By Mitch Carmody —

Our son Kelly James was diagnosed with a brain tumor in February of 1986, and our world changed forever. We did everything we could do medically, holistically and spiritually to save our son. Although we experienced a healing, we learned a healing is not always a cure. He died 12-1-1987, two months later I wrote this poem to my wife on Valentine’s day.

February 14th, 1988

For Barbara

My darling I am not sure what to say

nor even what to do

to make this very special day

unique and true to you.

We have gone through so many things

from last year at this time

traveled our country over

from frigid to tropical clime.

Experiencing great joy and loss

alternating and together

clinging desperately to our faith

bound to a cancerous tether.

No one can truly be ready

to do what we had to do

be prepared to battle

and yet to each other remain so true.

True to our own identity

and true to us as a whole

putting all our strength together

to fight a common goal.

Cancer had declared war on us

we dared to fight back

examining life’s priorities

and picking up the slack.

A battle plan was made

our enemy defined

we geared up with ammunition

a declaration of war was signed.

Sacrifices had to be made

we were motivated to win

no obstacles were ever too large

no ice ever too thin.

We forged weapons of pure energy

that were smelted in our hearts

with guidance from our God

and the knowledge that He imparts.

He informed us where to go

told us what to do

with us every step of the way

in places old and new.

We had many victories

but also suffered loss

their outcomes as flippant

as a coin in mid-air toss.

Though many battles were won

we lost the two-year war

as cancer beat the victim

and claimed the final score.

The scars of war are very deep

and takes time to heal

as any survivor of any war

can tell you how we feel.

Everything has to be rebuilt

future plans made anew

many things to overcome

before our healing is through.

Post-war years can be very hard

with flashbacks of hurt and pain

the causalities find a better life

it’s hard work for those who remain.

But hard work we are used to

as together we can fight

the hassles of the present

to make the future bright.

We have always had each other

though differences there may be

communications can break down

setting trouble free.

I know that we can handle it

our love is very strong

our souls are bonded together

to last a lifetime long.

That lifetime is here and now

I have never loved you more

and someday as a family

on eagle’s wings we’ll soar.

Until that glorious day

when we reunite with our son

we’ll live each day the best we can

praising God when the day is done.

I Love you,


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Mitch Carmody

Mitch Carmody

After suffering many familial losses from a young age and ultimately with the death of his nine-year-old son of cancer in 1987, Mitch Carmody, has struggled with the grief journey and how grief is processed and perceived in this country. He published a book in 2002 called “Letters To My Son, a journey through grief." The book has now reached the bereaved in every state and 7 other countries. From the book’s success he now travels locally and around the country lecturing on the grief process and/or conducting workshops on surviving the loss of a loved one. He has also conducted a variety of workshops with The Compassionate Friends and Bereaved Parents USA as well as a sought after speaker for many keynote presentations. As a trained hospice volunteer, he has also helped many loved ones and their families through the dying process. Mitch has published several articles in national bereavement periodicals, is a frequent contributor to TCF Atlanta On-line and currently a staff writer for Living with Loss Magazine. Through email correspondence on his website he council’s the bereaved on a daily basis. Since the death of his son 19 years ago, Mitch has dedicated his life to helping those individuals and families whom are trying to navigate in the uncharted territory of death, dying and the bereavement process. Through his compassionate insight and gentle spirit he will touch your heart and hopefully give you tools to aid you on your journey Mitch lives in rural Minnesota with my wife of thirty years, he enjoys riding my horses, gardening, writing, helping others, giving blood monthly and creating works of art. He is also a proud first time grandfather to the daughter of their surviving daughter Meagan. To learn more about Mitch and his work, go to: Mitch appeared on the radio show “Healing the Grieving Heart” discussing “Letters From My Son.” To hear Mitch being interviewed on this show by Dr. Gloria and Dr. Heidi Horsley, click on the following link: Mitch appeared again on the radio show “Healing the Grieving Heart” discussing the Holidays, Helpful or Hurtful? To hear Mitch interviewed by Dr. Gloria & Dr. Heidi Horsley, click on the following link:

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