Has anyone ever done something for you, out of the blue- that is beyond kind and wondrous? I have had this experience, many times...often, I forget soon enough to say thank you. My post today will speak of a kindness born out of tragedy, out of despair- yet even though these people who are going out of their way for me and mine have been through the fire of the loss of a child- they reach out to me, for me- in joy. On Saturday, April 5th, at dusk, Petersburg fairgrounds- there will be a fireworks show in honor of my late son, Beau.
(Brief: Shattered lives, helpless hearts- when the shock wears off, the journey's just begun.)
Seldom read the paper
so why did I today-
pick a piece of torment
on the obituary page
Another senseless tragedy-
twenty two and full of life
a local boy not quite a man,
he'll never take a wife
Oh his parents, numb struck parents
for them it's just begun
their questions in the multitudes
and answers they'll find- none.
I pray that those who reach to them
think of what they'll say
and only heal in time of need-
not hurt them more today
Small town folk will bustle
to the resting place
and offer tears and "I'll be here-"
and then just walk away-
They think they really mean it,
when offering everything
but they have reason to go on-
they just can't know the sting...
Oh the parents, poor sweet parents
it only has begun-
The road of grief, a million miles
they'll crawl through every one.
Them are the people who are holding the fireworks show, they lost their son tragically, too soon and I had just happened to be reading the paper, when I learned of their sorrow. I do not like to attend funerals (who does?!), but especially now- it is a difficult endeavor for me. John's wake was the first I had attended since my son's funeral- I did not want to go, knew I'd fall apart, but for them- I had to go. John and Beau attended school together, grew up together- different in personality and musical tastes, but good, uncommon unique individuals- I think they respected each other for those differences. After L. and V. lost John, I made sure they saw me, hoping they might come to realize this is what survivors look like, I was "a member of the club" a year longer than they. I needed to be there for them, had to see them through in any way I could, I knew the road they would have to travel. After reading the obituary, I wrote the above poem- I never shared it, I didn't think at the time that it would serve any purpose, didn't want them to know of the days to come...only hoped and prayed for them an awareness of taking each day, and only that day- as it came.
I saw them last year at my farmer's market- we hugged. They had told me of their lives intwinement with organ donation- how strongly they felt that something good should and could come from something so very tragic. They filled me in on their ever growing business in firework shows, how this too seemed to serve the purpose of a higher love, connection and joy given to countless others. I was offered a sincere loving gift- pick a few songs, Beau would be remembered in this year's vendor extravaganza- a major fireworks display in April. Six weeks ago, I received a letter telling me, showing me- that now the whole show would be dedicated in honor of my son. Many of his favorite songs and some USMC fight songs would be choreographed with the booming artillery. To say that I was touched does not scratch the surface of my feelings for this extreme, kind gesture. Turns out both John and Beau loved fireworks. Every year on my son's birthday, we celebrate-with fireworks. And now this ultimate gesture of honor, remembrance. It will be both a difficult display to watch and at the same time- a beautiful experience. In the dark, out of the dark- light and sparks and brightness- exploding love. Thank you friends, you know not what you do. Here I smile...