confessions of a pastor “names”
P.O. Box 540852
Omaha, NE 68154
Mission Statement: When a child dies, at any age, the family suffers intense pain and may feel hopeless and isolated.
The Compassionate Friends provides highly personal comfort, hope, and support to every family experiencing the death of
a son or a daughter, a brother or a sister, or a grandchild, and helps others better assist the grieving family.
ence. One of the great joys of becoming a parent
is that we get to select the name for our child. We
When I left seminary, there were many things I
know that these little ones will be identified by
was prepared for; my mistake was believing I
their names all through their lives—and after they
was prepared for everything. In fact, I was not
have died. When I look at the Our Children Reprepared for everything, but I did not realize how
membered pages each month, I often think about
totally unprepared I was until I spent some time
the children, how dearly they were wanted, how
as a pastor of a community church. Even though
carefully they were named. I can imagine the
I had been through four years of college and four leave seminary. If we were to learn it all there, we discussions about the names, the choices, the
years of seminary, there was much I was not
prepare us for everything, and by God’s grace,
ready for. Funerals I knew how to do—at least
we had discussed them in school. When it came
Then the welcoming of the baby into the world. I
time to help families through the grief experience, our shortcomings. If your pastor still hasn’t figam touched by the words of parents who write so
however, I soon realized how woefully inademovingly about their children, wanting so much to
quate my training had been.
might be helpful, or some extra newsletters might hear their beautiful names. Our fear is that these
I believe many pastors leave seminary feeling as provide some insight. Better yet, sit with him at
beloved names will be silenced and forgotten.
I did—ready to take on the world. I believe many dinner and tell him what bereaved parents go
soon discover what I did—that the more I experi- through. It might surprise him to learn how long
My parents’ first child, a nine pound boy, died at
enced as a pastor, the more I realized how little I grief lasts or that many parents leave their child’s birth. My mother decided not to name him; she
really did know. For instance, I used to believe
room untouched for years.
save the name for a hoped-for future
that the grief experienced by a woman whose
son. (My dad left the decision to her.) The baby
husband died, or the man whose brother died, or
was buried in an unmarked grave in a family
the parents whose child died was the same. I
cemetery. I have wondered, in the years since
my own son died, if not naming the baby was an
another child. I don’t attempt to answer “why?” I
effort to stem the horrible pain of his death. My
As a caretaker of those God has entrusted to me, love them even when they get mad at God. I
I set out to do my best at the funeral, to visit afreassure them that they aren’t crazy. I help them parents told my brother and me about the first
terward, and I then expected the family to get on through anxiety attacks. I listen more than I talk. I baby, but, like most people of their generation,
with their lives. For the most part, people did, that never tell them I know how they feel—they know they did not discuss their feelings about his
is, except for one group. This particular group
and I know that I don’t. I always tell them and
puzzled me. I could not figure out why their tears show them that I care. I never ask them to tell me
lasted not just months but years longer. I believe what I can do for them; they won’t. I just show up The baby was present in our family, however,
you know which group this is. I wanted to under- regularly to say I remember and I care. I never let even though unnamed. For years in my childstand why this group—bereaved parents—got hit them blame themselves for things God alone has hood, I daydreamed about my older brother and
so much harder, and what I, as one who cared
what my life would have been like had he lived. It
control of. I talk about their child frequently and
for them, could do.
felt odd that he had no name. I made up names
I set out to learn all that I could about the death
Don’t expect that your pastor understands every- for him, gave him adventures, let him be a hero
in my life. He may have been unnamed, he may
of a child. The more I learned, the worse I felt.
thing that you are going through or the depth of
never have breathed, but he influenced my life. I
The group that I had been treating like any other your pain. I believe he would thank you dearly if
think my mother erred in refusing to name the
turned out not to be like any other. I no longer
you took it upon yourself to teach him how to
baby. I have the deepest respect and underbelieved that all grief was the same—that is to
better care for those in his flock who have sufstanding of her decision and her pain, and I think
say, that all deaths yielded the same reaction in
fered the loss of one of His dear little lambs.
much of it was due to her shock at the baby’s
the grieving process. Some may disagree, but as
Rev. Greg Hubbard, Goodland, KS
death and the tenor of society those long years
far as I am concerned, the greatest loss any huReprinted from The (National) Compassionate ago. But, oh! how important are our children’s
man can sustain is the death of a child.
