Wednesday, August 5, 2015

For Those Who Grieve: The Memories Will Once Again Return


Eventually, the seamless concrete wall gives way to rocks, and a path to the sea which will allow you to go anywhere within your memories.

         The sudden death of a family member is a terrible shock.  The loss of a child is always a life changing devastating experience.  This Autumn, it will have been seven years since the day when Daniel had to depart his body, and leave us, presumably we are told, due to a sudden heart rhythm disturbance (an electrical disruption) in an otherwise "structurally and microscopically perfect heart. ", at least according to autopsy.  The immediate time after was profoundly bewildering, perplexing and very strange.  One thing I remember best is that in those first weeks, the grief which came down like a long and tall seamless concrete wall prevented me from accessing some of the happiest memories I had with Daniel. All I knew in those early days was that my young son who was so bright and had so much promise ahead of him was gone, and no one could tell us exactly why.  In the short term,  I survived by doing several things. First, I focused on my remaining children and my husband and their immediate needs in relation to the loss of Daniel.  I also functioned by staying as busy as was humanly possible. Continuing to be busy allowed me to process a little of the grief at a time, and this was workable at least for me.   I also spent a lot of time giving the best care to Daniel's animals, something I knew would be important to him.   In those early weeks, I did not have conscious recollection of his last Christmas with us, his last birthday, or many other events. There was such a raw injury in my soul that I could not access large parts of my life with Daniel in it.  I suppose, my own mind limited my recollections so that I would not have full access to the full scope and breadth of the loss, until more time had passed.

               If you are reading this, then you likely know something about loss and grief. You may well be experiencing some of the temporary blocking of happy memories of which I have spoken. I wanted to let you know that as time passes, those happy memories, often in detail, come back one by one. This is an important post because part of the condition of being human is that all of us ultimately lose a loved one. It's simply part of the journey here on Earth.    Some losses of people are dramatic and traumatic, but all losses of those we love are losses and we carry them until we too leave this place.   In time,of course, as you remember sunny days driving over the mountains with the one you love and have lost, there will be tears shed, but there will be a recollection of how much that person means to you. In time, the memories return to you, and so does some of the joy    I think it has taken every bit of those seven years for me to have a somewhat unencumbered access to the great many memories I shared with Daniel. I remember his wry sense of humor. I remember his words on why we have to do good things while we are here on Earth.  I remember his telling me how short the trip will be, and I thought he meant that it just goes quickly. There was so much wisdom and so much humor in Daniel.

Eventually, there will be peace.

            If you are grieving the loss of someone dear, please know that in time, more and more of those golden memories will be available to you. Eventually, the seamless concrete wall will give way to a path you will choose to periodically walk when seeking to recall those positive times.   Eventually, the horrible memories of loss stand more quietly, and rather than examining hundreds or thousands of things you or your child will never do together, you are given clear access to the things you did do, and some of them were worth our journey here, and even worth the pain of our eventual loss here.    Those good memories will eventually come flooding back on sunny days, days when the rain leaves the outdoors smelling like the ocean, and while making foods that you will recall were favorites of your loved one.  There will again be moments of joy before we ultimately see them again. I promise you...

Friday, July 31, 2015

Another Tragic Sudden Death in Virginia: Leah Goff


Leah Goff,  age 13,  from Facebook

           When I started this blog I had no idea that I would ultimately be profiling so many young people who died from more or less, the same set of causations which took Daniel.  What was felt to be rare, most certainly is not.   This week, A Floyd County, Virginia , 13 year old Leah Goff collapsed at basketball practice, and like Daniel, could not be revived.   Leah died in Roanoke, Virginia doing what she loved to do, which was playing sports.  No autopsy information is available but the scenario is highly suggestive of Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome, like so many others not only in Virginia, but throughout the United States, and throughout the world as well.
             "Leah Bug" as her loving family called her, was an avid sportswoman who loved basketball and other sports and who had recently discovered track.
                    I am sure that Daniel and many others will be there to support Leah as she enters the Kingdom of Heaven.  My hope is that Leah's sisters, parents,  family, and friends  finds all the comfort and support they can.  Funeral arrangements are said to be complete.  May they all feel God's loving hands during this very difficult time.

