As a parent, you often wonder if your child is safe, especially during their teenage years and when they decide to move away from home. My worst nightmare would be receiving a call that my daughter had been in an automobile accident or injured somehow coming from a party or club. A message awaited me one morning at my office informing me that a co-worker and friend had lost her 25 year old son. To say that I was shocked would be a understatement. My heart broke for her. I wondered what had happened, but most of all I wondered how a mother would ever recover from the lost of her child. I still haven’t come up with an answer to this question. My daughter and this young man grow up together. We lived in the same neighborhood for years, and I’ve worked with his mother for 20 years. What would I say to her? We had just discussed our kids in the hallway at work several weeks before. She was planning to retire in several months, and I was expressing my envy. I thought of the pain and confusion she must be feeling. How do you make funeral arrangements for your only child? How do you say good-bye to someone that you gave birth to, nurtured, disciplined, loved unconditionally, and vowed to never allow any harm to come to them? How do you say good-bye to someone that you would literally die for? The answer to these questions have not come. I knew that I had to go to her, but what would I say. I had no answers.
The obituary appeared in the paper. The viewing would be Thursday night and the funeral Friday. My initial plan was to go the funeral. As time grow near, I decided that I could not sit and watch this mother’s pain from the loss of her son. I would have to go to the viewing. I left the office early heading home to prepare for the evening. My mind was racing a hundred miles a minute. I wondered if my daughter was okay. I lost count of the number of times, I had her called that week. I just wanted to know that she was safe. She understood, she never complained about my calls. She took the time to chat and tell me what was happening with her life. As I drove to the funeral home, I tried to prepare my condolence speech. I’m an experienced and eloquent speaker I told myself, I can do this. I pulled up at the funeral home, and saw that there was only 1 car in the parking lot. I realized that I had driven to the wrong funeral home. At that point, I also realized that I was an emotional wreck. I prayed for clarity, strength, and the right words for my meeting with Cindy. I arrived this time at the correct funeral home. I had planned to arrive early, but to my surprise the line was already coming out the door. I took a deep breath, and took my place in line. I felt my blood pressure rising, as I read the obituary and looked at pictures of her son around the room. A kind gentleman standing behind me noticed my discomfort, and placed his hand on my shoulders. He talked to me until it is was my time to approach Cindy.We embraced for what seemed an eternity. The words poured from me as I gave my condolences from my daughter and me. I turned the focus to the good times that the kids had growing up, playing by the pond and fishing. Our common love of Longerberger Baskets, my manager who would be there for her tomorrow, and others at the office who wanted me to give their condolences etc. It was effortless, it was coming from the heart. I could see and feel that she was grateful that I had come to support her. I had brought a smile to her face inspite of her pain if only for a moment. I felt so good after leaving her that I stayed and chatted with other co-workers and friends to help ease their discomfort while waiting to talk to her. Once again, through Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior all things are possible. I pray that this mother will find strength in God, and she will at least be able to move forward with her life. To all that have lost a child, may you be comforted and blessed.
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