The Christi Center provides a variety of support programs, including a donation yoga class on Saturday mornings, Healing Garden volunteer days and events, and a new writing group, “In Mother Words.” Linda Thune, Christi Center client and volunteer, leads the group. On the first and third Mondays of each month, we will be featuring a journal or writing prompt from Linda. We hope you will find these to be thought-provoking, and one more potential way to work with your grief. Journal prompts will start in November, but first we’d like to introduce you to Linda…… here is her story.
Peter and I have five daughters. I think our favorite thing to do was stare at them, just trying to soak in how we came to love them so very much. Seeing one of them around town was an event to make me stop my car in traffic and yell out the window: “Hi Asha!!!! I Love YOU!!!” It was like seeing a piece of your heart and you just had to respond; the moment became immediately brighter. Without them, and Peter, surviving life after Annie might have not been possible for me.
Annie committed suicide on April 5, 2010. Andreanna Irene Thune (Annie) was the third of five daughters; although we did many activities as a family centering around her (learning sign language, participating in her speech therapy—she had received a cochlear implant in 1993, helping her try out various hobbies: swimming, horseback riding, art). But major depressive disorder is bigger than all of those things and it won in the end.
Sometimes, for me, it feels like the hardest times I have are the days leading up to or after those particular commemorative dates: the loved ones’ birthdays and their leaving or “angel” day. Perhaps we can see that as our body helping us prepare and recover.
Some of us at The Christi Center have done the incredible: gone skydiving on a special day, taken a long trip to an exotic location, gotten tattoos, started writing or painting.
I found that the month before the two-year anniversary of losing Annie, I was in a difficult mood. I even spent a week alone in San Antonio…actually a week with Annie. Then I got home and received an email about a quilting class. I decided to take it; I’ve made almost 30 quilts now in seven months.
I find great peace in listening to the hum of my sewing machine, cutting beautiful fabrics into pieces that come together again in a new creation, and giving a part of my heart, sharing the love I have for Annie, my girls, my new grandchildren, and my husband, with others in the quilts I joyfully give away. I made a new friend who named her charity after Annie.
The days still come when I just stay in bed or cry all day or regret I couldn’t do more to help her “find her happiness.” But my family has lived through tough, tough times. My love for them and theirs for me, one moment at a time, will keep us walking through the storm.
Life has definitely taken on a BA (Before Annie’s death) and AD (after Annie’s death) There are days, still, that burn with the desire to see or hold her once more. But talking with her and getting my own interpretation of messages from her are treasures that help.
The writing group that I started at the Christi Center, “In Mother Words,” has been an inspiring experience. Twelve women come together each month and end up writing the most amazing thoughts, poems, and short stories that I’m sure surprised them. We laugh, cry, and write—then eat and have a margarita! All are welcome…
I’ll always be grateful for the women the Christi Center have brought into my life. They really know.
About the Author:
After working for several years as a Family Support Coordinator for Any Baby Can and EveryChild, Inc., Linda received a B.A. in Liberal Arts from UT-Austin and a M.A.
in Literature from Texas State. She now works as an adjunct English Professor at Austin Community College and says “This can be a perfect job for empty-nesters; I get 28 new “babies” every semester!”
Linda keeps her writing practice going as a blog, which she started on Annie’s birthday in 2010: www.phillips-write.typepad.com. She is currently working on several writing projects about her family, her girls, and her father.