Friends Newsletter, Spring 1991 names. They are our songs, our music. We love
I thought over what I had said to bereaved partheir names; we love the souls who bear those
ents to ease their pain. It hurt me to learn I had
names. We meet a baby with our child’s name,
been just as much a part of the problem as I had
and we feel connected. We compare spellings.
thought I was a part of the solution. I also realWe look at their hair, their coloring, their wonder“NAMES”
ized that solutions, though possible, are very
ful eyes. We remember....
hard to come by. I learned how inadequate my
answers were in the face of a child’s death. I
~ Kitty Reeve/TCF Marin and San Francisco, CA
came to understand that although it goes against They give credence to the reality of our exist-
CONFESSIONS OF A PASTOR
a preacher’s constitution, it was often better to
keep my mouth closed and listen as one who
cared that it was to offer verbal dribble. It was
embarrassing to find that I, too, was guilty of the
disappearing pastor syndrome following the
death of a child.
National Office: The Compassionate Friends P.O. Box 3696 Oakbrook IL 60522-3696 (877) 969-0010 www.compassionatefriends.org
Nebraska Regional Coordinator: Kelly Pelster (402) 676-3670 [email protected]
Lynette Schlosser Angers
July 11th marked 7 years since Lynette passed away
at age 34 while visiting Disney World with her two
children, Amanda 15 years old, Justin 9 years old, her
sister, Charlene, her mother, Joyce, and her father,
1972-2006 During “the dash” she loved, laughed, and
lived life to the fullest. Her Children are now 22 and 16
years old. She leaves behind two sisters, a brotherin-law, two nieces, and a nephew.
Respectfully submitted, Al and Joyce Schlosser,
Review submitted by Ron Stukenholtz, TCF Omaha
Editors note—This author is from the Omaha Chapter.
This book is part of the TCF Library, and a quick easy read. I
thought it was very well written, very straight forward and covered
aspects of a grieving family that most people would not even consider. This book is not just for grieving parents, but also for those that want to be a
strength and support to grieving parents and siblings during this tragic time.
Flowers on a Child’s Grave, Now What?
How 14 families dealt with the loss of their children and continued to live. By Lisa
Epperson, First published in 2010, 144 pages
This book is broken into 14 chapters, one for each loss. The ages of the children
range from 20 minutes to 34 years of age and the causes of their deaths are varied.
Anencephaly, SIDS, Congestive Heart Failure, Suicide, accidents, and other circumstances lead to their demise.
Each chapter examines how these 14 families dealt with the many areas surrounding their children’s deaths. The reader will learn what the families did with
their children’s clothes, their room and other personal belongings to preserve
their precious memories. They review/explore their ongoing reactions as it affects their faith, their marriages, the surviving siblings, and their friends during
their horrific ordeal. The chapters continue to look at the parent’s lives from the
standpoint of handling upcoming birthdays, holidays, and family reunions
without their children. They discuss their daily routines and how things have
changed since they lost their children, including work, intimacy, sleep, etc.
7 significant thoughts about her.
L - She Loved God. Once as a kid her
mother reminded her to lock the car door.
In her with she said “ I trust God, Mom”
Y - Yearly she made good food, Cajun kind,
kringla, and candy.
N - Nicknamed Smiley and a Nebraska
Fan. In the ambulance going to Hospice
care she told the attendant “ I love Nebraska”.
E - Enthusiastic. She loved to entertain.
T - Took her work seriously. She had her
dream job in the mother and baby ward at
Methodist Hospital as a CAN working towards her RNA.
