Just a bit thoughtful and quiet.

Hello, friends. I can’t see my blog calendar right now so I don’t even know if I posted in August. I’ll have to post about our family’s trip to Hocking Hills, Ohio. What a beautiful place. I had no idea it existed until a couple of years ago.

For now I just wanted to say that I am feeling sad and contemplative. Eleanor lost her mom. A cousin’s daughter lost a beloved dog. He had a long and good dog life. The main thing close to home that is affecting me is a tragedy for a couple that my son and his wife know from church. Last Sunday they were at a church picnic and their 2 1/2 year old son wandered away and drowned in the lake. David (the boy who drowned) was kept alive long enough to be flown to a hospital and put on life support, but he couldn’t be revived. So while he was in the hospital they had a photographer come in and take family photos. David had a younger brother, Josiah, who looked to be about seven months old. They hadn’t had a chance to get a family photo since Josiah had been born, so they had a lovely old quilt placed over David, who looked like he was simply sleeping, with tubes in his nose and mouth. Then they took pics of him and his brother, him and his parents. Very very moving photos.

At first it sounded sort of strange, but when I saw the photos (on Facebook) they were done with such love and respect and care that I know they are going to cherish them forever. The photographer has taken some excellent pictures of my son and his wife and she is extremely talented.

Oh, this poor family. They had a couple of things happen that are comforting them. David’s cousin, also around 3 years old, was riding in her carseat with her grandma driving the day after he died. The little girl (who was best friends with David) was laughing and her grandma heard her say “I love you, too, David.” Later that day at home she walked up to her mom and said “David is sleeping.” The little girl hadn’t been told that David had drowned.

Also, David’s mom said all the week before the accident he had kept saying “I want to go home.” and “It’s time to go home.” when he was at home. Also, every day that week he had asked her…insisted, actually, that she take a picture of him.

There are things beyond what we know and see and feel. My heart just hurts for this family. They are in for a long sad time. But, I’m glad they are finding some comfort for now.

Happier post coming another day. 🙂

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29 Responses to Just a bit thoughtful and quiet.

  1. Thank you for the sympathy, Lauri. I am grateful however that I’ve never lost a child and hope I never have to experience that. My mother was old and had a very full life: she got to see and do a number of things that would make a seasoned traveler envious. A child however is just beginning his life: we pin so many hopes and dreams on him, that when his life suddenly ends, it’s like seeing a piece of you crushed. My heart goes out to David’s family. I hope they’ll be comforted by their memories of him, as I’ve been comforted by memories of Mom’s life.

    ((Hugs)) for you too. It’s really hard to stand by and witness such sadness, especially when one has a compassionate heart like yours.

    • Lauri says:

      Thanks, HG. It’s hard to explain what I was trying to convey. It was surreal to see those photographs. Afterwards David was removed from life support and his organs were donated. I had a couple of friends express doubts about the appropriateness of those photos. But, like I said, I believe they will be a comfort to the family.

  2. Laurie says:

    Eleanor, my condolences on the loss of your mom. Sending you love.

    Lauri, thank you for sharing the story about David and the photos. We all take what comforts we can in loss, no one need question the parents.

    • Lauri says:

      Absolutely, Laurie. The parents are the only ones who’s opinion matters.
      Sigh. Thank goodness they have little Josiah to hug.

    • Thank you, Laurie. I got your hummingbird card, btw, and was planning to write back via snail mail. Unfortunately Mom’s condition declined so rapidly I didn’t even have time to pick up a card at the stationery shop. But getting that card was the nicest thing that happened that day. I’d been fighting with Dad from early morning on about the aide, and the long-term insurance administrator told me they absolutely would not cover home care. I was hurting until I saw the envelope with the Canadian stamp on it. Thanks again—you and the other ex-Vox peeps have been wonderful. It may be gone, but Vox did create this group of friends who’ve proven more reliable than the family I have here in “real life.” I am very grateful.

