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Compassion abounded among new friends at Conference in Nashville July 21, 2008

Posted by makingyourdashcount in compassionate friends, Life Journey, mourning, Sarah Krause, Thoughts.
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I only sobbed once, as I stood in front of the memorial we made for Sarah in a sea of other parents’ memorials. The words that prompted the reaction was, “She shouldn’t be there,” just as NONE of the children should have been there. This was our first Compassionate Friends Conference and the numbers and the support were overwhelming.

It was also our first time in Nashville, TN. As I explained it to a friend, “We knew nothing about Nashville going there and I know nothing about Nashville leaving there.” The conference consumed time and energy beyond the list of attractions we hoped to visit. So we will leave Nashville on the yet to be visited list.

There is a bond that grieving parents have that no one else understands. Through it we can talk about children whom we have lost 5 months, 5 years or 25 years ago. Through it we can cry how we miss them, without apology. Being in a sea of almost 1,400 of us was very powerful.

We met so many people, who came to Nashville from all over the country. I expect some will stay lifelong friends, especially two that Anna met from VT and CO.

As parents and siblings, we cried and we talked and we attended workshops that for the most part were valuable. Professors, grief counselors, authors and artists held nearly 100 workshops aimed at informing and healing. Excellent speakers and Grammy award winning musicians rounded out the weekend. I expect that the latter is a benefit of meeting in “Music City, USA.”

For me the weekend highlight came when as a group we lit candles in memory of our children. As overwhelming as the 300 candles were in our overflow room; I can not even imagine the impact of the 1,000 in the main banquet room would have been. To me the candles not only reflected the burning memory of our children, but also the bright light each of our children were and will continue to be in our lives.

Although we skipped the closing speaker, in order to get back to Ohio at a reasonable hour, we did take the time to walk with our new friends in memory of our children.

Thank you Compassionate Friends for a powerful weekend.

Emotions July 9, 2008

Posted by makingyourdashcount in compassionate friends, Life Journey, mourning, Sarah Krause.

I am a firestorm of emotions.  Work is busy, if not overwheming at the moment.  The situation with Dad drains me.  And in a week or so, we are off to the Compassionate Friends Conference to meet, talk with and affirm experiences with 1500 other grieving parents and siblings. 

I know this will be empowering and draining at the same time.  Since losing Sarah….  Well, to be more correct, since losing my baby brother Adam three years prior, I have avoided social situations and crowds; I have lost my desire to small talk.    ALTHOUGH… in mixed emotion…

It will be good spending time with people who “get it.”  No pity, no sympathy.  Compassion, discussions and hopefully some ways to address the real changes that happen when people lose their children. I know there will be tears, but also know that it is a safe place to share them.  Everyone there will cry.  We will cry in sadness for our children, but also in the comfort that our new friends understand.

If you will be there, I look forward to meeting you.