Category: memories


Sean Fewer
In Memory of Damon

The sights and sounds of what’s around slowly fade away
A flood of precious memories return from yesterday
Encircling me and moving past, like a fast approaching tide
I catch a ride on one of them as I turn inside
The world outside seems so far off
Like a bustling distant land
Here is where you hold my heart
And I your little hand
My lips stay sealed, but my heart speaks
Of the love I have for you
When I come here, I feel you near
Wistful…but it’s true
No weight of being, no encumbrance of sorrow
Just surrounded by love with hope for tomorrow
Then the return of sight and sound
Brings me back to the place you left
The tide recedes, but the affect profound
Poignant memories of a family bereft
A pensive journey of the heart and mind
What I have there, here I cannot find
Tears of the soul in searching for peace
Are nurtured by faith and a love that won’t cease.

Chance Meeting

Mary Beth Cichocki

Did you ever have a chance meeting with a stranger and later feel that there was nothing chance about it?  Today was one of those days.  I woke to the grief that  hits as soon as my eyes open and my mind wakes enough to realize my son, Matt is really gone.  His loss rocked my being like nothing I could have ever imagined.


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.

Bradshaw-Why Here2

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.

Bradshaw-Why Here7

Memories From a Dad

Sean Fewer

In memory of Damon Fewer. Damon’s 9th Angel date was May 22, 2016. This poem was submitted to the local papers in his memory by his father, Sean Fewer.

A thousand memories of you I hold

Thoughts held so close and dear

All a treasure to behold

Of a time when you were near


Memories Here and In My Heart

julie mcgregor

Julie McGregor

My son Joel died nearly 9 years ago. Joel lived at home and for a few years after, his room remained exactly as it was on that day. A life cut short, never knowing this would be his last day on earth. Memories filled every drawer, cupboard, hanging space, pictures on the walls, teenage stuff on his desk and the contents of his computer. Then of course there was his sound system, complete with turntable and mixer, he really loved music.


Math and Memories

Debra Reagan

During my grief journey, I have listened as fellow bereaved travelers imparted the fact that life is forever changed after the death of a child. For sure, on this we can agree. Since I thirsted for more information, I thought I would share a change I have noticed. Whenever the subject of a past event, or time is brought up, my mind rushes to do the math. I found this surprising in a way. I suppose I might be considered to have average math skills in everyday life. However, in normal conversation, when the subject is about a time or event in the past my mind can do amazingly fast calculations.


The Time Phenomenon

Amparo Atencio

I’ve begun to notice a phenomenon that is happening as of late. I suppose this is the natural order of things, but it is unsettling.

I see adults who are now entering middle age. You know, those nearing 30 like Tony would be. And I don’t see anything about Tony in any of them although these are his peers. No, his peers are supposed to be entering adulthood, not middle age. They are supposed to have the look of one foot in childhood, the other in adulthood. It has happened twice now that I see that lack of realization up close and personal.

The first time, I was visiting a friend. As I got out of my car to go into her house, I noticed a father and his child on the quiet street. The little boy was gleefully pedaling his two-wheeler as his father walked behind him, encouraging his son on. I smiled at the scene. It’s nice to see fathers involved with their children. When I got inside, my friend asked me if I had seen “so and so.” I didn’t know who she meant and didn’t recognize the name until she reminded me that it was one of our boys’ old friends. If she hadn’t told me, I would have never thought the man was of that age group, that time frame. Nothing about him suggested a peer. Instead, he was just a mature man entering middle age and not an immature young guy making his way into adulthood.


The second time, I was in a lobby, waiting for my appointment. A woman standing behind me asked, “Are you Tony’s mom?” I turned to see a fit, athletic woman whom I didn’t recognize. I responded yes and asked her how she knew my son, and she told me they were good friends in high school. Stunned, I asked her “Oak Ridge High School, class of 2007”? Could this young woman entering middle age be a graduate of Tony’s class? Wouldn’t those young people look so much younger than her? I was so grateful to hear her memories, see photos of Tony I had never seen before, and share tears over a life cut too short, gone too soon. If she hadn’t told me, I would have never thought she was of that age group, that time frame. Nothing about her suggested a peer. Instead, she was just a mature woman entering middle age and not a silly kid making funny faces at a camera.


But that is the way of it, and I adjust to this reality. Tony’s peers are indeed entering middle age. They indeed are maturing adults with children and good paying jobs. Tony is forever young, and that gap will only grow wider as time marches on.

The Fourth Anniversary

Tracy Bradshaw

Yesterday was emotional to say the least. A friend had bypass surgery Parkwest Hospital, and Alan and I went after he got off work. I didn’t want to go, but considering the seriousness of the procedure I made myself.

We were driving to UT hospital about the same time, four years ago after receiving a call that Sawyer had been taken there – memories filled my head.

Getting out of the car – memories filled my head.

Walking in, I saw the Emergency area – memories filled my head.

Inside, we didn’t know where to go – memories filled my head.

Talking with a receptionist – memories filled my head.

Waiting and wondering – memories filled my head.

A nurse came out with a report. I hung on every word – memories filled my head.

Memories filled my head…

We learned that it would be approximately an hour and a half, so Alan and I left to grab a bite to eat. Upon leaving the hospital behind us – memories filled my head.

Nervously entering the hospital again – memories filled my head.

Making our way to the elevator, holding Alan’s hand – memories filled my head.

A man exiting the elevator, walking toward us and pointing at me said, with a pause between each word, “Sawyer — Webb’s — Mother.” Oh, how it warmed my heart to hear those words again. I hugged him. He was Sawyer’s boss and said that he remembered “this day every year.” He said that he “loved that boy.” We hugged again, and I was somehow better. He did love Sawyer. I could see it in his eyes and hear it in his voice. How calming it was to talk with someone who shared feelings similar to my own.

Sawyer Webb’s Mother, Tracy

Hearing Sawyer’s name, knowing that he was remembered and acknowledged, and being given back my identity felt like being wrapped in a warm blanket on a bitterly cold night. I swallowed my identity back down inside. Yes, I am still and will always be Sawyer Webb’s mother.

I had met Sawyer’s boss twice at the restaurant over four years ago, and I remember him coming to the funeral. How he recognized me and the timing of the encounter, I believe, is no coincidence. Sawyer (maybe God, maybe both) knew I needed those words at that moment, and my mommy heart filled with a familiar appreciation for my loving son, Sawyer.

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.