Saturday, December 08, 2007

A long pause to take care of the people left behind, including myself. Last Saturday, the Maryland Chapter of the Gold Star Mothers had a meeting, only the second one I've gotten to out of four in our revived chapter, and it was excellent. Three women who are counselors, one of whom is associated with Compassionate Friends (an organization of bereaved parents, their children having died of no-matter-what cause), these three women came to our meeting to offer their wisdom and experience in the matter of grieving a child. It is different for parents, and for mothers than it is for the siblings or even spouses. I took their handouts and forgot their cards but I expect if I need them, I'll be able to find them. And because God is economical sometimes, I was able to turn around and offer this four days later to another bereaved mother, a woman who works in the same store, who lost her son on Thomas's third anniversary. Yes, it was unreal. I am just grateful that I had some useful words for her and that she felt a shade more hopeful when we had finished . . . It will never be worth losing Thomas, but sometimes there are moments of reward.

Thinking back to the beginning of 2005, I realized that I had forgotten to mention three other deaths that occurred during March and April. All three people were expected to die. It was no surprise when Terry Schiavo passed away, amidst the controversy and bitterness of her family's disunity. I pray that she is at peace. The other two, one private, the other public, by contrast were deeply peaceful. My friend Debbie lost her mother, Tracy, at the beginning of March. Tracy was in her mid-80's and had been ready to go for a while. Finally, at the end of several months of hospitalizations for a broken hip and compromised breathing, she passed away quietly. And then there was Pope John Paul II. Richard had met him briefly the previous year at an audience that was part of a conference he had gone to in Rome about (ironically) care of the dying. As a Catholic, I mourned the loss of this man, but also as a Catholic, I recognized that he was at peace. When Tracy died, and then the Pope, I cried for the first time in months over something unconnected with Thomas.

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