Nitty Gritty Dirty Grief

Thank you Elizabeth Edwards

You can also find this post today on Hopeful Parents.

On the second day of 2011, I struggle with what this year will mean.

This is our first year without Samantha. What will happen during this year? Will I be expected to move on? Will people forget about our girl? Will people no longer ask?

Who will I be on this first year?

I have recently felt a strong connection to Elizabeth Edwards; a mom her lost her son but never forgot, a woman who held her head high in the face of public adversity. She seemed stronger the harder life became.

So today I googled her and found a wonderful article by Phillip Lister. And I found her thoughts on moving on. And I found how I will move on in 2011.

“After our children die, we need not give up the role of parenting, but now, instead of parenting the child, we are parenting the memory of the child. It gave a strong counterpoint to our culture’s push to mourn and then get over a loss and be done with mourning. It offers an alternative vision of converting mourning into a continuing bond, to grow through our pain and press on with optimism in a meaningful life while still being connected to the one we miss.”

I love this. I love this idea. Because we will never forget, I will never forget. The thought of ‘getting over a loss’ makes me so very sad. And it is impossible. My solace in this world is to move forward while still remembering who Samantha was and how she changed my life.

She goes on to say, “For me it is not about religion. It is about grace. I honestly believe that if we are not enlightened by the death of our children to the frailty of man, we will never be enlightened. And if we do not respond with compassion to that frailty, we have failed a very easy test. I hope that since the death of my son I have learned a few things about what is important. Maybe what guides physicians is a good guide for all of us: first, do no harm … We need only examine what we say to see first if it might do harm.”

Thank you Elizabeth Edwards. Thank you for your candidness. I never knew you but I think I will miss you. You sound like my kind of lady.

She left me with a lyric from Leonard Cohen’s song Anthem:

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in


May I remember in 2011 to let the light in.

9 thoughts on “Thank you Elizabeth Edwards”

  1. I think this and your last post is beautiful. I still have Sam's picture on my fridge and I will never forget her and all the gifts she gave to me. She is still the only kiddo that has allowed ava to lay right next to her and just be. The best postcards ever! Let the light in, feel the grief…you are a beautiful soul so forget what the rest of the thinkers think.

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  2. I will never forget Samantha. She lives on in my heart everyday. Each night I say “good night” and “I love you” to both Jack and Samantha before I go to sleep. I know they are both listening and love me back.Love,Mom

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  3. Samantha will never be forgotten. She has touched so many lives. I still have not told you the story of how she affected my mother, someone who never met her. Society may send the message that you should move on at some point, but your friends NEVER will. I will never see your face and not think of that darling girl for the rest of my life. I will never tire of talking about her and how she impacted me and my family.

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  4. Beautiful words, Heather. Thank you for the reminder that the memories of our lost loved ones are every bit as vital as the people who are still living… Sending New Year's hugs your way! – Jenn 🙂

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  5. As usual, your blogs capture the moment and the beauty of the “unsaid.” I celebrate you, Bart and Sam and think of all three of you every day. I suspect 2011 will be an interesting one for Heather…and every year hereafter.Love,Alissa

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