You can make it easier for them by making specific suggestions – such as, “I’m going to the market this afternoon. What can I bring you from there?” or “I’ve made beef stew for dinner. When can I come by and bring you some?”

Consistency is very helpful, if you can manage it – being there for as long as it takes. This helps the grieving person look forward to your attentiveness without having to make the additional effort of asking again and again. You can also convey an open invitation by saying, “Let me know what I can do,” which may make a grieving person feel more comfortable about asking for help. But keep in mind that the bereaved may not have the energy or motivation to call you when they need something, so it’s better if you take the initiative to check in.

Be the one who takes the initiative

There are many practical ways you can help a grieving person. You can offer to:
  • Shop for groceries or run errands
  • Drop off a casserole or other type of food
  • Help with funeral arrangements
  • Stay in their home to take phone calls and receive guests
  • Help with insurance forms or bills
  • Take care of housework, such as cleaning or laundry
  • Watch their children or pick them up from school
  • Drive them wherever they need to go
  • Look after their pets
  • Go with them to a support group meeting
  • Accompany them on a walk
  • Take them to lunch or a movie
  • Share an enjoyable activity (game, puzzle, art project)

November 2, 2010

Helping a grieving person tip 1: Listen with compassion

Almost everyone worries about what to say to people who are grieving. But knowing how to listen is much more important. Oftentimes, well-meaning people avoid talking about the death or mentioning the deceased person. However, the bereaved need to feel that their loss is acknowledged, it’s not too terrible to talk about, and their loved one won’t be forgotten.
While you should never try to force someone to open up, it’s important to let the bereaved know they have permission to talk about the loss. Talk candidly about the person who died and don’t steer away from the subject if the deceased’s name comes up. When it seems appropriate, ask sensitive questions – without being nosy – that invite the grieving person to openly express his or her feelings. Try simply asking, “Do you feel like talking?”
  • Accept and acknowledge all feelings. Let the grieving person know that it’s okay to cry in front of you, to get angry, or to break down. Don’t try to reason with them over how they should or shouldn’t feel. The bereaved should feel free to express their feelings, without fear of judgment, argument, or criticism.
  • Be willing to sit in silence. Don’t press if the grieving person doesn’t feel like talking. You can offer comfort and support with your silent presence. If you can’t think of something to say, just offer eye contact, a squeeze of the hand, or a reassuring hug.
  • Let the bereaved talk about how their loved one died. People who are grieving may need to tell the story over and over again, sometimes in minute detail. Be patient. Repeating the story is a way of processing and accepting the death. With each retelling, the pain lessens.
  • Offer comfort and reassurance without minimizing the loss. Tell the bereaved that what they’re feeling is okay. If you’ve gone through a similar loss, share your own experience if you think it would help. However, don’t give unsolicited advice, claim to “know” what the person is feeling, or compare your grief to theirs.

November 1, 2010

Understanding Grief...

The better your understanding of grief and how it is healed, the better equipped you’ll be to help a bereaved friend or family member:
  • There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Grief does not alwaysunfold in orderly, predictable stages. It can be an emotional rollercoaster, with unpredictable highs, lows, and setbacks. Everyone grieves differently, so avoid telling the bereaved what they “should” be feeling or doing.
  • Grief may involve extreme emotions and behaviors. Feelings of guilt, anger, despair, and fear are common. A grieving person may yell to the heavens, obsess about the death, lash out at loved ones, or cry for hours on end. The bereaved need reassurance that what they’re feeling is normal. Don’t judge them or take their grief reactions personally.
  • There is no set timetable for grieving. For many people, recovery after bereavement takes 18 to 24 months, but for others, the grieving process may be longer or shorter. Don’t pressure the bereaved to move on or make them feel like they’ve been grieving too long. This can actually slow their healing.

October 26, 2010

Dear Mom...

