Hope and Emergence

by Kirsten Falsey

In memory of my wonderful, funny, brave, inspirational Mom.

Patricia Rose Forgacs  8/22/1946 - 01/01/2011
Patricia Rose Forgacs 8/22/1946 – 01/01/2011

Grief is a universal emotion. But how each of us navigates the grief process is very personal and private. Some people may grieve for weeks, months, or years. Others may handle it alone, seek out friends, or professional help. No matter how one goes through the process, the most important thing they need is support from non- judgmental friends and family.

Growing up the oldest of two children in Tucson, Arizona I had a very close relationship with my wonderful Mom. We laughed often, took long walks together, and enjoyed frequent shopping trips to the mall. Our happy world was turned upside down when she got diagnosed at the age of 62 with stage 4 cervical cancer. It was a confusing time with too many doctors appointments and chemotherapy treatments to count. I had a career as a registered nurse in California and the flexible schedule allowed me to visit with her often. My husband and I learned we were pregnant with twins, (our first children), about a year into my Mom’s diagnosis. She was so excited about our pregnancy and continued to fight hard. Continue reading Hope and Emergence

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Through a Glass Darkly: A Eulogy for Pastor John

by Doctor Phil Lineberger, Senior Pastor
Sugar Land (TX) Baptist Church

Editor’s Note: On February 9, 2011, Pastor John Petty died by suicide at the age of 42. John was married and had two young children. He also had a large church family and many friends, all of whom were stunned and confused by his death. Pastor Lineberger, in his eulogy, addresses the topics of depression, forgiveness, and healing grief.

Phil formalJohn Petty and I were wonderful friends through the years, he was like a son to me really. I’m old enough that he could have been my son. We spent a lot of time together. We were recently with each other at the Baptist Children’s Convention of Texas. I knew John was struggling. I called him and said, “Let’s go to the convention”. He said he didn’t want to and I said, “Neither do I but let’s go anyway”. I flew down to Harlingen and met him. We rented a car, had some good Mexican food, and some good time together. I tried to encourage John as best I could.

There is an overwhelming sense of loss in John’s death. John Petty is gone. He’s not going to come through those doors anymore. He’s not going to bring his bible up here anymore to preach anymore. He’s not going to baptize anymore. Continue reading Through a Glass Darkly: A Eulogy for Pastor John

“Because You Were There”

Letters to my late husband in the first year following his death
by Sally Dalzel

sally_1When my husband died I thought I was ready to face what was to come. He was many years older than me and he had experienced deteriorating health for the thirteen years leading up to his death.

He had suffered awfully in the last year of his life, determined to hang on to the life he loved so much and had lived so well, despite complex medical issues. We had struggled in the last two years with grossly inadequate community care and an appalling lack of communication between the various services involved. More than sixteen emergency ambulance admissions for acute conditions in an eighteen month period provide some indication of how deficient community and health care cooperation had been in his case. By the end we were both exhausted.

Despite this he had an indomitable will to live and determination to enjoy life. In addition to his suffering, for which on many occasions I could do nothing, one of the hardest things to witness was the loss of dignity and interest in who he was by many of the professionals involved in his care. He simply became another old man with a series of conditions. Continue reading “Because You Were There”

BOOK REVIEW

Nina BinghamOnce the Storm is Over: From Grieving to Healing after the Suicide of my Daughter
by Nina Bingham

Raw and honest, the author shares her painful past: an abusive alcoholic father, a failed marriage, the rejection she suffered after she came out as a lesbian, and her own brush with suicide. What could have been a story mired in self-pity and misery, ultimately is a story of hope. Nina’s compelling life journey shows how pain and loss can be transformed into strength and purpose. This book is not only for survivors but for anyone facing depression with suicidal tendencies.

Twenty Years

by Dorothy Gillon

Editor’s Note: I met Dorothy, Charlie and their children in 1984 when our family relocated to Martin, TN. From the very beginning, I knew that the Gillons were a special family; warm, loving and caring. Although many miles separate Dorothy and I today, I am honored to share her story with you. Many hugs, my dear friend.

In MemoryWhen Peggy asked me to consider writing an article for her newsletter, I thought what do I have to say about grief that would be helpful to others. But after thinking about it for a while, I thought I have a lot to say about grief and how our family got through it—actually still getting through it. So bear with me as I give you some background about our life.

Charlie and I were married on August 13, 1972. We had a pretty wonderful marriage, easy most of the time, even with our moves to Micronesia; Carbondale, Illinois; Philadelphia, Mississippi (where our son Jamie was born in 1976) and finally to Martin, Tennessee (where our daughter Kathleen was born on our anniversary). We experienced loss along the way with both of our fathers dying very early in our life together and my Nana Dora a little later. We held each other when we cried and remembered our loved ones very often by reminiscing with stories. Continue reading Twenty Years

Your Wife Has Cancer, Now What?

by Carson Boss

Carson and Cindy
Carson and Cindy

Upon my wife, Cindy’s, diagnosis of breast cancer in early 2011, I began to reach out to other husbands I knew whose wife had gone through cancer. I started writing down the counsel they gave me, and other bits of information I gleaned from my own research and pamphlets we received early on. It dawned on me after I had accumulated about 40 pages of notes and directions that it would have been nice to have been given a book dealing with all of that information at our very first appointment. Continue reading Your Wife Has Cancer, Now What?

A Remembrance To My Friend

by Sandy Fox

Sandy Fox
Sandy Fox

You always think your story of your child’s death is the worst…until you read about the next child or children who died for whatever reason, whatever age. You hear about them through the Internet, through the TV and through books. Whether it is an accident, an illness or some other cause of death, there is always a story, unparalleled in its riveting emotions.

One story recently on the news shocked me. Only when I read the family name in the newspaper did I realize it was my personal friend’s family. I was shocked and saddened to learn the details, none of which are important to this blog. What is important is that any loss in a family, no matter who, how many or under what circumstances is devastating. I dedicate my column today to my friend and her husband and hope that words of comfort from other friends and relatives will aid in the healing process. Continue reading A Remembrance To My Friend

Motherless Daughter – A Tribute to My Best Friend

by Martha King
Guiding Hearts with Hope

Martha King
Martha King

I was in South America in my senior year, preparing for finals and heading to college to be a surgeon. My mother was 37, and I was seventeen. My father was a pharmacist at the time, but working on a plan for all of us to visit North America after I graduated. My mother was very devastated with the idea. She questioned my father, “How can I be in two places at once (the North and the South)?” God had a plan from the beginning. She was pregnant at that time, and the baby was not due for another month. All the paperwork was completed a year in advance for our trip.

Saturday, May 28, 1977, 9:00AM. My mother gave birth to a healthy girl, her 6th child at home. There was a lot of excitement and happiness, but that was about to change. The private midwife said, “We have trouble!” My mother developed a headache right after the labor and started going into convulsions, her body became toxic, and she went into a coma. I remember very clearly, a few minutes before, the way she reached for my hand and said to my father, “I am scared, please don’t let me die”. We called for an ambulance and they took her, it was the last time I saw my mother alive. Each of her children, ranging in age from 17 to one day old, and my father, were left with little idea of how to manage the grief. Continue reading Motherless Daughter – A Tribute to My Best Friend