Recently, I found myself reconnecting with a friend, who also experienced a death of a child in 2011. We were actually at a bench dedication over Memorial Day weekend, and I looked up and noticed her right away. I couldn't believe my eyes. I scanned the program and found a name that I thought might be her child, and then part way through the ceremony, each family had the chance to say the name of their loved one, and she confirmed my thoughts. I tracked her down after the ceremony was over because I just felt that I needed to connect. After I walked away, my husband said that he used to play summer ball against my friend's son - what a small world.
While I am so very, very sorry to hear of her loss, I found the smallest bit of comfort (sad, but true) from the fact that someone I had known, in another time in my life, was so familiar with the pain I feel.
Actually, as I've thought about it, I know a lot of people who have endured the death of a child, and I'm not even talking about through The Compassionate Friends. At a quick count, I come up with close to 20 families, and that's without putting any effort into it. There are so many people suffering from this common type of loss, and yet it seems so uncommon to us....but think about it: there are still births and miscarriages, illnesses and suicides, murders, accidents, wars, and more.
As of late, my thoughts have been filled with two women that I worked with at a previous company....one's daughter was killed by a stray-bullet, and the others' son died as an infant or young toddler. Both were so very honest and forthright in talking about their children, both alive and deceased. It's amazing to me how strong they are, as are all parents who endure the death of a child.
Just the other day, on The Compassionate Friends Facebook page, I noticed a woman was wondering how to get through. She stated that she is 11 months into her grieving, and that her support system is starting to bombard her with their questions and feelings of 'aren't you over this yet?'. As I contemplated how to reply to her, because I felt compelled to offer my two cents, of course, I realized how very lucky I truly am.
I am lucky to have found an outlet that gives me a chance to express my needs and thoughts to those who are willing to listen.
I am lucky to have people I can rely on - new friends, old friends, or anywhere in between.
I am lucky to have support.
I am lucky to know so many people who have endured this type of grief.
I am lucky to see the strength of so many others, which gives me hope of surviving the pain.
As horrible as losing Catelyn has been, and as much as I miss her each and every day, I am lucky.