It’s a powerful time of change in the world, regardless where you live as families struggle, loss occurs and concerns for health, finance and matters of the heart set in. So where to go for hope and some fun? With us: Amy Sky, Olivia Newton-John & Beth […]
Loss can divide us, but it can also unite us, as we are seeing in the case of Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher. Collectively we are trying to make sense of […]
Over the past years, we’ve seen many friends come and go from our lives and while the holidays can be a time of immense joy, they can also be a source of sorrow for many, as we reflect back on those who are no longer in our day-to-day physical existence.
It is then that we need to remember the lyrics from the LIV ON song, “There’s Still My Joy”:
One tiny child can change the world
One shining light can show the way
Through all my tears for what I’ve lost
There’s still my joy
There’s still my joy
…For Christmas Day
There’s so much happening in this ever-changing world of ours — and while it can seem a tremendous weight to bear, we also hope you and yours will have moments to remember all that is joyous and bright over this holiday season.
Sending you much love,
Amy, Olivia, Beth and the rest of the LIV ON Team
For you: “There’s Still My Joy”
The thought of describing one’s journey of grief as “grace” seems unsettling, if not impossible. Grace, after all, is typically defined as elegance or beauty of form, manner, motion or action – or in many religious traditions as mercy, clemency or pardon. How in the […]
Feelings of Grief May Be Magnified During The Holidays / Jon Radulovic, National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization
The holidays are often thought of as a joyful time of the year, filled with sights and sounds of seasonal cheer. Yet for people struggling with the death of a family member or other loved one, the holidays can be a difficult time. The season […]
Monday is usually my favorite day because it holds so much promise! Yes, it’s true. I LOVE Mondays and am always curious what magical thing might unfold in the days between the beginning and the end of the week! However, this particular Monday, instead of bouncing out of bed like I usually do, I just laid there with a heaviness of being that wouldn’t let me move. I struggled to roll over, trying to figure out what on earth was bothering me.
At the same time, I kept hearing Amy Sky, Beth Nielsen Chapman and Olivia Newton John’s LIV ON song, “Don’t Know What To Say” running through my head, over and over. I kept feeling the lyrics:
You don’t know what to say
You don’t know what to do
When life delivers this
The right words don’t exist
The fault is not with you
And finally, it hit me. I don’t know what to say…. I don’t know what to do… because life’s delivered this… and with that, I rolled over, put two feet on the ground and wrote you the message below… because it’s not just any Monday. It’s Halloween.
I woke up this Halloween morning and again this year, felt a sickness in my stomach & an ache in my heart. I’ve vacillated for years about discussing Halloween and how it’s an unofficial “Ugh” day for many bereaved parents.
Why? Because we know intuitively that someone is or in my case some one(s) are missing from our lives.
It’s the day that no one speaks of aloud…but every cell in our grieving-parent-bodies knows that something is “off.” So, now, I’m calling it like it is…because after 11 years & 8 years of waiting for this bizarre feeling to go away on this ONE day, I’m done stuffing it down…and judging from my inbox on the topic, you are, too.
Grieving parents, my heart goes out to you….and if you’re the friend of a bereaved parent, reach out to him or her today. Just say, “Hi, I didn’t know this day might be hard, but wow, makes sense.” Then let your bereaved-parent-friend fly his or her own freak flag today, as he or she wishes…’cuz this one day can bring out the Princess or the Witch in all, but especially bereaved parents.
Sent with Love,
#HalloweenIsHard #ThankfullyItsOnlyOneDay #YesYouCanShareThis w/your bereaved parent friend. xox
It is often in our darkest hour when grief has cracked us open, that we find access to the purest creative voice with us. Through the gift of art, music, and all creative expression we can begin to address the deep spiraling waves of feeling that overtake us […]
Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there I do not sleep
Twenty years ago, almost to the day, my father died. From diagnosis to death in a swift four months. So young – only 65. He met his grandsons, but only for a few years before death took him. Cancer denied him the happiness of knowing his grandsons.
We pulled the feeding tube. No sense prolonging the inevitable. He was not in pain; he did not cry. He held my mother’s hand.
“Marie is here with me,” my father told her. She’s sitting right here. Don’t you see her?” “No,” my mother thought, but she dared not voice it. It would break the moment of wonder gleaming in his eyes.
Marie died over five years before. Dad’s sister. My Aunt Marie. The one who looked after him when she had to – and she HAD to – she was 20 years his senior.
My father was quiet man, haunted by demons as we all are…at least if we are honest with ourselves. The war haunted him as did the waste, the sadness, the loss, the loneliness. He used drink and cigarettes to calm his nerves, which, in turn, created more anxiety. Wishing to improve his life, he quit drinking. He quit drinking just like that. One day he drank. The next day he did not. His willpower surprised us. I think it surprised him most of all. Four years later he quit smoking. But the damage had been done.
First he wasn’t hungry, then food felt stuck in his throat, and caused him to choke. “I must be coming down with a cold,” he told my sister.
He ate little. The flame of life doused inside him and sadness crept in. He knew something was wrong, terribly wrong. His worst fears confirmed when he met with the doctor.
“This is a bad dream,” I told him. “We will make it go away. Let’s plan a trip. This can’t be happening,” I thought, unwilling to acknowledge the truth.
But it wasn’t a bad dream. It was our new reality, a reality of sickness and death.
The day my father died was gray and drizzly where I lived. I felt the air sucked out of the room when the phone rang. “Elizabeth?” “Yes?” “Dad died.
Grief enveloped me. It felt as if someone threw a heavy blanket over me in the dead of summer. It was stifling and warm, too warm. Uncomfortable. I’m not sure why, it semed like a good idea at the time, I decided to pull myself together, after all, I expected this call, perhaps not this soon. I had plans to meet my friend for lunch and so I went.
As I drove down the steep hill on my tree-lined street, I felt overwhelmed by the lss as if the heavy air continued to follow me into the car. As I barreled down the hill, at an accelerated speed, I saw my Dad. He was large, gigantic in fact. His presence took over the street from overhead and from side to side. He smiled but loomed. Had he come to say “goodbye”?
He continued to hover over me as I drove. There was a strong comfort to his essence. Was this his spirit? Had his body failed him but his soul still alive?
When you awake in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush.
The years swiftly passed, but my father lives on…in me and in my sons. My oldest son walks and talks like him and never met a stranger… just like my Dad.. I look like him. Each morning in the mirror I see the reddish hair, the worry wrinkles across my forehead, and the slightly mischievous spark in my eyes. I feel my father’s presence whenever I light the barbecue or take the car in for repairs. “Have them look at the spark plug. The car doesn’t sound right to me.”
My father’s ashes are in the back yard. At night I see him in the stars, quietly brilliant.
The years have passed. Twenty to be exact. In that time my mother died and her ashes are also in the backyard. I see her in the robin that flits from tree to tree. I hear her in his song: cheer-up, cheer-a-lee, cheer-ee-o.
Do I perceive my parents are immortal? I used to think that immortality was impossible. After all, when my sister and I die, who will remember our parents? Not my children, they were too young. Yet the stars continue to shine, the birds continue to sing. For as long as the earth continues to spin, they live forever.
Do not stand at my grave and cry
I am not there I did not die.