Funeral information

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Sudden Passing of Maurice Bey


Maurice Bey    (Photo by: Kaleb Lamb, Maurice's coach)

           On Tuesday, fifteen year old Maurice Bey was playing basketball in a New Kent County, Virginia basketball court with his friends.   Maurice is said to have had a passion for the game and was quite gifted at it.   He collapsed while sitting on a bench, fell forward, and went into a cardiac arrest.  His friends began CPR and  and 911 was called    For a short time, his friends did get a pulse back.  Maurice was pronounced dead later at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center. His final cardiac arrest is said to have taken place shortly after he entered VCU Medical Center.    Maurice is a very well liked young man who will be remembered for his smile.  His team played and won a game last evening in his honor.
              Of course, no one can speak with complete authority as to what happened until the autopsy is complete, but of course, the sudden passing of Maurice has all the earmarks of Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome.

                This coming November it will be seven years since our own Daniel collapsed. went into a cardiac arrest, and despite immediate CPR, died at twelve and a half.  At the time, we were told that a sudden arrhythmic death is "a one in a million shot".   This seems not to be true.  Each year, we meet more and more families who have most a child, a husband, a wife or someone else to a sudden heart rhythm disturbance. Most often, the afflicted are people who are not known to have any prior medical issues.

                 Tonight, my prayers are with the family of Maurice Bey and his friends.  May God hold you tightly in this difficult time. May your faith be strong as you come to accept that Maurice is safely at home with God.  I am so sorry for your loss.

UPDATE:   July 20, 2015

 A candlelight vigil will be held for Maurice on Tuesday, July 21, 2015, from 6-8pm in Quinton Park, according to the New Kent Charles City Chronicle.
People are being encouraged to bring white helium balloons to be released following the vigil. 

An additional memorial will be held on Saturday, July 25th at New Kent High School.

 They also add that a Go Fund Me account has been created by family and friends in order to help cover the funeral expenses.    You can go to the site at:

There has been no mention of an autopsy or of autopsy results in any public or social media forums.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

A Somber Fourth

This photo is courtesy of the San Diego Foodbank

Dear Daniel,

           I remember so well how you loved the Fourth of July, our country's Independence Day.   I think one of the benefits to homeschooling is that you understood the proud history of our nation and many of the good things about it.  I think it made Independence Day more special for you, in a way in which many Americans have forgotten.

           Most of the time I still don't understand why you were called home. Sometimes though, I look at the financial situation of the US and of the world, and I breathe a tiny breath of relief that no one hears, that you will never know some of the things which have become commonplace in our nation.  You will not know a sudden job loss from a company for which you were totally loyal.  You will not know sending out a thousand resumes, without a single response.  You will not know the loss of what you might think, at the time, is your great love.  You will not know a broken engagement.  You will not know a serious car crash. You will not know a betrayal from a friend.   I could go on.   Perhaps God knew that you were pretty well cooked to perfection here on Earth and ready for the rewards of Heaven. Of course, we still miss you terribly.


          Independence Day this year will be even more quiet and somber than the year after your passing.  Taxes have increased and salaries have not, and there is less disposable income for things like fire works and barbecues.  Many of the animals you knew and loved are quite elderly, and the fireworks display we used to do would probably frighten them.  This year, we are fortunate enough to have had enough rain that they would not have been a fire hazard, as this was a concern the last year that you were here for Independence Day.     If you were here I have no doubt you would be explaining to everyone in an articulate manner than any number of executive orders and supreme court decisions were unconstitutional.  Part of me is relieved not to have you see some of the travesties which are occurring, but I am sure that you know.

            Still, please know that we do our best.  I miss you and my dad more than you know., and I know that everyone else does here also.   I appreciate the visits in dream, even though they are just flashes.  Thank you for the encouragement for your sister. We will continue to move forward and continuing to be the people you knew while you were here.  I love you both deeper than Earth's oceans and wider than its seas.


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

I Recommend Danish Series "The Legacy"


The actors who play the siblings and half siblings from "The Legacy"

    I write a fair bit about bereavement and the many aspects of loss.  I am mindful that the loss of a family member is a permanent one, and is often grieved in many different ways at different times throughout the remainder of our lives.

