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Archive for November, 2009

Saying goodbye

It’s taken me a few days to be able write about saying goodbye to a friend taken too early in the most tragic of circumstances. Chloe and I hadn’t been in touch for a few years but she called me out of the blue just after the birth of her third baby four months ago.

The last time we had spoken was more than four years prior to that. She was almost ready to give birth for the first time. I was in a different place, married but not planning a family anytime soon. Often the children/no-children divide comes between people.

When Chloe called me back in July this year, things had changed. I too was a mother and pregnant for the second time. After several years two former colleagues, two out-of-touch friends instantly reconnected over our shared experience of being a mother.

I was struck by how happy she was, how much she loved being a mother and wife and how amazing she sounded for someone who had given birth only a week prior. We talked for a long while about our children, our feelings, our hopes and our plans.

Unfortunately, our plan to meet for a picnic with our children was never to be. Instead I saw her children and husband for the first time at her funeral.

Death is never easy to deal with – especially when the victim is young and especially when their life was taken deliberately by the hand of another. But beyond the tragic circumstances Chloe’s death struck me in a way I had never experienced before. I felt it deeply as a mother.

I ache for her children, the youngest of whom will have no memory of her. So many things lay ahead which a child should be able to share with his or her mother and a mother with her child. First steps, first words and first days of school. Graduation, moving out, finding love, losing love, having a family of your own.

I grieve for her husband who will raise three beautiful children alone, knowing everyday how much their mother wanted to be there.

When my almost two-and-half-year-old walks around the house calling for me because I have been out of sight for five minutes I wonder how long her four-year-old, two-and-a-half-year-old and four-month-old will continue to call and seek her out.

I don’t know the answers or have any words to explain how a family moves on from such a place.

The only way I can see to respond to this personally is to make sure I treasure what I have and enjoy the ups and downs, the laughter and the tantrums that go with raising children.

May you rest in peace, Chloe.

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