September 8, 2004 - "September's Grief" by Ginger Boda
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"If there must be trouble let it be in my day, that my child may have peace." --Thomas Paine (1737-1809)
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I read so many stories that it takes a lot to move me to tears. This one did! In honor of our September 11th Remembrance Week, I feel blessed to be able to share this story by Ginger. Be sure to email her!
by Ginger Boda
"Grief has it's own timetable, one that does not always follow our fervent desire to move on." I recently saw the comment in reference to the terror that struck our homeland on September 11, 2001.
I gazed at the sentence for a long time, pondering its truth. I've not been a stranger to grief and heartache. I was sixteen when I lost my own mother and nineteen when my father passed away. Both died from terminal illness. Many family members and friends have since died as well, causing grief to become a familiar face to me. Sure, there were some periods of reprieve in between the pain, but the pain truly never goes away. It just lessens its grip.
I was told, "After the loss of a loved one occurs, there are stages of grief one must pass through." I imagined it to be somewhat like an obstacle course or driving test. Drive straight ahead, do a figure eight through those orange cones, look back and go in reverse, parallel park and sit for a moment, look both ways, climb that hill, then go back to where you began.
You get the picture.
If only the experience was so predictable, but I've learned that grief is not a test of such simplicity. There is no grading system. No instructor to fail or pass you. There is no point A, ending at point Z, indicating that the test is over. The obstacles, one faces, are not the same for another, and there are no set rules.
In my own grief, I remember many friends who said all the wrong things to me. I didn't blame them, because I knew that they meant well. Sympathy was given, but empathy was harder to find. The most difficult comment to hear was "Well, they are in a better place now." It was true, but it hurt.
The second was, "Don't you think it's 'bout time for you to get on with your life and stop grieving?" That fervent desire to move on was present, yes, but most of the time it was embedded in the hearts of others, rather than my own. In fact, I had no idea how I was going to "move on" let alone know when, or why.
The day our country watched in horror, as so many innocent lives were taken without warning, was a day of much grief and shock that none of us will forget. The years following that tragedy have been filled with memorials and tributes through country songs, celebrity concerts, photos and prayer lists, angel projects and flag waving. Confusion and helplessness merged with pride and determination, as we've all tried to cope with the devastation.
However, if we took a closer look, we would discover the ones who have had the most to contend with -- the ones who were left behind. A baby somewhere, born after 9/11, whose first word wasn't "Dada." A toddler now, his own features are mirrored in the photo of a loving parent he will never know. The new bride who became a widow, before her wedding band had the chance to make an indentation on her finger. The mother of teens who has cried at night, wondering how she'll raise them alone. The young boy filled with anger for the pain in his heart and the little girl who has wondered who would walk her down the aisle one day. The husband who has struggled to part with his wife's belongings, and just stares out the window. The parents who've incessantly watched old home-movies of their child's smiling face, while they cling helplessly to one another. Yes, these are scenes of heartache for those who've been left behind to gather up the pieces of their lives, while life goes on.
Whether we're driving down the road, or looking out the window of our homes, it's obvious that life HAS moved on, regardless of the pain. The seasons changed. New grass has grown. Fresh flowers have bloomed. The rains fell, and the sun has risen and set each day. There has been a predictable timetable for nature, for schooling, for sports, for elections. For just about everything -- except grief. And "when" it comes upon us, is just as unpredictable as "when" it leaves us alone.
September's grief was huge. And there are still many walking wounded.
"What can we do?"
We can grieve alongside those who hurt. We can listen to their hearts, as they talk about the memories, or dream about what could've been. We can affirm their feelings. For those of us who pray, we pray for healing to come, for memories to turn from painful to pleasant, for splintered and angry hearts to be softened.
Yes, grief may appear to have its own timetable, but God knows what it is. Moreover, only through His strength can the ones left behind follow their fervent desire to move on. I know. I've been there.
Many fellow-Americans suffered tremendous loss on that September day. We have not forgotten their grief. Therefore, may these simple words, "In loving Memory," earnestly portray this promise from the heart...
"We Will Always Remember -- with Love."
© 2003 Ginger Boda
Ginger is an awesome poet and her poem "Awakenings" won 3rd place in our 2004 2TheHeart Poetry Contest! You can read the poem here: http://www.2theheart.com/poetrycontest2004
The Letter Box:
Hi Susan I have a great memorial site for September 11 if you want to display it, for this week. I have one made for this year's memoriam but I have not put it up yet. I will do that sometime today and it will eventually go on this site map that I am sending to you.
Hi, Susan, Here is a poem I wrote right after 9/11/01.
Images that cannot be erased; pain and anguish on each face; running, screaming, every place.
How could this happen in America. . .as the sun brightly shown on an Indian Summer day. . . as people prepared to work and children were at play?!
Not one, but two New York City gleaming towers dissolved, as we watched in numb disbelief.
Two other planes crashed into the Pentagon, and outside of Pittsburgh, which intensified our grief.
Such raw evil cannot be understood, but as one nation, under God, - We know He will take this nightmare and bring from the pungent, gray ash,
America's strong resolve of right and good.
What can be seen may disappear right before our eyes, but what's real and everlasting, is the spirit of our heart, which stands against all terrorism and will not be denied.
It's been said, God saves all our tears and they are very precious to him. He will use the tears of his darling children, to renew and restore their spirits again.
So America and friends worldwide, let's join our hands and hearts as one, and stand united together, with resolve that's only now begun. God Bless America and prayers of peace for all, shall be our cry of hope, -
In all we have to face in time of war - God will help us cope!
We will light a candle, fly a flag, donate blood and funds, and kneel and pray,
Oh Lord, please send your angels to protect each son and daughter, in your supernatural way!
(c) September 17, 2001 Joyce Carol Stobbe
Apache Junction, AZ
Making a difference, one story at a time!