All posts tagged: grief

God a faithful father when parents gave terror, torture, neglect

This article is part of the #flamfaces series. Here, Chaya Rainbird shares a snippet of her story. Grief and faith have both featured in many seasons of my life. Sometimes it feels like a tug-of-war, other times like I’m walking many steps of grief to get to a new “faith landing” where I can look out the windows and see how far I’ve come. I don’t think I’ll ever stop looking at where I’ve come from. It certainly has shaped me and I’ve seen great healing. But I still carry a lot of grief from it, especially since becoming a parent. I’m not really sure what to call myself… a child abuse survivor? Abuse doesn’t really describe the pain and grief. Terror, torture and neglect might be more accurate. To have my own parents hurt my body and my mind so greatly, I don’t know if there are even words to describe that. To watch my siblings beaten and starved was another type of torture; my mind screaming that this was wrong, but feeling utterly powerless to help. I’m …

“I was pregnant with our 3rd child when my husband died”

This article is part of the #flamfaces series. Here, Melissa Lubke of Launceston shares a snippet of her story. I was 11 weeks pregnant with our third child when my husband died. I drove to the church barbecue down the road, while Andrew rode his motorbike shortly after. Half an hour passed, mingling with people, and a friend said, “Where’s Andrew?” Then it clicked. Where’s Andrew? What are all those sirens? Andrew used to joke that I jump to conclusions, but this time I was right, honey. I went to see. It was less than a kilometre away and they were turning cars around. I kept going. I just knew. I kept driving closer to the police car and I wound my window down and said, “Is it a motorbike?” And she said yes. I’d seen people come off motorbikes on TV and they were fine. So at that stage I imagined it would mean a lot of bed-ridden rehabilitation. I rang our friends and asked them to pray before following him to hospital in another ambulance. That night, …

“For 13 years after our girls died, I tried hard to have little to do with God.”

This article is part of the #flamfaces series. Say hello to Karen Mace of Launceston. It was a Saturday evening in November. We were expecting people from church over for dinner and I was preparing my dish for the evening. Miriam had already left to babysit for a couple coming to dinner, Ross was at a concert practice, and Sarah said she would bath Ileana. I noticed a sudden, sharp pain in the chest as the thought that Sarah and Ileana were taking too long popped into my head. I walked to the bathroom and noticed the silence, the sense that I was walking in dense fog, the feeling of panic rising up in me. That night my still-uncertain faith was snatched from me and shaken so hard I could no longer recognise it. For 13 years after our girls died I tried hard to have little to do with God. I kept my back to Him and my hands over my ears. Despite this I knew he was there, and I sensed Him intervening in things at times, …

Finding Beauty in the Ashes

I climb in, turn the ignition and drive out our street, our city, allowing these wheels to eat up the distance. My stomach is a piece of dough. Pushed, pulled, beaten, flipped, flattened. It is 4:10pm. I kissed them goodbye: one, two, three, at the front door. Then I climbed into the driver’s seat, alone, no chatter in the back seat, no husband fiddling with the aircon. Just me. It’s warm for October and my cotton singlet top and sunnies feel deliciously summery, the sun still massaging warmth into my pores. My striped red and white tote in the boot has a change of clothes, a pair of pyjamas, a book, my Bible and a box of muesli bars, because I don’t trust hospital food. The road yawns ahead of me, wide and quiet, undulating from bush to townships to crops until I reach the coast and all its blue hopefulness. You’re close now, it says. I’m grateful for the kilometres between us, the peaceful preparation this plane has granted, making malleable the mishmash of …

8 Ways to Cope with Grief at Christmas

This guest post is by Launceston author Karen Mace, who is also a counsellor, writing therapist and the director of Healing Place. Karen’s book Healing Begins in the Heart (Balboa Press, 2014) is an honest account of her trials, tragedies and ultimate victories after a deep crisis of faith that lasted many years after the deaths of two of her daughters. Karen and her husband Ross were serving as missionaries in Ecuador when Ileana and Sarah died suddenly and tragically, aged three and twelve. In her book (and more briefly in this post) Karen shares how she lives with grief and her ongoing experience of God’s loving care. Just a few weeks ago another anniversary came around of the day our girls died. November 20th is not too far from Christmas, and very close to the time things begin to be a little ‘crazy’. It’s a time when I am more aware of families doing things together, and although it is quite a few years since Ileana and Sarah died, every year I wonder… What would they be like? …

