First, a note –
This nineteenth, and last story to be shared through my blog, finishes the set of narratives that will soon appear as part of my new book, Finding Grace: journeys of grief, courage and healing. Grief expects to be at the core of all these stories and, indeed, that is how each begins to unfold. The dreadful chaos of grief, represented through anger, despair, guilt and deep pain abounds here. But more importantly, what is also present, displayed in the words that often followed parents’ most profound grief statements, were their expressions of love, those descriptions of grace moments. Each of the twenty children named throughout these narratives I took in as my own; every story recounted by their heartbroken parents helped to shape and eventually deepen my own understanding of the beauty, mercy, peace and forgiveness that embodies grace. I feel deeply honored, humbled and grateful to have shared sacred space and time with these children and their families. I know I am forever changed because of what each brought to my life.
For Angela –
Today’s narrative belongs to Angela. I can hardly believe I’ll be listening to my last story and I arrive early. I want to unpack my writing materials and take a quiet moment to focus my mind on the upcoming interview with Angela’s mother. I’ve secured a room in the public library for us; the room is quiet and has a bank of windows on one wall. I spread out and choose a seat at the table with my back to the windows; I want Veronica to be able to face them, to see the light and life outside as she tells me about the tragic loss of her cherished little girl. I don’t have to wait long. Veronica soon joins me, armed with Kleenex and an unquestionable belief that her daughter’s life and death continues to strongly influence her own. Though we start quietly, the depth of emotion this mother feels, and expresses through a series of details dear to her, soon rises to the surface – as do her tears.
After an emotional afternoon of recounting her pain, Veronica ends by sharing that “God told us from the beginning . . . this is the one that’s not going to be here long.” Still, she believes that her daughter is always present, circling around her; Angela is love. She lives on in the laughter, the special smiles and the bouncing energy of family. Finally, Veronica recounts the grace-filled wisdom she has gained from her despairing loss: “Every day is a gift. Love one another like it’s your last day.”
Read Angela’s incredible journey home in its entirety on my website:
And, as always I send wishes that you each continue your own journeys filled with the light, peace, mercy and unconditional love that is grace.