So many of us are grieving the death of someone close to us.
Grief comes in waves, receding, then roaring back to engulf us and batter us till we feel the tide might take us out and we will never return. It's not wrong to grieve. When recounting the scene of Jesus approaching the burial site of his good friend Lazarus, John tells us simply, "Jesus wept" (11:35). Jesus wept. It's the shortest verse in the Bible and it needs no explanation. I'm thinking today of my family and the family of John Wilbanks. I'm thinking of Rodney Wilbanks and his sister and brothers. I'm thinking of my daughter, Brooke Haworth, for whom the loss has hit hard. My mom, whose grief is a weight pressing down on her.
I am thinking of my close friend, Sima Taylor, her wonderful brother, Mohammad Mojdehi, whom she was so close to. I'm thinking of her daughter and her husband, Peter.
I am thinking of my own brother who died too early, and whose death brings daily grief to me.
I am thinking of Shannon Hitchcock and all the friends of Cynthia Chapman Willis, who recently succumbed to lung cancer.
God knows your grief and he cares about you.
This is what the LORD, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you (2 Kings 20:5).
You have kept record of my days of wandering. You have stored my tears in your bottle and counted each of them (David, writing in anguish. Psalm 56:8, Contemporary English Version).
And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain (Revelation 21:4).
Some of our friends who didn't know the one we grieve don't know how to handle the new, sorrowful version of us. If you are one of our friends, here is what you should say: "I'm sorry." or "I'm so very sorry." or "I'm sorry and I am thinking and praying for you." You can even say, "I don't know what to say."
Send a card to your friend's home. Write some version of the words above. Send flowers to the funeral home, if you are moved to do so. If not, that's okay, but the very least you can do is send a card. Your friend is in a very hard place right now, and though a card seems an impossibly frail comfort, it actually lends a great deal of comfort.
If you live near your friend, bring a meal or two over. Make cookies or banana bread or muffins--breakfast and easy snack items are generally overlooked but would be welcomed by the family.
If you can alleviate your friend of certain chores, do so. Can you pick up the kids? Take them to practice? Mow the lawn? Babysit while your friend conducts death errands?
Kids are in pain, too. Offer comfort to them as well.
Hug your friend.
If you have sweet or funny anecdotes about the person they're grieving, share those stories. They mean so much. Hand write the story even if you've told them, and send it to them in the mail. They will keep it forever.
Let your friend talk about that person when they need to. If they suddenly need a topic change, allow it. Don't be hurt. Grief works in swells; your friend needs to talk but also to be free to escape the swell. Let them.
Acknowledging your friend's pain tells them that you care about them; their pain is valid; you care that they are in pain; the person they are grieving for was valuable. I encourage you to not be afraid of your friend who is hurting. If you don't know what to say or do, I hope you find the words above helpful. Your friend is in an extremely vulnerable place right now. Rise above your discomfort and help them; however, a few things can actually hurt your friend, so be wise, choose your words and actions carefully:
Do not avoid your friend. Their sorrow makes you uncomfortable; your avoidance makes them feel that you do not care about them; you don't think their grief is important; you don't recognize the value of the person they grieve.
Do not offer platitudes. "It was God's timing," "You can still talk to him; he's watching you from heaven!" "He's in a better place now." These are throwaway lines. They have no power and they do not help.
Do not interrogate your friend on the details of the death. If your friend doesn't mention the cause of death, you don't need that information. When or if your friend wants to share that with you they will.
Do not mention and then launch into your own grief story. Your friend is suffering NOW. Be selfless and pay attention to their grief. This is not the time for you to claim your crown of grief. This is your friend's time. Let them have it.
I hope anyone grieving has found some words of comfort in this post. And if you are a friend of someone grieving, I really do hope you've found this post helpful. Many people don't know what to do when their friend suffers a loss; the best thing you can do is to be there in simple, quiet ways.
Visit my website!
- ▼ March (2)
- ► 2013 (18)
- ► 2012 (57)
- ► 2011 (59)
- ► 2010 (75)
- ► 2009 (72)
- ► 2008 (85)
So many of us are grieving the death of someone close to us.
