....Life will be a journey, perhaps not the journey you expected...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

When The Angel of Death Comes For Your Child

First Responders On The Scene...
-By Marsha Abbott

When the Angel of Death taps the shoulder of our child, the world stops turning. The phone call delivering incomprehensible news and a one-way ticket to the darkest depths of existence, hurls our senses into shock and disbelief.

In that surreal state we are often surrounded by 'earth angels' who arrive to comfort and care for us. Whether they are friends or family, their ability to minister to our pain , help us put one foot in front of the other, and make sense out of this nightmare is nothing short of miraculous. They shower their kindness upon us in so many ways and can appear in multitudes, bearing loving words and gestures. Some take on heavy lifting tasks such as helping with funeral arrangements, travel, & planning. Some don't appear until months or years later. Some know us well, some knew our child, some barely know us yet they feel 'called' to reach out.

The existence of these 'earth angels' was described beautifully to me while reading a passage written by a woman whose heart ached for a friend who lost her child. She grieved for her friend and described the role she wished to play in providing loving support. This 'earth angel' wrote the following:

"I've had a recurring 'vision' (if you want to call it that --it's just an image in my mind's eye) of the heart of a bereaved parent looking something like a bomb sitea place that was once thriving and responsible for the health and lives of many people, now suddenly and violently interrupted by a gaping, smoldering hole. The debris of life before the bomb is mixed in with a strong, deep root system--the parent/child bond. I think of myself, then, as a responder--someone who first comes to help supply immediate care and assistance--applying comfort and kindness and even material needs wherever I can, then to help sort through the debris (as needed and where possible), then to begin planting life and love and hope around the bomb site, then to cultivate what I plant and encourage its growth, so that over time it will interact with and enhance that deep root system of parental love that will always remain. Yet even in that "green" space, there needs to be some good, prime space set aside for a memorial--a place that is always quiet, sacred, and separated from the life that goes on and grows up around it. I think that's what we're supposed to do for our friends and family who grieve not only over the child that has passed, but also for the place in their hearts that was once part of a thriving system and is now a site of reflection and mourning." -Ann Bosworth

A responder. What an insightful and heartfelt description. I am thankful for the responders in my life. Some arrived on the scene when our tragic loss occurred. Some have arrived in the months following. I have faith they'll appear at intermittent times in the future because I believe in the power of light, goodness and love. Even in the endless darkness of tragedy…... we are offered light.

One of Marsha's two daughters daughters (19 years old) was killed in a gun accident in Sept ‘09. She maintains a facebook page titled A New Journey, dedicated to helping grieving parents. She lives with her husband in the Pacific Northwest.
*Molly represented 'light' in the lives of those who knew and loved her. Her spirit, laughter and joy touched many lives. She was a connector.

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