Loving Floyd – a Story of Hurt and Hope

You know when a friend does something really amazing and you just want to scream “I KNOW HER! I KNOW HER!” to ride on the coattails of their success a little? That’s what I’m about to do. Chantelle Pitt is a friend of mine and she’s also a newly published author. The hard story of her son Floyd’s short life and the profound journey God has taken this family on is now a book with real pages, chapters and even some photos! The book is titled ‘Loving Floyd’ (Ark House Press) and here’s the blurb: “Is it possible to experience unimaginable pain and loss and still want to talk to God? Is it possible to come to a place of surrender and acceptance regardless of the outcome? Is it possible to learn so much about God, yourself and others through the grief of the most precious gift now gone? LOVING FLOYD is the remarkable story of one couple who fought to the end to save the life of their unborn son. Relying on her raw …

Four People Died in the Biddeston Shooting. Not Three.

Amber Elizabeth Rose died last week. Quickly. Invisibly. Tragically. She hadn’t even reached her birth date. The newspapers reported the devastating news of the murder-suicide in the rural town of Biddeston near Toowoomba. They reported three deaths – Kris-Deann Sharpley, her seven-year-old son Jackson and her father Derek. Amber was not in the headcount. Her life was not counted. Over and over it was reported that Kris-Deann was “heavily pregnant”, that she was on maternity leave awaiting the birth of her daughter, that she had chosen her name and was sharing the excitement with her son Jackson. But no one counted Amber’s life. Before her death Kris-Deann, a nurse, told her family how Jackson spent time chatting to his baby sister through her bulging belly. He kissed her and told her he was her big brother, that he was boss! On Facebook, Kris-Deann shared a photo montage under the words “My Beautiful Children”. The two photos were of her son and a 3D ultrasound image of her unborn daughter. In curling script beneath were their names; …

“I Want to Live the Kind of Life He Lived” (A Daughter To Her Dad)

Loved ones come and loved ones go. It is a reality of life that there comes an end point. Whether they meet death fresh-faced with barely a day to their name or as a sage with decades of experience and wisdom, one point remains true: life is precious. Here, Christine bravely lays bare her grief in homage to her dad who died a few months back; a man whose 82 years were lived with the kind of dignity and faith that has left the sweet kiss of legacy on those who remain. Another This Little Life story… “The hymn beautifully expressed what had been on our hearts during the 12 weeks of our dearly loved father’s hospital stay. When peace like a river flows all through my life, When sorrows like sea billows roll. Whatever my lot you have taught me to say: It is well, it is well with my soul. It was evening as the family gathered one last time to farewell Pieter, our Dad and Opa. I got the call just after …

It Was Never Meant To Be Like This

“We got language so we can’t communicate Religion so I can love and hate Music so I can exaggerate my pain, and give it a name”. You just read the second verse of The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone), the opening track on U2’s surprise new album Songs of Innocence. Which is free. Thank you Apple. The tune is a tribute to punk rock. Disinterested? Me too. But the catchy song is full of deeper hooks to lift a pensive stay-at-home mum from her reverie. I was thinking about death and loss. We said goodbye last week to Launceston deputy mayor Jeremy Ball, offering condolences to family including his wife and two young sons. What a shock. Images of the car wreck, family snaps published in the paper on subsequent days and the chalk sketches by children on the pavement of Prince’s Square during his wake have lodged in my mind. I “got language” but I “can’t communicate” the wrench this news has caused. I used to think grief was an indulgence reserved for nearest loved-ones. I know …

A Baby’s a Baby, all the Time!

Babies.  They begin as a ‘zygote’, are dubbed an ’embryo’ at around two weeks before assuming the title of ‘fetus’ at 8 weeks.  If they die before 20 weeks it’s called a ‘miscarriage’ and thereafter, a ‘stillbirth’.  Technicalities.  Because a mother knows her baby to be life from go to whoa, and a baby’s death is painful whatever the doctors call it.  Anja’s son died in the womb at 17 weeks.  Here, she courageously shares his short story and the reality that “a baby’s a baby, all the time”, in her words.  A This Little Life story. (Please note, this story includes a photo of Anja’s son, born at 17 weeks) “In late October 2009 we were thrilled to discover that we were expecting a baby. We had experienced a previous early pregnancy miscarriage, but figured we were in the clear as, by the time I saw those two pink lines, we were already past the point of our previous loss. As excited ‘first time’ parents we announced our pregnancy creatively to our family, I …