I must admit I had some concerns that I wouldn't have been strong enough to deal with other grieving parents. I was worried I was too weak to be in the presence of their pain without getting lost in my own; after all this was my first funeral since my own children's some months earlier.
Upon entering their church their son greeted me with a hug so hard he almost crushed my ribs. I think it was when I looked into his eyes and saw just how vulnerable he truly was I knew I would be OK, that I was stronger than I had originally thought. He then said to me, "It will mean so much to Momma that you came today especially considering;" and his words hung but their meaning was clearly understood to me.
Then he guided me through the throngs of people that were crowded around his mother. She stilled for a moment; it was almost as if she sensed my presence, raising her head tears filling our eyes as our gazes met. I stepped closer and we embraced for a moment as I spoke words of comfort to her. Pain and sorrow were etched deep into the expression on her face. Then in a quiet voice almost a whisper cracking with emotion she said to me “I expect we'll be talking soon" and without a thought I nodded my head in agreement to her statement.
I expect we'll be talking soon - powerful words of acknowledgement of a connection that transcended any generational differences, which transcended the fact that she is a southern woman and I am a woman of the north and it transcended the manner in which our children perished.
With those words we recognize our mutual need for the depth of empathy and understanding that comes only from another mother who is grieving.