Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Sorrow Is Not Forever Love Is

Sorrow Is Not Forever Love Is

Hope you enjoy the following article "Sorrow is not forever ~ Love Is" which I have found is very true...Although the heartache of losing our children will be with us always, the pain does soften so that going forward, as thy would want us to do, gets easier with time... But by the same token, I think our love for them and those around us grows as we get stronger.. it changes us forever .. and proves the theory that true love never dies...Cherie Houston

~ Michael A. Simpson, Birmingham, AL - Bereaved Parents, St. Louis March/April 2006 Newsletter

So often, one attempts to face the whole future at once.  But we will not live that period all at once, only day by day.  Don’t try to face twenty years.  Face today.

When that has been achieved, face tomorrow.  You will find more and more ways in which you can cope.  The Chinese have a saying that a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.  There is no way you can take the fifteenth, or the two hundred-seventh step, before you have taken the first.

It can be difficult to face going out again and resuming your regular activities.  IT can take more courage to face the little things than the big things in life.  Going out shopping for groceries for the first time can become an ordeal.  Making the change more complete could help.  Try a different store, a different day or time, and go with a friend.  When it seems very hard to decide what to do first, maybe it’s not very important where you start, as long as you start.  Choose a simple task and get started. 

Once you've begun, it will be far easier to set your priorities, and you will have gained in confidence for already having achieved something.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Grief - Stages & scars

“A cut finger is numb before it bleeds; it bleeds before it hurts, it hurts until it begins to heal; it forms a scab and itches until finally, the scab is gone and a small scar is left where once there was a wound. 

Grief is the deepest wound you ever had. Like a cut finger, it goes through stages, and leaves a scar - visible or not, there is a scar” 

Author Unknown

Monday, November 24, 2014

December 14th, National Childrens Memorial Day: Candle Lighting Ceremony & Proclamation

Open Arms for Empty Hearts will be holding the annual candle lighting event on December 14 at London Bridge Beach.  The event begins at 6:30pm to ensure that everyone has their candles ready to light at 7pm.  As most of you know, this is an event that is held around the world and candles are lighted at 7pm in each time zone so that candles can burn continuously across the continent, in memory of our children lost too soon.  This event is open to everyone, so please pass the word.

Also note that the Open Arms for Empty Hearts will hold their December meeting on Thursday, December 11th, the day before the Candle Lighting Ceremony.

Please note that starting in 2015, Open Arms for Empty Hearts will begin meeting on the 1st and last Thursday of each month.  Since the 1st Thursday in January is New Years Day, our first meeting of the new year will be the last Thursday of the month, January 29th. 

Please note the following Proclamation signed by the honorable Mayor, Mark S Nexsen, Mayor of Lake Havasu City, Arizona:

Office of the Mayor Lake Havasu City, Arizona Proclamation
December 14, 2014

WHEREAS, approximately 80,000 infants, children, teenagers, and young adults of families living throughout the United States die each year from countless causes; and

WHEREAS, the death of an infant, child, teenager; and young adult of a family is considered to be one q/the greatest tragedies that a parent or family will ever endure during a lifetime; and

WHEREAS, Open Arms for Empty Hearts is a supportive group that provides empathy and understanding in the healing process for a family that is coping with and recovering from the loss of a loved one; and

WIIEREAS, Open Arms för Empty Hearts is open to all moms who have lost a child or in some instances, children: and

WHEREAS, Open Arms for Empty Hearts observes National Children 's Memorial Day every year along with others around the world, in every time zone at 7:00 p.m. on the Sunday of December in remembrance of loved ones that have passed on; creating a 24-hour international candle lighting ceremony that encircles the globe.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Mark S Nexsen, Mayor of Lake Havasu City, Arizona, do hereby proclaim Sunday, December 14, 2014 as


in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, and urge all citizens both in public ceremonies and in private thoughts and prayers to honor the children we have lost, the children who have lived and died and who, even in death, continue to matter.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Hug an Angel Mom Today

Today is Pregnancy, Infant, and Child loss awareness day-it makes no difference the age of the child or how they died. Take a moment to think about all the angels that have left us too soon. Hug an angel parent you know and remember, though today is a day of awareness, hope, and light, it is still very hard for a lot of parents. 1 in 4 parents know this feeling all to well. You are welcome to join the Wave of light tonight, by lighting a candle from 7pm-8pm.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Stop Looking in the rear view mirror...

