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Turning Loss to Legacy
Please feel free to share the personal story of your loss, anecdote, poem or proof of survival, our loved ones and ours. Go to contact information and send via email. It will be posted here.
Thank you for sharing your heart. In sharing our pain we share the world.
Peace, love and light
Name: C L Brewer-McInnis
Question/comment: I feel compelled to express a perspective that seems to be overlooked in many of the stories posted; that being the anquish, hopelessness, helplessness, feeling of grieving alone as a sibling whom lost the closest person in my life. She never judged me, loved me unconditionaly, believed in me and lent me her strength when mine failed me. We were kindered spirits, battleling many of the same things in life. She, is & will always be my hero. Though, she struggled for such a long time, she had finally found peace and happiness. She and her husband,Peter,son,Tody(2on12/2/2007),newborn daughter,Lucy (11/11/07),had bought their 1st home; Peter a promotion at work,...inessence, it was finally coming together for them as parents, husband&wife,Christians,and genuine happiness, especially for Ashley. She has not been happy since living in England, going to college, working, and dating Peter. The last time I was able to speak to her was @ Xmas, and there was such a peace about her that shown through to all of us. Ashley, truly loved her family, but she loved the Lord too-even more so. She found happiness, understanding,& peace through him. This gives me a great deal of peace knowing this. Yet, I am changed forever, as is everyone who knew & loved her. The mix of going through a divorse, and breakup, depression; were all I thought I could take,...Ashley was taken from us-I can not even begin to put into words the complete helplessness knowing what our family, and her new family (babies-husband from England still learning to adapt)that I can not help them, nor truly grieve because I feel like I have to be strong for them...the truth is...I am losing this battle. To put it simply: Displaced, lost, and overwhelmed is my present state. I miss her, and talk to her everyday, but the emptyness & dream-like denial are taking over more often now. I am barely hanging on. May the Lord, grant us all some sort of peace.
Dear Friend (C L)
Thank you for posting your perspective. I am so sorry for the loss of your sister Ashley, what a tragedy for you, your family and for Peter and their children. By your mention of Christmas I realize how recent your loss has been. There is no quick fix, nor should their be, it is gut wrenching agony that has to be lived through, there is no way around the pain, only through it.
You are right I have never written much about the loss of of a sibling, and I have lost two. My older brother died of cerebral palsy. My twin sister died in an accident with her two boys and left behind her husband and and her set of boy/girl twins. When my son died less then two years after they died I thought I could never make it, I did not want to make it, I wanted to die, and I had a wife and a daughter to care for. I survived; it has been 22 years since my sister Sandy died, and I miss her everyday and her older boys Travis and Jason, but I do find solace in the fact that those precious little 18 month old twins she left behind are now like my own children.
I made a pact with my sister (in my prayers) that I would make sure they would know her and I would always watch out for them. They survived a horrible wicked stepmother who kicked them out at age 18. They are now like my own children and today thank me for keeping their Mom's memory alive. They are almost 25 years old now and we get together a lot and sometimes we cry together. They do not even remember her as they were so young but know her through my efforts to keep her alive in the hearts and minds. I do the same with my son, I am his legacy, I keep him alive in this world.
Siblings are the most over looked in society in response to the death of a brother or sister, society expects them to move on much quicker and at times do not even acknowledge the loss. It can be crippling and life changing to lose a sibling you love. Be the best AUNT OR UNCLE you can be to Tody, and Lucy, keep her alive in their lives the rest of their lives. I even saved my sisters purse and dress she was pregnant in for many years and gave it to the twins on their 16th birthday. You sound like you have great love and compassion, keep using it, that is best medicine there is for the pain you are experiencing and will continue to experience for many years to come.
God bless you on your journey, and if you like I will send you a CD of music a friend of of mine wrote and sang after the loss of his only daughter 6 years ago. Her name was Ashley and the album is Ashley's songbook.