Dear Mom,

I know this is a rough time for you. So I will be as gentle as I can be.
First of all, thank you for so many tears, particularly those shared with another that you love. They are a gift to me, a precious tribute to your investment in me. As you do your mourning, do it at your pace only.
Don't let anybody suggest that you do your grief work on their timetable. Do whatever it takes to face directly the reality of what has happened, even though you may need to pause frequently & yearn for my return. Do this with courage & my blessings.
Know that sometimes inertia is the only movement possible. Give your best to keeping a balance between remembering me & renewing your commitments to life. It's okay with me if you go through minutes, hours & even days not thinking about me. I know that you'll never forget. Loosening me & grabbing hold of a new meaning is a delicate art. I'm not sure if one comes before the other or not, maybe it's a combination.
Be with people who accept you as you are.
Mention my name out loud, & if they don't make a hasty retreat, they're probably excellent candidates for friendship. If, by a remote possibility, you think that there is anything that you could have done for me & didn't, I forgive you, as my Lord does.
Resentment does not abide here, only love. You know how people sometimes ask you how many children you have? Well, I'm still yours & you are still my Mom.
Always acknowledge that with tenderness, unless to do so would fall on insensitive ears or would be painful to you. I know how you feel inside. To be included as your child honors me. Read, even though your tears anoint the page.
There is an immense library here & I have a card. In Henri Nowens' (sic) "Out of Solitude" he writes, "The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair & confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief & bereavement, who can tolerate not healing, & face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares."
Mom, I don't know where you are spiritually now, but rest assured that our God is not gone. The still small voice you hear in your heart is His voice. The warmth that sometimes enfolds you is Him. The tears that tremble just beneath your heartbeat is Him. He is in you, as I am. I want you to know that I am okay.
I have sent you messages to ease your pain, they come in the form of flowers that bloom out of season, birds singing, voices & visions & sometimes through your friends & even strangers who volunteer as angels.
Stay open but don't expect the overly dramatic :) You will get what you need & it may be simply an internal peace. You are not crazy, you have been comforted.
Please seek out people bereaved longer than you. They are tellers of truth, & if they have done their work, are an inspiration & a beacon of hope whose pain lessened dramatically & one more wisdom before I close. There are still funny happenings in our world. It delights me to no end when I hear your spontaneous, uncontrolled laughter. That, too, will come in due time. Today, I light a candle for you. Joined with your candle, let their light shine above the darkness.
Your Loving Angel child.
Greggy Jr xoxo

October 25, 2010

A Bereaved Parent’s Wish List

I wish my child hadn’t died. I wish I had him back...

I wish you wouldn’t be afraid to speak my child’s name. My child lived and was very important to me. I need to hear that he was important to you as well.

If I cry and get emotional when you talk about my child, I wish you knew that it isn’t because you have hurt me. My child’s death is the cause of my tears. You have talked about my child, and you have allowed me to share my grief. I thank you for both.

I wish you wouldn’t “kill” my child again by removing his pictures, artwork, or other remembrances from your home.

Being a bereaved parent is not contagious, so I wish you wouldn’t shy away from me. I need you more than ever.

I need diversions, so I do want to hear about you; but I also want you to hear about me. I might be said and I might cry, but I wish you would let me talk about my child, my favorite topic of the day.

I know that you think of and pray for me often. I also know that my child’s death pains you, too. I wish you would let me know things through a phone call, a card or a note, or a real big hug.

I wish you wouldn’t expect my grief to be over in six months. These first months are traumatic for me, but I wish you could understand that my grief will never be over. I will suffer the death of my child until the day I die.

I am working very hard in my recovery, but I wish you could understand that I will never fully recover. I will always miss my child, and I will always grieve that he is dead.

I wish you wouldn’t expect me “not to think about it” or to “be happy”. Neither will happen for a very long time so don’t frustrate yourself.

I don’t want to have a “pity party,” but I do wish you would let me grieve. I must hurt before I can heal.

I wish you understood how my life has shattered. I know it is miserable for you to be around me when I’m feeling miserable. Please be as patient with me as I am with you.

When I say, “I’m doing okay,” I wish you could understand that I don’t feel okay and that I struggle daily.

I wish you knew that all of the grief reactions I’m having are very normal. Depression, anger, hopelessness and overwhelming sadness are all to be expected. So please excuse me when I’m quiet and withdrawn or irritable and cranky.

Your advice to “take one day at a time” is excellent. I wish you could understand that I’m doing good to handle him at an hour at a time.

I wish you understood that grief changes people. When my child died, a big part of me died with him. I am not the same person I was before my child died, and I will never be that person again.

I wish very much that you could understand – understand my loss and my grief, my silence and my tears, my void and my pain. But I pray daily that you will never understand.

Today marks 26 weeks or 6 months... since Greggy has been gone... Does anyone have a clue?

October 10, 2010

Please do not avoid me...

Please do not avoid me,
Even if you don’t know what to say.
If you have not lost a child,
I know you cannot imagine my pain.
The thought of it terrifies you...

Please say William's name.
If you speak of him,
You will most likely see a smile rather than a tear.
Do not say I am strong, that you could not bear the loss.
Believe me, you have no idea how this would affect you.

If I cry, it does not mean I am weak.
If I smile, it does not mean I am strong.
It just means I am human.
Please support my journey of grief.
It may never end.
The journey may start with lost dreams,
Sadness and despair.
We will also find William's essence,
Hope, happiness,
And love of life.

Vance Robinson, 10/10/10

{Ditto for me, just replace William with Greggy Jr.}

September 27, 2010

This Too Will Pass Away...

If I can endure for this minute

Whatever is happening to me,

No matter how heavy my heart is

Or how "dark" the moment may be--

If I can remain calm & quiet

With all my world crashing about me,

Secure in the knowledge God Loves Me

When everyone else seems to doubt me--

If I can but keep on believing

What I know in my heart to be true,

That "darkness will fade with the morning"


Then nothing in life can defeat me,

For as long as this knowledge remains

I can suffer whatever is happening

For I know God will break "all the chains"

That are binding me tight in "THE DARKNESS"

And trying to fill me with fear--


And I know that "MY MORNING" is near...

