Poetry from 2016

David Arnold

This is what I woke to spinning in my head this morning. It is about a group of mothers that have 1 thing in common the loss and bereavement of a child.

Yes there really is a group here in the surrounding area where these moms meet to help one another find a new path without their child in their life…..

The Listening Hearts

When a woman gives birth to a child her heart grows bigger in every way. As her children grows she prays everyday to keep them from harm in hopes that they will grow strong.

Then one day there comes a knock on the door, it’s the worst nightmare a mother can hear as she falls to the floor, she was given news that the child she did bore was found living no more.

Her heart gave out as she started to shout, what will I do, I can’t live without you?

As the days grew longer the nightmares got stronger and she found herself not wanting to live any longer.

Then along came a friend that said, “let me lend you a hand, I want you to meet other mothers like you that do not know what to do.”

These mothers they meet to find answers they seek, instead of the hand they find a new friend whose heart is broken just like them.

They listen with understanding and compassion to every word you are passing for they too, are hurting like you and are needing a new heart and asking, where do I start?

Listen, do you hear that beat?

It’s other mothers that are here now standing at your feet, and they greet you with kisses on the cheek. It is these other mothers who have lost their child’s hearts too and they now welcome you.

There is a bond that no one other than a mother of the Listening Hearts can hear as they tell you that you my dear are always welcomed here!

Listening Hearts where moms find others in a similar struggle, a bereaved heart that is missing a beat from losing a child.


Jon Franklin

He left at noon
With love in heart,
14 hours and miles ahead

He drove until
The road turned dark,
And he needed a boost again

He filled up
One last time,
Stretched his legs and cleared his head

Put himself
Back on the road,
While most were asleep in bed

Then he found another angel
Not the one he’d set out for
She held her hand out to him
And pulled him out of that old Ford

Maybe He thought about his family
Maybe his heart fell for his friends
Maybe she said no need to worry
One day you’ll be together again

She held him tight
When she found out
Begged him not to go

He told her, Mom
I think I’m in love
This is the only way I’ll know

She played their favorite song
Asked him to wait just for a while

He promised to be back
On Christmas Day
Then he gave her that last smile

But he found another angel
Not the one he’d set out for
She held her hand out to him
And pulled him out of that old Ford

Maybe He thought about his family
Maybe his heart fell for his friends
Maybe she said no need to worry
One day you’ll be together again

Now he knows first-hand amazing grace
And he’s heard how sweet the sound
Met his savior face to face
Once was lost, but now he’s found

He found another angel
Not the one he’d set out for
She held her hand out to him
And pulled him out of that old Ford

He’s probably running streets of glory
He’s probably dancing down streets of gold
Probably hugging everybody that passes by
Seeing the things that no one knows

He often thinks about his family
His heart falls for his friends
But he knows there’s no need to worry
One day they’ll be together again.



Scarlett Powell


Until we meet again, I’ll smile as I reflect our moments together

Until we meet again, I’ll dance every chance I get

Until we meet again, I’ll live the American dream as no other

Until we meet again, I’ll kiss your father with love and understanding

Until we meet again, I’ll hug your brothers and sister like there is no tomorrow

Until we meet again, I’ll watch every sunset with a new set of eyes

Until we meet again, I’ll take every sunrise as a blessing

Until we meet again, I’ll laugh without regrets or longing

For I know this is only for a short time so until we meet again, Sean,

I’ll carry the love and courage for the moments we’ll have once again, Love mom

In loving memory of Sean Powell

The Bagpipe and the Turtle Dove

A. Katie Helms

Said the Bagpipe
to the Turtle Dove,
At a Graveside Service,
one Day…
“I work so hard to wail out Love,
With the Comforting Tunes I Play….
My Drones they Hum out Words of Peace…
But You…
You just Fly Away…”

“My wings, they Sing”…
the Dove replied.
“As I Soar away the Tears,
The Tears of Humans who’ve Recently Cried,
For their Loved Ones So Endeared…

I Lift their Hearts,
As I take My Flight…
I remind them of the Soul…
with its New Life,
As it Flies to the Heaven’s…
The Heavenly Heights…
Paradise as their Goal…”

“I See, My Colleague…”
the Pipe agreed
“Then together we shall Bring…
Comfort and Hope in our Melodies Sweet,
To the Families and the Friends…
and We Will Give Wings….
To the Memories Of the Dearly Departed…
and the Legacy….
That we Honor…
as WE Sing…”


A Change in My Journey: The Other Side of Grief

Lee Ann Christ, Brian’s Mom

I was cleaning the engraved bench at Brian’s gravesite the other day and the greenish spots on it weren’t coming off so well. I decided to call the company we got it from and ask their advice, as the weather has left its mark over the years. Once home I opened the large bin housing that kind of information-stark, administrative things from the funeral home, the treatment center, insurance and tax related papers, things that could probably be shredded now after 13 years. I found the number, called them and got an answer to the cleaning question.

Also in the bin were personal things like all the many cards & letters we received and the book of entries of people’s feelings and sentiments. I sat down and started looking through them.

