Apparition. . .

It is not necessarily easy to trust
when our role models of the past lacked love and compassion.

Sometimes we cannot see beyond the shroud we perceived, but
in time we are given the ability to choose between – FEAR AND TRUST!

I fashioned as a child an image of a body covered
with a shroud
No ears to hear – no eyes to see – no mouth to
The robe he wore was old and torn with rips and
And if you could see his hair it was long and
He shuffled with his feet whispering
He appeared at night in dreams causing
That only a child can dream receiving little
As I grew up this visitor of the past came less
As time filtered through my mind this was
an – Apparition of something less divine!

sandbox of time

“Life is like a sandbox, in it we build forts and

And spend glorious times together, it is the world
outside that box that gives me trouble
Rabih Alameddine

We had such a good time
playing and laughing
building sand castles
with kings and queens
soldiers and trumpets
and every imaginable thing
One day running out to
play, no one was there
where had he gone?
something must have
happened, she doesn’t know
she was sure it was her

Now she has no playmate
as the days go slowly by
suddenly her bucket is
too heavy and the shovel
full of holes
sand sifts through her
fingers, looking for her
father who left long ago!

Some of us have awakened to someone missing
perhaps a father, and we have spent a lifetime
trying to replace him! King David experienced
the feeling of being abandoned but he gives us
the promise
“When my father or mother forsake me
then the Lord my [ Heavenly Father]
will take care of me”
Psalm 27:10

The curtain…

A Reflection on grief and mental illness . . . It was a warm summer morning in the month of July, as I sat in the office waiting to be released. I was given instructions to return every week to attend group therapy. The doctor had prescribed strong drugs to avert the suicidal ideation thoughts that brought me to this place. I was prescribed anti-psychotic meds, with Lithium used for this problem. Since I was drug resistant to antidepressants for depression, I was prescribed Nardil and its
family of (MAOI) Inhibitors. When my ride finally arrived I was bid goodbye, and now on
my own. The door shut behind me and I felt the warm sun on my skin, heard
the sound of cars and an airplane and train that echoed in my mind. I felt alone and
wasn’t sure I would make it. Trying to resume my activities was a challenge. Sometimes
it was difficult to get out of bed. On one particular day I was staring at the ceiling fan
and counting the blades as they turned in circular motion, counting and obsessing were
part of my illness. The incessant numbers and words locked in my mind. But even
though I felt fearful and afraid, there were times of uplifting experiences which gave me
hope that I wasn’t alone in this battle of my mind. One such experience I will share,
that I wrote to poetry, seeming a bit redundant, but that was the only tool given to me,
journaling these moments to give me courage when I would begin to lose hope.

Called – ‘The Curtain’

Is it a dream? It seems as if it is – waking with a start
I know it is not
Opening my eyes to this illness, there is no one I can confide
How it came about I could not explain, searching for an
answer to a troubled mind

Reaching for my robe with throbbing pain and
rapid pulse making an effort to stand by my bed, a brittle
soul about to break, falling back down into slumber again

There is a stirring as I awake once more
saying a prayer “Please my soul to take”
Crispness of sheets brush against my skin
a fever begins and my body seems to melt
sheets now wet with the trickle of sweat

Beginning to thirst and bereft of water I
become hotter, beginning once again to falter
the hopeful anecdote to my illness has provoked
it instead, another potion has created more
mental commotion

The walls seem empty as I stare in space searching
for anything to break the dreariness of this place, on the
left hangs a picture dismal and grey, to the right a window
dressed in lavender and white hanging from a silver rod
could this be a gift from God?

I must see it better, slowly lifting my head
from the bed, moving my legs to the floor, reaching
for the wall with trembling hands, pulling the
curtain to my side as I cry
“This piece of cloth I wish to hang above my head”

As I try, my arms are not high enough, my
hammer and nails strong enough, I sit in the midst
of failure and quit, in my brokenness something greater
than I draws the curtain aside, and with His rod
accurate and right He drapes His banner of love*
over me. . .

God’s hands became my hands, giving me
strength and accuracy to secure the rod,
and to this day the curtain hangs above
my bed!

*Song of Solomon Chapter 2:4

Beyond Blue

It is often hard to know what to say to someone that
has lost a loved one to suicide – and also to someone
who has attempted, but not completed it!

Reflections on Grief and Compassion for
this devastating loss

‘Beyond Blue‘ * is an organization specializing in mental health issues
and offers support regarding suicide
prevention services

After my lose of a loved one to suicide
I knew others meant well and cared, but had a lack of words to express their sympathy. Sometimes just to allow a person to be present and still with your grief is all that is needed!

My loss came shortly after I had made a life changing move to reach out
furthering my goals in life. I was turned upside-down and found
myself suddenly going in a different direction. I suffered blame for having
done this – if only I hadn’t left the situation and been present to help him, it
would have been alright. I had to move to a different location to seek
resources to support me in this loss. There are many resources available
just a few of many listed below –

Find A Support Group

988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline

The American Foundation for
Suicide Prevention
Lists US and International Support Groups
as a public service

*Beyond Blue – After a suicide loss providing
information to help manage grief and ways to
support someone

May each person dealing with this loss find
compassion and understanding

I in 10 suicide attempt risk among friends and relatives of people who die by suicide!

Reflections on Grief, Suicide and Intervention

People bereaved by the sudden death of a loved one or family member are
65% more likely to attempt
suicide if the deceased died
by suicide than if they died by
natural causes *UCL

I found this to be true. . .

What would the world do without me? I thought I would see. . . My life would go on only in
memory. I’d had enough – and so I thought – BUT God had plans of intervention!