September 4, 2010

Written by our Oldest Son...

The story of my brother...
Today is a day of an old endeavor; One that we remember Back 19 years to this September; On the second, a baby beckoned. I am not a girl; I’m a boy, a boy, Oh how the room filled with joy. Life was a gift, in which we all received, but Greggy’s had no boundaries. And in its self it was hell, with the best view into heaven. I wish I could say it was an easy day; but all we could do was desperately pray. Hoping, for a full life with his family, or a quick return to God...However, Fate, is a game of dice, and even those who are so nice, Have to pay the price of those all powerful dice. And we cannot look into our destiny as if it were a book. Just like our poor boy was not a crook, only very mistook. Since without a challenge there is no good, The Lord must test us all, and many have to fall. We have to crawl, to answer our calling. And my brother was always crawling. How the time seemed so unimportant, Oh what I would give to have redeemed my long lost moments...But today is a day to remember, that lost young boy, who had to climb. Climb he did, to the very top, just in time, before that unexpected stop. Oh he hit his prime in such a shine; that little boy, who looked up at me, was now a man... A man up in the clouds...
written on: 9-2-2010 - by: Joseph E. Whale
Posted on: http://www.legacy.com/guestbook/pennlive/guestbook.aspx?n=gregory-whale&pid=142333529&cid=full

David's Eulogy...

At our Youngest Son's Memorial Service, Our Middle Son, David, stood up & said:

"... I came up with a good analogy on why my Mom called a thousand people that 1st day & why all of us here are gonna go home & tell someone else & why I'm standing here telling all of you... ---> My Brother, Greggy dying was like us, our family receiving a 50,000 Slice Pizza... It'll take a long time for us to eat that pizza, it's gonna give us a lot of heartburn, and a lot of stomach aches. But every time I talk about it, it's like giving you a slice. It doesn't mean that when we're done with that pizza it's gone, it just means that it'll be a lot easier to swallow. Right here, I'm giving away a lot of pizza. It doesn't make that 50,000 number any smaller, but it does in the long run... Every time I think about him, Every time I turn to my girlfriend & tell her that story that I just thought about, I'm giving her another piece, She's gonna have a little bit of Heart-burn in the process, but the point is, It's gonna go away..."

- He shared with us a few memories, that was able to make us all laugh & then he said: -

"... I'm glad I was able to give each one of you a piece of Pizza today... Thank You all for Being here"

September 2, 2010

When You Lose A Son, It IS All Right To...

Scream in the shower;
Yell in the car;
Wail into the air;
Cry anywhere you like;
Misplace your glasses;
Lose your keys;
Forget your friend's name;
Feel hurt by those who forget you;
Get frustrated with others who "don't get it";
Talk about your child all of the time;
Beat up a pillow;
Tune Others Out;
Change grocery stores if it hurts too much;
Wear one black shoe & one navy;
Have tear stains on your tie;
Eat ice-cream for breakfast;
Cry anywhere & everywhere;
Not eat when you just can't;
Write a love letter;
Bake his favorite cookies;
Not wash his clothes so you can smell him;
Lie in his bed & cry;
Celebrate his life on his Birthday;
Talk to your pets (they understand);
Leave his room the way it is for as long as you like;
Say his name just to hear the sound;
Talk to strangers about him;
Tell Loved ones what you need;
Say "no" when you feel like it;
Cancel plans if you want;

And, One Day, when you are ready, it's alright to...
Laugh again;
Go out to dinner with friends;
Dance & feel attractive;
Look forward to something...

From Grief-Haven - A Haven of Hope...
Susan Whitmore (President)

August 26, 2010

Six months ago today,

Six months ago today,
was the day you passed away.
I can't believe this time has passed.
It seems just yesterday that together we laughed.
My heart still hurts, it aches with pain.
There is no cure, it will never be the same.
As it was the day before then,
I miss you so much. Will this heartache ever end?
I still wonder why. Why you aren't with us still.
Like I said before, that's not how I feel.
I feel as though you're just a phone call away.
Then I remember Six months ago today.
I will always hold a special place for you in my heart.
It will only grow bigger, till the day that I depart.
From the earth to the sky, I just cannot wait,
for the day that we meet again at Heaven's gate.
I know you brought happiness to all up above.
As you left happy memories with us filled with love.

I feel safe knowing you are watching over me.
I know that you're gone, but with me spiritually.
I'm mentally broken, I can never relive this pain.
I will always remember... Six months ago today...

by Sarah Garton.

July 26, 2010

Your child has died and you’ve entered this strange new world of bereavement, where many people like you think they are losing their mind. Others, who have not had your experience, think that you will “get over” the loss of your child. Neither of these assertions is true. Eventually, when you’ve had the necessary time and proper support, you will find the pain will lessen, as you learn how to live with this terrible loss. You won’t like it as well as the way things were before the death, but it will be better than the fresh grief. Time is of the utmost importance, as is patience. Although we tire of dealing with the sorrow of it all, we ultimately learn that no one is able to hurt with the intensity of fresh grief forever. Scars do develop where there was one raw pain. Isn’t that good to know?

