“HeartSpun Talk from the Crucible of Experience”©

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

Every single death that occurs brings loss, grief and bereavement to someone who loved or cared for that individual, and its significance never can or should be discounted in its impact and meaning to those suffering and finding healing from its effects.

Yet the death of a child – grown or otherwise – carries a burden of grieving for a parent which exceeds all human boundaries of comprehension or understanding at the time of its happening, and involves enduring a grieving and healing path unique among the losses to be experienced by mankind.

In this series of articles I’ll be sharing stories of grieving the death of a grown child in poetic form, and allow you the readers to experience my own journey through grief to help you find healing from your own through the power and truth of their words.

It’s a prayer of my heart that you will be touched and encouraged in your own grieving by its ever growing message of hope.

Each poem in this series carries a brief explanation of where I was in my journey at the time it was written in order to give you a clear understanding of my progress through it.

All were written about my own beloved daughter Leila Gray (Brennan), a 26 year old helicopter pilot at the time of her death.

This first one was the poem written for her funeral day, which in its topic involves a gift of grace received mere days before that unutterably sad event. It relates to a ‘found feather’ given to us by our daughter’s loving spirit to help us as parents endure the day – and find hope in its message for the effects of an aftermath of loss which was certain to follow.

The Feather

We picked up a feather the other day
That lay on the floor at our feet;
And in it we saw the wings of flight
Of Leila, our daughter Sweet.

A feather, you know, is an amazing thing;
It lifts each bird to the sky;
To soar the heavens and sail the winds
That raise their wings on high.

Leila was like them, always full
Of the delight that flying would bring;
As she fixed her sights on the sky above
And the song that chopper blades sing.

She was feisty, determined, and sure of her skill,
A professional fully aware;
Just like the feathers that fuel the flight
Of one who is born to the air.

She had dreams, and goals, and lofty aims
To propel her into the sky;
And it is not our place to question that,
Or ever to wonder why.

The gift of flight is given to few,
The heavens are their domain;
So when one feather falls from the sky
Our grief is hard to contain.

Yet Leila, our loved and precious one
Would be the first to say:
“Lift up your hearts and look at me –
I’m just flying in a different way”

“I earned my wings upon this earth;
I so loved it, and did my best.
Now I’m flying in Heaven’s Halls,
For He said I had earned my rest.”

“And the Kingdom of Heaven – I’m here to say –
Is a place where everyone sings;
And God in His mercy and shining Love
Has given me heavenly wings.”

“So go from this place with peace in your hearts;
My days on earth are fulfilled.
I sent the feather for my parents to find
So you’d know I was flying still.”

…And the feather was gray…just like her maiden last name…

© M. Kenneth Matthies

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.