This picture is Patrick Tainsh and his family. My regular readers know how I came to meet Deb and Dave Tainsh. Deb and Dave have worked tirelessly in the five years since Patrick gave his all in service to America. Deb has written a lot; one book, Heart of a Hawk, details their journey in gutwrenching details as they have continued Patrick's mission. Deb has also written many articles, and spoken out on many radio stations across the land.
Today, I am sharing with you the latest that Deb has written. She gave me her permission, and I am giving it to you in it's entirety:
(Published in Living with Loss magazine)
Living With Loss…Five Years Later
My husband and I tell others that the news received from casualty notification officers is as vivid as this morning, however, through miracles, the straining weight of the anvil in our hearts has lightened.
I realize many in the throws of initial sorrow ask through tears of devastating grief, what miracles? And my answer, as I have heard from others walking this path, is the miracle of faith if only the size of a mustard seed dwelling inside a heart slightly open.
I know the darkness that can consume a soul in the moments and days subsequent to the death of a loved one, especially if that is our child. I also know that faith becomes shaky, sometimes near nonexistent, and the heart doesn’t want to hear that “God is good”, or that with faith we’ll overcome. But I know, too, that the miracle of time and seeds of faith planted in time past can lead us forward from a confluence of emotions and doubts as colorful and varied as brittle autumn leaves and as dead as the leafless limbs. But just as the miracle of the universe regenerates life back into those seemingly dead tree limbs, so with time and faith the same miracle can regenerate a life of joy within each of us.
After the death in Iraq on February 11, 2 004, of my husband’s only child and namesake, Sgt Patrick Tainsh, our family experienced such seasonal changes. But small buds of living again with joy and acceptance for our “new norm” came as our hearts poured out our questions and anguish while also seeking peace and an answer to what we were to do with our lives in the shadow of such haunting suffering and heartbreak. We were soon connected with others to share stories and validate our emotions through the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors of military personnel (www.taps.org) in Washington, D.C. We were lead to give of ourselves in ways no matter how small that brought me, my husband and others moments of comfort and joy. We learned along with others that in sharing stories, legacies, and tears our loved ones remain forever near us.
Five years have now lapsed since Patrick’s death and we are in a home in a new location, one of our many “autumn changes.” In this home, new memories have begun, happy ones I can say, and Patrick’s legacy lives on through his photos and medals on the wall above the glass cabinet holding his Cavalry Stetson and other precious memorabilia. On the fifth anniversary of Pat’s death, with new friends and old, we celebrated his life and remembered the love. We continue to share e-mails and visits with several of Patrick’s battle buddies. And most important, after five years of living with loss, my husband and I have remained connected to families we’ve met on this journey, and we continue to connect with those who currently find themselves learning to live with loss and the confluence of emotions and doubts.
Just as autumn’s fallen leaves change the soil beneath them into richer more fertile ground, after five years, I can testify that the journey into and through the autumn of tender brittleness and torrential falling leaves caused by loss has made grieving families richer. We are richer in love and compassion and stronger in our faith because we’ve seen miracles of friendship, bonds, unexpected messages on days we needed them, and a peace growing stronger in our hearts. But this only through that miracle of a grain of faith that we clung to, that carried us through, hopefully, as brave and strong with courage as the loved one who sacrificed all in the rich autumn of their life.
“Faith is the vision of the heart. It sees God in the dark as well as in the day.” unknown
May we never forget that every soldier's family IS our family.
Thank you Deb and Dave for all that you do. It is my honour to call you friend.