Here is an update to “life Needs a Pillow” which was first published published in February, 2014…
I am a frequent flier. I cannot remember ever flying on a busy day that I didn’t see a teen age girl carrying a pillow through the airport. This last trip by air to Tri Cities I say what looked like a senior adult lady carrying a pillow tucked and clutched under both arms in the front of her chest trapsing through ATL D concourse.
I was insidious envious. You see, I was on my way to see my dad in ICU in Kingsport, Tn.; and I was anxious, out of my gourd. I needed a pillow. Of all things, why a pillow?
Think about it. We spend more time with our pillow and any other device in our world. It knows our tears. Our sleeplessness is well known to its constitution. It hears our sobs. 8 more or less hours
a a day if knows where we are and what is our condition….
At the end of life, a pillow is our resting place for most.
I did a word search in scripture and the word “pillow” as translated is found only once in scripture, Mark 4:38. Jesus was sleeping on a pillow during a horrific storm that caused fear among his followers. He had not one worry in the world.
Sometimes life just needs that close, abiding, comforting pillow, especially when life raises its ugly head, like those sweet girls and ladies flying in uncertain airplanes.
Laura bought me a gift about a month ago….a pillow. Its supposed to be awaiting me when I get home. Its supposed to be one of those really nice bamboo jobs because my neck hurts all the time, especially when I sleep. Yet didn’t/wont wait. The uncertainty of my dad’s illness, this twilight he is suffering between life and death caused me to ask one of the nurses for a pillow…
It hides my weary eyes, my fear, and with ease I pray into the pillow, as if it a prayer closet.
Where is your piilow? Find it; be good to it; keep it clean. Don’t give it to someone else to use. You need it.
Its just because sometimes life needs a pillow….Need one? Write me and I’ll tell you where to go find just the right one.
Vividly the other day in ICU I had a familiar sight. As a child, I used to sneak in Dad’s bed room after school to see if Dad was home from working graveyard shift. There he would be, dressed in his tee shirt, both arms wrapped around his pillow, nudging his face into it’s comfort. He still does. In ICU, it was as if the Lord was saying all is well. There he was, face in s somber nudging that pillow. Thank you, Lord, for pillows.
The update now in August, 2014? Here is Dad’s recent pictures after surviving his ordeal…
Life just needs a “pillow”.
“Dad, I know you are incredibly busy, but can you pick up Ava at school?” My heart leaped. My soul wept to God,”Thank you for the vestige of innocent parenthood!”
It is probably too simple for most folks to understand how much it means to a visiting grandfather that your now adult child not only trusts you to pick up your three year old granddaughter, but actually relies on you to preserve the heritage you began with her 25 years ago, that your child’s reliance on family is irreplaceable as a DAILY example of love.
it was my first time to check the car for safety, adjust the new child car seat, anticipate every minute of the trip, and ask yourself what is it you are about to experience.
Grandparent, you are not only carrying the post precious cargo of your heritage-existence. You are carrying forward not only your albeit adult child’s trust. You are carrying forward the simple message that your family’s child deserves your all.
Pets of all kinds are precious to their families. They are our personal friends with names like “Honey,” “Sophie,” “Lola”, “Sugar”, and “Princess” – whether we are talking about a cat, dog, bird, lizard, or ferret. All of these animals provide us with a great deal of affection and comfort. We grow very fond of our special little mates, perhaps because of their unconditional love.
Pets also can represent missing elements in our lives, such as the brother, sister or playmate we always wanted, special companion we haven’t found, or daughter or son we never had. Some of us, especially children, consider our pet a significant part of the family. So, if our pet dies, it feels just as sorrowful as losing a true family member. Children are most vulnerable since they cannot grasp the concept of death. With a little understanding of developmental stages, you can help your child deal with this difficult issues.
Explaining A Pet’s Passing:
Some important points to remember when explaining a pet’s death to children are:
Be truthful regarding what happened.
Avoid terms that may be misleading, like “we put our pet to sleep.”
Be careful about saying, “God took him away” as this may bring about anxious thoughts that God is punitive.
Reassure your children that their pet’s passing has absolutely no connection to any of their words or actions.
Find an appropriate time to explain the life cycle as simply as your child’s age group requires.
Be frank, honest and gentle when exploring these various complex issues.
Use this guide as an outline as you consider your own child’s capacity for understanding what has happened.
Ages Two to Three:
Children may exhibit generalized temporary distress.
Conversely, children may be quickly ready to replace their lost pet.
Children may feel some responsibility for what has occurred.
Ages Four to Six:
Children may believe their pet is asleep and its absence is temporary.
Children have some concept of death yet they have not grasped the concept of ‘no return.’
As in the toddler stage, children may feel some responsibility for what has occurred.
Children may exhibit anxiety as they may think death is contagious.
