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Deborah Ann Tornillo

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   Recent stories by Deborah Ann Tornillo
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Grief In Slow Motion
By Deborah Ann Tornillo
Monday, December 31, 2012

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My Grief...




I am grateful and extremely blessed to have such caring friends and family in my life to support me.  You are my most cherished gifts sent from God.  Thank you for believing in me.




“Grief is intense sorrow caused by loss of a loved one (especially by death).”  When I published my first book “36 Days Apart,” in May, 2009 little did I realize by writing this book it would only be the beginning of my grieving process for the loss of my parents.  After its publishing I continued to feel the emptiness inside me and a sense of urgency to return to normal.  By journaling, writing short stories and poems, that intense sorrow I felt when I lost my parents only 36 days apart of one another was slowly returning to normal.  I hope by sharing my experiences, beliefs and poems about grief will help you, or your loved ones through their grieving process.


Like most people I realized that there would be a grieving process after the loss of a loved one, but it wasn’t until journaling and writing poems did I understand the full effects of grieving.


I am not an expert in the field of psychology or will even boast that I have all the appropriate tools to deal with every intense emotion that I have experienced.  Many professionals do agree that the grieving process is different for everyone.  I have learned that with each grieving process I’ve experienced it has better prepared me for the next one, but has not softened the pain any less.  I have accepted that God is in control of my life and by putting my trust and faith in him has helped me realize that with every new day, it gets a little easier and that sense of normalcy is slowly returning.


Grief in Slow Motion


The heart is a fragile vessel

Navigating the sea of emotions.

Every day and every night

Grief in slow motion.


Drowning in our tears

Surrendering to the pain

Our loss of hope

We all feel the same.


One day we feel happy

The next day mad

Many days we don’t feel

Then days of sad.


Praying for our shining light

A sense of normal

Grief in slow motion

A journey for life.


Deborah Ann Tornillo

Copyright© 2009




“There can be no knowledge without emotion. We may be aware of a truth, yet until we have felt its force, it is not ours. To the cognition of the brain must be added the experience of the soul.” Arnold Bennett (1867-1931)

I turned to Hospice when I knew my parents were going to die.  They were very compassionate and helped me better understand the process of dying.  I read everything that I could possibly read to learn what I was about to witness with my own parents, in hoping that it would soften the pain that I knew I would endure.  It was during this time that I also read this article written by Rev. Howard R. Gorle that in my opinion best describes Grief.  He wrote that no amount of knowledge can prepare us for bereavement.  Grief is the most intense and enduring emotion we can experience.  No quick fix.  No short-cut.  Knowledge of the grief process gives us a generalized map of the terrain we have to cover.  Each of us will take a different route.  We will choose our own landmarks.  We will travel at our own unique speed and will navigate using the tools provided by our culture, experience, and faith.  In the end, you will be forever changed by your journey.

He also said that knowledge helps us avoid the major pitfalls of grief.  Knowledge of what is known of grief assures us that we have not lost all sense of sanity.  When we find ourselves feeling befuddled in a mist shrouded swamp we can say “It’s OK. This too is part of my journey.  Others have gone this way before me and I will survive.  I am human.”

Several blueprints or theories about grief have been proposed.  Sigmund Freud began with the concept of having to do ’grief work’.  That is, a specific job should be finished before the next job begins.  Stages of grief theories abound.  Depending on the writer, there are 4 to 12 stages of grief - Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance.  Also, depending on the writer, grief has been described in terms of phases.  For example there are 4 tasks of mourning:  Accepting the reality of the loss, experiencing the pain, adjusting to a life without your loved one and finally being able to invest your emotional energy into a new life.



Before my parents died, I could have easily created a long list of my personal beliefs.  This list would have included ideas about both the tangible and the intangible; broad concepts and specific ideas; God and mortal beings. There would probably even have been a mention of death and eternity…but only in the abstract because my beliefs about death were untested.

When I lost my parents 36 days apart of each other was when that theory became reality, and faith became more than just a concept to which I paid lip service.  Grief is the ultimate test of faith.  Faith requires trust. Death robbed me of a sense of security, making the idea of trust incomprehensible.  And the whole vicious circle renewed itself daily as I attempted in vain to determine why I was living a sorrow filled nightmare. My inability to escape the reality of death forced me to evaluate my beliefs and determine whether they could withstand the blinding glare of grief.

I imagined the following personal truths as tall pillars that I viewed through a cloud of dust and rubble created by a major earthquake.  Though everything around these support beams had fallen, they miraculously remained.  I rubbed my eyes to look again, because for any structure to survive an earth shattering experience of this magnitude seemed impossible…and yet these columns stood tall amongst the debris of loss and grief.

I believe in everlasting love.  I believe that God is not a being who lives in a structure, but a spirit who lives in the hearts, and hands, of loving people.  I believe that the length of your life indicate’s your impact on the world.  I believe that time is indeed a gift.  I believe that human beings have the power to heal each other.  I believe that shared experience can bond individuals in a unique and life changing way.  I believe that our lives are a tapestry and with each experience, richness to the final fabric.

I believe that tomorrow is only a dream.  I believe that life is too short to hold grudges.  I believe that people are inherently good.  I believe that the people who come into my life do so for a reason.  I believe that kindness changes lives.  I believe that this too shall pass.  I believe that life is a gift, but like all gifts must be opened to be appreciated.

These are a few of the pillars that have survived my personal earth quake.  I lean on them when I feel unable to stand.  When grief occasionally stirs the dust of sorrow, I look for them to steady my course.  My experience has taught me that when faith requires me to walk forward blindly; those pillars will guide the way.


To Be Continued....

       Web Site: Deborah Tornillo

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Reviewed by John Domino 1/2/2013
Lots of wisdom in your poetic letter.

May the New Year bring you renewed happiness.

Peace, love and Christ blessings,

John Michael
Reviewed by Budd Nelson 1/1/2013
heartfully written for many to read and comprehend

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