Stop Looking in the rear view mirror... 

~ by Cherie Houston

I originally wrote this in the Fall of 2011 - and must admit I read it quite often to remind myself of the importance of "looking ahead"..  Two weeks ago, the 5th year anniversary of my 36 year old son Bobby's death came-we had a memorial mass and most of our family joined us for breakfast including all 12 of our grandchildren, 2 of whom are his little boys.. I have to admit that these last six months have been very difficult for me - who knows, maybe I'm finally facing the reality of it all...  But I know I'm not alone, so I thought I'd share this with you again and hope that you can find it helpful.. and now that none of us is alone on this unpredictable journey of finding that new normal after the deaths of our children...
Within months of our son Bobby’s death in September 2009, my daughter-in-law Jennifer (Bobby’s wife) and I and several friends met this amazing woman – Maureen Hancock…Maureen is blessed with several talents, one of which is helping people who are dying to become comfortable with what’s happening – the majority of her clients are children… Maureen is blessed, without a question, in being able to understand their fears and concerns which almost always have to do with the family they will soon be leaving behind..
Recently, Maureen made the following statement about one of her patients..

I met the bravest woman last week~Mary A. She's down to the wire with her battle with ALS. She has a beautiful family that surrounds her in blankets of love. Her one question..."Will I get to see my children grow up?" YES! I assured her. For all those healthy & reading this w/children...are you watching them grow up? Don't live to work, work to live. Maureen Hancock

When I heard this, I thought of all of us who have lost our own children who often become so lost in our own grief and longing for our child who has died, that we unintentionally, but sadly forget about our family who is still living…Not that we mean to, but it is so easy to dwell on what we’ve lost, that sometimes we lose sight of what we still have…  

It’s so important to begin to look and move forward – we can’t change what’s happened or what is behind us, but we can certainly have an impact on what is happening today at this moment and appreciate all the blessings we have – our own siblings, our significant others, maybe we are even blessed to have other children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, our own parents or in-laws, friends, associates – so many people who care about us..

Yes we all need to think about spending a little more time looking ahead instead of in the rear view mirror before it’s too late…

Thank you Maureen for this reminder...

Maureen Hancock is a nationally renowned spirit medium, teacher, lecturer, holistic healer, and author of the book, The Medium Next Door; co-founder of the non-profit organization, Mission for the Missing, providing assistance and equipment in missing children and adult cases. Maureen is an associate member of the Licensed Private Detective Association of Massachusetts. She has been featured in numerous articles and can be heard on radio stations around the country - she resides in a small town south of Boston, Massachusetts with her husband, two children and chocolate lab, Ally. Maureen, in my opinion is amazing..
check out Maureen's website:

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A Bereaved Parent’s Spring

A Bereaved Parent’s Spring
By Terre Belt, BP/USA , Anne Arundel County Chapter

Regardless of the calendar or the meteorologists, April marks the beginning of spring for many of us.  The world outside begins to awaken from its winter slumber and the sights and sounds and smells of spring abound, from the flowers peeking out of the ground to the birds chirping merrily outside our windows to the smell of the blooming trees as we venture out for our first walk of the season.

This is what spring is all about unless, of course, you are a “newly” bereaved parent and then you might just be oblivious to it all.  In fact, you may even resent the reappearance of spring and its symbolic rebirth.  The message to you from an “old timer” on this grief journey is to be easy on yourself…it won’t always be this hard and just fell whatever you feel.  Don’t let anyone tell you how you “should” feel this spring (or next.)

