Stars in the Deepest Night - After the Death of a Child

Stars in the Deepest Night - After the Death of a Child is a collection of poetry written after my twenty-one year old daughter Lori died in a car accident in 1991.

Catching the Light - Coming Back to Life after the Death of a Child

Catching the Light - Coming Back to Life after the Death of a Child is a collection of poetry and prose from the author of Stars in the Deepest Night. Now she takes us further along in her journey after the death of a child, sharing the renewed hope, joy and new life she has found in grief’s garden.
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Stars in the Deepest Night
-After the Death of a Child

Stars in the Deepest Night – After the Death of a Child is a collection of poetry written by a bereaved mother after the death of her 21 year old daughter. Because the poems give words to the intense range of emotions experienced after the death of a child, they offer solace to bereaved parents and help their friends and families better understand what they are going through.

This is what the author says about Stars in the Deepest Night:

When my daughter died in 1991, my life changed irreversibly. From a family of four, we were now three. From a life full of all the exciting as well as humdrum aspects of living, all the color and purpose were washed away with the words, “Your daughter is dead.”

No one can hear those words without being ripped apart, devastated beyond belief. As my body and soul absorbed this mortal blow, my mind added numbness and disbelief into the mix in order to keep me from the complete understanding of what this loss meant to my life.

Alternating between excruciating pain and numbing nothingness, I began my journey through a world no longer understandable or meaningful to me. Searching, often hopelessly, to find ways to deal with all the feelings grief brings, out of the darkness came poems.

The poems in Stars in the Deepest Night are from my first eight years on that dark, painful and difficult road. Miraculously, as well as helping me understand and redefine myself, the poems in my little book began their own journey out into the world of bereaved parents to become a lifeline for them as well.

Nothing had prepared me for how much this would mean to me. For those who are now being forced to embark on this horrendous journey, or are stuck in a dark place along the road, I offer this book to you, with understanding and with hope.

Poems from Stars in the Deepest Night:

The Long Forever
You left us so quickly,
there were no goodbyes.
How long this forever,
your death and our lives.

The sadness, the anger,
the loneliness of three,
preferring four always,
how small, this new we.

Candles in the Night
Candles flame in darkness,
flicker, steadily glow,
brining light from shadows
and help to soothe me so.

My daughter, like the candles,
gave my life true light.
I use the candle's beacon
to connect us in the night.

As I light the candles,
my wish and my request
is that she'll see my signal
and know my love's expressed.

As her light joins my lights,
our worlds touch and flame.
As I snuff out the candles,
I softly say her name.

First Thanksgiving
The thought of being thankful
fills my heart with dread.
They’ll all be feigning gladness,
not a word about her said.

These heavy shrouds of blackness
enveloping my soul,
pervasive, throat-catching,
writhe in me, and coil.

I must, I must acknowledge,
just express her name,
so all sitting at the table,
know I’m thankful that she came.

Though she’s gone from us forever
and we mourn to see her face,
not one minute of her living,
would her death ever replace.

So I stop the cheerful gathering,
though my voice quivers, quakes,
make a toast to all her living.
That small tribute’s all it takes.

The Promise
Your birth brought me star shine,
the moon and the sun;
my wishes, dreams, gathered
‘round my little one.

My life became sacred,
full of promise and light
wrapped up in the child
who brought love at first sight.

The years of your living
filled with laughter and tears,
excitement, adventure,
some boredom, some fears,

but ended too quickly,
ahead of its time
the loss so horrendous,
such heartbreak was mine.

But from the beginning,
one thought rose so clear:
never would your death erase
the years that you were here.

I would not be defeated
or diminished by your death;
I would hang on, learn to conquer,
if it took my every breath.

For if your death destroyed my life,
made both our lives a waste,
‘t would deny your life’s meaning
and all the love you gave.

I vowed that years of sadness
would change, with work and grace,
to years of happiness, even joy,
in which you’d have a place.

Memories of you, like shining stars
in the patterns of my soul,
are beacons flashing light and love,
and with them I am whole.

In your honor, I live my life,
now living it for two.
Through all my life, you too will live.
You lived, you live, you do.

Nature’s Rainbows
We held them in our parent arms
for days or weeks or years.
Now we hold them in our hearts
and cry the darkest tears.

The cord attached to children,
eternally fine and strong.
We never leave the missing;
it holds us all life long.

Our children now inside us –
our souls tattooed with gold.
Their love, their words, caresses,
are hugs that we still hold.

If we open to the knowledge,
that they aren’t completely gone,
we will sometimes feel their touching,
sometimes soft and sometimes strong.

When they show us nature’s rainbows,
we can feel their proud delight,
sending signs to show they’re living,
only far beyond our sight.

And Yet This Happened to Me
I took motherhood so seriously.
I took nothing for granted.
I was always thankful
for what I had.
And yet this happened to me.

I chose to stay with them,
live through their lives closely,
put my own aspirations
on hold ‘til they’d grown.
And still, this happened to me.

My life was spent caring
for two lovely daughters
who made my life special
in so many ways.

One day she was living,
alive, well and thriving.
The next she was gone
to a life we can’t share.

I’m learning to struggle
through life and the grieving,
to find ways of being
that bring wholeness and peace,
and live with what happened to me.

Chance Encounter
Sitting at my table,
a stranger, lost in thought,
holding her cup closely
until my eye was caught.

She told me of a friend of hers,
whose child died months ago,
and that she wanted so to help,
but how, she didn’t know.

“My friend still seems so fragile;
her grieving fills her days.
There must be something I can do,
or something I can say.”

I looked across the table.
Her eyes had filled with tears...
How to answer simply,
in words that she could hear.

“I, too, am a grieving mother.
I’ve been there, you could say.
Her hurt is like no other.
Have you hugged your friend today?”

“Well, I don’t really see her much;
time seems to go so fast.
She’s always on my mind,
but I don’t seem to get the chance.

And I feel so helpless with her;
I can’t think what to say.
There’s so much changed about her;
she’s a stranger in some ways.”

“I know you care about her,
and I understand your fears,
but her life has been so shattered;
her days are filled with tears.

She really needs the contact
of you and all her friends
or the walls of isolation
will close her sadness in.”

She sighed, “I feel so guilty.
I’ve tried in the past, you know.
Her conversations get so strange;
I’m not sure where they’ll go.

She talks of dreaming visits
with her child who’s really dead.
I know it’s wishful thinking,
that it’s all just in her head.”

“I believe our children do try
to show us they live on.
They touch us in so many ways;
they aren’t completely gone.

Your friend needs you to listen,
to show her that you care.
You can’t take the pain away,
but it will help to have you there.”

“I just wish I could help her.
It’s just so hard to know...”
She took a breath and let it out
and then she rose to go.

“Good luck,” I said, before she turned
and slowly walked away.
Oh, if only she has listened
and will hug her friend today...