      • Laurie says:

        I’m glad the card made a bright spot for you when you were so stressed. It’s easy for me to drop a note, so I feel I should do it more often, and doing it brightens up any bad day I’m having, so that’s my remedy. So many Voxpeeps have sent me bits and pieces over the years, I feel I want to pay it forward.

        I hope you’re coping okay with the aftermath and the arrangements.

  3. littleoddme says:

    Thank you for sharing this story. I had friends who knew from 18 weeks into their pregnancy that their son would probably die after birth. I was the only person who sent them a “congrats on your new baby” card, and a few people ripped into me for that, but they loved it and that’s all that mattered – because he was precious to them, and they knew what he would have wanted – more importantly they knew what THEY wanted. It’s nobody else’s business.
    Also, not too long before I came to know you online I drowned … at least to the point of not breathing. My experience was so amazing in that twilight between when I passed out face down in the water to where the lifeguard and my guy pulled me out. It was a wonderful peaceful amazing thing. That’s not the whole story of it, but it’s the bit that’s relevant. I’m so sad for the loss from his family’s day to day life though, wow I’m having a hard cry about it for some reason, associations I guess. Hugs.

    • Lauri says:

      You have made me all goosebumpy, Lori. I am so unafraid of what comes after this life. Whatever it is, it is the most natural thing in the world. The actual action of dying is a bit intimidating to me…..but, we really aren’t given the choice in that, either, so no sense worrying. 🙂 And good for you for sending the parents that card. That was their child and they will always love him.

      • Jaypo says:

        I’m reading a book right now called “This Flawless Place Between,” by Bruno Portier. It’s difficult to describe, but essentially, the author has taken a contemporary setting, juxtaposed on top of it the Tibetan Book of the Dead, and presents it as a novel. I read over 50 pages last night in one sitting, it’s so compelling. He wants Westerners to understand the beauty of this profound text in terms they can relate to. So far, he’s succeeded.

  4. Honestly, my first reaction to reading about the photos was not positive … but then I remembered –

    My mother had a son who would be 10 years older than I am. In the days before sonograms, he died at birth because his umbilical was wrapped around his neck. At the time of the birth my father was in France with the Army, so my mother had a picture taken of the baby in his casket so that my dad could see his son. Others thought that was ghastly (especially in 1951), but it was a comfort to both my mother and father, and that’s all that mattered.

    And we took photos of my mother in her casket because for years before her death dementia had ravaged her to where she didn’t look like Mom. In the casket she looked like the Mom we remembered, and it was nice to have that final image of her rather than the one we’d been seeing for years.

    All in all, it doesn’t matter what other people think – if it’s a comfort to the family that’s all that matters.

    Having said that, I will say that many years ago my niece had a baby that died and she sent pictures to all of us of that I honestly wish I’d never seen. The baby was obviously dead, and not a pretty sight at all. But really … I only had to look at the photo once, she has to live with the reality daily. And I never felt it was my place to chastise her for sending the photos out.

    • Lauri says:

      It’s definitely a personal thing. My grandfather died in a car accident, my grandmother was in a coma from the accident, so we took pictures of him just in case she wanted to see them. We had no idea if or when she would come out of the coma or if she would need/want to see the pictures. She did, against all odds, wake up, and lived for ten more years as a lovable terror. But, she was adamantly against seeing the photos of grandpa in his casket, and that was just fine.
      We just wanted to do it just in case.

  5. I have never been afraid of my own death but I have such a hard time with it happening and me having to leave little ones behind. If the world were a bit kinder I wouldn’t worry so much. My only wish is to outlive them all and then the piano can fall on my head. That day if it must.