T - Tried to Train her kids to love the Lord,
respect adults, and love one another
E - Energetic. Did not want to give up
fighting cancer after 9 years
To complete each chapter, there are paragraphs entitled: Best and Worst
Advice Given and What would you say to someone who has just lost a child,
bringing to mind what to say and not say to the surviving parents and siblings.
A couple of the Best Advices:
“The best advice she got was that the family should do what was right for them.
That they shouldn’t listen to anyone else and that it didn’t matter what anyone
else thought.” “The best advice that the family received was for them to be open
and honest and keep Garret’s memory alive. Someone told them to continue to
talk about him as well.”
A couple of Worst Advices:
“One of the worst things anyone said to her was that they had a dog die and understood exactly how she felt. They compared the loss of their dog to the loss of
“When Cathy went back to work, a friend said “I can’t believe you are out of bed, if
this happened to me, I wouldn’t be able to get out of bed.” Cathy felt guilty. She felt
terrible. Cathy left work, went home and got back into bed. These insensitive remarks made Cathy feel like a terrible mom.”
What would you say to someone who has just lost a child:
“Take things one minute at a time, one hour at a time. Do not look too far ahead. Do
not isolate yourself and accept support. Reach out for help even if it is a challenge.”
“Diana wants people to expect the worst and try to adjust accordingly. She also
wants them to be aware that the pain will lessen even though Diana wouldn’t have
believed someone if they told her that early on.” “You are going to be on a hellish
ride for a long time. They say time heals and it really does. Keep your friends and
family around you; surround yourself with those that love you.”
STEERING COMMITTEE FOCUS: Kelly Pelster—I have been active in the
Omaha Chapter since 1994. I continue to reach out to TCF families to honor Erin.
Not many people know a 2-year-old beyond family and day care. She lived less
than 1000 days. She was so very special...loved food, the color red, Barney, and
Michael Jackson and her doll she named “Honey”. She loved day care—her
“school”. Bergan Mercy Child Care dedicated their playground to her. In 10 years,
we had 8 sudden deaths in our family, complicated grief, and lawsuits. I am very
grateful for the TCF friends who have supported me locally and nationally, through
email, support group, steering committee, and conferences. Going to a national
conference and meeting authors and creative parents who have built something
positive from tragedy was so uplifting. I have been to more than a dozen conferences. A skeptical session with a medium turned into the most unexpected peace I
have experienced...Erin is with me! Building the Angel of Hope Memorial, hosting a
regional conference, serving as Regional Coordinator for Nebraska, and Grief Provider certification by Darcie Sims have been growth experiences I never thought possible, again, I know Erin is with me. When our kids graduate, we plan a major trip. When Erin’s class graduated, I sent out a graduation announcement to do an act of kindness in her memory. For her
trip, our family toured Washington DC, and carried the chapter banner in the National Walk to Remember. For years I had this taped on my computer... by Annie Johnson Flint: “God hath not promised skies always blue, Flower-strewn pathways All our lives through, God hath not promised
Sun without rain, Joy without sorrow, Peace without pain…..But God hath promised Strength for the day, Rest for the labor, Light for the way,
Grace for the trial, Help from above, Unfailing sympathy, Undying love...” I enjoy gardening, photography, and riding horses. Nature is healing. 2
Walk to Remember-Boston
National Conference 2013
Attending the National Conference was a very interesting and educational experience for us. There was a wide range of different workshops and lectures. Some of the more memorable workshops we attended included: ‘What to do with My Child’s Possessions”, ‘The
Mind-Body Connections: Staying Healthy through Grief” and “Healing Touch for Grieving Couples”.