You do not have to be strong for the children, they are so so young, give them your love not your strength. Give Peter your compassion, your shoulder your ears, but not your strength, you need all your energy to take care of you. Sometimes strength is confused with not breaking down, not crying and feeling, talking about the loss. The real strength comes in truly experiencing the loss and expressing your pain and lamentations. You love hard you will grieve hard.
Praying for your family.
Peace love and light
Miracles along the way, the Jim Trudeau story When Kelly was very sick and dying, this man came to our house out of the blue and deputized our son a special Washington county deputy sheriff with his own badge. That was the only time I have met him. This many years later my wife recognized him and I was overjoyed to know his where a bouts. I wanted to thank him for that very important small act of kindness. I kept his badge all these years and I felt it important to give it back to him , so I pinned it on the cover of my book and sent it to him, thanking him for his selfless act of kindness so long ago. Little did I know how important this was to him. I received this letter from Jim in January and with his permission I share it with you now
. January 11, 2005
Dear Barb and Mitch,
For some time, I have wanted to write this letter/story, I really don’t know which it is-maybe a journey? First of all in my humble opinion “Kelly James” is still keeping busy, if there is such a thing as a guardian angel — he’s mine. When I came to your house in Bayport in 1986 to see Kelly, we talked about him meeting God before me and that he should take care of him (God) until I got there and then we would work together as a team or partners. But I’m not sure he ever left my side, he certainly never left my thoughts and I used his bravery as an example so many times when teaching at police training classes or as an inspiration to folks during hard times.
Allow me to fast forward to my retirement party in July, 1994 after 29 years in law enforcement. It was a great night, with my loving wife at my side. After several awards, it was my time to give my retirement speech. Earlier that night someone in the crowd of almost 300 people had asked what was the most special or meaningful thing I had done in all my years of police work. I responded by saying “that’s in my farewell speech”. When Carol and I stepped to the podium, I reminisced about getting a good friend to the hospital in time before he went into cardiac arrest and the time a deputy and I pulled a 6-year-old from the lake, giving him mouth-to-mouth and reviving him. But the most very special meaningful thing in my heart was the time I spent with a little boy in Bayport, Minnesota. His name was Kelly Carmody.
I told them of Kelly’s battle and how brave he was and what an inspiration he was to me in my career. Although many tears were shed, several people approached me to say what a heartwarming and inspiring story it was. So in keeping with my normal whirlwind lifestyle, three days later I started my next career as the Executive Director of the Minnesota Sheriffs’ Association. One of the many parts of the job was training and you guessed it, young Mr. Carmody just happened to slip into many of my presentations. My story was simple, a reminder of just how lucky we in law enforcement are. “We face danger often, see lots of pain and agony, see people at their worst, face intense stress and pressure in the profession, but we are still lucky that we have lived as long as we have and been given the opportunity to serve. You see, my friend Kelly never got that chance. He never had a girlfriend, got married, drove a car, or had kids. Be happy with the one big gift you have, the gift of life”.
After seven years at the Sheriffs’ Association and a few health problems — 7 angioplasties, 8 angiograms, congestive heart failure, and several other maladies, my doctor at Mayo Clinic suggested I retire, which I did in the spring of 2002, even though I loved my job. Carol and I had moved to Inver Grove Heights when I changed jobs in 1994. I really wanted to move back home to Forest Lake, partly because that was home to me but also because of a well-kept secret, I had begun to pass blood and was really afraid to tell anyone. If it wasn’t for Carol insisting I seek medical help, I probably wouldn’t be writing this letter/story today. After the much feared and dreaded colonoscopy, Dr. Bjork told me an operation was my only choice. Although the surgery was traumatic and painful, the worst and totally unexpected result was the reaction to the narcotics and pain medications. Every time I would sleep, I would get horrible flashbacks of murder, suicides, car accidents, drownings, autopsies, and reliving getting shot at the scene of a burglary in 1974. I guess that’s when Barb comes into the picture, she apparently told you, Mitch, about me being in the hospital and the trouble I was having. I don’t think I could ever find a way to describe the emotional pain I was experiencing. If it wasn’t for Carol, I am not sure I could have made it.
