"Our" Website"   

And just exactly what do you mean by "our"?

    On January 11, 2003, Cecilia and Floyd Fields from the Columbia County GA Chapter, TCF spoke with Bobbi Stagliano from the Camden County NJ Chapter, TCF about the website which Floyd created a few years ago.  Floyd and Cecilia's chapter was dying out and they were searching for a TCF chapter which would pick up and maintain the website, www.thecompassionatefriend.org.

    On January 14, 2003 the steering committee of the Camden County NJ TCF Chapter graciously accepted the offer.  When you visit this site, you will notice a few changes have already been made.  Floyd has graciously agreed to assist Bobbi Stagliano as she struggles to learn how to build and maintain a website.  Bobbi will be the web keeper with Floyd's assistance until she gets it right (which may take a very long time.)

   What is really important for anyone who visits this site to know is that the website is "ours", the creation of Floyd & Cecelia Fields from Evans, Georgia and the TCF Chapter of Camden County, NJ.  Just like an adopted child who has been given life by the birth parents and love by the adopted parents, "our" site was given birth by Floyd Fields for the Columbia CountyGA Chapter TCF and will be loved and cared for by the Camden County NJ Chapter TCF with the help of Floyd.

   Both chapters created special places where they have remembered their children with memorials for those children.  The Riverwalk is a memorial for the children from Georgia which was destroyed in a hurricane and has not been rebuilt.  A dedicated park bench in the Camden County Park System is a memorial for the children of the Camden County NJ TCF Chapter.  Please read about these special places below.


"The Riverwalk"

"Transitions"

Sculpture By J. Kevin Brown

Once located on the Augusta, GA side of the Savannah River at Reynolds and 10th street entrance.  Dedicated on September 12, 1998. This memorial has been damaged due to a severe storm which happened around the first of July 2001.  However we of the CSRA area keep this memorial in our hearts because it is dedicated to all of our children of the CSRA.  Thanks to all the wonderful E-mails expressing their sorrow over the loss of this memorial. 

 

 

The Garden by the River

By

Alex Mabe

From the day that we draw our first until the day that we sigh our last, the breath of life emits a fragrance of the eternal.   It has the sweet scent of a garden where we have the hope of belonging forever.   Though we have not been there, the aroma is pleasing and familiar.  So we draw deep and absorb all that we can.  Yet, each of us is appointed to die and there are days that we fear that life is but a fleeting vapor.  Perhaps there is no garden, we wonder, and the sweet scent of life is but an illusion.  And what will become of those that we love, are they gone forever upon their passing.  We all will know those dreary days, when our senses are dulled and the sweetness seems to fade away.

Then, let us come to the garden by the river.  Though planted by human hands and frail as all of life can be, this is a place of remembrance of the eternal.  Look among the living and growing things and see the beauty.  Listen to the sounds of the river and hear the resolve.  Feel the wind that moves about you and know the mystery.  Smell the familiar fragrance and remember there is a garden of the forever.

Our first sounds call out to anyone who will listen, "Look at me!" "I am a somebody!" "I matter!"   The infant's cry is seeking more than just survival, for the sound yearns for a significance that endures throughout all of the ages.  For whether we are young or old, we want to believe that we are noticed and that the things we do matter.  It is not enough to merely exist, no; we are driven to do things and to be someone of importance.  Yet, each of us is imperfect and thus prone to failure.   Incompleteness seems to be our fate and our work too easily crumbles.  So too, our words are quickly forgotten, and our lives seem to blend effortlessly into a mass of duplicates.  Thus we fear that our lives will be insignificant and memories of us will all too soon grow faint.  We all know those dreary days, when our voice is feeble and we fear our song will drift away unnoticed. 

Then let us come to the garden by the river.  Though planted by human hands and frail as all of life can be, this is a place of remembrance of the eternal.  Look among the living and growing things and see the beauty.  Listen to the sounds of the river and hear the resolve.  Feel the wind that moves about you and know the mystery.  Hear the sounds of the little ones among us as they that sing and flutter their wings and remember the assuring words of old that even they will not fall unnoticed.

When we are placed in our mother's arms for the first time, we intuitively snuggle close to her.  We shape ourselves to fit her form and naturally hold to her for the warmth and the comfort that can be found.   Life can be cold and painful, yet the touch of another can so soothe our distress and bring such abiding pleasure.  For each of us it is a passionate quest to be close and to feel the presence of another.  Thus in earnest we mold are lives to fit in and hold on.  Yet, separation is inevitable, and we are destined to sorrow and acquainted with grief.  We all know those dreary days, when our souls are cold and we feel the pain of being alone.

Then, let us come to the garden by the river.  Though planted by human hands and frail as all of life can be, this is a place of remembrance of the eternal.  Look among the living and growing things and see the beauty.  Listen to the sounds of the river and hear the resolve.  Feel the wind that moves about you and know the mystery.  Touch the warmth of the sojourners that have gathered and remember that born from awesome sorrow can be a deep and gentle compassion.

On the first day we open our eyes for only fleeting moments, falling freely in and out of sleep.  Then follows a succession of days that carry this same rhythmic movement of being awake and falling asleep, getting up and going down, opening our eyes for the new day and closing them for the night.   Soon we learn to fight the sleep for the joy and prospects of being awake, and only the weight of weariness brings our resignation to the slumber.  So our mothers and fathers sing to us of reassurance and rock us softly upon their shoulders.  Thus we are coaxed to let go of the day for the dreamy hope that we can always take hold of tomorrow.  Soon we discover that this dance offers promise as we learn to let go in order to see and have even more. Yet a time will come when the day seems too long and there appears to be no hope of tomorrow.  In our woe, we long to close our eyes rather than bear another moment, and the prospect for another becomes a vision of dread.   We all know those dreary days, when we grieve in letting go and fear in grasping further.

Then let us come to the garden by the river.  Though planted by human hands and frail as all of life can be, this is a place of remembrance of the eternal.  Look among the living and growing things and see the beauty.  Listen to the sounds of the river and hear the resolve.  Feel the wind that moves about you and know the mystery.  See the hands of our Creator taking hold of each today and remember that He is able to mold it into a more beautiful tomorrow.

"Our Children's" Bench 

in the Camden County NJ Park System

On Saturday, October 12, 2002, members of the Camden County NJ TCF Chapter met to dedicate the bench which we had installed in Cherry Hill, NJ in the Maria Barnaby Greenwald Park of the Camden County Park System in memory of the children of our chapter.  This is a place where we can visit and sit and be surrounded by the sounds of nature and the sounds of children playing in a near-by playground and remember our children.  In the middle of the day, the sun peaks through the trees and the bench is bathed in sunlight. Joe and Mari Downey planted an evergreen near the bench for us to decorate for all holidays.  Future plantings for all seasons are planned and we will show pictures of the beautiful blooms as they appear.  Watch for pictures on the newsletter page. 

Nature, the gentlest mother,
by
Emily Dickinson

Nature, the gentlest mother,
Impatient of no child,
The feeblest or the waywardest,
Her admonition mild

In forest and the hill
By traveller is heard,
Restraining rampant squirrel
Or too impetuous bird.

How fair her conversation,
A summer afternoon,--
Her household, her assembly;
And when the sun goes down

Her voice among the aisles
Incites the timid prayer
Of the minutest cricket,
The most unworthy flower.

When all the children sleep
She turns as long away
As will suffice to light her lamps;
Then, bending from the sky

With infinite affection
And infinite care,
Her golden finger on her lip,
Wills silence everywhere.

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Music: "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"-Harold Arlen & E.Y. Harburg

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