Like all seasons, spring will have its share of emotional triggers for the newly bereaved – graduations, Mother’s Day, planning for summer vacations, favorite flowers and just waking up.  But just as April showers bring May flowers….the tears of grief will ultimately sow the seeds of hope and someday you too will see the beauty of spring again.

For those of us who have been on our grief journey for awhile, not only do we recognize (and welcome) the beauty of spring again, but we also see our children in everything that is beautiful in spring.  It is our way of carrying them with us through spring and through all of the seasons.  

So, as spring unfolds, here’s wishing each of you peace and whatever joy you are able to find.  

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Is Crying a Requirement in Grieving?

I just came across this article that I'd cut out some time ago.  So many articles we've shared like this one, are just simple reminders that "grief is unique" the way in which we grieve is different for each and every one of us.  There are so many variables (who we lost, the circumstances, who've we've lost before, our past experiences with grief - yes there are so many variables)

Grief and the grieving process will also change along the journey - like each river that flows - grief charts it's own course - there are no hard & fast rules, and there are no right or wrong ways to grieve.  Like it or not, we will each find our own way and when it's someone else's turn remember that love and patience is what they need most - just being there for them is what counts...  Cherie Houston

Question - My 34-year-old son died last year after a three-year bout with cancer. I miss him terribly, but I haven't cried about his death. Is this normal?

Response from Edward T. Creagan, M.D.

Grief is a universal human experience. Your response to grief may be highly individual, however. Crying is an important part of the grieving process for many people, but a lack of tears doesn't necessarily indicate that the grieving process has gone awry.

Many factors affect the grieving process, including:
§  The nature of the relationship with the person who died
§  The quality of the relationship
§  The time you had to prepare for the loss
§  Your own personality

It's OK if you don't feel like crying. You may simply need time and space to grieve your son's death in your own way. It's important to make sure that you're dealing with your feelings appropriately, however.

If you're isolating yourself, you're having trouble completing your usual daily activities or you feel like crying but can't, consider seeking the help of a grief counselor or other mental health provider. A counselor may suggest various behavior therapies to help you re-establish a sense of control and direction in your life. You may find comfort through a support group as well. In a few cases, short-term use of antidepressants or other medications may be warranted.

The grieving process commands respect and requires time. However, unresolved grief can lead to depression and other mental health problems. If you're concerned about reaching a healthy resolution to your grief, seek the professional help you deserve.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

On a Child's Death

There are so many poems I keep in my nightstand for those nights when sleep is illusive and the stark reality of a future that is changed forever, you know that heartbreaking reality that we re moving forward in the time "after a child's death" - yes those nights that seem to hold me in their grip.. it is poems like these that help soften the pain and heartache  and sadness of losing my children... I hope that when we share poems like these, that you also will find them a source of peace..  Cherie Houston

~ BY Virginia Ellis

All heaven was in mourning,  The day that young man died;
When He closed His eyes, they said, Ten thousand angels cried.
The angels shed their many tears, Because He was God's Son;
But there is a special sadness, When God takes the very young.

At times like that, I question God, Why let a child die?
I cannot understand it, And I need to ask Him why.
I, too, have heard the angels cry, I've heard them cry first hand;
For I, too, gave up a child, And I've tried hard to understand.

Yes, I received God's comfort, Though I'm grateful, I want more;
I want reasons;  I want meaning, I am a parent who's heart-sore.
God can give, and God can take, I am well aware of this;
But, why my baby ... why my child?
Why did God put him on His list?

Did I love my child too much? Was he too good for this old earth?
Had his purpose here been filled?  Was that why he was taken first?
I awake each day with questions,  I fall asleep at night, the same;
So many times I ask God why,  I'm both saddened and ashamed.

But then, in reflective moments, When my prayers are most intense,
One word keeps going through my mind, Patience ... patience ... patience.
Maybe now is not the time, To explain this great heartache;
Even if I knew God's reasons, What difference would it make?

