I Did Not Know What To Say Blog

Archive for May, 2013

Virtual Book Tour – Interview with Lynn S. Combes – “A Garden Full of Butterflies”

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on May 30, 2013

Thank you for joining us on our Virtual Book Tour.

Today we welcome Lynn S Combes, author of A Garden Full Of Butterflies. Lynn’s interview offers many insights and practical suggestions on how to support a child that is grieving.

Please feel free to comment or share your own experiences on how your friends and family have assisted you in restoring balance in your life after the loss of a loved one in the comment section below.

What inspired you to write the book “A Garden Full Of Butterflies”?

I can honestly say that my inspirations came from the Lord. To say anything different would be dishonest.  I never contemplated writing a book. But I began to have a feeling that constantly was tugging at my heart that I needed to write a book about grief. I tried to ignore my feelings thinking that it was not something I could do.  The feelings became stronger and more often.  Finally, I gave into those feelings and once I did my fingers flew across the keyboard.  I believe each word, scripture, thought and idea came from the Lord.  All the glory for this book is His.

How do you feel your book can assist a child that is grieving the loss of a parent or a family member?

Children sometimes will not talk to adults about their feelings for several reasons.  They don’t understand their feelings and thereforeimages.jpg cannot express them, they don’t want to talk to an adult for fear of making them sad, or they feel unique with what they are going through and feel they no longer fit in.  A Garden Full of Butterflies talks about all these feelings and more. Children will be able to recognize these feelings through the main character Marissa and be able to identify with her. It also talks about how Marissa worked out some of these problems with the help of others. It is written in a simple way that children can understand.            

What do you feel adults can learn from your book?

Several adults that have read my book have commented that it gave them peace and comfort.  They have mentioned that they enjoyed the fact that it was not a text book talking about the stages of grief. It was an easy read story that gently led the main character Marissa through the stages of grief.  It also openly talks about how the only way to eternal life is through salvation in Jesus.

Children tend to handle grief differently than adults, what suggestions do you have for parents on how to talk to their children about the feelings they are experiencing? 

Children are a lot more accepting, and understanding than we give them credit for.  I believe honesty to be the most important factor when talking to a child.  For example, telling a child that “grandma” went to sleep could make a child question sleeping and possibly make them afraid of sleep, or be fearful that others may die when they go to sleep.  When talking to children use words that they can understand and are in simple terms.  Encourage your child to ask questions and give them answers that are simple. Let your child know that death does not have to be final because Jesus died on the cross so that we can have eternal life with Him. 

Our website focuses on providing tips to friends and family members on how to support a loved one through the grieving process.  What suggestions do you have for our readers on how they can support a child that is grieving?

A child needs time to grieve just as much as an adult does.  However, a child will probably have a lot of questions, but may be afraid to ask them.  Try to get the child to talk to you and be honest.  Sometimes the child may have a question that we don’t have an answer for.  Let them see that it’s ok for them to be sad, and it’s ok to miss the person, and’s ok that they don’t understand the feelings that they are experiencing.  Explain to them  that it is ok that we miss our loved one, let them know that you miss them also, but actually that person is now in heaven where everything is perfect and they are happy, and healthy and walking where the streets are gold and they one day will see them again.

One activity that I would sometimes do with children that are grieving is to have a child write a letter to that loved one (if the child could not write I would let the child dictate what they wanted to say and I would write it or I would have them draw a picture) I would then tie the letter to some helium balloons and let the letter fly into the heavens.   This activity would allow them to express feelings they did not want to talk about.            

You have had a very personal experience with grief, what suggestions do you have for our readers on how to support parents that are grieving the loss of a child?

Everyone grieves differently, therefore don’t expect those that are grieving to be a text book example of how you believe they should act.  The grief they are experiencing may vary depending on if the death was anticipatory or sudden. However, I believe that the loss of a child is probably the greatest grief to overcome because you are always thinking of everything you and your child missed and should be experiencing together.  However, be available to the parents that are grieving.  Don’t avoid them thinking that they want to be alone, because usually they are looking for someone to talk to that knew their child.  Don’t be afraid to mention the child.  It is very important to the parents that there child remains alive in the memory of others.  Be available the first year as the parents hit all the “firsts” without their child.  First birthday, first Christmas etc. will be hard.  Never tell them they can have other children, no one can replace the child they have lost even if they decide to have others, the loss of that child still remains. As time goes on they will have good days and bad days – accept that and let them have them.  Above all just let them know that you care and when they want to talk you listen and when they don’t want to talk let them know you understand and it’s OK!

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying neither shall there be any more pain, for the former things have passed away.  Rev.21:4

How did your faith guide you in writing “A Garden Full Of Butterflies”?

