Category: Love

Watch, Papa, Watch!

debra reagan

Debra Reagan

I sat in the sunshine by the community pool and I overheard several sweet little voices call out, “Watch, papa, watch.” This universal call of a child reminded me of all the times mothers watch their children. We watched them as they grew and tried new things. We watched them as they slept, and sometimes we even had to watch them as they struggled with life’s challenges.


For a mother, this watching began the moment we knew we were pregnant. We watched the foods we ate and we watched with a little nervousness for all the issues discussed in the pregnancy books.

Then the precious child arrived and the watching intensified. We got up in the middle of the night to watch their breathing. We watched each step as they grew. Things did not always go as we had planned, but we adapted and we continued to watch them go forth in life.

We happily took on our tasks as mothers and even thought ahead to the day that we would be watching our grandchildren grow. Then one horrible day the worst thing happened and our child is gone. Our world is changed forever.

Our child will always be a part of who we are. Things are different, but the love continues and now we watch with our hearts. We watch for pennies, rainbows, birds, butterflies, signs and connections.

Debra Reagan
In Memory of Clint


A Poem for Josh

Melissa Price Childs

Childs-Poem for Josh

It’s been five years
Since you’ve been gone.
The pain is so real
The hurt still strong.

The masks I had
Are all still there.
Depends on the day
As which one I wear.

Tuesdays I hated
For so many years.
But this one is back
With all of the tears.

The songs that I hear
“Wish you were here”
Are oh so true
Everyday of the year.

Your memory will last
As long as I’m here.
But the day I hold you
Will be so dear.

Remember I love you
And miss you my son.
The time will come
When our days are one.

Until that day
Remember to share
Your signs for us
So we know you are there.

Love and miss you big bunches,

Why Am I Still Here?

Tracy Bradshaw, Sawyer’s Mom

As a single mom, taking care of Sawyer was my purpose. Everything he needed emotionally, physically, and psychologically was up to me to provide. Getting him to practices, games, birthday parties, school, etc. was up to me. Making sure that he had a positive sense of himself, his lunch money, project materials, homework, signed permission slips and report cards, clothes, etc. was my lot in life. I loved him before I really knew him, so I was happy with this responsibility. It would have been my choice had I had one. The fact that he was a loving and touchy-feely person was an added bonus.

When his life was taken at nineteen years old, I was completely lost. Why am I still here? What will I do with my life? Where will I turn? When will I feel normal again? Who will I depend on to help me find my way?

I don’t remember when my first visit with Listening Hearts was, but I remember feeling like I had been with a group of moms who loved and lost. That was me, same as me, happy and sad. Their joys and pains were very much like my own. After several visits with this support group, one of the co-founders, Debra Reagan, offered to make me a bear out of two of Sawyer’s t-shirts. While I thought that was a very kind gesture, it took me months (maybe a year) to be able to turn over two shirts, as the material things were all that I had – I thought.

When she gave me my bear, and each scrap of material that wasn’t used from the shirts, the warmth in her eyes caressed my aching heart. She connected with this bear, and it was with tenderness and love that she presented him to me. He was delightful, yet he opened floodgates to my tears. The carefully chosen shirts represented Sawyer’s life as one was from his early years and the other from his later teens.

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As time passed I wasn’t sure how I “should” be with Sawbear or if I “should” even call him that. I worried what people would think if I slept with him or held him too much. I hesitated to take him on family get-togethers or vacations. My face reddened, when I saw strangers looking as I took pictures of Sawbear. I went on a beach trip with my sister-in-law, and her love of Sawbear was instant like my own. She asked if she could sleep with him. She cuddled him, and her eyes lit up when I spoke of taking pictures of him. She didn’t care what anyone thought, and we set out to create a scrapbook of “Sawbear’s Vacation.” As I propped him against sand castles, pool floats, and chair backs, ideas would pop in her head to have him in the shade with sunglasses, in a kayak, and more.