The Healing Touch for Grieving Couples was our favorite workshop and the presenters-Lilly Julien and Jerry Weinstock, were very
good. They wrote a book about healing and here is brief quote from the book; Grief Quest: A Workbook & Journal to Heal the Grieving
“Love May Be The Answer But Loss Poses The Questions! In the agony and inconsolable grief of losing a child, parents find themselves asking questions they have never asked before. When we say we've "lost" our child, the truth is we're lost. The world as we have
known it no longer exists. The right questions are like a trail in the wilderness that can lead us out of the darkness, toward the light of a
new life that is forever changed. The Questions Determine the Quest. Grief Quest utilizes a unique question-based L.O.V.E. process-- *
L-Love your memories * O-Open to your grief * V-Value the gifts of your relationship * E-Embrace your life. The questions in Grief Quest
will help you memorialize your child. The simple act of recording your memories is a tribute to your child and the love and life you
shared. If you embark on this Grief Quest, you'll get to know yourself and your relationship with your child on a deeper level than you
Submitted by Pete and Diana Ormandy—Jason’s parents, TCF Omaha
Celebrations by families of the Greater Omaha Chapter—We
On July 27, 2013, the 16th Annual Memorial Golf Tournament
in memory of Cassidy Marie Dethlefs was held at River Wilds
in Blair, Nebraska. It was a gorgeous day -probably the nicest
day we have had in all 16 years of Cassie's tournament. We
were able to have a nice gathering spot out on the course
this year where we had hot dogs, pop, water, beer and jello
shots. There were 27 teams participating this year, which was
down about 10 teams from the previous year. However, we
were still able to raise approximately $4,500 to benefit the Histiocytosis Association of America. We are so grateful to our
family and friends who come out to support us every year and
we always welcome new teams who come out and join us
too. Cassie passed away on December 26, 1997 after a 6
month battle with two forms of these diseases - Langerhan Cell
Histiocytosis and Hemophagyocitic Lympho-Histiocytosis. She
was such a little trooper and the smile never left her face during her fight. We still miss her every day. She was our little
hero here on earth and is now the little angel who watches over
us from heaven.
Roger, Jill, Connor and Tessa
Dethlefs, TCF Omaha
For our son Noah's first birthday, we
hosted a Celebration of Life party at a
local bar and grill. We had over 100
people there to celebrate with us.
Since we are unable to buy him tangible birthday presents, we opted to have
a fundraiser. Along with generous donations from friends and family, the bar
donated a percentage of all food sales. All the money raised in
his honor was donated to Children's Hospital NICU in Omaha
where he spent all 6 days of his life. Additionally, my husband
and I purchased at digital camera for the NICU with a plaque
dedicating it in Noah's memory. We have so many wonderful
pictures of him that our nurse took, we wanted to supply all the
nurses with one to share to be able to capture moments with
their babies while they are alive. We've only celebrated one
year so far, but wee plan to have celebrate Noah's birthday
every year - whether it be a simple cake at our house with
close friends and family or something bigger.
Karin Bellows, TCF Omaha
My Son Chris loved to ski, and we
made at least one trip per year sometimes more.
A couple of years after his heaven date
I made eight 2"x 2" ceramic tiles with
his name on them and one of his sayings "Long skis truck, short skis suck".
My goal was to place a tile next to
each of his favorite ski runs at Copper
Mountain. We had three days to ski
and accomplish our task. I might note
now that Chris would just shake his head when he would see people trying to ski without a lesson. I will also mention we maintained
our own skis.
The tiles were placed and I saved the last one for his favorite run
which we were going to place after lunch. As we were getting on
the chairlift we heard "hey mister we have your ski", I looked down
and my right ski had come off and the attendant gave it to the two
ladies behind us. As we approached the top the lift attendant
asked if I wanted the lift stopped, I said no and I would ski on one
As I got up I made the mistake of putting my right toe on the snow
and down I went. The next chair hit me in the head and knocked
my sunglasses and hat off. Chris would have been laughing very
I put the ski back on and off we went to place the last tile. The tile
was placed to a side of his favorite run and we skied down to start
our journey home. As I was putting my skis on the rack I noticed
that the bindings on my right ski were not set at all. If you know
skiing I should not have been able to make one turn let alone ski
three days without the ski immediately coming off.
