Musings From A Musical Mind

Archive for the ‘Grief’ Category

A City Weeps

This last week Seattle lost long time anchor woman Kathi Goertzen.  After a long battle with brain tumors and many attempts to remove them, her compromised body had had enough.    But it was pneumonia that finally took her.

Kathi Goertzen

Kathi Goertzen (Photo credit: Steve Lacey)

Those of us living in Seattle followed her story and her courage through her long battle.  She lost her smile on the outside only – her courage never wavered.  She was a role model for grace under pressure to all of us who watched with horror as the brain tumors increased with ferocious intensity.

When we learned that she was only 54 – we were stunned.  Not that she had brain cancer and had struggled for more than 12 years with this – but that she was so young.

Greg is 52 and does weddings and funerals for a living.  It is not unusual for him to perform a memorial service for young adults and those more than 10 years younger than himself.  It seems to be a growing epidemic for men and women to struggle with things like cancer and heart issues to die while only in their early forties.  On rare occasions it happens even earlier.

I am reminded of what the Bible says in James 4: 13-14

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.

Our bodies are temporary and meant to break down and eventually die.  The body is not who we are and we cannot be defined by it.  Our real self is much deeper than just our body and will live on past this life.  I am grateful for this, as I have had people I love already pass on into the next life.  And it is especially comforting to read in Romans 6:23:

The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

A gift from God.  No matter what happens to me while I’m here on earth.  No matter what battles physically I have to fight.  A place where there will be no more fighting.  No more long battles with things like cancer and heart disease.  No more sickness of any kind.  No more loss.  No more weeping.

I am taking many long moments of reflection in this last week to truly be thankful and live in the moment.  Because we are not promised tomorrow – any of us, it is important to stay in the present and live in an eternal state of contentment and thankfulness.

My prayer for you and your family is this:  That you may stop and reflect today on the many reasons you have to be thankful.  For contentment and courage in all your present circumstances.  And for the love of Jesus to be an ever-present compass as you embrace your life and others around you.

God Bless

Faith, Hope and Puppy Dogs

“Is there a heaven for puppies?  Will we see them again after this life?”

This was asked of me yesterday, when talking to the woman who breathed her own life into six puppies, nursed and cared for them and then watched them die when they were only six weeks old.

Yes.  I believe there is.  I really do.  I believe that if the “Lion will lie down with the Lamb” – then there is a place for all precious puppies who die too soon – and that they will be running and jumping when they are reunited with those who have cared for them here on earth – however short it may have been.

I cannot prove it biblically – but just the same – it brings hope and comfort for those grieving a loss – and to some, it is the same grief as one who loses a child.

And so we cry and grieve – but then…

We have faith – we cling to hope and…

We believe that one day – there will be answers to questions we cannot answer here.

And to my friend, Monica – and to anyone else out there who has ever suffered a loss – my prayers are with you today.

Here is a great song of comfort from none other than Michael W. Smith.

Yes Monica, there is a heaven for puppies.

God Bless

Caught, in an endless time
Waiting for a sign
To show you where to go
Lost, in a silent stare
Looking anywhere
For answers you don’t know

Chorus:

On the wire
Balancing your dreams
Hoping ends will meet their means
You feel alone
Uninspired
Well does it help you to
Know that I believe in you
You’re an angel waiting for wings…Emily

You, going through this stage
It’s a restless age
Young and insecure
Sill, there are doubts to fade
Moments to be made
And one of them is yours

Chorus

On the wire
Balancing your dreams
Hoping ends will meet their means
But you feel alone
Uninspired
Oh does it help you to
Know that I believe in you
You’re an angel waiting for wings
Oh, you’re an angel waiting for wings…Emily

 

Just When You Thought It Was Safe…

Yesterday Greg performed a funeral service for someone we had known for several years – who had recently lost her husband to cancer.  While at the service, one of the senior ladies came up to him and told him she was getting married again.  “I finally landed him” she said of another man who was recently widowed.  Well this gave us a good laugh and proves once and for all that anyone can get married – at any age – love seems to have limits or requirements – and let’s face it – most people don’t want to be alone.  They would rather marry again  – anyone rather than be alone.  So this sparked a very colorful and fun conversation and got us really thinking about what it would be like if something happened to one of us and we found ourselves single again.