    We took pictures of my mom at chemo sessions and people thought it was horrible. I love those pictures. I love them for her strength and courage. I love them for the compassion I see in my family faces. I love them because they happened during one of the most important times of my life. They happened when I finally had no net beneath my tightrope. My mom’s death announcement was a silhouette of a tightrope walker without a net and the caption beneath it said “you may not see the net but it will always be there for you”. One of my friends heard me say that and she created an image that still comforts me. Whatever gets us through it.
    The losses I have suffered in rapid succession have been part of my recent silence. It took me time to realize that I had never grieved any losses because I was so concerned about being strong throughout them all.
    I am glad they have exactly what “they” need. In the end that is all that really matters. It is their loss. I wish them peace.
    Recently I have lost sight of the net. I may not see it but it is always there for me. This post is a good reminder and just when I needed it the most.

    • Lauri says:

      This is a beautiful story. The pictures of your mom at chemo sessions…and the compassion in the family faces….that reminds me of the intense love in the faces of the parents in the photos of David. There was love and you could see the pain that will be coming, but at those last moments with him they were concentrating on the love. Each moment is precious.
      “You may not see the net but it will always be there for you.” That is so beautiful.
      Grieving is healing and every person does it in their own way and their own time. Be self aware and you will get through the process (well, it’s an ongoing thing…it’s never completely over,) but peace will come.
      I’m so glad this post helped. I wanted to talk out my feelings. And, it has helped me, too.

  6. Jaypo says:

    How inutterably sad. And how amazing that David knew it was his time… it doesn’t take long to live a full and valuable life, only a couple of years. This little boy’s insight ought to bring great comfort to his family and those who loved him.

    The Victorians were great practitioners of “memento mori,” photographing deceased children. For some it was the only reminder they had of how their child looked at the time of their passing.

    Many comforting thoughts, delivered by a “sleeping angel,” to your friends.

    • Lauri says:

      The whole story has driven me to such a wide swing of emotions. Definitely sad and thought provoking. It gets more and more important to treasure each moment.

  7. ((((((((((((hugs))))))))))))))))))

  8. madtante says:

    So very sad. As you say, these little things can bring comfort to the bereaved. Thank you for sharing them because they bring comfort to others who never knew little David, too.

    • Lauri says:

      This is exactly what the family felt. They shared the whole story, pictures and all, on Facebook. The mom told about all the little things in the week preceding the accident that they now look back on and feel peace.
      I just know that they have years of healing coming. A lot of pain. But, they have already taken the first steps.

  9. amelie says:

    I think there’s a special burden for people not directly experiencing the tragedy. It may not be as painful but the feeling of helplessness is awful. I would certainly be grateful for someone like you Lauri in tough times. Loyal friends are hard to come by. Some of my coworkers have experienced family losses lately and it’s so hard to know what to say especially in a work situation.

    I think the photos are a good idea for those who want them. As GOM pointed out it should be only for people who ask for them, but I see nothing morbid about wanting photos of the child.

    • Lauri says:

      It is so hard to know what to say. I sometimes think the fact that we are sending thoughts of serenity and peace even helps.
      A friend at work lost her 20 year old daughter to a diabetic coma. She had our supervisor announce that she simply did not want to talk about it. Period. It was good that she made her wishes known. Not everyone wants to talk.
      Now, 2 years later, she will bring up Emily and then people talk, but we let her bring her up first.

  10. amyhftw says:

    How sad. The loss will be with them forever. Thankfully, they have a strong network to buoy them up and know they are not alone. Sending my condolences to everyone who knew and loved the little one.

  11. *hug*
    Not much else I can add other than that

  12. GOF says:

    Thank you Lauri for sharing these stories with us, as sad as they are and how difficult it must have been for you to write them. We need to understand and feel and show compassion for those friends who are suffering though these moments of great sadness, then appreciate all the blessings we have today.

    • Lauri says:

      It’s difficult, but these are things we all have to go through eventually (although please please I don’t ever want to lose a child). All part of the great Whatever. 🙂

  13. Brown Suga' says:

    I can’t think of anything appropriate to say, so ((((hug)))). Take care.

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