12 years ago
I've been volunteering for over a year at a non-profit where I facilitate a support group for middle school kids who have faced parent death. There are times when this is very rewarding. There are also times when this is very frustrating. They are, afterall, tweens. They talk and joke and get off topic and sometimes do everything in their power to avoid talking about the deeper issues even though everyone in the room (including me) has gone through the same thing. They don't know that I've lost both of my parents. It takes everything I have sometimes not to tell them (which would be a selfish act that is discouraged since we're here for them, not the other way around). It also takes everything I have not to preach to them. To tell them how it gets easier until one day when it's not. How milestones are different. How you will always miss them. How this is just a part of who you are. And how, I suspect, one day when it's more commonplace for your peers to have also lost a parent you will want to scream, "But it's different! You had yours for 40 years! I had mine for half that!"
Sometimes I look around the big closing circle, where everyone is joined together, and am overwhelmed that all of those kids are going through possibly the worst thing they will ever go through. They are so lucky to have this place. To have each other. I hope they have at least a little awareness of that.
I'm also obviously thinking about my mother more with all this wedding planning. I hope that wherever she is she can either somehow see and know what's going on or else have absolutely no knowledge of any of it (because the thought of not being at my wedding would kill her all over again). I know she would have been so happy and supportive and proud. She would have gone along with all of my ideas even if they were kooky because she'd want the day to be exactly as I envisioned it. She would have walked me down the aisle. She would have known The Fiance.
It all breaks my heart--again and again--even if I'm not aware that that's what's going on. It makes me a little more stressed than I would have been otherwise. I know that day will be the single hardest one without her so far, maybe ever. I know that almost everyone in that yet-to-be-discovered venue will be thinking of her, too. All wishing she were there. For her. For me.
So my request this year is for you to find me some good quote or poem or prose that could be read before the ceremony so that we can remember her and all the other missing guests that day.