I feel Chris was watching over me to allow me to accomplish our
goal of placing the tiles in his memory, but got one good laugh
when I went down and I figured he was telling me I'm not going to
ski without him again. Bill Cook, TCF Omaha
Lane was a happy, healthy, handsome baby boy who was taken
from us too soon. Lane was five months and seven days old when he
became our guardian angel and we all miss him very much. Unseen, unheard, but always there. We donate
car seat and diaper bag tags, magnets, shirts
and posters to doctors offices and day cares to
help educate parents. We started the Lay Me
Down for Lane campaign, and August 17 was
the 3rd Annual Memory Lane Motorcycle Ride.
We plan to continue this ride for years to come
and can’t express enough how much the love
and support means to us. To see everyone
ride in honor of Lane is absolutely amazing.
Lay Me Down for Lane—Lay me on my back,
Always on a flat surface, Never with pillows
and blankets, Every time by everybody.
Nick, Aleasha ,Makenzie, Sophia, & Asa Thomas. TCF Omaha
On the one year Heaven date for our son , Brian, we acknowledged the date at the cemetery. We invited family and close friends of ours
and Brian to meet us there on that day. We played the Pink Floyd song "How I wish You were Here" That song was played at his funeral
also. We read a short poem about love lasting forever.
We went back to our house where we shared memories and tons of good food. Brian loved to eat and be with friends and family. We
thought this was a nice way to remember him on a most challenging day. Jo Ann and John Smith, TCF Omaha
are the keepers of the flame!
Los Amigos Compasivos en Omaha
Trevor Frederickson, son of Darrin and Melanie Petty and Gary
and Kari Frederickson, was 21 years old when he lost his life in
an apartment fire June 18, 2009. Trevor was a 2006 graduate of
Atlantic High School in Atlantic, IA, and 2008 graduate of Southwestern Community College in Creston, IA. Although his degree
was in automotive repair, he had set his sights on a career in law
enforcement. Trevor cherished family and friends, enjoyed children, loved sports and reading, had an undeniable passion for all
things related to baseball, and most importantly, believed in paying it forward.
Within days of Trevor’s passing, his high school classmates began organizing The T-Fred Memorial Golf Tournament. Their
fundraising goals were to provide assistance with Trevor’s final
expenses, provide annual scholarships to Atlantic High School
graduating seniors, and have a bench and tree placed at the Atlantic High School baseball field in his memory. Held less than
two months after his passing, the support from family, friends,
and community was overwhelming.
In the fall of 2009, Atlantic Parks and Recreation Board voted to
name the City’s public baseball field the "Trevor Frederickson
Memorial Field". This was one of the first indications
of potential far beyond scholarships, a bench and a tree. From
here, The Trevor Frederickson Memorial Fund was founded, incorporated, and approved by the IRS as a 501(c)3 non profit organization. The golf tournament became an annual fundraiser,
and the goal was broadened to "giving back to the community
Trevor loved by supporting organizations and projects that best
represent Trevor’s interests".
The tournament has become a celebration of Trevor's life. Family
and friends from hundreds of miles away reunite to share their
memories while a slideshow of Trevor's 21 years plays on a big
screen. Rather than the traditional shot gun start, the tournament
begins with a balloon release and golfers are encouraged to
leave their serious game behind to putt with a baseball bat. The
event and the over $69,000 in donations made to date keep Trevor's memory alive in our small town. Making something positive
come out of the worst day of our lives has been instrumental in
the healing process.
THE T-FRED MEMORIAL GOLF TOURNAMENT
Sufrí lo indescriptible cuando pensé que te había perdido para siempre...
Hoy estoy segura de que no solo no te perdí, no solo te
voy a volver a ver, sino que te llevo conmigo siempre, y
estamos más unidos que nunca, no tengo que tenerte
enfrente para hablarte, y mucho menos para quererte.
La paz regresó a mi cuando descubrí que la muerte solo
se llevó tu cuerpo y te juro, que donde quiera que
vayas en cada pequeño instante, allí estoy contigo y
donde quiera que yo este, conmigo estás tu...Hoy solo
celebro cada momento feliz que compartimos y añoro
todo lo que nos faltó por vivir... Hasta siempre…
(Compartido por una amiga y miembro de la página de Facebook de Amigos Compasivos/USA)
Angel of Hope
September 8, at 2:00 pm.