What I didn’t expect to find was myself as an observer, reading about Brian from other’s viewpoints and not necessarily being a part of their memories. I was a reader of his story, not the one protecting and nurturing it.

I think I was able to see their loss, through their eyes, for the first time. I had been through those cards and letters many times in the 13 years since he died of an accidental heroin overdose. My grief had been at the forefront as I read through things. It was painful and so done in a self focused way.

As I slowly read through them this time, each letter shined a light on that person’s relationship with him, their cherished moments and their loss.

It wasn’t about me and I wept for them. It was a small change in my journey.

Other things in the bin were a few pieces of Brian’s clothing, a college tee shirt and a HS Wrestling jacket. I clutched the shirt to my chest as I read the letters. I have other items of his but the small amount of clothing he had, I gave away to his friends or to a homeless shelter he had pointed out to me one day.

Two years ago I finally decided that I would part with his red fleece REI jacket that I also kept and had hanging in our coat closet. He had worn it constantly in the cold weather. It said Brian all over it. I would put it on every once in awhile to feel closer to him, but no one was using it.

I put it in the car with a scarf and gloves in the pockets and looked for someone who needed it. It was a bitterly cold winter and weeks went by and I saw no one. I was determined it was important to actually give it away to someone.

One day driving along I saw a young man walking on the sidewalk across the road in the direction I was driving. It was below 30 degrees & very windy that day. He had on jeans and a short sleeve tee shirt with his arms inside the shirt’s arms to keep warm. I did a quick u-turn and pulled over to his side, hoping he would walk by. When I spotted him I put down the window and asked if he could “use these things”, holding the coat and scarf up to the window. He scrambled to get them and was so thankful & humble. I watched in the mirror as he put them on and walked away, much warmer and a little more protected.
I wept.

Brian has helped me see other people’s needs much more clearly. It’s not always about me.

He Was More Than the Way He Died

This first appeared on Open To Hope March 20, 2009.

Debra Reagan

“My son died of a drug overdose.” This is one of the most difficult sentences I have ever spoken in my life. Every time I opened my mouth to speak these words, my throat felt as though it was closing. I wanted to be truthful about his death in the hope that someone else could benefit from this tragedy. I also felt I owed it to family members to be honest with myself and with others. Oh, but the pain was so deep and heavy.
There were times I privately wished the cause of death had been different. I imagined another cause would not have had the same level of shame and guilt attached. I wondered if perhaps I would not have felt the same level of isolation if the cause had been different.
I now believe that no matter the cause of death, the pain of losing a child is basically the same for all parents. With this in mind, I believe we each must learn to process the factors that make our loss unique.
Five years before Clint’s death, we battled the challenges and struggles that come along with a mental illness and drug addiction. Our lives were turned upside down with chaos and confusion. Soon after my son’s death, it seemed I could only recall every argument we had ever experienced. The tapes continued to play in my head, each time finding a decision I now questioned.
These thoughts added to my pain. Weeks grew into months and I continued to view myself as the worst mother on earth. I couldn’t remember anything positive I had ever done. I heard that talking and sharing were an important part of the healing process. Yet, I held all these thoughts inside. I was so ashamed; how could I share these feelings with anyone?
I remember rejecting my first positive memory. Then I realized how unfair I was being with myself. From that moment forward, when a negative memory came to mind, I forced myself to recall a positive memory from our history as mother and child.
Soon I began to accept the truth; we had shared far more wonderful memories than negative ones. And most of all that even during the difficult times, we were being a typical family responding typically to a stressful situation. Slowly, I began to understand that each of us had done the best we could with what we knew and understood at the time. It was unfair to judge myself with any new information I had gathered after his death.
Eventually, I found my voice along with a level of peace. I no longer feel the same anger and guilt. I know that had Clint lived and matured, we would have worked past our struggles. Now, it was up to me to work past these for both of us. I am learning that with time and healing, I can honor all my feelings. Drugs are no longer in the forefront of the memories of my precious son. My son’s life was more than the way he died.
Written in loving memory of our son, Clint.

Still With Us

This article first appeared on the Open To Hope website on October 27, 2012 

Debra Reagan

The plans were set for a 9-day adventure with my sister. The excitement and anticipation were building. I had to pack carefully as our travels would cover different elevations and therefore different temperatures. The plans were to cover many miles and to experience as much as we could. After hours of traveling by plane and shuttle, I finally arrived at my sister’s house. The time had come and our excursion would begin the next morning.

It has been over 7 years since Clint’s death and I often find myself speaking in a prayerful way to the heavens in hopes that he will hear me. This time it was more of a plea. The talk went something like this, “Well, Clint, it has been a while since I have felt your presence….if you are still here send me a sign…..(I revised this plea as I continued.)….send a sign that I will know it is you…….send a sign in the way of a heart to me. No, wait a minute, send the sign to Aunt Misty…..that way I will know it is real and not just my own wishful thinking.” So my final plea was for Clint to send a sign through nature in the shape of a heart that my sister would spot first and then bring it to my attention. I would secretly hold this request in my heart.