Can't I just be grateful, For any time we had?
Accept God's action without question? Why is that so very bad?
What's my hurry ... why my pressure? Is my faith not strong enough?
God will explain it when He's ready,  Surely I can trust that much.

God understands my broken heart, He, too, gave up a Son;
He knows the pain of one lost child, He weeps with me, and we are one.
Just as I talk to God each day,  I talk to my precious child;
I blow him kisses, and I say,  "See you, honey, in a while."

Thursday, March 13, 2014

A new of "grieving"

~ shared from Susan Leemont - Boulder, CO (BP)

No doubt since the death of our child, someone has been kind enough to share with us that we must all go through the “normal stages of grief” and then kindly list them for us.…  These “stages” were defined as a result of many studies, but the most popular seemed to be based on Elisabeth Kübler-Ross's which resulted in her book: On Death and Dying (Scribner), which was published in 1969.

Although much of that is probably still true, more recent research seems to suggest – as we very well know from experience, that for most people, grieving is rarely a straight passage through discrete phases ending in healing.

To those of us who have gone thru this, we know that it is a constantly changing pattern, that seems to jump out at us when we least expect it, catch us off guard and then retreat again so we can catch our breath – some say similar to one of those scary houses we may walk thru in Disney or at a carnival… 

I came across this article and I want to share it with you because I think it helps to validate how grief really feels – not nice and neat in a fixed set of “stages” like those we heard about when we got pregnant – but the reality of what we feel and experience. 

Dr. Holly Prigerson states that grief it tends to occur in fits and starts, sometimes quickly, sometimes over a number of years. The way it unfolds varies dramatically, too, depending on whom you've lost and the nature of your relationship. Perhaps more surprising, research suggests that whomever a person is grieving for—a well-loved parent, spouse, friend or child—human beings are surprisingly resilient.

Holly Prigerson, Ph.D., is the director of the Center for Psycho-Oncology and Palliative Care Research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, and as a result of a study she has done with hundreds of mourners, she discovered that while nearly all people go through a very rough period where they cry, long for the loved one, have difficulty eating and can't concentrate, 85 percent start feeling somewhat better in about six months. Even more hopeful, there are steps everyone can take to help the recovery process along, regardless of whom you're missing.

A new view of grieving - Like life itself, grief isn't something that unfolds neatly, starting on cue with denial and continuing until the mourner reaches the final stage, accepting that the person is gone. In Dr. Prigerson’s  two-year study of mourners, Prigerson found that rather than denial or anger, most mourners feel an acute sense of yearning and sadness throughout that fades and eases as time passes.

"There's no orderly progression of Kübler-Ross's hypothetical phases," Prigerson confirms. "It's more accurate to say that the emotions associated with grief exist simultaneously, then slowly decline as feelings of acceptance rise," she explains.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

March Winds

~ Lovingly shared from ~ Betty Davis, Marion Ohio BP/USA

As the winds blow, often violently, it is as if there is an attempt to wake us from our winter lethargy.  The birds began to sing, calling to us.  The dormant trees begin to move in the breeze.  We see the first buds.  Witness a crocus peeping through the encrusted ground.  

Regardless of our griefs and regrets, life goes on, whether we participate or not.  This can be a season of renewal.  We can symbolically plant a flower, a tree, or a bush, and nurture it as we loved our child.  As the plant flourishes and adds beauty to our lives, we can experience a sense of creation just as our child added meaning to our lives.  

It’s time to sort out the good memories when we do our spring cleaning.  Discard the anger, regret, disappointment and sorrow.  Shake it out and throw it away.  Hold on to all that is good.  Cherish it forever.  It’s time to make a constructive effort to restore ourselves.  

We hope the gales of the March winds will awaken you to a new beginning.  May the ‘winter of our discontent’ disappear.  We wish for you to live in the future with your happy memories.