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.

Nitty Gritty Dirty Grief

Happy New Year

A couple years ago hubby and I started a tradition of opening all the doors on New Year’s Eve. This was to allow the old year out and let the new year in. I would cuddle with Samantha under a blanket as the cold air moved through the house.

“Is the old year out yet?”

“Not yet.”


“Wait, the New Year has to come in.”

“Jeez oh Pete.”

Yesterday evening on our way out hubby asked me, “Do you want to open the doors when we get home?”

“No,” I said.


I gave him a sheepish look, “I’m afraid she’ll fly out with the old year.”

“Well then, we won’t. Besides, it’s frigid outside.” He took my hand in his and gave me a smile.

So perhaps the old year is now mixing with the new year within the confines of our house. I leave this year behind with bittersweet memories but I couldn’t put words to my emotions; my dear friend Deana did it for me in an email last night……..

2010 will be ‘the year of Samantha’ to us. It’s the year we met her, Max had his special opera date with her, and the year we said good-bye. She touched our lives immeasurably, and through her beautiful life, we met and became friends

I do hope that 2011 is a year of new beginnings, new chapters, but also of easier moments of remembrance too

Thank you Deana….to a year of new beginnings, new chapters and wonderful friends we have met along the way.

May 2011 be good to us all.