You wonder how or if you can survive this devastation and how long it will take for some normalcy to return to your life. Well, there are no timetables. You will be quoted times like two years, and it is true that some people will work through the process in that length of time. It is also true that some people take a longer time, others a shorter time. It all depends on your needs and how you have dealt with other losses in your life.

Most of us experience shock. This can last differing times for different people. Some look back on it as a blessing, for it is nature’s way of protecting us from the full impact of all that we’ve lost. It’s difficult to imagine that anyone can physically stand it if all of that occurs at once, so nature does a kind thing. It wraps us in a protective cocoon that keeps out much of the pain. It allows us to continue functioning as we take care of the necessary things involved with the solemn task of making plans for the final rights of someone we love. Some people find themselves taking care of others during this time. Bystanders may comment on how well we are doing and admire our great strength never understanding that it was our cocoon doing its job.

Some people experience denial. When nature’s cocoon starts disintegrating and the pain starts coming in, they try to provide their own cocoon. They do this by denying that the death has taken place.
“He’s not dead. He’s visiting Grandmother,” or “She’s not dead. She’s visiting with her friends.”
They’re somewhere, but they’re not dead. This is called denial, and it’s a normal thing for some people to try to extend nature’s cocoon. It works for a while, but that invented protective coating also dissolves. That may be when we find ourselves dealing with the reality of our loss. It doesn’t get better for a while, but we’ve touched bottom for now.
Some people bypass these diversionary tactics. They go directly to the heart of the matter and their grief starts right away. They may be the luckier ones, for they deal right away with what has to be dealt with before their grief can soften.

Anger is another emotion that rears its head. It is a very normal reaction when someone dear to us has died. Although society frowns on anger and doesn’t understand why it happens after a death, it’s nothing that we should be ashamed about. The truth is, we are angry because our child has died. We look for someone to blame. It could be the doctors and nurses, if our child died in a hospital. A spouse, relatives or friends who do or say the wrong things in their efforts to comfort, may also be
blamed. Then, too, our religious beliefs may have to undergo some questioning. If we had depended on God to take care of our family, we may have anger at Him for His failure, as we see it. It may take some time for us to make peace with our God. There are ways of directing your anger into positive things. Physical activity, such as hard work and sports, may help, as well as breaking dishes, screaming in the shower and anything else that relieves tension and doesn’t allow anger to be turned inward and become depression. Telling our experience enough times until we’ve exhausted the need to tell it anymore or crying whenever and wherever a good cry helps is a good tension breaker too.

Someone has said that if one separates grief from guilt, he/she will cut grief in half. There is much truth in that statement. Being human, none of us is totally free of regret over something large or small that was in some way connected with our children. The brain, being the devious thing that it can be at times, seems determined to punish us by recalling even the smallest thing. It makes one regret not being more capable, when making decisions, in other words, more perfect. Guilt comes from parenting instincts that say we are responsible for whatever happens to our children, good or bad. We learn that we aren’t the all-powerful people that we had thought. Some think guilt is an attempt to make some sense of the senselessness of your child’s death, or an answer to the unanswerable WHY.
We must try to remember that we loved our child and we did the best we could. No amount of guilt ever changed anything. Excessive guilt is a wasted emotion. It is only good where planning ahead, pointless when looking back.

Common complaints among bereaved parents include the loss of the ability to concentrate, excessive fatigue, inability to sleep or sleeping too much, loss of appetite, physical complaints, such as stomach disorders. It is good to know that time and patience will help to alleviate many of the conditions.

An aerial view of the road of grief would show us just how arduous the road really is. We go along on the straight and narrow for a short time, only to suddenly veer right or left into the steep, rough terrain of uncharted land. One can see that sometimes the road crisscrosses and returns to already traveled sections that have to be covered again. If we noted when our road made the wildest and most unexpected turns, we would see that the dates of special family-oriented events coincide with those trips deep into the hinterlands. Such times as birthdays, holidays, death dates, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, season changes, school beginnings and endings, and any date that is important in a family’s history, all have signs near them that clearly mark them as detours.
Although the terrain alongside us is uncharted now, this time next year it will be more familiar. At least the unknowns of the year of ‘firsts’ will be behind us. Isn’t it good to know that one day we will emerge from this strange, new road that we have been traveling on and find ourselves back in the more familiar territory? Some of your landmarks will have changed, but there will be enough of the familiar to make us feel more comfortable. We will find we have left the most painful part of our grief back there on that road someplace.
In the meantime, go to the nearest Bereaved Parents meeting. All those there will be parents who have lost at least one child. Let the people there with more experience show how to live with the temporary “insanity” in as sane a way as possible. It is comforting to find that we can again find meaning and purpose in life after the death of a child.

July 2, 2010

Don't Think...

Don't think, that if you don't see me shedding tears for my son
It doesn't mean my heart doesn't hurt every single day for him...

