“HeartSpun Talk from the Crucible of Experience”©

From the life of Ken Matthies - Author, Poet, Real Life Storyteller

How could anyone think it possible to find ‘golden moments’ in a loved one’s long term dying?

There are many among you out there in the world that are grieving from the loss of a family member or close friend who faced a long term dying.

You probably felt like a piece of you was dying right along with them over the many long months or years before their end finally came, and your grief for their loss finally broke loose to become a living reality within you.

It’s not an easy process to remain a living breathing person yourself when you know their breath will one day cease to be, and you have to keep on living in the pain of their passing.

You need to know that you’re not alone in your feelings of loss, grief and bereavement since they went away. Uncountable thousands are walking the same path as you, aching for their healing just as much as you are.

It’s also important for you to know that a powerful portion of the healing for your grief already lies within you.

I’m one of you too because that’s the way it was for me as I watched, lived with and fought to come to terms with its finality over the long seven years of my adoptive Native mother’s inexorable passage from vibrant vitality to the final stillness of her death.

It was in the aftermath of her passing, in the midst of the grief of her loss that I discovered and will forever hold on to the golden moments of her long term dying.

Golden moments are those that live on in your memory, in your heart of love and caring, and in the thoughts you’re willing to share with yourself in death’s aftermath of those superbly special and intimate times you shared something either entirely ordinary, or extraordinarily unique with them.

In my mother’s case an example of the ordinary would be the times I accompanied her to her beloved Bingo games in town, where despite her growing pain and discomfort we would share special looks, smiles, jokes and laughter as she watched eagle-eyed over my Bingo cards as well as her own to make sure I never ever missed a number being called.
In the life of my mother and me an entirely ordinary but now highly treasured event in memory.

As a Native woman born, raised in and intensely traveled throughout the forests, trails and byways of northern British Columbia, Alaska and the Yukon, it seemed there was no place I could take her that she hadn’t been to or seen before in her 71 year travels over the land; or for which she couldn’t tell me their names in her native Tlingit tongue.

And yet it was in this same context of places seen that a short month or so before her dying I was privileged to share the extraordinarily unique with her, and create a truly shining golden moment of both reality and memory.

It was both chosen practice and an honor for me to take my mother on many short drives throughout the incandescent beauty of the mountainous region we live in during the final months of her illness.

Because of her increasing fragility even traveling in my vehicle, we had been waiting for the spring thaw to melt the roughness of ice and snow on a dirt road leading to a local lake. For once mother wasn’t certain she’d ever traveled this particular trail before and I was excited at the prospect of showing it to her.

Arriving at trail’s end in the soft glow of early evening light we sat in the vehicle together gazing out over a small lake still covered in ice. The simplicity of the lake was back dropped by a sweeping view of a magnificent seven-peaked mountain range sheathed in brilliant layers of snow, which watched in turn over a valley from which a single huge round mountain rose out of the flat land of its origins.

I remember looking over at mother and asking her if she’d ever been here before. Her shining wonder-filled eyes and simple answer of “No Ken, I’ve never been here or seen this place before; thank you so much for bringing me here!” was the reward of a lifetime to me; especially given her extensive firsthand knowledge of the land which surrounded us that evening.

I found myself overwhelmed in the moment (and forever after) with the joy of how much it mattered to her that I had brought her here, to be seeing for the first time the vantage point and stunning beauty of what lay before her slowly dimming eyes of life.

This and countless other experiences large and small have all become the golden moments of memory of her long term dying to me. They can be assessed no price to the heart, and have a value beyond the boundaries of human suffering or pain to the love I still carry in my heart for her.

And therein lays the secret of these golden moments to the grieving which happens to you in the painful vale of their having passed from your life.

These are in fact golden moments of healing for your grief, offered up from within your still living love and vital memories of those priceless moments of sharing your life together in ways that mattered, that counted, and can forever be held in high esteem inside your secret heart of hearts.

Look for your own ‘golden moments’ in the long term dying of the one you loved and lost. Allow them full and free rein of their beauty within you – and you too will find ever greater measures of healing from your loss, grief and bereavement of a long term dying.

Author's Bio: 

For almost forty years of his life Ken Matthies has been a writer and chronicler of life expressed in poetic form, following the family tradition laid down by his grandfather before him.

Faced with the dramatically life altering experience of his helicopter pilot daughter’s sudden death in 2002 he has grown to also become a literary author of true events based on his own life. Though grief opened his literary doors it is the Light of Love and Memories supplying the fuel of inspiration to write through them.

As a second-chance dad given the opportunity to verbally share his life stories with his newly rediscovered daughter it was she who told him that she believed him to be a ‘worthy man’ after having heard them, and who encouraged him that they should be shared in written form beyond her own life – not yet knowing as she said it that she was soon to leave him behind. As a bereaved father and writer learning how to live life again in the Light of his own Love and Memories of his daughter, he writes those stories now as a testament to her belief and faith in their value.

His full length book entitled "How to Survive the Death of a Child - A Father's Story of Healing Light" was the first of these stories which he wrote in the Light of those Love and Memories.

He lives in the solitude and grandeur of a tiny southern Yukon village with his Tlingit native wife Skoehoeteen and the successor to their venerable old Tahltan bear dog Clancy Underfoot, who now happily awaits them at the Rainbow Bridge in Doggy Heaven. She’s a new female puppy named Hlinukts Seew which means ‘Sweet Rain’ in the Tlingit language, a wonderful phonetic variation in memory of Clancy’s name who was also called C.U. for short. It’s a good place to tell those stories from.

You can read more of Ken's writings and find his Amazon Kindle book at www.kenmatthies.com.