“HeartSpun Talk from the Crucible of Experience”©

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

Welcome back to the second in a series of ten special articles of homespun real-life talk about the grief still gripping your life – and the things you can do to step out from under its shadows.

The shadows of grief are those dark entities of denial, anger, depression, confusion and torment from which there doesn’t seem to be any escape when they’ve got you shrouded in their pall. They’d like you to believe in them and live in their spell forever.

But I’m alive and here writing to you after the shadows left my life to tell you there is an escape from them!

You remember in my last article how I talked about the importance of establishing connections with others who are grieving like you? That’s a crucial stop along this journey of stepping out of the shadows of your own grief.

I remember so clearly how that felt the first time I did it for myself more than two years after my daughter had died, probably much farther along in my healing process than you might be right now.

Or maybe not farther along, I don’t know in your case. But it’s never too late to do this as it turns out, no matter how far along you are.

I‘d been approached and asked if I might meet with another family who had also lost a child to sudden death recently. You can understand and imagine the pain they were living in.

I accepted and we wound up sharing both of our stories of grief in the hours-long encounter that followed.

The experience of this encounter changed me.

It changed something critical inside my own broken heart as I met with them in their home, and they shared the brokenness of theirs. Their trembling voices and moistened eyes became a window looking out from my own suffering, even as I felt the knives of pain which were spearing all of our hearts together in mutual feelings of loss.

By opening myself up and allowing someone else’s harsh and biting grief to flood my soul, I came to understand I wasn’t alone anymore in my own agony of heart. And with that came a clearer understanding of how to take another step on the journey of healing I so desperately still needed for myself.

I had stepped out of the shadows of my own grief by being willing to share the grief of others like me and gained wisdom, insight, and healing knowledge from the experience.

What about you? Have you begun to step out from under your own shadows in this way yet? Don’t delay if you haven’t – it’ll save your life in ways you can’t even imagine until you allow it to happen to you, but you need to take this first step yourself.

If it will help you, remember I’m willing to be a connection for you. Write your words of pain down in an email and send it to me at and I’ll read it, write back, and help you take a step out from under your shadows.

There’s another way to step out from under the shadows too, and you’ll discover it the very first time you’re able to admit to yourself you need counseling – that you really can’t and shouldn’t try to get through this on your own!

The grip of the shadows is lessened by each and every action you take which pulls you away from them. I know this for a fact from personal experience too…

I remember how I was hurting so badly I didn’t know which way was up for months after my girl died, but what compounded my grief and gave those shadows such awesome power over me, was that I was incredibly stubborn about hanging on to them.

I was convinced I could handle and deal with healing myself entirely on my own!

Brave thoughts maybe – but absolutely wrong about the reality, let alone the truth of it! And the truth was that I was afraid to let go of my shadows! I had allowed them to become my security blanket. Some blanket!

After months of ever increasing agony, and with pain and venom spewing from all the cracks and chinks of my do-it-yourself armor, I finally realized I had been wrong. Looking for and finding a counselor suddenly became a critical choice I was faced with making.

It felt like those shadows were killing me, and I still wanted to live – even if this meant I could only be living in memory of my daughter! I’ll be eternally grateful I made the right choice this time.

The simple truth about grief is that it’s okay to need an understanding, empathetic and knowledgeable counselor who can guide you farther out from under the shadows of your own personal grief.

In fact, it takes greater strength of character and heart to admit you need help than it does trying to handle it all on your own.

I don’t know what kind of counseling services you’ve got available to you in your area, but one resource I will recommend with all my heart is that of the Hospice organization closest to you. They know about the hard pain of death and dying.

It’s what they do. They not only provide caring and sympathetic assistance to those dying a lingering death, they also provide counselors to deal with those who have actually experienced death in their lives. They’re trained and understand the pain and suffering which this experience brings into your life.

And they know about the shadows of grief too, and know what to do to help you deal with them. Look them up in your area and go see them. They helped save my life when it really counted, and they’re still doing so to this day.

You’ll find relief from the pain of the shadows if you ask for help.

(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