It came up because we were marveling at how people can go back after being married to the same person for so many years – and start over and date.  Now mind you we have been married for 30 years this September and neither of us have been on one of those ‘dates’ in more than 30 years  – Oh we date now – sweet little outings that are more about connecting and romance then they are about getting to know each other like on a first or second date – but we haven’t ‘dated’ in years – in fact I’m not sure we ever did.  I’m not sure I would know how.  We went from being friends into a relationship pretty fast back in college and sort of skipped over that part.  I would have to say that my last actual ‘date’ was with some creepy guy at college who asked me to the spring banquet.  I didn’t think he was creepy until that evening – but none-the-less  it is my memory of that evening – and the last real ‘date’ I was ever on.

I think ‘dating’ is highly over rated – not for the faint-hearted – and certainly something I would probably avoid altogether if I was back in a situation that left me alone and single.  Let’s face it – there are some pretty scary people out there.  I know.  I’ve had some of these people as friends over the years.  I can’t imagine what my life would have been like if married to one of them.  And let’s face it – someone can appear a certain way as a friend and then be completely different in real life – the daily grind, living, paying bills, through sickness and financial reversal.  And getting to be comfortable again with someone else – hard to do.  I mean – can you imagine it?  I can’t.

And so there we were – having one of those moments trying to take it all in – imagining what would happen if something should happen to one of us – and force the other one back in the ‘dating pool’ – just when you thought it was safe to be single. I teased him and told him he would have all sorts of women coming out of the wood work to get a shot at him – I’m sure they would come, it’s hard to find a decent hardworking man who is good-looking, kind generous and so on  – he’s a find for sure – and a minority in the sea of so many single women. He’s so great that several years ago I had someone even picked out for him to replace me upon my ultimate demise – a wonderful single gal from our church who was recently widowed with a small son.  And then she ruined everything and up and got married!!  Can you believe that?  We’ve had many laughs over it – in fact I even told this woman about it – and she was flattered – she got married to someone else – but still flattered 🙂  Man – can’t anyone wait anymore?  Sigh.  I have found NO ONE since her.

But I do applaud all those friends in our lives that have chosen to be single. It is not for everyone – and I think it takes real courage to remain so.  But there’s no one I admire more than the person who finds themselves single again due to a death of a spouse or a bad divorce.  Being ‘out there’ again is scary.  It takes real-time to grieve and grieve properly and fully before being ready to try again.  But we have known some of these wonderful people who have actually found love a second time around – and no one deserves it more than they do.  It should give all of us hope that God is really a God of reconciliation, love, forgiveness and second chances.  I love that about Him.  These wonderful friends somehow pulled themselves up  – went through all the ‘first dates’ and scary things that all single people have to do – and still they were able to work through all those emotions and find someone wonderful 🙂  Is there more than one special person for everyone?  You bet!

But as for me – I’m way too picky.  Greg has spoiled me for anyone else.  And No – he hasn’t picked out any guy for me upon his ultimate demise.  Men don’t do that – being territorial and all of that.  And he thinks no one could take care of me in the fashion in which I am used to – so it would be a moot point.  So I’m afraid it would be up to me in that case.  I’m sure I would be lonely but would also enjoy being single and not be anxious to be on that train again and be ‘out there’.  I have a few girlfriends who feel the same way – being in another relationship is simply not an option for them right now.

We’ve all heard the horror stories of how people actually change – just when you think you know everything about them.  Those that did not give it enough time – and they find themselves in a relationship with someone who turned out to be abusive or controlling – changing personality just when they thought they knew them.  That’s not for me.  I would have to know someone as a friend for a long while – to feel that I knew him through all the different seasons of life.  I don’t think I would ever ‘date’.  Nope it’s not for me.

For those of you that have found that special love a second time around – after being ‘out there’ – I want you to know that I respect you and I’m so happy for you.  That takes such great courage to find another relationship that works and that makes you so happy.  You are true heroes.

And for those of you that haven’t – just remember you could always ‘date’ again – just when you thought it was safe being single… 😉

God Bless

The Recent Tragedies

A couple of weeks ago my husband did a memorial service for a 16-year-old girl who died tragically from a gun-shot wound.  And last night a young 17-year-old girl from the church body where we were on staff for 13 years – was killed in an automobile accident.