Children will begin worrying about others dying.
Grieving may be manifested by some regressive behavior such as bedwetting, bowel accidents, or eating and sleeping difficulties.
Ages Seven to Nine:
Children may begin to comprehend irreversibility in relation to death.
Children may begin to generalize the concept of death and realize that someday they or their parents will die.
Children may become very curious about the meaning of death, what happens after death and where their pet has gone now that it is dead.
Grief may manifest as school problems, somatic complaints, aggressive behaviors, and anxiety.
Adolescents may react similarly to adults and may exhibit forms of denial.
Adolescents’ symptoms may be less evident and they may be grieving without noticeable manifestations.
Saying Goodbye to Pets:
It is essential that parents initially acknowledge their children’s loss and sorrowful feelings. There are some resourceful ways to allow children of all stages to say good-bye to their pet. Parents may want to consider:
Holding a special ceremony for the pet.
Suggesting children write about or draw a picture of the pet to preserve its memory.
Helping children create a scrapbook or memory box with their pet’s toys, favorite items, nametag and pictures.
Suggesting that children donate unused pet food or other items to another pet or a facility that houses pets.
It is important to let a sufficient amount of time pass before bringing home another pet.
This will allow your children to grasp the ideas you are trying to convey. Once you feel your children are ready for a new animal, explain that nothing can take the place of your departed pet, but that a new one may bring much joy, affection and fun times.
We want our children to develop healthy attitudes toward the life cycle. It is imperative, therefore, to treat this grieving process with realism, kindness and patient explanations to children’s concerns. If you need additional resources, check for books at your local library or for information on the Internet.
Bob Coates is a clinical psychotherapist, theologian, and executive healthcare practitioner. He is President and CEO of Caduceus Educational Partners, Inc.. You may reach Bob at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Two weeks ago this very hour I had to give up my best four legged companion of 14 1/2 years, if not ever in my 59 years of life with a dog by my side. I could not stand to write about this until now…At 11:15 pm April 1st, Honey started having seizures one after the other. Nine grand mal episodes later, he was truly down for the count. Each family member spoke to him from the distance over speaker phone. He truthfully licked the phone each distinct voice…So after a couple hours with me laying by his side, stroking him with his soft bristle brush, Tampa Bay’s amazing Lap of Love Vet came to our home and helped Honey leave this side of heaven in a peaceful spirit, with my kiss and hand over his heart sending him on to “If Dogs Go to Heaven”. ..I hope so. He was there for me through four serious surgeries, the losses of family, wealth, health, and was the one friend and family member who knew my physical and emotional pain intuitively, never leaving my side for those 14 1/2 years. I called him my “Velcro Dog”.
Honey just was not able to be the dog HE wanted to BE for ME anymore. He tried and tried all day. By the fifth seizure, His eyes, unable to raise from the cool towel and floor, told me it was time. Sophie, my Pomeranian, NEVER left Honey’s side all day.
Tomorrow I have a cardiac catherization after the past four months of not being what I was meant to be. He remarkably will be there somehow when I return home tomorrow. That I believe…Dog…”god” spelled in reverse. Lord, Thank you for your gifts of creation, especially Honey Coates. He never offended, argued, left me; just loved and protected me as if He represented the best about Life!
The history of my clinical practice has crossed the path of many folks who simply want to “run away”.
Believe me, I get it. Who doesn’t want to run away from home, work, life, responsibility, bills, certain people, God, or a losing season.
Lets make a deal. Run away. But, Run Away TO Life.
In my humble opinion, it is perfectly OK to run away TO life, as long as you return HOME once you get there.
Try it. I did. It works.
As the facts and names unfold from Friday’s atrocious tragedy in Connecticut, most of the world watches in abject horror. While lives are touched by the personal influences, churches call for prayer, one newscaster observed that today people will fill churches because “where else can we go when something else like this happens.”
People go to church at times like this looking for answers. Pastors are asked, “why would a loving God allow this type of event to happen?”.
Here is the REAL question: “Does God have an opinion about this and similar horrific events or encounters?”
Yes, God has an Opinion. Well, Bob, what is it?
God’s Opinion is what happens to you when you ask Him for His Opinion. His Opinion is YOU as you leave from your knees in prayer. Simply, God’s Opinion is your life after your meeting Him where is Is and you are.
So, my friend, leave the pew, exit the building, lift from your knees, and then carry your life as an Opinion of the Living Lord from your encounter. Then, watch what happens. Your life after encountering God’s Opinion WILL meet lives which will be transformed by your carrying out God’s Opinion.
Now, DO you and will you want to make a difference?
Excerpt from Theodore Roosevelt’s speech “Citizenship In A Republic” delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on 23 April, 1910 download PDF of complete speech
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who know great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.