Page 7 - 2017 Autumn-Winter Issue
P. 7

had found joy in life again and gave us hope that we could as the result of a child’s death? Yes, we would gladly give

too. Most importantly, they were there to walk this journey back all these gifts just to have our children back, but…

with us so we did not have to walk alone, and that is such     One of the last “Gifts of Grief ” that I want to mention is the
an important gift. The Reverend Simon Stephens, founder        gift of “Memories of our Child”. Many of us can remember
of TCF, talked about the “Gift of Hope” when discussing        what goes through our mind when our child first dies. That
TCF: “It is the gift of
                                                                                                         “tape” our mind replays
HOPE which reigns
supreme in the attributes   Each of us has this choice to make at some               every time we try to
                                                                                     sleep or rest; the tape
of The Compassionate        point in our grief journey−to stay in the of the actual event, of

Friends. HOPE that life     dark days of grief or to try to bring light to           the funeral, of how we
can still be worth living                                                            heard they were dead or

and meaningful. HOPE        our journey and have the memory of our simply that our child is
that the pain of loss will                                                           dead. At an early TCF
become less acute and,      child be one of causing positive changes to              Conference, I heard a

above all else, the HOPE    ourselves and hopefully, to our world.                   very wise lady, Darcie
that we do not walk                                                                  Sims, talk about the

alone, and that we are                                                               fact that our memories

understood. The GIFT of HOPE is the greatest gift that we can of our children change at some point in our grief. At first,

give to those who mourn.”                                      when thinking about our children, all that comes to mind

Our next gifts come at various times in our grief: new         is that they died. But later on we will know we are moving
relationships in our life with those who understand our        forward in our grief journey when we think of our child
“new normal” because they too have lost a child, and           and “the first thing we think of is NOT that they died, but that

pictures given to us of our children that we never knew        they LIVED, and those memories bring a smile to our face,
existed. Someone asking us to talk about our child years       not tears.” I thought I would never get to that point in my
after their death, when it has been so long since anyone,      grief, but I did and so can you. Death may have taken our
even family members, have mentioned their names to us is       children, but death can’t take away our memories of them.
a precious gift as well.                                       Those wonderful, perfect, beautiful memories are ours to
                                                               keep FOREVER.
Another gift that is so important to many of us is the gift
of “signs” that our child is still nearby. These “signs” come  Whether or not we recognize these gifts, accept and use
in many different forms: pennies from heaven, dragonflies,     them, these gifts and the death of our children have reshaped
butterflies, rainbows, hummingbirds, hawks, cardinals,         us all to our very core, from this point forward. As one of
feathers or deer−just to name a few−showing up at just         the Sandy Hook parents said “You have a choice; let it destroy
the right time or at a time when it was totally unexpected.    you or let it strengthen you.” Each of us has this choice to
These are such small, insignificant (for some unbelievable)    make at some point in our grief journey−to stay in the dark
happenings to everyone else. But to a bereaved parent they     days of grief or to try to bring light to our journey and have
are such special gifts, helping us through the darkest of      the memory of our child be one of causing positive changes
days. Letting us know that our children are still with us−not  to ourselves and hopefully, to our world. I hope you can now
as we want them to physically be, but they are still with us   begin to recognize all the “gifts” you have received.

nonetheless.                                                   Donna Goodrich has lost three children; a miscarriage; her son Garth,

Some gifts are actual changes to our own personality: Are      an identical twin, at birth; and her 17-year-old daughter Lauren in an
you more compassionate than before; do you have a better       auto accident. Donna has been involved with TCF for the past 17 years,
sense of what matters most in life than you did before; and    including Chapter Leader, newsletter editor, 2010 TCF National Conference
                                                               committee member, conducted nine Chapter Leadership Training Programs

have your priorities or focus in life changed and now people   in North and South Carolina and Virginia, presented her workshop “Gifts
or causes are more important to you than “things”? Have        of Grief ” at the past four National Conferences, is currently co-Regional
you ever stopped to think of all the wonderful scholarships,   Coordinator for both North and South Carolina, Committee member for
                                                               the 2018 TCF National Conference, and is a moderator for the TCF Closed

buildings, foundations, and, yes, even TCF, that came to be page “Loss of a Child”.

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