Both of these events – as well as many more this past year, seem senseless and hard to understand.  I can’t even begin to know the depth of sorrow that the family members and close friends are going through.  It is one of life’s biggest mysteries.  But I also believe that these lives are in God’s hands – and sometimes when you have no other explanation for things that happen – it is reassuring and comforting to know.

One of my favorite older Michael W. Smith songs is a song called ‘I hear Leesha’ – written about a young girl lost in a car accident.  It is reported that she was the younger of two sisters in the car – and the older one survived.  The older sister had a terrible time over the loss until she had a vision where she saw her sister in heaven telling her,”I’m okay”.  It’s a very moving and powerful song – especially if you’ve ever lost anyone close to you.

This song is dedicated to the families of these two girls – and I am praying that you will find comfort in your time of deepest darkness and sorrow.

God Bless


Seems like it was only yesterday
She was living here
Yea, she was living here
Lord knows why He’s taken her away
It isn’t very clear, no it isn’t very clear
Into every life a little rain must fall
And losing one you love is like a storm
But storms are passing
Chorus:
I hear Leesha
Singing in heaven tonight
And in between the sadness
I hear Leesha
Telling me that she’s alright
Life goes on even after life
That’s what I believe
Yea, that’s what I believe
Leesha’s gone, but she will still survive
In a memory that I’m keeping here with me
Silencing the voice of mortal tragedy
Listening to whispers of the soul
All is peaceful

Your Healing Touch

Last night I watched a movie about a terminally ill man.  The man was in his forties – was divorced and had a 16-year-old rebellious son.  In one scene he collapses and ends up in the hospital – talking with a young nurse on night duty about his regrets and his life.  He tells her about his son – his painful divorce and no one to love him.  She asks him what he would do if he knew he only had 4 months to live and he tells her, “I’d build a house”  She feels compassion for him and reaches out to touch him.  He pulls back and tells her that he’s uncomfortable with touch – because no one has touched him in a long time – in fact he couldn’t remember the last time someone in his life had done that.   A look of understanding comes across her face and she quietly closed the curtain that surrounded his bed and then sits down next to him and touches him. She lovingly strokes his head with her soft hands and lets him feel her warmth as she placed both her hands on his face – on his cheeks.  It was one of the most moving scenes I have ever seen in a movie – there was no sound from either of them – just simple, tender human touch.

I have known people like this in my life.  People who desperately needed to be loved and touched.  Those that for their own reasons – shrink back from people touching them – even though they really need it.    I can only imagine that they are ‘prickly’ and pull away because of fear – fear of rejection or of being hurt – or maybe because of a bad experience – an abusive parent or harsh teacher – an angry boyfriend or girlfriend – or maybe even a physically abusive spouse.  I even knew one male friend that barely escaped with his own life from an abusive and mentally disturbed spouse.  These events and more can make people feel ‘unloved’ and cause them to pull away from touch and love from those around them.  A hug might be no big deal to you and me – after all I give them everyday – to my husband and kids – my friends and students – but I always know the ones that have a hard time accepting my touch – my love – any physical form of connection – such as a hug or simple squeeze around the shoulders – or on the hand.  And yet – I know it is very important that they feel it.  And it is very important that I touch them – anyway.

Jesus touched people.  The unlovely.  The sick and diseased.  The ones that others would turn away from.  He reached out – and touched them.  And in that simple act of intimacy – people were healed – both emotionally and physically.  Jesus healed people from the inside out.  His touch was like a healing balm of oil poured on their heads and it released something sick and dying inside – all with a touch.

There is power in touch today.  Ever have a good massage?  That touch is healing and releases something tight and pent-up inside your muscles.  If done right – and deep enough into the tissue people have actually been known to cry – something is released and even deep memories of past can be brought out.  It is not unusual to have people become emotional during a massage – because sometimes it is just what that person needs.  The loving touch of someone.  Gently stroking those tired and sore muscles – going deep into the stress and fatigue of everyday living – of regret and heartache.  Bringing relief – bringing joy and release.