Then it happened. The mail came on the morning of January 11, 2003. When your book slid out of the envelope and I saw Kelly and then the badge, my life started again. After I read your letters, I broke down and cried in Carol’s arms. For you see, until that time, I didn’t care if I lived another day. Even with the strong love and support from Carol who seldom left my side. But there was my little blue-eyed friend looking me right in the eye, how could I give up, he never did. Your letters your book, the badge and Kelly got me going again. After reading Letters to My Son Carol ordered copies for our kids and other family members.
About two weeks later, I gave the opening address to the newly-elected sheriffs from the 2002 elections. In my presentation, I told them of almost giving up three weeks earlier and what happened when I receive my Carmody care package. All 42 sheriffs gave me a standing ovation for over five minutes. Each one stood in line and shook my hand, each commenting on the Kelly Carmody story.
After that, I decided as soon as I could go one week without telling my/our Kelly story, that I would then write you this letter/story. I finally gave up, Carol and I left for Venice, Florida on January 4, 2005. But not before I shared Kelly’s story with a friend at our local coffee on January 3. So why write to you today, January 11? Because it has been two years today since you, Kelly and Carol have helped me get better. Every once in a while I open your book (it’s in the top drawer of my night stand), read your letters, look at that badge, look at Kelly and think we aren’t done yet, are we?! By the way your book also made the trip to Florida with us and sits on the night stand here by my bed.
Thank you both.
P.S. If it’s okay with you, my Guardian Angel and I still have work to do!
Posted May 2,2008 at the request of Dianna Jacobs, for her daughter Kanda.April 13, 2004, our 30 year old daughter drowned while bathing due to a clinical seizure. Because she had not reported to work or called in, I, her mother, received a call to check on her. I kept telling myself, since nobody could reach her by phone, there had to a mix up and she must have taken a vacation day, but even that thought seemed strange since our entire family works at the same place and she would always let me know if she was not coming into work.
Grant Truhler, son of Ann and Dean, brother to Travis, Samuel and Clayton. 1-15-1997 to 10-23-2007
The Perfect Trust
The Healing Rosary
As stated in my book Letters To My Son, my son was diagnosed with an incurable malignant brain tumor in February of 1986 and although receiving a miracle healing in Mexico he ultimately died of related cancers on December 1st 1987. When we were in Mexico, I had with me a very special rosary that was hand crafted in Ireland. It was a gift from Phyllis Hooper a dear friend who had given it to me when Kelly initially had surgery for his brain tumor. It had been given to her years prior from a kind old Irish woman named Bridget. When Phyllis had been ill the woman had given it too her and told her to pass in on to someone in need some day, and you will know when it’s the right time. For me it was the right time, my son was given a death sentence; I needed something to hold on too, that something literally was this simple wooden rosary.
The rosary is made of wooden beads with hand carved shamrocks on each bead, with a simple silver cross. It was in a little pouch and I always kept it in my pocket wherever I went, praying for an intercession, praying for a miracle. In Mexico we attended a healing service at a small chapel in a small peaceful fishing village. During the healing service this old woman who was apparently channeling the persona of Jesus had asked us all to come up individually and be blessed. I thought to myself that there are not that many opportunities to speak to Jesus in the first person so I felt compelled to reach in my pocket have the rosary blessed. I walked up to the old woman and placed the rosary into her gnarled but gentle ancient hands. Raising the beads above her head in adulation she blessed the beads, kissed the crucifix, patted it on the forehead of her bowed head and returned it to my hands. She then placed her hands firmly but lovingly on my head and told me that I had faith as big as a mountain and I was to become an apostle of God and I would spread the word of what faith in God can do.
