When my son died, I no longer recognized the world. Among those I knew, some people drew close to keep me company in my grief, and others retreated, as if I scared them.
And then there were others–people who had been strangers to me–who appeared out of the sky. These people I did not know came to speak to me because they had also lost a child. They told me the story of what had happened to them, and named the child they had lost. They came to hear how my heart had been broken, and to tell me how I might survive.
I picture these people as a flock of birds, gathering from a million places, circling in the sky, drawn to descend at the signal of my distress. A man my father knew from work, a neighbor down the street, the old girlfriend of a cousin: each one had a story, all of them wanted to listen, and none turned away from my despair.
I hope that Remembering You, Remembering Us can become a flock of voices, bringing people together to listen to one another’s stories and to share their own. I hope that all of us who know the long bewilderment of grief can gather to witness, to heal together, and to honor, always, the power of loving a child.
Lea Wolf, Remembering You, Remembering Us program partner, May 2016
Photo: Fre Sonneveld