“HeartSpun Talk from the Crucible of Experience”©

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

Welcome back to the third in a series of ten special articles of homespun real-life talk about grief – and how you can begin to let go of the pain and torment of this hardest of all life experiences.

By now you know exactly what I’m talking about when I call it “pain and torment,” don’t you – because you’ve been living with it while it burns holes not only in your heart, but in seemingly every aspect of your daily life.

It affects everything you think and say, let alone try to do. It changes the colors and the shape of the world you now live in – and everything seems different and strange to your haunted-feeling heart and the eyes you view your world with. Every conversation seems stilted and strangely out of context with your own internal realities, as you feel them to be.

You’re living in the pain and torment of your greatest of all losses, and you don’t have a single solitary clue during the worst moments of it about how to deal with it or change it.

I remember how it felt. And if given the choice, I would choose never to return to it again. But it’s not up to me or you - and the realities of life are that all of us will endure this experience at some point in our lives to a greater or lesser degree.

It’s what we choose to do about it that makes all the difference in the ending of it!

My adoptive Native mother lost six of her sixteen children over the course of her lifetime before her own passing – an absolutely staggering blow which boggles the mind and begs the question of ‘How did you possibly manage to retain your sanity?’

When she and I were on the long and endless road heading for my daughter’s funeral, I remember broken-heartedly asking her how she had managed to survive the loss of six kids.

I had only lost one just two days before, and the pain of it was crushing beyond belief or comprehension to me at the time.

The purity and simplicity of her answer barely registered on me that day, or in the many, many long months that were to follow. But there came a moment of agony in time when I remembered, and I took her answer to heart for myself.

And wonder of wonders, the pain and torment of my own experience began to fade as I let it go in the increments of understanding which came from the power and beauty of her simple answer to my question.

She had answered me with only these words… “All I could do was pray.”

Whether we as individuals believe in the power of prayer or not becomes completely inconsequential at times like this in our lives. Our broken hearts and crushed spirits know the answer instinctively – and cry out our agony to a Power they recognize as being far greater than our own.

It’s true we’ll most often shout and rail at this Power in the first shock of grief’s sudden reality in our lives – and even blame it for the sudden pain of this experience!

But make no mistake about it, even the anger and bluntness of our words are heard and understood at the time we’re yelling them out in our extremities of pain beyond bearing.

And this is the whole point, you see – that they’re heard by this Power we’ve consciously chosen to acknowledge or not, as the case might be for each of us.

Whether we acknowledge it or not doesn’t seem to change the reality of its existence though. Most of you reading this will have come to at least a basic understanding of this truth by now, if not more so.

Do you really want out from under the pain and torment of your crippling grief? Are you ready to try the things you may never have considered before as being valid to your previous beliefs and experience in life?

Then try mouthing a prayer to your vision of that Power. Just look up, or down, or sideways with eyes open or shut – it really doesn’t matter where you look or whether you get right down on your knees – and start a conversation with whatever you believe the Power in your life to be.

Just talk. It’s called conversational prayer, and it’s honored in any form or style you care to offer it. You’ll begin to feel a difference in your heart when you do this.

Honest, simple, heartfelt prayers (especially the pain-filled ones) cause breakthroughs in our grief process, and help to lead us out of the pain and torment of our experience!

Isn’t this what all of us grievers want, to get out from under the pain and torment of it all? I’m pretty sure I can see your head nodding up and down in agreement with me as you read this because we both know it’s true!

I’ve come back to my mother’s simple words so often over the course of my own healing path because I know the truth of them to be responsible for my sanity, my health, my mental and spiritual well-being – and the life I can now live with peace in my heart because of them.

I titled this article as I did for a reason, because I understand pain and torment to be a real part of this experience of grief for each of us in our own way. And I have also come to understand the importance and necessity of coming out from under its load of pain.

How about you? If you haven’t already discovered this simple method for yourself by now, what have you got to lose by trying it - except to discover you can let go of all the pain and torment you’re still packing around inside you?

There IS somebody listening to us out there! Believe just that much and you’ll find yourself beginning to come out from under it, and the rest of it will become the history of your healing to you when you’re looking back after the fact. It has for me, and I wish it for you as well.

Whether you agree or not is not as important to me as the simple truth of my mother’s words for me in the reality of my own healing path, lived now in the aftermath of my daughter’s death.

Please feel free to write me though with whatever your thoughts might be about this article at - I’ll be happy to read them and write back to you.

The fact is you have to find your own truths in this experience of grief, but it’s my hope (and prayer) that this article will point you in a direction your quiet inner voice of the soul agrees with, and would encourage you to take for yourself.

Letting go of your pain and torment is what it’s all about.

(If you haven’t already purchased it and want to learn the full story behind the truth of these articles, be sure to visit my website and download a copy of my book entitled “How to Survive the Death of a Child - A Father's Story of Healing Light” available on Amazon Kindle at )

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