Kelly received a miracle at that little chapel In Mexico. His tumor had disappeared. Six months later the cancer returned claiming his young life very quickly. After Kelly died, my faith was tested as I fell into the valley of despair that I wallowed in for an endless span of years, forgot about my apostolic duties, forgotten about the rosary, I forgot most things. Life moved forward and my healing progressed incrementally and I merged back into the mainstream of life once again. All those years the rosary silently collected dust, now long since forgotten in the aftermath of broken dreams and raw survival. In the summer of 1999 as the world prepared to launch into the new millennium a friend of mine was diagnosed with leukemia and needed a bone marrow transplant to save his life. He was unable to find a genetic match in the bone marrow data base, but was fortunate to match genetically with the blood from the umbilical cord of healthy born baby in Italy. The transplant was completed but his faith as well as his body was severely tested and he was looking for a miracle. It was then I remembered about the rosary collecting dust in my wife's jewelry box.
I was baptized, confirmed, married and my children baptized in the Catholic Church. As a youngster I was made to follow church doctrine without question and found that as an adult I rarely recited the rosary. I always felt reciting the rosary was some sort of punishment or penance for sins I had committed -until that day in Mexico when I discovered its use in healing meditation. When my friend David was having a very rough time following his transplant and things were touch and go, David started to attend Catholic Church again more regularly. It was then I had the supernal epiphany about the rosary and the possibility that maybe it could help to heal David. I dusted it off and gave it to David almost as if instructed to do so. David has recovered fully, doing remarkable and six years later he is back to his old self.
David was doing so well, less then a year later I asked him for the rosary back to give to another friend who was diagnosed with a difficult to treat form of cancer. David reluctantly released it to me like Bilbo passing the ring of power to Frodo; it was his precious. I then traveled to Eau Claire Wisconsin to give the rosary to Troy Jackson the friend in need. Troy is not Catholic but gratefully accepted the rosary, as conventional medicine could not stop the progression of his disease and he was seeking a miracle. With Rosary in hand Troy went out west for alternative treatments. The day of one of his treatments happened to be the Vernal (spring) equinox, on or around March 20th of that year (2000). Prior to Troy’s departure out west, I and his family networked to reach people from all over to stop what they were doing for a full minute at the exact time of the vernal equinox, when there is exactly 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness on the planet. Troy said he felt an amazing surge of energy at that moment and felt at complete peace and knew he would be healed. He went in remission following the treatments and is healthy today.
When I found out about Troy’ remission I soon traveled to Eau Claire again to retrieve the rosary again for yet another. I worked in maintenance at a Catholics school at the time and I had built a wheel chair ramp for this woman who was a mom of some kids in the school, so she could still attend the weekly school Mass. She was diagnosed with ALS, and I was compelled to approach her and give her the rosary. Which I then did mid winter of 2001.
Pam loved the rosary, and used it everyday (you can tell by the wear marks on the rosary's wooden beads) and she said it helped her everyday through a long and difficult transition. I then had the awful task of asking her for the rosary back for my cousin’s17 year old daughter Kelsey who was in an accident January of 2003. Pam reassured me it was meant to move on. She held it longer than she ever thought possible. When she could hardly speak she handed the rosary back to me and whispered “thank you so much, it has truly blessed my life”. Months later she could no longer attend mass and soon died but was at peace.
In the auto accident, Kelsey’s car was totaled, her dog as killed and she was left in unresponsive coma. After receiving the rosary from Pam I brought it to Kelsey; I uncurled her white contracted fingers apart and placed the rosary in her palm. Like petals closing slowly at sunlight’s waning she neurologically grasped the rosary into a tight grasp. I told her it was a powerful instrument of God and would help her come back to this world and that Kelly my son would be there to help her through it. I kissed her on the forehead and left. As her Mom and I walked away her hand shot up momentarily with the rosary beads swinging from her clenched hand which then fell motionless again to her lap. Her Mom said "oh my God she just waved good by to you" of course the attending nurse assured us it was just a reflex. Timely reflex but we knew better.
A year before in January of 2002 a parent at the school who was a Minnesota state patrol officer was diagnosed and being treated for a rare form of cancer that was not responding well to treatment and he needed a stem cell transplant. Not a high chance of his survival but his only hope. He has four kids in my school and I was praying I could give him the rosary some day when Kelsey no longer needed it. Finally a miracle!!! The day before Easter 2003 my cousin called and said Kelsey had awakened from her coma and that she was excited to see me and give the rosary back. I traveled to St. Cloud on Easter morning of 2003 where I met with Kelsey who smiled, hugged me, struggling to thank you she handed me back the rosary. Praise God another miracle, it was a powerful moment I will not ever forget.
