Such a rare indulgence of burgers and fries enjoyed with our ten- and twelve-year-old nephews, followed by a brisk walk. My husband and I love hanging with them, allowing us old folks to once again be kids. We joked, laughed and talked with the boys while simultaneously picked forsythia, apple and cherry blossoms from the many flowering trees. Both boys picked beautiful arrangements. Johnny being the oldest smiled and said, "These are for my mother." Nick perked up saying, “Can these be for Laura?” My eyes shed tears of joy. He was missing his cousin, my beautiful daughter…
Suddenly Nick ran into a nearby Dunkin’s leaving us scratching our heads. A few minutes later, he came running out, full speed with 2 cups of water spilling everywhere. He said, "I got water for the flowers so they won’t die." Nick also handed me a white piece of paper that read, ‘I love you Lara, ’in his handwriting. My heart fluttered trying to take a deep breath. He went on to say, "Can I bring these to her at the cemetery?" I told him it was getting dark but I’d make sure to place them there first thing in the morning. He kept saying, "please, please, Auntie Molly, I’m not scared, I want to place them there for her.” Realizing how important this was to him, we were on our way. In the car we talked about how Catholics observed May Day every spring with the various devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary. I mentioned what flowers meant to me as a child in Catholic school. Every year, the scent of these perfumed flowers takes me back to those delightful days of yonder. I explained how the class made flower arrangements to adorn Our Lady in a May crowning. On that special day, our class would be dressed up, the girls wearing white dresses and the boys looking handsomely in their white shirts and ties. During recess, we walked to the church for an outside ceremony, honoring the Blessed Mother. I remember in sixth grade feeling psyched! I was picked to crown Mother Mary…Glancing quickly in the rear view mirror, it appeared Nick and Johnny had been in deep thought listening to my story.
While walking to Laura’s grave from the car, Nick stayed by my side. He touched the deepest part of my soul when he asked, “Why did Laura die before you?” I was incredibly amazed! So inquisitive and loving was this kindhearted boy. At ten years young, Nick understood that when my daughter died, it was an out of order, unnatural loss. The pure innocence of this young boy, already showing sensitivity and kindness, is a reflection of his parents who continue to love and nurture both he and his brother Johnny. Their dad with his deeply religious background has given his sons the greatest gift of all. Whenever they are troubled or feeling alone, they’ll always know they have God and their Christian beliefs to see them through. My brother John put his boys first and foremost, being the best dad possible. I believe if it wasn’t for our family’s strong faith, we may not have survived our many tragic losses. John and I both lost two sisters, as well as a brother who was killed in the line of duty, shot multiple times.
My only child—my daughter Laura, passed away at 49 years of age. She was my best friend, my reason for getting up each day. All that’s left is my shattered heart that only those who walked this path of child loss, understands. I’ve learned to live with this heartfelt pain, as it represents the great love I have for my child. Just the same, I work hard every day to keep from falling back into that black abyss. All who have lost a child know this emptiness that can never be filled. A part of our future died along with them…As long as there is breath in us, there’s a purpose beyond ourselves needing to be explored. We mustn’t feel guilty or disloyal to re-engage in life finding new and pleasurable experiences.
Standing at my daughter’s grave, Nick placed the flowers under Laura’s name, knelt down and began to pray. Silent in prayer, he appeared to be in a trance. Once he stood, he looked to the darkening sky and found a cloud shaped like an angel. Nick pointed it out bringing comfort.
As one year turns into two, I’ve discovered the importance of distraction. Hanging out with my nephews has been the best medicine in easing my deepest sorrow. I have found being around young children to be a renewed joy. They have shown me how to live in the moment, finding ways to be happy. There is so much to learn from them. My hope is that my eyes and heart remain open, taking in all that is pure and good. Children have a way of teaching us that emotions can be happy or sad. The difference is, they don’t hang on to the sad feelings and it’s alright to be expressive and spontaneous…Kids can also help us to relearn the simplest of pleasures once again. We mustn’t forget to indulge by savoring all that life has to offer. After all, children are reminders how precious time on earth really is.
When we are children we seldom think of the future.
This innocence leaves us free to enjoy ourselves as few adults can.
The day we fret about the future is the day we leave our childhood behind.
About the Author-------------
Molly Hanna Glidden is a self-published author and advocate. She owned and operated Salon 17 for over 30 years. She is founder of the Boston Metrowest IC Support Group and co-authored, The Interstitial Guide for Partners. Her work was profiled on a CNN Health Accent featuring Dr. Sonjay Gupta. She is the author of A Family Broken – Surviving Traumatic Loss, and her story, My Red -Winged Visitor was recently featured in Grief Digest Magazine. Molly’s recent book, “Reminiscing – La Vie en Rose” is now released on Amazon!
The author's has an uncanny ability to speak from the heart, capturing true life events. Having weathered unimaginable tragedies throughout her life, Molly’s worst nightmare came true when she lost her only child…a tragedy she wasn’t sure she’d come back from.
Her writing as an author shows her tremendous capacity for empathizing with those braving the pain of loss. Since childhood, she has found ways to overcome the many trials and tribulations facing her. In her latest book, a memoir, Molly was able to navigate the perils of childhood with determination and gaiety.
Molly’s shared adventures, dating back to the 1950’s, expose raw emotion filled with courage, compassion, and humor. Reminiscing – La Vie en Rose has brought back the happiest of memories, where once again her loved ones are seen through rose colored glasses. Her collection of stories takes readers to places where they too can get lost in time…
A valuable source of inspiration!