The Deceit of Weather
O weather, you weather, thou fair weather friend--
your promise of sunshine I will never again
You betray me so.
'Twas outside sixty
and felt like snow.
Was a trick when once your ribbons unfurled
Ribbons of light and warmth that twirled
Enraptured me and made me whole
Today is gray and all are cold.
O weather, you weather, thou friend foul and fair
entrelacé your ribbons to braid in my hair.
Dash away gray and cold and the rain
Restoreth my heart and my soul once again.
Posted by Danette Haworth on Thursday, February 06, 2014
The State of Sunshine
To my friends up north
there's something you should know;
I'm sweating in the heat
while you start the snow blow.
Inside, outside, fun in the sun
but you wear your mittens
'cause it's twenty-one
My weather has bling.
Even when it rains,
there's a rainbow ring.
I know you've got it bad,
the wind so shrill.
I'm in O-town
and I am just chill.
So pack up your bags
and drive through the night.
Last one to leave,
turn out the light.
Posted by Danette Haworth on Monday, February 03, 2014
'Tis Eighty-Four Degrees
The golden yoke of our sun breaks aloud,
cleaving through wooly heads of thunder clouds.
Birds trill songs of gray winter, now gone,
our week of wintertide--degrees, fifty, or fifty-one.
Away with our mittens and cloaks, no more freeze;
still in our closets hang our tanks and capris.
Hear now my ladies, the heat--how it begs
We must to our razors, and shaveth our legs.
Posted by Danette Haworth on Sunday, February 02, 2014
I snapped this photo from a boardwalk overlooking the springhead at Blue Springs. More than a million gallons of water a day rush from the deep, creating this oasis--a Garden of Eden. Home to manatees during the winter, the year-round seventy-three degree water sometimes is host to upwards of two hundred manatee. Just don't call them sea cows. They hate that.
Posted by Danette Haworth on Sunday, February 02, 2014
For my Sima, my cherished friend whom we will remember today,
Sima, I counted you a sister, a friend, and a Christian--now I count you a saint. Whether we sleep in Christ to rise with Him later or whether we are immediately with Him--I know you are in the palm of God's hand.
You are one of most gracious persons I have ever known. I know you had many, many friends, but you made me feel special. Whenever we were together, I felt you there in the moment with me. Never judged; always loved--I treasure our friendship and guard it. And my family will never forget the comfort you offered us when my brother died.
You cared about people, and they felt it. You offered warmth and hospitality. Everyone who knows you knows your kindness, and you are the woman spoken of in Proverbs 31.
I loved our conversations, and how they'd cover things from the nature of sin, to our kids, to what was happening in the world (or at the movies!). It's easy to talk to you and hard to keep track of time. I remember one lunch we had, and how I didn't really notice that the crowd in the restaurant had changed over several times and the waiter kept filling my coffee long after our food was gone. We suddenly realized it had been more than three hours and we were almost late picking up our kids!
You are beautiful, inside and out. Your eyes are like onyx. You have a pretty little laugh. You are a good friend and a safe place, and I miss you, Sima.
Posted by Danette Haworth on Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Last night, I got to meet one of my comedy heroes, Sinbad!
He called me out during his bit on helping ladies with their problems after I shouted, "I cook supper. They don't eat, but later they fill up on ice cream!"
Man, is he quick! Asked me questions, flipped my answers into jokes, and solved my problem: "Don't cook for a week; if they don't notice, everybody have ice cream!"
My favorite new bit in his ninety minute set was how the butt holds it together for the rest of the body. "Your back goes out, you start falling, thinking about what bones in your body are about to break now and then the butt says, 'Hey! I got this!
"You never heard of anyone needing a butt replacement.'"
And there was so much more! He teased late comers, bantered with a very drunk audience member, and gave "advice" to different teens in the audience.
Three times I've seen Sinbad live. This was the first time I got to meet him. What an excellent night!
Posted by Danette Haworth on Saturday, December 21, 2013
I love my readers! From Shawntel:
My daughter, Alex, has just finished your book Violet Raines Almost Got Struck by Lightning. She is ten years old, eleven next month, and new to middle school. The book has helped her cope with changing schools and making new friends by understanding the motivations of the characters in your story. I want to thank you for writing a book that has made her want to read. Alex was able to identify with Violet so well, that she is struggling to find flaws in that character - it's very humorous. We have bought her dozens of chapter books in the past, but this is the first time that she has been excited to read and finish a book, on her own. I just wanted to take a moment to tell you what your writing has meant to my child. We are eager to find more of your work.
Shawntel later sent me a note saying Alex received 100% on her book report. YAY, Alex!
Posted by Danette Haworth on Friday, October 18, 2013
MY DARKNESS CALLS
Woke at four
Tried to sleep,
There was no more
To the kitchen I did sneak
Orange muffins I did make
Excitement of smell, so orangey, so good
Limit to one--okay, two--I should
Yet sleep dost call, I hear it nigh
Get ready for school, goodbye, goodbye
My darkness calls
and in it, dreams
They'll wait for me,
or so it seems.
Posted by Danette Haworth on Friday, August 30, 2013
Posted by Danette Haworth on Tuesday, August 13, 2013
I found a wonderful note from a reader today:
My name is Gracie, and I'm 9. I just read your book Violet Raines
Almost Got Struck By Lightning and I loved it. I love your way with
words! It seemed so real and I was sad when I finished it. I think you
should make a sequel to it or make another book starring Violet. I
can't stop thinking about the book it was so good. When I grow up, I
want to be an author, too, so please tell me how you write so well.
Please write me back, you're an awesome author!!!
Thank you, Gracie! My reply has been sent!
Posted by Danette Haworth on Sunday, August 04, 2013
An Ode to Lauren Fox for her Book Friends Like Us
A pox! A pox!
A pox on Lauren Fox!
I read your book
I read all night
It felt so good
It felt so right.
But then the morning sun
I could barely ope
So a pox on you
is what I offer,
my new favorite author.
Posted by Danette Haworth on Wednesday, May 22, 2013
I find I post almost daily on Facebook but rarely here anymore. I think it's because Facebook is a wholesale real-time blog reader, and it's trained me to keep going back by rewarding me with quick likes and comments. I read and comment on a lot of other people's FB posts, but I don't spend much time in the blogosphere anymore.
So I bought Demetri Marin's book, POINT YOUR FACE AT THIS Drawings by Demetri Martin. If you know his comedy, it's impossible to leaf through the pages without hearing his voice narrate the pictures, droll and deadpan. Some pictures are silly, some are the kind that you think "This is amusing," but your mouth is still a straight line, and others are poignant--revealing the author's misgivings about life, fame, and other things. I like it!
My beautiful Casey is being groomed even as we speak. I dropped her off, dropped kids off, walked in the door, and automatically reached down for Casey as I came in. I'm so used to her greeting me, it's become muscle memory. But she'll be home in a couple of hours.
Once, they SHAVED her. She looked like a skeleton dog. I emphasized NO RAZOR TO BE USED ON THIS DOG!
WARNING! STAR TREK SPOILERS!
Tiny Little Spoilers Ahead!
Turn Back Now!
Okay, now that the people who haven't seen Star Trek are gone, I can tell you: Yesterday, I was thinking about STAR TREK Into Darkness, and I realized this--everyone cries. Everyone cries! Did you notice tears leaking from the eyes of all main characters? OMG! Pike cries; Kirk cries; Spock cries; Uhura cries; Bones cries; Scotty wells up. Cry babies! Pull up your bootstraps! Kirk 1.0 wouldn't be crying!
Also, I didn't like the scene near the end SPOILER where Kirk is in the radiation tube dying, and he looks at Spock and says, "I'm scared." How much more poignant it would have been had he said nothing; had his eyes and painful/sorrowful grimaces done the talking, with surprise/sorrow/pain registering in response on Spock's face. I would have liked that a lot better.
But still, STAR TREK!
That is all for now. Today I'm starting on the critiques for the upcoming SCBWI Mid-Summer Workshop, a task I truly enjoy. There is something rewarding about spotting the talent in up-and-coming writers.
Have a great day!
Posted by Danette Haworth on Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Nothing buoys an author's spirit more than readers taking the time to post good things about their books. Leslie Santamaria recently reviewed A WHOLE LOT OF LUCKY:
"This book is so satisfying. Hailee and her friends are realistic characters dealing with the challenges of middle school in a variety of ways. Hailee's voice rings true, and I was pulling for her the whole way, even as she made mistakes. When her family wins the lottery, she thinks her life will become full of luxury, but her parents' choices surprise and stretch her, and she makes some wrong choices that eventually help her find her way home. Haworth's tightly poetic use of language and metaphor is delightful."
Thank you, Leslie!
Posted by Danette Haworth on Monday, April 15, 2013
I've just wrapped up an excellent Skype visit with Mr. Jensen and students from Hunting Ridge Elementary in Illinois, where, I'm told, it's thirty-three degrees. I'm always impressed by students like these: attentive, responsive and inquisitive. Hunting Ridge students: You made my day!
They looked all nice and comfy, draped on bean bags and lying on the floor. And they'd decorated the whiteboard for me! Thank you so much, Mr. Jensen and students, for the great session!
Posted by Danette Haworth on Thursday, March 07, 2013
I've just ended a Skype visit with Mr. Michaels's class at Woodland Elementary School in Pennsylvania in which we talked about ME & JACK. What an excellent group of students! The class is almost finished with the book, so I had to be careful and not spoil the ending, but we had so much still to talk about!
As an Air Force kid, I lived in Pennsylvania for three years. To this day, Pennsylvania is my favorite Air Force home. My brothers, sister, and I, and our friends spent most of our time outdoors, climbing trees or exploring the mountain. Summer nights, we played Monster--some people call it Manhunt--and winter often iced over our steep mountain road, turning it into a giant slide.
When I wrote Me & Jack, it was important to me to take the reader up the mountain, to see the grandeur of the woods, how a person can be swallowed by its bigness. I also wanted to touch on the complexities of friendships: being an outsider, being an insider, jealousy, loyalty, and the whole mix of feelings involved. Of course, the heart of the book is the relationship between Joshua (the boy) and Jack (the dog). I think even adults connect with pets on a personal level. They're happy to see us; they're our friends when we feel alone; they make us laugh and they make us feel good. My dog, Casey, sits by me as I write, so it was only natural for her to appear a couple times during the visit. (Or maybe I just think she's so cute and I want everyone to see her!)
The students had great questions, and I could tell they'd put some thought into what they had to say. Thank you, Mr. Michaels and class, for a great visit!
Posted by Danette Haworth on Thursday, February 21, 2013
So last night we were second in line to get into the Improv to see comedian Orny Adams. In this big empty room, the server led my sister and me to a table in the back. I've been waiting months for this show, I got here early, and I own all of Orny's CD/DVDs. Clearly this was not going to sit well with me.
Me: Can't we sit up front?
Server: We like to put couples up there.
Me: *Walks over to front and center table.* This is where I want to sit.
Yes, dear reader, this story has a happy ending! We got the table of my dreams and some nice seatmates. The guy across the table from me asked if it would be okay for him to check Facebook during the show. "No," I said. "Don't do it! Orny doesn't like that!" And really, it's rude to do that to anyone who is presenting. Mid-set, a woman a few tables down whipped out her phone and started texting. Orny called her out! In a nice way, of course, but he wondered aloud if she thought he wouldn't see that bright light reflecting off her face. When the show was over, our tablemate thanked us for our astute advice. In any case, Orny was excellent!
Posted by Danette Haworth on Sunday, January 27, 2013
What an excellent weekend that just passed! For us, it was four days--four days of relaxing, sleeping in, NOT cooking, and the best part of all--COMEDY!
My sister and I saw Jerry Seinfeld for the first time. If you've seen only his clips as part of the Seinfeld show, you'd be in for a treat; he is so much more animated live. Later, as we recounted bits to each other, I realized Jerry was all over the stage acting out his stories. He worked the entire place and it seemed so natural. I couldn't believe some of the stuff he said--so trivial and so very true as to make you wonder How did he know I felt like that? For instance, he mentioned how we, the audience members, were finally sitting down after an evening of stress trying to get to the show. Specifically, he said, What am I going to eat when I get there? Will they have food? What if I'm hungry?
That's exactly what I said to my husband before I left!
It's those tiny moments of recognition that make an observational comic humorous.
While we were laughing in O-town, my brother and my cousin sat in front of Brian Regan at Detroit's beautiful Fox theater. Let's compare, shall we:
Here's where I was:
Here's where my brother was:
In any case, an excellent weekend for comedy. And it's not over yet--Chele and I see Orny Adams this Saturday--hooray!
Other chit chat: The season premiere for White Collar is on tonight; set your DVRs. My son came downstairs yesterday afternoon and asked me to watch the front door. Apparently, he'd ordered pizza delivery for himself! He told me the bill was $16 something, and his plan was to tell the guy, Keep the change. And that's what he did! The best part was that he offered some to me, and he'd purchased some pop for my husband. Yay! What a generous boy. Finally, we are having our second week of winter here in O-town--the highs are in the low 70s.
Posted by Danette Haworth on Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Since I love all things U2, I was shocked--shocked, I tell you--when my DVR picked up the September 26, 2009 episode of Saturday Night Live hosted by Megan Fox and featuring U2! I couldn't believe how lucky I was!
U2 played four songs during the original airing, one being performed after the cameras went off. Oh, those lucky audience members! For us TV viewers, the show closed with Bono wearing his laser jacket while singing "Ultraviolet." The newest album is not among my favorites, but I sure do love that laser jacket!
Here's a pic of my cousin* Paul during the 360 tour:
*I'm part Irish, so I figure we're related somewhere down the line.
Posted by Danette Haworth on Friday, January 11, 2013
Confession time! I do sometimes look around the Interwebs for my books. I try not to; you never know when you have to duck a rotten tomato. But tonight I stumbled upon the kind of review that makes any middle-grade writer's day--positive words from an elementary school librarian! From her review: "A Whole Lot of Lucky is a novel I will happily recommend to my middle grade girls. . . . I loved the Florida setting and the fact that Hailee loves reading and refers to the various books she is immersed in.
A Whole Lot of Lucky is a perfect realistic fiction novel for the middle grade reader."
Here's the link: Books Are My Thing
Posted by Danette Haworth on Wednesday, January 09, 2013
Posted by Danette Haworth on Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Did I ever tell you you're my hero? haha
Did I ever tell you I have a You Tube channel? Please check it out! Danette Haworth You Tube Channel Great stuff for authors, including an interview with Barnes and Noble CRM, Geoffrey Shoffstall.
Bargain deals: Violet Raines Almost Got Struck by Lightning is available in HARDCOVER FOR LESS THAN $5.00 ON AMAZON! Perfect for your middle-grade reader this Christmas! Also, I've been keeping a craft book open as I work on my new manuscript--lit agent Mary Kole's Writing Irresistable KidLit, available in paperback and ebook. Perfect for the writer on your Christmas list! Look for my review soon!
JERRY SEINFELD and ORNY ADAMS! On separate dates in January, I get to see Jerry Seinfeld at the Bob Carr, Orlando, and Orny Adams at the Improv! I cannot wait! I've never seen Seinfeld live before, but I have seen Orny and he was excellent. Not only that, but he did a meet-and-greet afterwards and was so patient with me and my sister, spending probably fifteen minutes or so with us because my iPhone camera was flaking out (which, honestly, worked out, because we got to spend more time with Orny!). The only thing that could make the new year better? Brian Regan tickets in February! Dare I to spend more money on comedy?
And finally, Casey and I were hanging around in the backyard today, and I swear I smelled the sweet, powdery scent of orange blossoms. My neighbor's trees are ornamented with perfectly round, shiny oranges, but no blossoms. A close inspection of the greenbelt behind my yard (read: marsh populated by gators, river otter, rattle snakes, scorpions and more) revealed some kind of weedy tree, resplendent with tiny white buds, emitting the sweet perfume.
That is all for today! Tomorrow, back to work!
Posted by Danette Haworth on Sunday, December 16, 2012