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Scrapbooks turned into self-made children’s books, and ideas for helping children became endless as I watched so many love and hug Sawbear. Like Sawyer, he is easy to love. To readers, he is accepting and understanding, helpful, and encouraging.


In answering my earlier questions, “What do I do with my life?” I reach out to help others going through trauma, entertain with a fun-loving character, and stay connected to a spirit I love. “Where do I turn?” I turn inward to memories and love and outward to anyone who listens or reads. “Why am I still here?” I am here because I have learned from a loving spirit, and I have the courage to share. “When will I feel normal again?” I will never be able to feel the normalcy that I once felt, so I will quit grasping for that. I will seek a new normal that includes Sawyer in every step and in every book. “Who will I depend on to help me find my way?” I will pray for guidance in my search to find a publisher, organizations, and children with a need for Sawbear. I will depend on Listening Hearts’ Moms, my friends, my family, my Church, and my community for support.

The material things are not all that I have. I have an ability to touch lives, an abundance of priceless memories, and a bonded love that knows no end.

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Tonia Lynch Lowe

Children are not supposed to die. Parents expect to see their children grow and mature. Ultimately, parents expect to die and leave their children behind. This is the natural course of life events, the life cycle continuing as it should. …The loss of a child is the loss of innocence, the death of the most vulnerable. When a parent dies, you lose your past; when a child dies, you lose your future.


A Mother’s Victim Impact Statement

Amparo Atencio

Today was the last time I plan to set foot in the Anderson County Courthouse, in Clinton, Tennessee. It was the culmination of the criminal justice phase for the murder of my son, Tony James Phillips, forever 22. This is the impact statement I delivered to a crowded courtroom, full of defendants, the accused, the suspected, the admitted guilty, in addition to family members, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and the judge.


In Memory of Thomas Wade Buchanan

Ruby Buchanan

April 21, 1983 – July 18, 2005
Son of Ruby and Mack Buchanan




Today is the second anniversary date of your death.


02-HHow the pain still feels sometimes causes us no rest.


03-OOne day life was so content,


04-MMemories flood our minds; we know that is how it was meant.


05-AAs we go on with our every day life,


06-SSome people ask, “How can you be so strong?”



07-WWade, if they only knew how they could be so wrong.


08-AAngels all around you up above


09-DDoing special things with all kinds of Love.


10-EEveryday we must go on, no other choice to make.



11-BBlessed we were to have you before God had to take.


12-UUntil we meet again, we must take one day at a time.


13-CCourage it takes, sometimes, not to lose our mind.


14-HHappy we will be to be reunited. Some days we can hardly wait.


15-AAs we wait for you to meet us at God’s Heavenly gate.


16-NNo one knows the things we learned from you at any rate.


17-AAnd your time on Earth was for a purpose.


18-NNo more tears in Heaven will come to surface.


(Always in our hearts!)
Sadly missed and cherished,
Mom and Dad


–This poem was originally written in 2007.

Drumsticks in the Sky


Amparo Atencio

As I was making my bed this morning, I noticed my customary sign that I call my shout-outs from Tony: crossed drumsticks, symbolizing the passion of my Funky Drummer. I climbed on my bed with my camera to find the best vantage point through the small window for a photograph. Several shots included the window frame; others included telephone wires. I was frustrated with myself when it dawned on me that the easiest solution was to simply step outside onto my front stoop!


Who Am I?

tracy bradshaw

Tracy Bradshaw

I am a mother of a big brown eyed baby boy,
I am the mother of a toddler who kisses and hugs,
I am a mother of a fun playful kid,
I am the mother of a child who gives me hearts,


Dear Sawyer

tracy bradshaw

Tracy Bradshaw

I came up to Todd and Bee’s boat for Memorial Day weekend. Belinda stayed home with her mom, because she has been having heart issues. She had a stint put in on Friday, and, I think, Belinda is afraid to leave her.