 As I mentioned early I believe completely that the Lord placed it in my heart to write my book.  I believe that He guided each and every word, scripture thought and idea. My affirmation came when my book was just about ready to be released.   I received a phone call from my publisher that I could expect the first copy of my book to be delivered in a week.  This was considered “the authors copy” because it was the first copy.  Six weeks later the books would go “live” meaning my book would now be available to the public, on book shelves etc.  My authors copy arrived on Friday, 5 days after I received the phone call from Crossbooks/Lifeway.  On Monday I received another copy. I thought it was just an oversight that I received another “authors” copy.  The next day, Tuesday, I received a phone call from a friend that needed my book immediately because the father of a young girl on her daughter’s soccer team had been killed that weekend in a motorcycle accident.  She wanted to give that young girl my book at the memorial service.  I knew then that it was not an accident or oversight that I received two “authors” copies. It was all part of the Lord’s plan. A few weeks after the memorial service the little girl came up to my friend and had told her that because of the book she knew how to handle a few situations that had come up at school.

What is one thing you would like your readers to take away from your book?

This world is only temporary for everyone.  Death is part of life, however for those that have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ the end of this world is the beginning of eternity, where we will meet up with loved ones once again. 

What would you like our readers to know about you and your book?

 My daughter, Jennifer was five years old when the Lord called her home unexpectedly.  Even though I was a believer my family, and friends were afraid I would never get over the death of my little girl.  Immediately, the Lord wrapped His love and compassion around me and I felt the peace that passes all understanding.  In my grief I began reading any Christian book on grief I could get my hands on.  I needed to identify with others that had been through what I was going through. I needed to see that others had made it and I could also. 

A Garden Full of Butterflies was written many years after Jennifer’s death. However, the Lord’s timing is perfect and it is not for us to understand the reason.  A Garden Full of Butterflies is proof that the Lord can turn a tragedy into a triumph.

                          All things work together for the good to those that love the Lord.  Romans 8:28

Is this your first book, and do you have plans for another book?

 A Garden Full of Butterflies is my first book.  I am contemplating writing another book.

About Lynn S Combes

Lynn S Combes was born in Queens, New York.   After I was married I moved with my husband to Florida to raise a family.  I have lived in Florida for thirty four years.  My husband and I have raised three children together.  Our first daughter was called home to be with the Lord at the age of five.  The death of my daughter prompted me to become educated in the grieving process.  I felt a desire to help others deal with grief. This desire led me to work at a local Hospice organization where I implemented, developed, and oversaw bereavement programs.  I later went on to complete my Master’s Degree in elementary education, specializing in Childhood Learning Disabilities. My background in grief has given me a number of opportunities to speak to groups, individuals and organizations on the grieving process. However, each time I speak I stress that it was my faith and the Lord that brought me through my grief, and the promise that I know one day I will be with Jennifer again.  Her death was not the end – for her it was the beginning.

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the lord forever.  Psalm 23:6               

A Garden Full of Butterflies can be reviewed and also purchased at: www.lynnscombes.com


Posted in Children Grief Support, Grief Resources, Grief Resources - Newsletter, Loss of a Child, Virtual Book Tour, What to do for someone that is grieving | 1 Comment »

My Mom’s Last Mother’s Day

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on May 12, 2013

My Mom’s Last Mother’s Day
by Lori Pederson
Founder, I Did Not Know What To Say

Mother’s Day, 1993 would be the last Mother’s Day I would spend with my mom. I remember this day vividly because despite being terminally ill, my mom mustered up enough energy to travel across country from California to Washington, D.C. to be with me as I graduated from The George Washington University.

Because I worked at the University, many of my colleagues gave my mom the VIP treatment. Escorting her to the front row where they had a special place for her wheelchair and they continued to check on her throughout the ceremony. I thi296581_3630874139321_250941145_nnk my mom received more attention from the staff than Hilary Clinton, who was the keynote speaker that year.

To see her daughter graduate with a Master’s degree was a moment of great pride for my mom. As many women of her generation, my mom never finished college because she got married and had children. Education was always important to her and she made sure my sister and I had every opportunity to go to college.

My mom was always my strongest supporter and advocate. When I was in Junior High, I did not test well on “standardized tests” and my mom fought with the school to allow me to enroll in higher level courses. I am grateful to my mother for continuing to believe in me, even when the school system did not. Had it not been for her perseverance and love for me I may have never gone to college at all.

I am sure she would have given me all the credit for getting my Master’s Degree, but I know that I would not have ever been able to accomplish this goal without her motherly influence. I am forever grateful for her love and support. Her strong influence in my life made me who I am today. Her loving spirit will always remain in my heart.

“My mom is a never ending song in my heart of comfort, happiness, and being. I may sometimes forget the words but I always remember the tune.”
~Graycie Harmon

 Loss of a Parent
Resources on how to support a loved one grieving the loss of a parent.

Mother’s Day Remembrance Gifts
Loss of a child, Miscarriage/Stillborn, Loss of a Mother & Loss of a Grandmother

Visit our Thoughtful Sympathy Gifts page for a wide variety of sympathy gift ideas for your loved ones. We hope the thoughtful gifts listed on our website inspire you to give warmth and joy to your friends and family in their time of need.

©2013 Lori Pederson
WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Lori Pederson, Founder of I Did Not Know What To Say, a website created to inspire and to provide you with tools to assist a loved one through the grieving process. If you would like our free newsletter on how to assist your friends and family through the journey of restoring balance in their life after the death of a loved one, please visit our website at www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com.

Posted in Loss of a Mother, Mother's Day, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »