The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on October 20, 1996 · Page 13
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 13

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Sunday, October 20, 1996
Page 13
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SUNDAY OCTOBER 20, 1996 SAUNA JOURNAL Life WEDDINGS / B2 MILESTONES / B3 CROSSWORD / B8 B Our Golden Sorrow set to verse stitches together the lives of prayer group members T I T.V. I :x / V X \ 1 \ Frances Darby, who took a writing class at a senior center four years ago, keeps a diary In addition to writ- Ing poetry. Photos by Scripps Howard News Service Frances Brinkley Cowden participates In a prayer group at the Colonial United Methodist Church in Memphis, Tenn. Cowden has published a collection of writings by the group's members called "Our Golden Thread." Churches, hospitals and nonprofit associations offer various forms of support for people dealing with grief. Many churches, especially larger ones, have small support • groups for grief and other maladies of the spirit. Hospices offer physical, spiritual and emotional support to dying patients and their families. Grief support also is offered by a number of nonprofit groups, including local chapters of such organizations as the Alzheimer's Association, the American Cancer Society and the AIDS Interfalth Network. , • , Newspaper classified, ads and church pages, as well as the commercial pages In. telephone books, are Bother good places to begin' searching for support groups. A list of Sallna and area support groups is published the first Sunday of the; month in the Life section of the SalinaJournal, x > ,',-,', .To list your group, call the Life, Department, at 9.13-823-6363 or 1800-827-6363. "' '• \ By DAVID WATERS ''Scripps Howard News Service /MEMPHIS, Tenn. — When age and circumstance choke their hearts with grief, they ..hold on to each other and to God. And they (> write. « Most of them are women who belong to the same SShurch, or at least the same circle of friends. Most of them are not so young anymore. Their faith and friendships led them to form a prayer group. A few years ago, their prayers pulled them into a project. Now the project is a book. , The book stitched their lives together with a gold; en thread of faith. The words they wrote unlocked their souls and soaked up the grief. .:'", They called the book "Our Golden Thread." " It is filled with sorrows set to verse, then set free; prose penned to ease and release the pain. Frances Brinkley Cowden can talk about it now. She remembers being in a hurry. She remembers backing the car out of the driveway. It all happened so fast and so long ago. A moment in time 30 years ago. Backing the car onto the road. Checking the rear-view mirror. Seeing the motorcycle. Frantically reaching for the gear shift. Feeling the world crash into her. Frances can talk about it now. But first she had to write about it: ,, "The cycle thundered into the rear of my car. A teen-age boy was killed. And I went into a severe depression. But I wadded the pain and guilt into a tight ball and stuffed it into my soul.... I could not drive into the driveway without reliving the scene." Frances lived in Arkansas then. She was married then. She had four small children. The horror of that moment changed everything. Her marriage ended in divorce. She moved to Memphis with her kids and .became a schoolteacher. Frances Darby writes poems to ease the emotional burden of caring for her husband, the Rev. James Darby, who has Parkinson's disease. The couple live In Memphis. For years she didn't talk about what happened. But the guilt and the grief kept mounting, festering. Occasionally, she would see a motorcycle and a charge would jolt her body and bring her back to that day and the sight of the 14-year-old boy she never knew. "I went to church every Sunday. Yet I was an unbeliever because I could not believe that God could forgive me. Until we can give God our guilt, real or imagined, we cannot give him our grief." Frances, 57, held on to her guilt and her grief until four years ago, when her grandmother died. Gladys Louise Bullard was a Christian woman. She often talked to her granddaughter about faith. She sent her devotionals. Frances never read them. Grief too big to hold Six months after her grandmother died, Frances found herself praying. The new grief had piled on the old. It was too big for her to hold. She gave it to God. He forgave her. Then Frances began to write — about her grandmother, about the accident. The writing freed her. She talked to her friends about the experience. She brought it to her prayer circle at Colonial United Methodist Church in Memphis. Others shared their own grief. Frances began asking people to write about their grief and their faith. Those exercises became a collection. As the prayer group prayed, the collection became a book. Frances published the book herself. "Suffering can make us scarred or stronger. We can reach inward, curl up and be totally absorbed with self, or we can reach outward and accept the love of each other and grow in the understanding of. our God." Frances Darby is a pastor's wife. Rev. James Darby, 83, retired years ago. His wife works more than ever. About nine years ago, doctors said James Darby had Parkinson disease, a cruel brain disorder that works like a thief, stealing nerve cells and muscle control. Now, Frances Darby, 70, spends most of her time at home tending her bedridden husband. Her poetry provides refuge, perspective. See GRIEF, Page B7 T RELATIONSHIPS It only takes one of you to stop the senseless bickering DORIS WILD HELMERING St. Louis Post-Dispatch Many couples don't like to argue but say they don't know how to stop "What do you have scheduled for Saturday?" asked Jim. "I told you," said Pam, "we're supposed to go to the Smiths' for a barbecue." "You didn't tell me that," Jim replied. "I certainly did," said Pam. "No, you didn't," said Jim. "Oh, yes I did," said Para. This type of trivial disagreement is typical for many couples. A similar scenario: A partner says one thing, and the other partner interprets it to mean something quite different. For example, Pete says, "I think we need to do some landscaping in the back." Later in the day, Joan says, "Let's go over to the nursery and look at some plants." Pete responds, "What for?" Joan says, "I thought you said you wanted to do some landscaping." Pete says, "Well, I wasn't thinking about this year." Joan says, "Why did you bring it up if you weren't talking about this year? I think you know you meant this year. It's just that you don't want to go to the nursery today and you're trying to get out of it." Pete responds, "What you're saying is not true." What's unfortunate is that neither couple is able to let go of such hassles and move on. Why do people choose to fight over such nonsense? It's a way to exchange strokes. Back and forth the recognition goes. It also gives them something to talk about, it takes little effort and it demands almost no brain power. These skirmishes give people something to pout about. If I'm pouting, I don't have to fix dinner. I can go to the mall and shop. I can drink too much. Or I can play golf all weekend — guilt free. I deserve it because I have an impossible mate. When confronted with why they fight, most people say they don't want to argue but they don't know what to do to stop. If you seem to be trapped bickering over little things like who said what, how and when, here are some ways to extricate yourself. If your mate says, "You didn't tell me that" and you recall you did, say, "Well, I remember it differently. But no matter. We're supposed to go to the Smiths' for a barbecue." The lines, "Well, I remember it differently. But no matter" allow you to hold your position while simultaneously backing down. If your mate continues to say, "You've got it all wrong," say, "Well, here's what I meant to say." If your mate continues with something such as, "Then why don't you say what you mean," simply use the broken-record routine and repeat your original statement: "Well, here's what I meant to say." This response not only keeps you on track but also moves the disagreement from the past to solving it in the present. The beauty of these two techniques is it only takes one of you to stop the bickering. Doris Wild Helmering is a psychotherapist and author. SUGGESTIONS? CALL SHERIDA WARNER, LIFE EDITOR, AT (913) 823-6363 OR 1-800-827-6363 ,*•_«._ *...*

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