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What now.2

July 23, 2014 1 comment

My husband has been in the hospital for the past several days for a barrage of tests. I mention this because in my last post I asked, “What now, oldest daughter?” How are we to use the leadership and/or nurturing that is such a part of us? How are we to honor what makes us feel most alive? Especially when when uninvited interrupters shred our plans? That was the situation facing Judy, a professional musician, wife, mother and grandmother, who shares her story of “what now” in the following guest blog.

My husband, Leroy, and I had five children. Thirty years ago Sarah, our 15-year-old daughter was abducted walking home. They found her body five days later, but her killer has never been found. What happened affected us as parents, her younger sister and older brothers, all our friends, and even the people we tell now 30 years later.

After Sarah’s death, I became a leader with my husband in talking to young people and to parents and a nurturer in hopefully providing some comfort to those who are grieving the loss of a child or by grandchild by sharing our own loss with them and then helping them plan a meaningful memorial/funeral service to celebrate the life of the one they lost.

Our message to young people is three-fold:

1.  Sometimes your parents do know what they are talking about. They have your best interests at heart, so think before you do something you are told not to.  Our daughter went somewhere she was specifically told not to go and got herself into a situation she couldn’t handle.  Had she listened, she might be here today.  Instead she was abducted and murdered.

2.  You won’t get through this life without faith.  Even if life doesn’t deal you the hand we have been dealt, if you do have major events you sure will need faith.

3.  You may have seen us in church or me at the piano and had no idea this had happened in our life.  So if you see someone having a bad day, cut them a little slack, you never know what is going on in their life.

If we get one young person to listen it is worth telling our story.

I keep saying some day I am going to write a list of things NOT TO SAY when you offer condolences to someone who has lost a child.  I have a few doozies like “God didn’t give you more than you can handle.” (God didn’t give me this!) or “At least you have other children.” (We didn’t have spares. They’re not interchangeable.) People mean well, but the best thing is to say simply, “I’m sorry.”

What kept us going initially was the fact that we had four other children. We had to function – they needed us!
Now what motivates me – what makes me feel most alive – is doing things with my grandchildren. Plus panning services for the families makes me feel like I’m doing something worthwhile.

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