My Dragon Slayer

July 2, 2014

Will you be my dragon slayer Lord
Take this grief and make it a servant instead
Cause my heart to lean on you and not be afraid
Carry my spirit above the clouds with you
And never let me doubt your loving arms around me

You can be my dragon slayer Lord
Keeping the grief in a place where it belongs
Never forgetting where it is, but at your side
I can stand in the face of the dragon
And know that my Lord goes before me

You are my dragon slayer Lord
Cradling me in your arms of comfort and mercy
Lifting me up from the ground and placing me by your side
Where I find peace and warmth in your light
You are my dragon slayer Lord

(c) March 2012 Vickie Van Antwerp


Forgotten Pain

February 13, 2012

A prose for the bereaved mother.

 

Remember childbirth? The sheer pain and agony of bringing another human being into this world can only be described as anguish. It gave new meaning to the word , “pain”.

Soon after you looked upon your child; your gorgeous little cherub, and all the pain, all the travailing was gone with one glance. The pain was forgotten.

A day came and a new pain emerged, but this pain was in your heart. It came so fiercely, so violent, that it took your breath away. Anguish, I think they call it. A bereaved parent knows it as the worse pain you can ever imagine. This one gives new meaning to the word, “pain”, for sure.

In the depths of your anguish you can rest assured because just as your birth pains are forgotten, so will this pain be forgotten in the blink of an eye, when you see your child once again.
(C) 2012 Vickie Van Antwerp
 


It’s like it just happened yesterday.

February 8, 2012

I remember when my cousin suddenly lost her son. She lived over 400 miles away and I did not know her very well. She was 18 years my elder and I had not seen her in at least 15 years. My mother called to tell me the news. She said, “Margie has lost Danny. He died in his sleep.” Danny was not much younger than me. Being a mother I could only imagine what my cousin was going through. I felt so helpless but I wanted to help in some way. I sent her a book on grief and a card with my condolences. From that day I felt a special bond. I spoke to her occasionally on the phone. I did not bring up the subject of Danny because I did not want to upset her. We just talked about small things.

Many years later, Margie lost another son, this time to cancer. She had three boys, two were now gone. We spoke more often this time. Before she lost her second son Glen, I asked her how she coped with the loss of Danny. Little did we know at the time she would relive the nightmare again. She said to me, “Its like is just happened yesterday.” Her sorrow was fresh every day. It did not loose its grip.

A few months after Glen died, I told her I was attending a candle lighting service and that I would light a candle in memory of Danny and Glen. She was pleased.

The night of the service I spoke with a man from the church my husband and I attended. He had lost his daughter 20 years before. He was there to light a candle for her. He said, “It’s like it just happened yesterday.”  Twenty years and his sorrow was still present. He told me that his daughter’s room remained the same as she left it. To a person that has not lost a child, it would appear that he was stuck in grief out of choice. For parents that have experienced the same loss, it is a story of love and honor.

 

I stood beside my husband on a December night and we lit three candles, one for Danny, one for Glen and one for our son Craig. It was no wonder to me now why I felt a bond with my cousin. Maybe my spirit knew then what was to come, maybe not. Craig was found in his apartment by a close friend. He had been there for days. He was 33 years old and his father and I were over 600 miles away. The nightmare began in 2006 and it has not ended.

I was on the other side at one time, trying to comfort my cousin, not knowing what to say. I know now, and wish I didn’t. I did not want to join this group of people that have to learn how to live without their child. I found that it is not about moving on with your life. It is not about leaving things behind. It is not about letting go. When you loose a child, those things don’t happen. Grieving a child leaves you empty.  There are no words, there are no poems, no songs, and no books that will make you feel better. The pain is so intense that you think it will kill you.

I have moments when I can see my child so clear in my head. I can touch him and kiss him and talk to him. Maybe someday, those moments will not hurt like they do now but for now, when they come, every time they come, it’s like it just happened yesterday.

(c) 2012 Vickie VanAntwerp


Bittersweet Memories

September 18, 2011

The following is an article that I wrote for the Compassionate Friends newsletter, We Need Not Walk Alone, Winter/Spring 2010-2011.   http://www.compassionatefriends.org/resources/we_need_not_walk_alone.aspx  

One of the most precious things to a parent that has lost a child is the memories. Without them, it would be as if their child never was. With them, it is so bittersweet that it can make a parent laugh and cry, rejoice and anguish, touch the sweetness to the lips and taste the salt from the tears.

Memories keep the heart from crushing under the weight of sorrow. They give a parent the chance to be with their child again. They can walk through their memories like they were a movie. When the memories are so vivid, you can almost feel them, touch them, hug them, and kiss them. It is so bittersweet when the reality comes and you realize it is just a memory, a thought, and you are reminded of what you have lost.

If you asked a parent if they would give up the memories so they did not have to feel the pain of knowing their child is gone, they would tell you no. As painful as it may be, not having the memories or feeling their presence, is just as unbearable as loosing them.

There is no happy place to go to but there is a place to be with your child. You know before you step into that realm that it will be painful but you also know that it will be joyful too.

So as we let the memories take us to a time that our child was safe with us, just rest a while until it is time to go and the next time try not to think of what is gone but what is still in your heart and will always be.