May 14, 2011


My community is a small one; it is not uncommon for young and old alike to know one another or at least know of one another. My son Eric's second grade teacher and her husband are our friends, my daughter Gretchen even baby sat their children. Her husband’s parents are lovely people; they of my parents’ generation and are the quintessential southern couple. He the gentleman farmer, she the devoted mother-grandmother and both are born and bred in this community. They also have another son and although I had only met him once years ago before he moved away, when he passed away tragically from cancer; my husband and I knew we would go to the funeral.

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.


  1. Oh man...what a powerful post, and what a heartbreaking time.

  2. You two will be mutual blessings for each other.

  3. Both of you ladies are right heartbreaking but truly a blessing of friendship.

  4. Yes, you understand what this woman is going through in a way that others cannot.

  5. I have enjoyed finding your blog, thank you for finding mine.

    Your story is so moving and I am grateful for your inspiration, that you shared your pain and faith.

    I look forward to reading more.

  6. Beautiful and so true. I can't begin to describe the connection there, and the value in sharing a piece of the journey. The very same words mean so much more when they come from someone on the same path because you know they truly understand what they are saying.

    There is a woman in my church I feel such a connection with. I can't explain why, exactly, except in her I have always seen beauty and grace. I finally got a chance to speak with her and found out she suffers from Parkinson's and she too lost a child many years ago.

  7. She has such a wisdom because of her age that shines thru her pain which was newer than mine. It's hard to explain how it makes me feel when I'm with her.

  8. I had tears in my eyes as I read your post. Wow.

  9. Susan it was a very difficult and emotional day for us both. She was the first mother like me I had ever met face to face since the death of Eric and Gretchen. I remember being so afraid....

  10. WOW... I know it's months after you wrote this but I'm just reading this from your year end review. This touched me deeply.


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