Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Many thanks to my blogger community

Over the past year I've come to value you all for the many things we share: recipes, stories of our kids, our varied takes on life around us. But I never could have imagined being so moved by the support, advice, and love that followed my last post. I'm so enormously grateful. Thank you to everyone who responded, especially those of your who did so from the perspective of your own loss. 

Our community is moving forward , slowly but together. We were all strengthened by gathering in the school's redwood grove—the children's play area and the geographic soul of the community—for a candlelight vigil Sunday evening. There was light in the redwoods after all. We shared silence, tears, music, and some memories of the little girl we lost. Her parents and sister were not there, but I know they knew we were there. Many other members of the family were present, and we were heartened to see such a large family surrounding and caring for them. 

At this time the parents are requesting no contact outside family, but when they are ready, we will be there as well. When I think of the mom, I think of an amazing day we had skiing last season at Alpine. I want to pull her up to the mountains, put her on skis, and push her down a big hill. And I will the first chance I get; I know it will feel good and maybe release a tiny bit of grief, if only for a moment. Maybe if you keep releasing tiny bits, the whole might becomes smaller and easier to carry. 

A grief counselor met with the staff yesterday and helped them prepare for welcoming back the children tomorrow. Children are strange people. What I mean really is that they are different from us. For the adults, this is a horribly emotional and traumatic time, and many of us have moved through the past few days in a mental fog and blur of tears. The younger children have accepted it with an almost matter-of-fact placidity. Their friend is gone, it is sad, but it is the way it is. Their life goes on with an ease that we envy. The middle-school children are taking it harder. Their reaction is more like ours, which reminds us that they are not children much longer.

Tomorrow will be a day at school for remembering their friend as teachers lead them in music, art, and writing in remembrance of her. Since the beginning of the school year, the kids have been involved in building and playing in forts in the redwood grove. The two sisters had a fort of their own, and Sophie plans to spend some time in what tomorrow will be a vacant fort. And then, although there will remain sadness and processing to come, she will most likely skip away to go on with her day and her life. We will heal more slowly and the parents even more slowly and probably never completely. My hope is that at some point memories of this little girl will bring us all smiles, not tears.

Thank you again for all your thoughtful suggestions and warm wishes.


Anonymous said...

Still thinking of you. Hugs.

gwendomama said...

Still sobbing over here.

Before we went away for a month after Elijah died, my friend told me about SCREAM therapy.
You are going to Maui, she said.
You can go under the water and SCREAM!!

I laughed

But then I did it.

It was awesome.

Get everyone in your community to find them a retreat away if they so choose to use it.
For MOST families, they need to get away.

The illusion of escape is powerful.

Mary Coleman said...

Take care of yourself and Sophie.
And listen to gwendomomma. She's a wise woman.

Anonymous said...

wow, your last two posts have been very powerful and left me shellshocked.

i hope alls well with your family and you continue to take some time and reflect and let the healing process continue.


Fig said...

Hi. First time reading your blog, but you visited mine and left a comment. Thanks for that. I am so sorry to hear of the tragedy that is in your midst. I can only imagine the pain surrounding your environment.
It sounds like you know how to handle the situation with your family- I would only say remember to hug your kids extra long each day... and don't forget to take the mom skiing the first chance you get- living life in joy will be hard for them, but necessary for the whole family.

Great finding your blog- looking forward to reading.

PS. Sounds like you are Figs- i am simply Fig- lol.

adozeneggs said...

My cousins husband passed just a few months ago from a cerebral aneurysm as well. Although they were estranged and he happened to pass out at the table with his girlfriend, it was a shocking and horrible experience. He left behind my cousin and their 11 year old daughter. She seems so incredibly resilient and the only time I saw her cry was walking out of the funeral service with her mother (who had made an incredibly moving speech). She's been up to visit with us twice and amazes me every time. I think you're right about kids, they are much stronger when dealing with loss than we are. She's been pretty open in talking about her dad and things they used to do together. It makes me sad to know that he died under such strange circumstances, but also makes me happy to have gotten closer once again with my cousin and her daughter. I'm hoping that we can move forward and be a much more tightly connected family.
Again, I'm so sorry for your loss and will be thinking of you and Sophie.
Best wishes.

Kate said...

People keep asking me if I am OK when they come in my office after I've read these entries and all the comments - I end up crying at my desk over the pain this little girl's parents, and other parents who have lost a child, are in. I just can't imagine anything worse at all.

Broady said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Broady said...

It's bittersweet and amazing how children handle major events with a sad practicality. Maybe it's because they don't have the life experience and baggage to infuse such events with the larger meaning and associations that mire us lucky adults down... it seems that many children are able to accept death in simple yet sad terms, but they don't feel the need to agonize over the making sense of everything. They allow themselves to be sad, but also to move on.

My heart breaks for this family and your little community. But I'm glad they have the tremendous support group you have described to lean on. I am sure they will need it for some time to come.

Anonymous said...

if my mom tried to make these they would turn out all crazy... but yours are so cute.

NJDecorator said...

I wish we could process the same as when we were children, but life changes our perspectives, oesn't it.

Many prayers continue to be with you and your community.