Key characters of "The Legacy".    I have not cared this much about the characters in a series and where the author/creator of the series takes them since BBC's Monarch of the Glen.

                   Quite accidentally, I stumbled on a television series from Denmark which is captioned in English.  In English, the series is called "The Legacy" although the translation of the name in Danish is actually Arvingerne, "The Inheritors".    The Legacy is a brilliantly written and developed story of the four adult children of a famous Danish artist who lived a rather free life from the sixties on.  Her sudden death leaves her three children reeling.  Before her passing she reveals to her fourth child, who has been adopted and who does not know her, that she is not only her mother, but that she wishes to leave the estate home and acreage she owns to her.   "The Legacy" is a beautifully acted series of this family.  Each of these adult children have damages from their family of origin. Each of them occupied a different place in the family constellation and therefore their damages and inabilities differ.  Each of them in the face of such stress are doing things they should not, and yet each of them are grieving in their own way and trying to get needs met which were apparently long unmet in their families of origin.  They simply don't get that not only was their relationship with their mother a time limited proposition, but their relationship with one another is as well.

Some of the key actors in "The Legacy" during a break.

                      The series is complex, well acted with some acting veterans  familiar even to myself.  The character development is very strong which adds to the realism.  "The Legacy" is a picture of how a family hopes they might not act toward full or half siblings, yet when property which means something to each of them is up for grabs, they find themselves acting in a manner in which most of us would not be proud.  The series has been produced by DR and written by  creator and chief writer Maya Ils√łe, who has said “You don’t know your family until you inherit with them.”  True enough !

                      I highly recommend this series especially to anyone who has ever settled an estate or been excluded from one.  It will leave you both nodding your head and shedding a tear of understanding what it's like to be left after a sudden death, with some key and pivotal questions.

                       Daniel may actually have watched this series had he remained on Earth.  I think his observation may have been that the legacy spoken of, is not,  in fact,  the ten million kroner house that everyone is fighting over in the first half of the first series. The legacy may actually be the damage and the dysfunction taught to them in their childhoods by the actions of their talented, creative, but extremely self centered mother and their fathers.


    To those of you who wrote me to ask, I am told there are ten episodes in the initial season and seven more episodes coming in the second season.   I am told that an inferior attempt at an American remake is coming to the US soon.  I think I'll skip it and buy this one on DVD.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Lonnie Passes

              This week, one of Daniel's favorite alpacas passed.   It is never easy to lose an animal who has been with us for sixteen years, and who was important to Daniel.     I am comforted by the thought that Daniel will be there for him.  The link below tells of the story of the life of Lonnie.


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Sometimes, There is a Sliding Back


 Most of the time I move through life fairly well. I enjoy the growth and the achievements of my remaining grown children.  Most days, I remember the cherished memories we have with Daniel, and I don't look too hard or dwell on that last difficult day in which he departed Earth.   Most of the time I can take care of Daniel's few remaining elderly dogs and the descendants of his rooster.  I take very good care of the alpacas we have, all of whom knew him well.  He cared very much about them and would want them to receive excellent care during their own remaining time on Earth..

               However, once in awhile, particularly in Spring, something reminds me of the simple ugly unfairness of it all.  It's Spring !    The trees that wither and appear to die in Winter, most often return.  Daniel, of course, cannot return stating that "a mistake was made".   We can't appeal his passing simply because he was removed from our home after being pronounced dead, by a minivan rather than a hearse, although the thought had occurred to me. The loss of a child is a loss of part of the future for a family, always and forever during our time on Earth.

   This week, one of my kids sent me a video to a song online.  It's a good song, and a good group and I think we will all be hearing more from them.  However, my jaded heart saw something different.  Daniel would be nineteen now.  He would be starting the process at college somewhere learning how he fits into the world.   He would be dating.  He would likely be experiencing the emotions of this song, and somehow through some cosmic unfairness that his mother cannot understand, he is not here on Earth to do it.