How much more important is it to touch those we love?  How important is a hug, a caress, a kiss?  It is HUGE.  We need to touch our kids – hug them lots and make sure we express something through our gently, loving and much-needed embrace.

The human touch.  The healing embrace.  The caress that says much more than mere words can.  The silent love language of touch. It is still needed as we grow and mature into adulthood.  Sometimes more so if you didn’t have it much as a child – or if you’ve been through something traumatic and painful.  The touch that says, “I see you.  I care.  You are valuable to me”

Don’t be afraid to reach out and touch someone.  It may be the only thing that someone understands.  It may be the only thing that someone is missing in their life.  You may be the only link they have to forming an opinion about a loving God.  Your touch and reaching out to them – may be the one thing that makes them want to know more about God and his loving embrace.  So hug them.  Your touch may be the only Jesus they can understand.

God Bless

Leesha

One of my favorite older Michael W. Smith songs – written about a young girl lost in a car accident.  It is reported that she was the younger of two sisters in the car – and the older one survived.  The older sister had a terrible time over the loss until she had a vision where she saw her sister in heaven telling her,”I’m okay”.  It’s a very moving and powerful song – especially if you’ve ever lost anyone close to you.  Enjoy!

Seems like it was only yesterday
She was living here
Yea, she was living here
Lord knows why He’s taken her away
It isn’t very clear, no it isn’t very clear
Into every life a little rain must fall
And losing one you love is like a storm
But storms are passing
Chorus:
I hear Leesha
Singing in heaven tonight
And in between the sadness
I hear Leesha
Telling me that she’s alright
Life goes on even after life
That’s what I believe
Yea, that’s what I believe
Leesha’s gone, but she will still survive
In a memory that I’m keeping here with me
Silencing the voice of mortal tragedy
Listening to whispers of the soul
All is peaceful

Turning The Light On

Watched a great new show on TV last night – “Losing it with Jillian” – I usually never watch many reality shows – except American Idol because I’m a musician and it’s interesting to me – and educational too as I am always looking for fresh material for my students. Everything else I watch is usually an interesting program or movie that I have my DVR record for me – so I can watch it when I want to – don’t sit and watch too much TV at one time – it’s boring.

But last night something about this show really interested me. I was flipping back and forth between a public TV show on the music of Diane Warren (very interesting – as she has written much of our popular music in the last 20 or so years) and the “Losing” program. Soon the “Losing” program won and the music one – recorded for later. The reason? It was gripping and raw – it was real and authentic. Instead of this fitness coach just giving them instruction on a daily exercise and eating regime – which she did – she quickly got to the root of the emotional problem that was causing unhealthy behavior which in turn lead to obesity. Once that was uncovered and dealt with (it was painful to have it uncovered and dealt with) this family began to heal and move forward – and make healthy steps toward real change in eating habits that had bound them up for years.

It is like each one of us has a room in our head. Sometimes it’s very dark in that room. It’s very easy to ‘hide’ things in that place – when there’s no light on. We can stay in that dark place for years sometimes – and feel like it’s perfectly normal because no one is asking us to turn on the light.

Sometimes it’s a matter of finding the ‘switch’ to turn on inside of our head. Sometimes we can see the ‘switch’ – sometimes we can’t. Sometimes we choose not to see it – because turning it on will mean revealing painful and ugly things we would rather leave in the dark. Turning it on will mean we can no longer hide behind them – and it forces us to ‘clean house’ and once and for all get rid of all the ‘stuff’ we’ve been hiding there – where we thought it was safe in the dark.

This is what it was like watching this program. Someone forced them to not only find that light – but to crawl to the ‘switch’ and willingly turn it on.

How many of us wander around in the dark – or even in the semi dark – not wanting to acknowledge that there is a ‘switch’ to turn on – until someone lovingly helps us to turn it on – and reveal the contents of our dark room. It is in deciding to turn on the light in our own room – where change and health can begin.

My challenge for you today is this: find out what areas you have that are preventing you from moving forward in health and wholeness. Have a trusted friend help you walk through that dark room to find the ‘switch’ and turn it on – making you take a positive step toward emotional health today. Once you discover what it is – you will see real growth and change happen in your personal life.

I am praying for you

God Bless

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