Most of our days during the trip were filled with activities that occupied by mind so the thoughts of Clint’s message were pushed to the back. We were busy traveling and experiencing new things, but as each day came to an end, I would briefly think of the requested heart sign. Just before drifting off to sleep, I would invest my hope into the next day.

Now the trip was closing and we were making our way back to my sister’s house. I was beginning to give up on my connection sign. My physical and emotional strength were fading. Despair and disappointment were settling into my heart. The trip had be fantastic and we had encountered an abundance of nature’s beauty and magnificent wildlife, but my heart was longing for my sign.

During this adventure we had viewed many large groups of animals: elk, deer, yak, sheep, prairie dogs, goats and wild ponies. So at first, I took little notice of a lone horse standing in the middle of the vast reservation land. I first saw this horse in this distance, as I continued to look I took notice to the beauty of this horse. He was an amazing brown horse with a few white spots. I don’t remember if I pointed the magnificent creature out to my sister or if she spotted it herself, but I will never forget my sister shouting out, “Did you see the heart pattern on the horse? One of the white spots was in the shape of a heart.” I had looked at the animal, but I had not seen the heart until that moment.

I started to cry with a mixture of joy and sadness. I had to take a few minutes to compose myself before I could explain to my sister the reason for the sudden burst of tears. We both sat in silence as we continued along our journey taking in the love and the special connection. Times like this bring a type of joy and reassurance in spite of the great sadness. I know that Clint will always live in my heart.

Prayer for Listening Hearts Butterfly Release

Brad Hood

Parent God, Creator, Almighty,
On this day we pause to pray to You.
From the depths of our Spirit, we pray; from places
within where pain lives, we pray; from places where
healing has begun, we pray.
We pray to You because in knowing Your Son, we
know You know our pain. And in knowing Your Son,
we know you know our hope of the resurrection.
We pray for all gathered here, bless each person,
family and journey we are on together.
We pray for every parent who is, right now, living
the nightmare we have lived; and for every parent
who will. (Silence.)
Redeem hope from disappointment, love from tears,
build relationships through our trials and be there
for us God when we feel so abandoned.
Today we set free new life to carry our prayers to
Sept 21, 2014 Butterfly release for Listening Hearts.

A Letter to God

This poem was originally published on www.thegriefblog.com, which is a part of The Open to Hope Foundation network, a website whose mission is to help those who have suffered a loss to cope with their pain and invest in the future.

Lana Golembeski
December 10, 2008

Dear God;

I sit and wonder “why?”
I ask you all the time.
When I was younger
All I wanted was to have children,
A houseful!
But you said “no”.

When I got into my twenties
I asked you for a child.
But you said “no”.

But you finally said that I could have one.
You gave me the most precious angel of all.
She was blonde and beautiful,
With her golden curls.
She hugged and cuddled
As we rocked and rocked.
She adored me; followed me everywhere.
I told you that if I could only have ONE child
THIS one was the one I wanted.
I prayed again and again for one more child,
But you said “no”.

I tried so hard for more children.
I suffered many surgeries.
And you said “no”.

So, I agreed to your plan:
No more children…just love the one
I had with all my heart and she will please me.
That she did!
And I loved her with all my heart and soul.
And you sent me many other children
For me to care for and to love.
And that I did.
I prayed for grandchildren
And you said “no”.

And then you took away
My only child.
And I prayed “why?”
All I ever wanted was a lot of children
And grandchildren,
And you said “no”.

I sit and wonder why.
I wish I had the answer.
I wish you were not so silent.
I wish you would tell me all the secrets
So that I can understand Your ways.
And you took away other children for senseless reasons
And again I ask you “why?”

So, tonight, God, I pray for all of those moms
Who lost their precious children.
And I pray for peace to accept your will
And to stop asking “why?”
God, will you please hold my hand
And tell me again and again
That everything will be okay?

Mother’s Day

Tracy Bradshaw

Quite soon a day will be here
Never thought I’d dread
A day that I held so dear
And loved what you said,You granted the sweet title
Which meant the world to me
Purpose that made me vital
A sought reality,

Responsibility and joy
Full of love and grace
A blessed little baby boy
Smile on your face,

From the depths of my own core
Snuggled in each bone
Mommy loved you more and more
Proud how you had grown,

I never in any dream
Had when you were young
Thought this special loving team
Shortly would be one,

If I’d chosen one to stay
It would have been you
But I didn’t have a say
When, where, what, or who,

That special day of your birth
Thoroughly rooted
Our cozy home here on earth
Sadly intruded,

This team is now one left here
Bereaved is the mom
But the spirit held so dear
Helps to keep things calm,

Please send me a little sign
To assure me now
My heart says you’re always mine
Could you show me how?

This upcoming Mother’s Day
I’ll try to ponder
Memories of the month of May
Where hearts and spirits wander.

Sawyer’s Mom
Tracy Bradshaw