Don't think, that if you don't see me crumpled to the ground
Cursing at everyone involved, that I don't miss him every second...

Don't think, that if you don't see me sitting here holding his urn
Staring at the walls, that I don't talk to him every moment...

Don't think, that if you don't see me, caressing his pictures,
Holding his clothing, that I don't want to trade places with him...

Just because you don't see me do all of those things,
Doesn't mean I don't do them every day...

It just means that I don't let you see me that way...

June 26, 2010

A New Body...

- Dick Underwood 2008

God has provided a physical body with which to live this physical life, but eventually, through age, infirmity, injury or illness, our body becomes so worn or damaged that it is no longer capable of sustaining our life.
At that moment, God allows us to lay our physical bodies down, and he provides us with a new, Spiritual, Body.
Our physical body is confined by time.
We are confined to our physical limits.
We only get a fleeting glimpse of things spiritual.

Our new, Spiritual, Body has no limits.
We are able to see the fullness of Spiritual things.
The fullness of God's love.
The fullness of God's joy.
The fullness of God's peace.

So we are not sad because of the death of our loved one.
We are sad because of our loss, not theirs.

Within the limits of your physical bodies,
within the limits of your physical experience,
I pray that you will receive a glimpse of
the love, joy, and peace of God
that now surrounds and in-fills your loved one.

June 3, 2010

If Tears Could Build A Stairway

If tears could build a stairway
and thoughts a memory lane
I'd walk right up to heaven
and bring you home again
No Farewell words were spoken
No time to say good-bye
You were gone before I knew it
And only God knows why.
My heart's still active in sadness
And secret tears still flow
What it meant to lose you
No one can ever know.
But now I know you want us
To mourn for you no more
To remember all the happy times
Life still has much in store.
Since you'll never be forgotten
I pledge to you today
A hallowed place within my heart
Is where you'll always stay.
God knows why, with chilling touch,
Death gathers those we love so much,
And what now seems so strange and dim,
Will all be clear, when we meet Him.
I Knew you for a Moment

June 2, 2010

A funeral poem for son

Son, it isn't right that you,
Should have died before your Pa;
Or that you should go to Heaven,
before your loving Ma.

But God knows best,
And He has taken you to be His own;
And now you sit beside Him,
on His gold encrusted throne.

We always thought that we would go,
Before our loving Son;
But you went first, before your life
had really just begun.

And so we mourn what may have been,
The promises denied.
We never will forget the
Fateful day that our Son died.

We'll celebrate your birthdays,
Although you won't be there;
And we'll mourn the passing years,
As we see your empty chair.

And one day, Son, you'll meet again,
Your loving Ma and Pa;
And we'll be united,
On that shinning heavenly star.

But till then we'll remember,
Each empty passing year;
How you brought joy and happiness,
And laughter, and a tear.

You made our lives complete,
And they're empty now you've gone.
But we never will forget you,
Our ever loving Son.

© 2010 Dick Underwood

June 1, 2010

The Grain

I took up a handful of grain
and let it slip
flowing through my fingers.
I said to myself,

"This is what it is all about.
There is no longer
any room for pretence.
At harvest time,
the essence is revealed
the straw and chaff
are set aside,
they have done their job.

The grain alone matters -
sacks of pure gold.
So it is when a person dies
the essence of that
person is revealed.
At the moment of death
a person's character
stands out happy
for the person who has
forged it well over the years.
Then it will not be the
great achievement
that will matter, nor,
how much money
or possessions
a person has amassed.
These like the
straw and the chaff,
will be left behind.

It is what
he has made of himself
that will matter.
Death can take away
from us what we have,
but it cannot rob us
of who we are.

May 29, 2010

I Wish You Enough

- Bob Perks

Recently I overheard a father and daughter in their last moments together at an airport terminal. They had announced her departure and standing near the security gate, they hugged and he said, "I love you. I wish you enough." She in turn said, "Daddy, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ever needed. I wish you enough, too, Daddy."
They kissed and she left. He walked over toward the window where I was seated. Standing there I could see he wanted and needed to cry. I tried not to intrude on his privacy, but he welcomed me in by asking, "Did you ever say goodbye to someone knowing it would be forever?"
"Yes, I have," I replied. Saying that brought back memories I had of expressing my love and appreciation for all my Dad had done for me. Recognizing that his days were limited, I took the time to tell him face to face how much he meant to me.
So I knew what this man experiencing.
"Forgive me for asking, but why is this a forever goodbye?" I asked.
"I am old and she lives much too far away. I have challenges ahead and the reality is, the next trip back would be for my funeral," he said.
"When you were saying goodbye I heard you say, "I wish you enough." May I ask what that means?"
He began to smile. "That's a wish that has been handed down from other generations. My parents used to say it to everyone." He paused for a moment and looking up as if trying to remember it in detail, he smiled even more."When we said 'I wish you enough,' we were wanting the other person to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain them," he continued and then turning toward me he shared the following as if he were reciting it from memory.
"I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish enough "Hello's" to get you through the final "Goodbye."
He then began to sob and walked away.
My friends, I wish you enough!