Family and friends are invited to attend the annual brick dedication ceremony.
Bring a white flower to lay at the base of the angel. Pssst….Butterflies!!!
♥ Gifts of Love ♥
There are no dues or fees to belong to The Compassionate Friends. Just as our chapter is run entirely by volunteers interested in furthering the
work of TCF, your voluntary, tax-deductible donations make it possible for us to mail this newsletter, host memorial events, keep our website,
and continue our participation in the TCF/National, and meet other chapter expenses. Often, as they find hope and healing within the group, par-
Love Gifts received
6/1/2013 through 7/31/2013
To protect the privacy of our members, this information has been removed from the public version of the newsletter.
Please subscribe for a complete copy.
Call for Photos—During our memorial candle
lighting in December, we will include a slide
show of our precious children. Please send
this authorization to include your child, if
you have not already during 2013. We keep
the photos on file but require authorization
for each time it is used. If you don’t have a
photo, we can still include your child’s name
in the presentation.
Love Gifts ∙ Address Change ∙ Authorizations
Mail to: The Compassionate Friends , PO Box 540852, Omaha, NE 68154
City___________________________ State _______ Zip ______________ Phone _____________________
Credit Card No: ___________________________CVC ___________ EXP _________
DIRECT MY GIFT TOWARD:
Gift of $___________
□ Outreach –printing, postage, phone, web
□ Spanish Support □ Angel of Hope □ Memorial Programs
THE MENTION OF THEIR NAME
The mention of my child’s name
May bring tears to my eyes,
But it never fails to bring
Music to my ears.
If you are really my friend,
Let me hear the beautiful music
of her name.
It soothes my broken heart
In Memory of___________________________________________________________
2013 AUTHORIZATION—initial each selection
Publish my child’s name/dates in the newsletter as long as I am on the mailing list ______
Add my child’s name to the 2013 Walk to Remember Banner in my absence ______
Use my child’s photo in the 12-8-2013 Worldwide Candle Lighting Slide Show ______
Newsletters and notices will be sent electronically unless paper is requested ______paper
And sings to my soul.
Child’s Name __________________________________________________________________________________
~Nancy Williams, TCF, Marlboro, NJ
Birth Date __________________Death Date ______________________Your Relationship____________________
♥ Our Children Remembered ♥
In the days ahead, especially remember these children and their families…
To protect the privacy of our members, this information has been
removed from the public version of the newsletter.
Please subscribe for a complete copy.
EVERYONE please submit a new authorization in 2013 (page 7). Names will not be listed without updating.
P.O. Box 540852
Omaha NE 68154-0852
MEETING LOCATION DURING NEW CASSEL REMODELING
Address Service Requested
Project Harmony—11949 Q Street, Omaha
MEETING TIMES AND LOCATIONS
For parents, grandparents and siblings over 18
SUPPORT GROUP MEETING
7:00 p.m. — 1st Thursday of the month
11949 Q Street, Omaha
Due to remodeling at New Cassel, we will meet at
Project Harmony for about 6 months.
REUNION EN ESPAŃOL
7:00 pm-3er miércoles de cada mes/3rd Wed. of every month
One World Community Health Center Conference Room
4910 S. 30th Street, Suite 103, Omaha
Annual Brick Dedication—Boys Town 2 p.m.
Sep 10 Dinner Cancelled
Fremont Meeting @ FAMC
Sep 18 Reunion En Espanol
Sep 24 Steering Committee Meeting
Omaha Meeting bring a dish—POT LUCK
Fremont Meeting @ FAMC
Reunion En Espanol
Omaha Meeting—Speaker FRED WILSON
Please send stories, poems or love gifts by
Oct 1, 2013
Stories of November-December Holiday memories will be featured in the next issue.
Please send yours to [email protected]
Co-editors for this issue: Diana Ormandy, Kelly Kleckner-Silva, Kelly Pelster