Memories and Loss

“… even out of unspeakable grief, beautiful things take wing.” –AR Torres, “The Lessons of Loss”

butterfly2

hands

bears

Today included a little road trip for work to help with one of our special events. It’s a camp that helps children who have experienced the death of a loved one. The goal is to teach them to cope and to remind them that they’re loved — and that they’re never alone.

This is my third year with this event, but I’ve learned that it doesn’t get easier with experience. It makes the heart so heavy to watch these little ones who are forced to deal with things far too tough for their short years.

It’s strange, but lately I’ve found my mind wandering to my own childhood and simpler times. I don’t know, maybe because it’s summer. Several nights recently, I’ve noticed fireflies pulsing periodically outside my bedroom window, breaking the darkness with their sweet little glow. It’s like climbing onto a time machine. Suddenly I’m a little girl running through our wooded yard, collecting fireflies in an empty mayonnaise jar. Or I’m lying in my little bed, surrounded by my stuffed animals, watching my ruffled curtains rise and fall with the breeze as the attic fan pulls cooler air through my open window. I really didn’t know grief back then. I didn’t understand illness. I’d yet to be molded by the unyielding hand of life experiences. That would come later.

I was lucky. I had a childhood.

But these little ones…where is their mind going to go when they’re my age? Will they be able to remember the time before they knew grief? The time before they lost their brother…sister…father…mother…grandparent…friend? Before they understood car accidents, cancer, or suicide.

I guess their minds will have to go to a different place. They will have to go to a place that remembers the hands that held theirs, the ears that absorbed their stories, the voices that soothed their grief, the shoulders that absorbed their tears, the butterflies that tickled fingers before flitting off with hope and promise. While sad and unfair, it’s also unexpectedly beautiful. What a kind, wise, compassionate and altogether lovely group of people who put on this camp today. I was fortunate to be a part of it.

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