The next day I gave the rosary to the officer and young father from my school. His transplant was successful and his recovery surpassed all odds. In early May of 2005 Gary stopped by the school and this very large man embraced me with a huge hug and returned the rosary, saying he no longer needed it and he felt strongly someone else may.
From Gary in reference to the rosary:
As I was reading your email, I was reminded of your sons belongings placed next to me on the hospital bed, all those many days. I would bring the container and open it up and place the rosary and contents on the stainless steel rolling desk, which was adjacent to my bed.
You may recall my story, where early on during my initial bout with cancer (January '02), I began to wrap a rosary around my wrist - the rosary would be placed around the IV tubes to the point where the medicine/chemo would have to travel 'thru' the rosary in order to enter my body. I always felt it was God's love which would allow the drugs to work their magic. The rosary provided the graces to rid my body of evil - cancer. In reality, the rosary was always there - but it was my devotion to Jesus, identified by the rosary to any who looked on, that was the real impetus behind my healing. I'm proud that I was able to do at that time, what Adam wasn't able to do thousand's of years ago - believe in Christ. I wish it were that easy today, when I'm not challenged with cancer.
To this day, every evening before I go to bed, I continue to wrap a rosary around my right wrist - even when I'm away on vacation, I bring a rosary with me.
Let me know how I can help Mitch,
A few days before Gary returned the rosary unexpectedly, we had found out a high school friend or ours, Debbie was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and we soon passed it on to her. She was not given much time or any hope of survival. Debbie was grateful for the extra time she had been given and so very grateful for the rosary she felt help to make that time possible. Debbie died on Jan 2, 2005, some 20 months following diagnosis. She lived way beyond any realistic expectations for that disease.
On February 3rd 2006, twenty years to the day that our son was diagnosed (only days later he would see Jesus during surgery), the rosary returned by UPS to our doorstep. In transit the Lourdes water broke bottle which had been added along the way, and the rosary and its beads soaked it up the wondrous water, to be with the rosary forever, some of the other items may have been misplaced in travel but the rosary moves on without skipping a beat.
Mitch and Barb,
Greetings! I am returning the beautiful story and rosary to you, in hopes that it can be passed along to another special person who could use a little help from above. (smiley face). Debby had it close to her the entire time. Thanks so much sharing it with her. Patti.
Then next day I bumped into a Lisa, a mom from the school where I still work. I met her going into the chapel to pray. She was pregnant and I congratulated her and yet she looked so sad. Lisa and Frank King are parents of my dear little student friend Amanda whom had attended my school a few years back. She and Amanda were praying for her yet to be born son Jeremiah Trinity King” heal his condition of hydrocephalus that had just been diagnosed, as well as kidney problems there was much concern. Doctors were on high alert to be ready to assist with possible complications that could arise at birth. It did not look good. In Jesus name we pray.
A month later Lisa told me that on the last ultrasound it seemed the hydrocephalus had resolved itself. She told me that she had received her miracle and in prayer she was told some one else needed it more now and wanted to give the rosary back. I did not know yet whom it was going to next, but I would take back the rosary when she had time to drop it off.
Yes, Mitch, I've still been thinking about you......but, 3 of my children have been sick over the weekend and into this week, so I've not been by the church. Frank or I will get it to you ASAP.
I knew that it had already done its job for us when we saw our last ultrasound. I was lying there looking at the baby and the technician was telling us that there was a reduction. Frank took my hand and slipped the rosary into it...........I didn't know that he had it along.
We received exactly what we were asking for through the rosary...for healing. After that, I knew that I would return it to you.
I don't know what our future holds or what Jeremiah's life will be like, but I do know that we will be ok. He is already a miracle.
Our evangelization group met last Friday in our home and one of our friends in the group was telling us about a boy from Hudson who was just about to begin chemo for a brain tumor. We prayed for him and his family. I don't know who he is. Please tell his mom that hands that have already touched the rosary have prayed for them.