May 28, 2010

We would ask now of Death

Then Almitra spoke, saying, "We would ask now of Death."
And he said: You would know the secret of death.
But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?

The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light.
If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life.
For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.

In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond;
And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.
Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.

Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honour.
Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king?
Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?

For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?
And what is to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?

Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.

Khalil Gibran (1883-1931)

May 27, 2010

Water of Life

King Solomon, very old, was sitting in his garden when he felt someone standing behind him.
He turned, and recognized the Angel of Death.
"I, Solomon, wisest man ever, must also die?", He asked.
"Yes", said the Angel of Death, "unless you drink the water of life, from paradise. Since you are Solomon, I will give you three days to get the water."

Wise Solomon asked his animal friends who would bring water from paradise.
King of birds, the Eagle, volunteered.
On the third day, the Eagle returned with a goblet of water resting on one wing.

Solomon hesitated, and turned to the animals, "Should I drink it?"
They all replied "Yes!"
Again he hesitated. "Who's missing? Not all the animals are here. Where's the fox?"
The Fox was located, and returned, so Solomon asked him "Should I drink, yes or no?"
The Fox said, "Everyone else said 'yes' so why ask me?"
Solomon: "Because you're wisest."
The Fox replied, "Well, I say it's better to die now when everyone will wail, 'Why is he dead?' than to live on until everyone wails 'Why isn't he dead?'.
Wise Solomon made up his mind, and said "Truly you're the wisest. Eagle, take the water back to paradise."

May 26, 2010

The WaterBeetle Eulogy...

Once, in a little pond, in the muddy water under the lily pads, there lived a little water beetle in a community of water beetles. They lived a simple and comfortable life in the pond with few disturbances and interruptions. Once in a while, sadness would come to the community when one of their fellow beetles would climb the stem of a lily pad and would never be seen again. They knew when this happened; their friend was dead, gone forever.

Then, one day, one little water beetle felt an irresistible urge to climb up that stem. However, he was determined that he would not leave forever. He would come back and tell his friends what he had found at the top. When he reached the top and climbed out of the water onto the surface of the lily pad, he was so tired, and the sun felt so warm, that he decided he must take a nap.
As he slept, his body changed and when he woke up, he had turned into a beautiful blue-tailed dragonfly with broad wings and a slender body designed for flying.

So, fly he did! And, as he soared he saw the beauty of a whole new world and a far superior way of life to what he had never known existed. Then he remembered his beetle friends and how they were thinking by now he was dead. He wanted to go back to tell them, and explain to them that he was now more alive than he had ever been before. His life had been fulfilled rather than ended. But, his new body would not go down into the water. He could not get back to tell his friends the good news. Then he understood that their time would come, when they, too, would know what he now knew. So, he raised his wings and flew off into his joyous new life!

May 25, 2010

Gone Too Soon

- Mary Yarnall

This was a life that had hardly begun
No time to find your place in the sun
No time to do all you could have done
But we loved you enough for a lifetime.

No time to enjoy the world and its wealth
No time to take life down from the shelf
No time to sing the song of yourself
Though you had enough love for a lifetime.

Those who live long endure sadness and tears
But you'll never suffer the sorrowing years
No betrayal, no anger, no hatred, no fears
Just love , only love , in your lifetime

April 26, 2010

The day we Lost Our Son...

Gregory Edward Whale, Jr.
Our son, Gregory Edward Whale, Jr, was born on September 2, 1991 and for some reason, a reason that we don't know or understand right now, was taken from us on Monday, April 26, 2010 (at 3:22PM) in a tragic car accident.

If we had known that Monday, would have been the last day here on earth for our son, we would have taken time to share more of him with others, so that you would know what a gift from God we were given and understand the loss that we are feeling right now.

Gregory is gone, but will always be a part of us. He is gone, but not forgotten. We know that some day, we will see him again. But now, alone without him, his brothers and the rest of us, must go on. May all of us that knew him, take a small piece of something that he shared with us. Whether it was the way to face life…..or how he would walk into a room and say one word and make us all stop and think of what he just said….yes, even if the word was "Pineapple"

Life handed him so many challenges from day one, but he met every one of them head on, doing it his way no matter what. He lived more in his short 18 Years; 7 Months; 24 Days; 1 Hour; & 31 Minutes here on earth, than most people lived in a lifetime.

He left behind his parents, Gregory & Christina Whale, two brothers, Joseph Whale of Florida and David Whale of Palmyra. Grandparents Deacon & Mrs. William Whale of Florida and grandmother, Mrs. Ruth Back of Harrisburg; 5 aunts, 3 uncles, 10 cousins and loads and loads of other relatives who will miss him beyond words.

He was homeschooled and graduated at the age of 16 and went on to attend Daytona State College in Florida and then Harrisburg Area Community College where he was studying to be a nurse, so that he could help others. In between going to school and studying he also found time to work at Arby's Restaurant and spend time with friends.

