“HeartSpun Talk from the Crucible of Experience”©

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

In the early days of grief amid the numbness and shock of loss the thought of memorial symbols is not yet a part of your grieving or healing process. But there comes a point in the days following where suddenly it seems that’s all you can think about, and a drive to remember the one you’ve lost compels you to do something of lasting value to honor them and maintain your heart link to them.

It’s good for your eventual healing that you experience this drive, and even better when you allow it to guide you into creating memorial symbols which are uniquely representative of your loved one – something you’ll treasure always and keep in the forefront of the changed life you live in the aftermath of your loss.

The form your memorial takes is important only to you and can consist of anything your aching heart chooses it to be – from a simple framed picture all the way up to an organization begun in their memory, or beyond. Only eternity can or should limit your options or the actions you take to create a memorial symbol of healing value to you.

For instance, perched on the top of my credenza behind me sits an entirely unique work of art which I commissioned my cousin, a local native artist of outstanding talent to create for me as a memorial to honor the memory of my own daughter.

As a young woman exploring her own ancestral roots which consisted of both North American Native and European bloodlines, my girl had once found the weathered shoulder blade of a moose on one of her bush walks. She had intended to paint designs on it honoring this mixed heritage but never had the opportunity to do so before her death.

I found the bone in a box of her effects a year and a half after she died and amid my tears at the time of its discovery was reminded of her intent for it. I approached my artist cousin and explained this situation to him and asked if he’d be willing to undertake honoring her intent.

Having known my daughter’s heritage and her own artistic bent he readily agreed. It took him two and a half years to complete the work, a period of time which to me was worth every moment given to its completion.

In its entire 21” height it consists of the shoulder blade of a moose mounted face-on vertically to the center top portion of a weathered moose skullcap with horn stubs on it, which is in turn mounted on - and appears to float on - a 9¾” woven copper-painted grinding disk. The design is unique to itself, representing the first and only piece of its kind in existence.

Painted front and back in rich colors of both contemporary and native designs his finished work is not only a masterpiece of creative artistic endeavor, but also a testament to the empathic link which connects his art to my daughter’s life – and the Spirit she has now become.

Something which began so simply – with just the memories surrounding the weathered shoulder blade of a moose found in a box in the aftermath of my daughter’s death. I’m reminded of so many wonderful things about her every single time I look at it though, and can feel its healing effects continuing to soothe the pain of her loss.

Memorial symbols really can help you heal from your grief. Treasure the ones you’ve either already created or intend to, whatever they are, and allow their influence to continue healing your own heart of grief.

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.