I remember standing at the desk that day, I knew if the
doctor could not help me, I would not make it. And yet
I had felt that way before, for two years since the fatal
attempt of my son’s life. But this time was – different!


Later on that day, the warm summer evening was with
beauty all around, but I knew I would never again look
upon. It was as if a compelling force took hold of my
mind. Grabbing the bottle of pills, I drove to the store
(for some reason I knew I would need a bottle of wine
to secure this intention) even though I had never
purchased a bottle or tasted of it before. I then drove
up the road past homes of friends, feeling alone, but
it would only be for a time.


As the sun began to set, I parked the car, praying for
release from my heavy burdens. Then on my last night
on earth, taking one more look at the shadows lingering
upon the hills, I twisted the cork, tipping the bottle, then
taking the pills, I fell asleep – death to me would be a
sweet release.


Suddenly I awoke, as I was placed on a stretcher – people
all around trying to keep me alive. I was angry! Why God,
was I not taken from this world? Did you have something
more in mind? Did I try to stop my clock for you to rewind?
As I came to my senses the sound of the ambulance was
rushing to the hospital. A 72 hour hold (by law when an
attempt is made) was placed upon me, which in my case
was extended.


I have been placed among many people who are very ill
struggling with challenges we all had in common, some
more intense than others. I did not quite understand their
tight hold on life. Laying awake at night to the sound of
moans and screams, of nurses rushing in to control those
restrained to their beds. With my stay, the space of time
emptied into remoteness, days lost their existence, I was
forced to face my anger and resentments.


The door closes behind me. I am released back into the
world of obstacles. Feeling the warm sun on my skin,
breathing fresh air, hearing the sounds of cars as they
speed by. The sound of an airplane, the whistle of the
train, people moving back and forth. Will I succeed in
facing the world with medications and sedation? I have
reservations as I leave this place. The world had gone on
without me, not knowing or caring why I had suddenly
left for a time. No one understands the apprehension I
feel. Will family and friends reject me, will they lose
credibility in me, will the stigma of this attempt
follow me? Would there be resources available for
those who survive their attempts of self harm, for
family and friends left behind?

‘The Silent Dove In Distant Lands’

Good Sabbath Morning!

Another Reflection on Grief and Acceptance

Experiencing grief can bring about
many questions – could I have done
better – would it have made a difference?
If I would have only said “I love you” that last
But the lie of grief can bring about
many tormenting thoughts, whether the
loss of a loved one, loss of a relationship
or physical and mental illness. . .
David had many losses in his life, and was
continually fleeing from his enemies
alienated from his country until he felt as a
dove without its song, lost and forgotten!

In one of his Psalms Chapter 56 he wrote a song ‘THE SILENT DOVE IN DISTANT LANDS’
Depressed and sorrowful, praying for deliverance from his tormentors!

Have we ever felt like a bird in a cage who has lost its song? Without family
or friends, lost and forgotten?
Or maybe we never had a song to begin with, raised by a mother or father who
were unable to share a melody, since they had never received one for themselves.

I can relate to David’s many torments –

The ravishes of mental illness seem as enemies to me, ever seeking to
whisper their deceits in my mind bringing me to my knees, seeking relief from
my tormentors, seeking me day and night!

Whatever our torments, we can place them in God’s hands!
In PSALM 56 David stated –
“Be merciful to me, O God, for man would swallow me up;
Fighting all day he oppresses me, my enemies would hound me all day
For there are many who fight against me O MOST High”

But he stated “Whenever I am afraid I will trust in You…
I will not fear. What can flesh do to me?”

And though we feel as a song has forsaken us there is the promise
As David so aptly expressed it in Psalm 40:3
“He has put a new song in my mouth – Praise to our God
Many will see it and fear and will trust in the LORD”

the empty room…

A continuing series on grief and acceptance

After tragedy and loss the body holds memories
sympathizing with the
mind, which seems to compartmentalize
suppressing thoughts and emotions. Numbness is a safety shield, dealing with pain, for to deal with it all at once is overwhelming. It takes time to grieve, to gradually make the decision to walk away.
Letting go is not in our timing. I’ve found it repetitious, like moving from one room to
another, with conflicting messages . . .

Each time I walk into this room it is strangely quiet
bare and empty, but for a few pieces of old furniture
old and worn
the windows are closed without a breath of air, tired
and lonely from memories and cares it has refused to

It is in mourning, quiet and still, it portrays a lack of
honesty and wears a costume of despair
whenever I venture in it is hard to leave, locked inside
with its loneliness and self defeat

One day I looked in a room beside it with some
pictures on the wall, and little things began to happen
giving a clue, the two rooms were slowly coming
together, shifting their weight, holding each other

Little urges appeared
gradually pulling the drapes, allowing the
light to diffuse the darkness, from starless nights
and sunless days

Knocking on the door, I am reluctant to go in
but gathering courage, I offer to help with this room
perhaps I could share
a bed, a dresser with sheets of peace and a blanket
of comfort and a chest of hope
windows with curtains, cleaning with a little
water and soap

With a welcoming spirit it invites me in, now we
are not just a room but a house of our own!


I have tried everything else, trying to escape, not able to think
climbing the Ladder of Grief
The steps of the ladder do not always come in
order, sometimes I slip, falling back on the rungs
of the others

Sometimes it wavers and then begins to fall, holding on with
dear life, I tread these steps, thinking
I have achieved, then suddenly it changes

Climbing these steps in theory, why can’t they all happen at once?

  2. ANGER
  3. SHAME
  4. BLAME