Saying goodbye is something we just can't do right now, so we are going to have a memorial service to celebrate his life at 10 a.m., on Saturday, May 1, 2010 at Jesse H. Geigle Funeral home at 2100 Linglestown Road, Harrisburg. There will be a visitation from 9 a.m. until 10 a.m in the funeral home.

In lieu of flowers, we would be honored if you would make Memorial Contributions to John Hopkins University, ECMO Department, 600 N. Wolfe St., Baltimore, MD 21287, where Greggy first started showing us how much determination and strength he really had.

And then you may leave condolences at the following online Legacy page.

March 18, 2010

Who Am I?

I was born in one country, raised in another.
My father was born in another country.
I was not his only child.
He fathered several children with numerous women.
I became very close to my mother, as my father showed no interest in me.
My mother died at an early age from cancer.
Although my father deserted me and my mother raised me, I later wrote a book idolizing my father not my mother.
Later in life, questions arose over my real name.
My birth records were sketchy.
No one was able to produce a legitimate, reliable birth certificate.
I grew up practicing one faith but converted to Christianity, as it was widely accepted in my new country, but I practiced non-traditional beliefs and didn't follow Christianity, except in the public eye under scrutiny.
I worked and lived among lower-class people as a young adult, disguising myself as someone who really cared about them.
That was before I decided it was time to get serious about my life and embarked on a new career.
I wrote a book about my struggles growing up.
It was clear to those who read my memoirs, that I had difficulties accepting that my father abandoned me as a child.
I became active in local politics in my 30's then, with help behind the scenes, I literally burst onto the scene as a candidate for national office in my 40s.
They said I had a golden tongue and could talk anyone into anything.
I had a virtually non-existent resume, little work history, and no experience in leading a single organization.
Yet I was a powerful speaker and citizens were drawn to me, as though I were a magnet and they were small roofing tacks.
I drew incredibly large crowds during my public appearances.
This bolstered my ego.
At first, my political campaign focused on my country's foreign policy...
I was very critical of my country in the last war, and seized every opportunity to bash my country.
But what launched my rise to national prominence were my views on the
country's economy.
I pretended to have a really good plan on how we could do better, and every poor person would be fed and housed for free.
I knew which group was responsible for getting us into this mess.
It was the free market, banks and corporations.
I decided to start making citizens hate them and, if they became envious of others who did well, the plan was clinched tight.
I called mine "A People's Campaign".
That sounded good to all people.
I was the surprise candidate because I emerged from outside the traditional path of politics and was able to gain widespread popular support.
I knew that, if I merely offered the people 'hope', together we could change our country and the world.
So, I started to make my speeches sound like they were on behalf of the downtrodden, poor, ignorant to include "persecuted minorities".
My true views were not widely known and I kept them unknown, until after I became my nation's leader.
I had to carefully guard reality, as anybody could have easily found out what I really believed, if they had simply read my writings and examined those people I associated with. I'm glad they didn't.
Then I became the most powerful man in the world.
And then the world learned the truth.
Who am I?

If you were thinking of SOMEONE ELSE, you should be scared, very scared!

March 1, 2010

A life without left turns

By Michael Gartner
My father never drove a car. Well, that's not quite right. I should say I never saw him drive a car. He quit driving in 1927, when he was 25 years old, and the last car he drove was a 1926 Whippet.

'In those days,' he told me when he was in his 90s, 'to drive a car you had to do things with your hands, and do things with your feet, and look every which way, and I decided you could walk through life and enjoy it or drive through life and miss it.'

At which point my mother, a sometimes salty Irishwoman, chimed in: 'Oh, bull----!' she said. 'He hit a horse.'

'Well,' my father said, 'there was that, too.'

So my brother and I grew up in a household without a car. The neighbors all had cars -- the Kollingses next door had a green 1941 Dodge, the VanLaninghams across the street a gray 1936 Plymouth, the Hopsons two doors down a black 1941 Ford -- but we had none.

My father, a newspaperman in Des Moines, would take the streetcar to work and, often as not, walk the 3 miles home. If he took the streetcar home, my mother and brother and I would walk the three blocks to the streetcar stop, meet him and walk home together. My brother, David, was born in 1935, and I was born in 1938, and sometimes, at dinner, we'd ask how come all the neighbors had cars but we had none. 'No one in the family drives,' my mother would explain, and that was that.

Sometimes, my father would say, 'But as soon as one of you boys turns 16, we'll get one.' It was as if he wasn't sure which one of us would turn 16 first.

But, sure enough, my brother turned 16 before I did, so in 1951 my parents bought a used 1950 Chevrolet from a friend who ran the parts department at the local Chevy dealership.

It was a four-door, white model, stick shift, fender skirts, loaded with everything, and, since my parents didn't drive, it more or less became my brother's car.

Having a car but not being able to drive didn't bother my father, but it didn't make any sense to my mother.

So in 1952, when she was 43 years old, she asked a friend to teach her to drive.