See you soon,
Lisa & Family
March 24, 2006
It is now safe to say that we have experienced a miracle of healing. Our Dr. today wanted us to know that this is not seen often.
JT is Hydrocephalus free.
The fluid in his brain has continued to decrease and is now safely within the numbers of normal in all ventricles. The problem with his kidneys has also dropped into the normal range and has maintained there for the past 3 weeks.
All glory to God.
It is a surreal feeling to truly get what one has prayed for..............
Jeremiah Trinity was born April 7th. There were no signs of hydrocephalus or any other complications. He was 8lbs. 12 oz........he's doing great!
We just got home yesterday........I can't even put into words what we are feeling.
Thank you all for your prayers, support, and friendship.
A few days later I received two emails about a young boy in Hudson Wisconsin diagnosed with a brain tumor and were seeking my advice. One email written by an aunt of the boy was sent to the Radio station where I had recently spoken. Barb Massman of KDWA then forwarded me the message from this boy’s aunt. The other email was forwarded to me from a friend who runs a TCF internet website in Atlanta with a message from another of Grant’s aunts trying to reach me.
Over the weekend we received the Rosary from the Kings and we brought it over to Grant Truhler, the nine year old boy with Pontine Glinoma, a very deadly tumor. We sat with his mother, father, brothers, aunt and grandma, explained the story and presented the rosary to Grant. It was Sunday March 19th In Jesus name we pray, let the healing begin. On Monday March20 it was the vernal equinox. At precisely 12:26 Pm Central time, the exact moment of the equinox, family, friends and supporters of Grant from all over said a silent prayer for Grants healing. The Hastings the radio station KDWA at that moment also announced a moment of silent pray for Grant. Let the Healing begin.
As of Feb. 8th 2007 it has been almost a year that Grant has had the rosary and although still not out of the woods, he is back in school and feeling well with limitations. He loves having the rosary by his side.
On October 23, 2007 Grant died. His parents still clung to rosary in their devastating grief; it had been a daily part of their lives for almost two years. When they had the strength they brought it over to our home…again it returned on Feb. 3rd. They did not have words adequate enough to express how much the rosary meant to them, the wooden beads again worn down from constant prayer. In the box they had replaced the empty bottle of Lourdes water with one that was almost full. They also left in the box Grants favorite Holy cards. St. Frances, St. Therese, St. Peregrine, his most favorite St. Michael as well as his guardian angel pin. When they have the strength they plan to add to this story. Now the rosary waits for the next faithful servant that desperately needs a healing in their life.
I believe this Rosary is very special and one of a kind but as Gary says it represents the healing made possible through Jesus Christ which is there for our asking. I believe also that each person to have held this rosary and healed of a challenging health condition has left their imprint on it in a very real way. Just as an internet website can leave a cookie behind on your computer for a quicker connection to the site, so I believe a spiritual cookie is left upon the hard drive of the rosary. Each cookie is a powerful direct-connect to God, others prayers, and hot line for healing. Just holding the rosary is an honor but like a computer you need a password to connect, that password is prayer. God’s healing energy is always there for us, it’s our faith that opens up the channels of these divine love and allows healing energy from every pray that is said to travel down a direct line of love and the healing begins. A healing is not always a cure but a divine intervention that brings God’s glory to his beloveds and restores faith to the world.
A healing I believe will always happen if circumstance brings this rosary to your hands. I also know that although a healing may occur, it may not always be a cure. Either way the rosary brings with it hope, peace and the manifestation of God’s love for us all. I expect that it will always be returned to me when it is time to pass it on to another in need. I am merely a steward, but if you are a recipient of its miracle, you become a living part of its legacy.
On February 6 2008 the rosary was blessed by the ArchBishop.
The box itself which contains the rosary was a handcrafted gift from Kit Ridgeway, a neighbor in Bayport MN that had given it to us upon Kelly’s death in1987. An interesting story that is continues on; the rosary that seems to help heal people.
Love and Light