Daniel, it's just that the feelings talked about in this song, you will not know while here on Earth. I know that we are to have faith that all that happens here during our time here will be amended or redeemed in the next plane, but it is oh so hard for the people who knew you here and who brought you to Earth to know that you won't continue here. Most days I have that faith, and then sometimes, there is a song like this which reminds me that life goes on for your friends, their families here on Earth and that yours continue elsewhere........for a time away from us.     I will try to do better.    I think of you with love always.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

To Daniel, Who Would be Nineteen, This Week


       I can hardly believe that this would be your nineteenth birthday if you had been able to remain on Earth. You would likely be in college working on, goodness knows what degree by now.  You would have a cluster of friends who no doubt would be important to you, and I would probably see you most often when I drive to your college to have lunch with you periodically, just as I did with your siblings. You would probably be playing the "Magic" strategy card game with your friends, and when you had a chance, you would be working for a local foodbank as I know this was important to you when you were younger.  Sometimes, to stay sane, I pretend that you are "in college" in Heaven, and that my Dad and Jesus guide you there. It gives me a temporary framework of normalcy, so that I don't have to tell myself you are simply gone from Earth.

       Here on the farm, all the animals you knew are aging.  One by one, they pass and then I am sure, come to you.  We have several farm animals who are deteriorating in the face of extreme advanced age, and will be coming to you soon. Jared, the Siberian Husky you knew so well, fights hard to remain here as long as possible, but at fifteen and a half, he is failing, a little bit each day.

      I have come to think of myself as the "clean up crew" and support staff to your life here on Earth.  I will continue to care for your animals, and be a loving and supportive parent to your siblings, and to your little nephew who smiles at your picture as if he somehow knows a special secret between the two of you. I will have faith, and I will continue to believe in the loving Father who not only keeps your soul safe now, but who lent your wonderful spirit to me in the shape of a wonderful son, in the first place.

       Happy Birthday, Daniel.   Today, I will bake you a cake, share it with your siblings, care for your animals, take care of your nephew, and your siblings, and I will dust your room and clean a little. You have been gone from Earth for six and a half years, and yet, I love you just as much as I did that day, if not more.

Happy Birthday, Daniel


Sunday, April 5, 2015

It's Easter !


      Easter Sunday used to be a big holiday here when Daniel still lived in Earth.  It seems, that as each year passes and our other children become older and dwell in adulthood that it becomes less and less a holiday here on the farm.      It's not that I don't appreciate the magic of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but rather that we celebrate the miracle of the resurrection each day, and therefore we do not restrict the focus of Christ's birth or his resurrection to one, two or three days a year.  We are mindful of Him every day.

              This year, rather than eating chocolate eggs, my husband and I visited our daughter and helped her with some chores she cannot do at the moment.  Daniel and my Dad would have appreciated that.   We also worked on animal care.  Some of Daniel's animals are exceedingly elderly and need some specialized attention and care, even in lovely weather.

                I hope this day was a calm, comfortable and joyous one for you, as well.

Daniel never heard this music, but I like to think he would have enjoyed the music and the video.   Daniel's response to the video would likely have been, "Look at how important diction really is !"

Friday, March 27, 2015

"I Pomice"


       When you were a very small boy and you wanted to touch something fragile, you used to ask very nicely, and then you would say, "I won't break it, I pomice".    The first time you said it, I think you were about two, and your brothers and sister laughed, not at you, but with you. They too were enthralled with your use of language and even your missteps with it, which were often simply adorable.  Of course, one correction was about all it took for you to promise in the future, but pomice entered the family lexicon of adorable malapropisms you used at least once.  Somewhere I have a listing of all of them, and when I wrote the book about your life and times, I included a few of them interspersed with various chapters and events.  You brought such joy to all of our lives, and in the remembrance of those times, you still do.

         I have been remembering a lot of the things you said lately.  Thank you for coming to our family.  Thank you for your gentleness and kindness.   Each time you promised not to drop the glass ball, not to crush the tiny kitten or frighten the tiny puppy, you kept your word.

        Now it's my turn to promise you something.  I promise that I will remember your legacy.  I will remember as long as I live on the Earth, and likely beyond, my own days on Earth.  I will also try my best to be there for your siblings whom I know miss you very much.  Some of your dogs and your cat are still alive, and I continue to do my best to keep them healthy and happy, before those you love also move ahead to you. I will do my best to be the person you knew, only better.  I pomice.