She learned in a nearby cemetery, the place where I learned to drive the following year and where, a generation later, I took my two sons to practice driving. The cemetery probably was my father's idea. 'Who can your mother hurt in the cemetery?' I remember him saying many times.

For the next 45 years or so, until she was 90, my mother was the driver in the family. Neither she nor my father had any sense of direction, but he loaded up on maps -- though they seldom left the city limits -- and appointed himself navigator. It seemed to work.

Still, they both continued to walk a lot. My mother was a devout Catholic, and my father an equally devout agnostic, an arrangement that didn't seem to bother either of them through their 75 years of marriage.

(Yes, 75 years, and they were deeply in love the entire time.)

He retired when he was 70, and nearly every morning for the next 20 years or so, he would walk with her the mile to St. Augustin's Church. She would walk down and sit in the front pew, and he would wait in the back until he saw which of the parish's two priests was on duty that morning. If it was the pastor, my father then would go out and take a 2-mile walk, meeting my mother at the end of the service and walking her home. If it was the assistant pastor, he'd take just a 1-mile walk and then head back to the church. He called the priests 'Father Fast' and 'Father Slow.'

After he retired, my father almost always accompanied my mother whenever she drove anywhere, even if he had no reason to go along. If she were going to the beauty parlor, he'd sit in the car and read, or go take a stroll or, if it was summer, have her keep the engine running so he could listen to the Cubs game on the radio. In the evening, then, when I'd stop by, he'd explain: 'The Cubs lost again. The millionaire on second base made a bad throw to the millionaire on first base, so the multimillionaire on third base scored.'

If she were going to the grocery store, he would go along to carry the bags out -- and to make sure she loaded up on ice cream.. As I said, he was always the navigator, and once, when he was 95 and she was 88 and still driving, he said to me, 'Do you want to know the secret of a long life?'

'I guess so,' I said, knowing it probably would be something bizarre.

'No left turns,' he said.

'What?' I asked.

'No left turns,' he repeated. 'Several years ago, your mother and I read an article that said most accidents that old people are in happen when they turn left in front of oncoming traffic. As you get older, your eyesight worsens, and you can lose your depth perception, it said. So your mother and I decided never again to make a left turn.'

'What?' I said again.

'No left turns,' he said. 'Think about it. Three rights are the same as a left, and that's a lot safer. So we always make three rights.'

'You're kidding!' I said, and I turned to my mother for support.

'No,' she said, 'your father is right. We make three rights. It works.'

But then she added: 'Except when your father loses count.'

I was driving at the time, and I almost drove off the road as I started laughing.

'Loses count?' I asked.

'Yes,' my father admitted, 'that sometimes happens. But it's not a problem. You just make seven rights, and you're okay again.'

I couldn't resist. 'Do you ever go for 11?' I asked.

'No,' he said ' If we miss it at seven, we just come home and call it a bad day. Besides, nothing in life is so important it can't be put off another day or another week.'

My mother was never in an accident, but one evening she handed me her car keys and said she had decided to quit driving. That was in 1999, when she was 90.

She lived four more years, until 2003. My father died the next year, at 102.

They both died in the bungalow they had moved into in 1937 and bought a few years later for $3,000.

Sixty years later, my brother and I paid $8,000 to have a shower put in the tiny bathroom -- the house had never had one. My father would have died then and there if he knew the shower cost nearly three times what he paid for the house.

Anyway, my father continued to walk daily -- he had me get him a treadmill when he was 101 because he was afraid he'd fall on the icy sidewalks but wanted to keep exercising -- and he was of sound mind and sound body until the moment he died.

One September afternoon in 2004, he and my son went with me when I had to give a talk in a neighboring town, and it was clear to all three of us that he was wearing out, though we had the usual wide-ranging conversation about politics and newspapers and things in the news and more politics.

A few weeks earlier, he had told my son, 'You know, Mike, the first hundred years are a lot easier than the second hundred.' At one point in our drive that Saturday, he said, 'You know, I'm probably not going to live much longer.'

'You're probably right,' I said.

'Why would you say that?' He countered, somewhat irritated.

'Because you're 102 years old,' I said.

'Yes,' he said, 'you're right.' He stayed in bed all the next day.

That night, I suggested to my son and daughter that we sit up with him through the night.

He appreciated it, he said, though at one point, apparently seeing us look gloomy, he said: 'I would like to make an announcement. No one in this room is dead yet.'

An hour or so later, he spoke his last words:

'I want you to know,' he said, clearly and lucidly, 'that I am in no pain. I am very comfortable. And I have had as happy a life as anyone on this earth could ever have.'

A short time later, he died.

I miss him a lot, and I think about him a lot. I've wondered now and then how it was that my family and I were so lucky that he lived so long. I can't figure out if it was because he walked through life, or because he quit taking left turns.

Life is too short to wake up with regrets. So love the people who treat you right. Forget about the one's who don't. Believe everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it. Nobody said life would be easy, they just promised it would most likely be worth it.