“HeartSpun Talk from the Crucible of Experience”©

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

Welcome back to the fourth in a series of ten special articles of homespun real-life talk about grief; this time about how to start stretching yourself to believe in something (again) – something beyond the darkness and pain of your experience right now.

Believe it or not, this subject is a vital part of your healing path to recovery and finding your own life again – despite the effects of grief which continue in the aftermath of your loved ones death!

For some of you I can hear your ‘Scrooge response’ kicking in automatically, practically shouting “Bah Humbug! I’ll never believe in anything again in my life! Not after what’s happened to me and how I still feel about it!”

And I understand your reflex response believe me. I remember when I was just like you, stuck in a rut of ragged emotions and grief so deep I couldn’t see daylight, let alone believe that daylight or even the hope of it existed anymore.

But I’ve also got to tell you that I’ve rediscovered belief in a whole new way since the death of my daughter.

It does exist, and it’s been responsible in large measure for bringing me back from the darkness of my own seemingly endless night of pain, which in turn has itself finally passed away from me.

I know those are two tough words for you to hear right now – ‘passed away’ – but I use them deliberately here in the context of grief. Because I’ve come to understand and accept that in fact, everything we know or experience in life does eventually pass away.

It’s particularly true about this toughest of human trials – death and grieving – that has fallen on you right now like a ton of loose bricks. Every impact of each brick of grief is excruciating!

But the truth is the pain of each of them do pass away and leave you eventually as you heal, even though you never can or should forget the loved ones you’ve lost, just because you’ve found your healing path.

I also understand it’s really difficult to see that right now from the bottom of the huge rut grief has thrown you into, probably completely unprepared for the experience, and scrabbling madly at the slippery sides of it in your attempts to escape its shattering effects on your life.

We both know the realities of your situation and how you’re most likely still feeling about it to one degree or another.

So how can you start stretching yourself to believe in anything ever again, given the darkness with which grief is still clouding your heart so deeply at this moment in time?

For starters, go back to the basics of your life before your loss occurred.

What did you believe in then – or better yet – WHOM did you believe in then? You need to ask yourself these questions, because this is where the ‘stretching yourself to believe again’ part really begins.

There’s an interesting anomaly which occurs in grieving, whereby many of us tend to ‘throw the baby out with the bathwater’, so to speak.

Suddenly everything we believed in before our loss either gets turfed straight out the door, or tossed onto the back burners of our lives. Have you noticed this about your experience?

In the chaos of death we question every belief about life we’ve ever had, because it feels like each anchor of belief which existed before has been ripped from its moorings, and blown to pieces right in front of our unbelieving eyes!

How are we supposed to deal with that?

Even as I’m writing this to you, I have to acknowledge this is not the way in which every one of you reading this reacts to losing a loved one.

Those of you who have had a powerful spiritual base of beliefs and a strong foundation of faith before your loss, will be experiencing this event much differently than those who did not – even though the pain levels are just as high.

And in that simple truth lies another one, and with it, more of the answers to the questions I’ve posed above.

Stretching yourself to believe again means you’ll want to take another look at those former beliefs and anchors in your life.

You’ll notice something profound if you do, and it’s this – they still exist inside you! The experience of death and grieving only makes you feel like they’ve all been destroyed, but they haven’t!

For myself, even in that instant of blinding pain which accompanied understanding my daughter had died, the words that flashed into my consciousness about her were “I know where you are!”

That awareness came because of the spiritual base of belief and the strong foundation of faith which my daughter and I both shared.

Even with this powerful base of belief in my life, you better believe my life exploded into a million pieces in an instant – and right away I turfed the baby out with the bathwater, and completely forgot just about everything I had ever believed to be true about all of it.

And yet, as my counselor has often pointed out to me in the process of finding my healing – this is also the very same base of former beliefs which has been responsible for helping me find my way out, because those chosen beliefs are imprinted deep into my soul and have always remained a part of me, whether I was aware of them through this experience or not!

Where did your beliefs lie before this experience crashed down on you – and what parts of them can you choose to claim back to yourself for starters?

Because it’s the same thing with grief as it is with everything else in our lives, we have to start somewhere.

And claiming back even a few pieces of your former belief system to help you IS a part of that beginning!

If you’ve been keeping up with these articles in the order they’ve been written, you’ll already know there’s another way I’ve spoken about before which can add to your belief-stretching abilities too.

It’s called conversational prayer. Talking to whatever greater Power you either believe in already, or can bring yourself to sound off to.

It doesn’t matter in what order they come out, or how twisted and incoherent the words of grief sound to your own ears when they pour out of your broken heart – they’ll all be heard and understood, and your heart will begin to be eased for having uttered them.

This is true even if you’ve been an atheist or agnostic all of your life up to this point, and the utter devastation of this experience hasn’t yet made you reexamine your former belief system.

There’s still some room for you on the deck of conversational talk to the universe, for your halting and hurting words to be heard. And heard they will be, and healed you will become through their power.

Trust me on this people – as a healing survivor of my own loss I’ve discovered this is as true as the sunrise that’s been happening since the dawn of time!

And now for the toughest part of this ‘stretching yourself to believe again’ exercise for people like us.

It’s called ‘listening’ to your inner voice of the heart!

With the utter mess and chaotic noise which grief has suddenly created in your life, figuring out how to be able to find, let alone listen to this voice, can be a hard challenge to overcome.

But overcome it you can, because eventually even the chaotic voices of grief have to shut up inside you from sheer exhaustion alone.

It’s in these utterly quiet and soul-exhausted moments of time when you need to listen inwardly, because that’s where the voice of your heart lives.

It’s at these same moments of calm when a real conversation between you and your Power has the most potential to help you, if you’ll listen to the voice of your heart.

This works because you’re often at the end of your rope by then, and willing to accept whatever help can come your way by asking for it, from whatever source might be available.

I remember those moments so well when I look back at my own experience, and I’m awed by their power to bring relief to a pain that knew no boundaries of existence at the time.

It’s always been in the quietude of my own heart, at these hardest moments of my own grief experience, when I’ve found healing answers and the strength to carry on living, and being able to start to believe once again.

It’ll be the same for you when you begin to take back your former beliefs, use conversational talk with your Power to reinforce them, and then open yourself to the ‘listening’ part of this experience. They all work together to help you.

It’s true. If you haven’t begun to do so already, try this for yourself and be prepared for a stretching of your ability to believe again as never before.

It’s a healing experience.

(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