If you haven't any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble. ~Bob Hope

Friday, March 16, 2012

Illuminating HALO

I have enjoyed reconnecting with many of my childhood friends on Facebook. I enjoy when I can identify the adult based on the offspring's pic. I love seeing where everyone is geographically, professionally, spiritually, mentally, at the moment, you get the picture.

I distinctly remember for some reason, the tagging of a particular wedding picture on the occasion of an anniversary. There is something so ethereal about the wedding pictures of folks who are truly, deeply, and magically in love. There was a glow about his face I don't think I ever saw when we were growing up. It epitomized the joy of having a Facebook family. A few days passed and the tone changed, an urgent need for prayer, the unknowing, and then the news...the baby was lost.

I have been blessed not to have to go down that road. I can imagine the pain, though. They say losing a child is the worst pain that anyone ever has to go through. My parents went through that though. It was always quite surreal to me to see that fourth birth certificate with those teeny tiny footprints. Matthew was about 18 months older than me and sometimes I would fantasize about how life with an older brother would have been and who he would have hung out with and weird things like that, even though to some extent had he survived I probably wouldn't have come into existence. Anyway,  I do remember distinctly my mother's (then weird) sadness around what I know now to be his birthday.

There are many things that people used to push down and sweep away that we now realize should be acknowledged, rode out, and worked through. We are blessed these days to understand grieving and mourning and that it is a process that takes time regardless of  whether the decedent is 1 or 101.

I never know what to say in times like that. It's one of my shortcomings. It's not ambivalence. I usually have things in my head but I just never seem to know how to put them into words at times like that, so I retreat from the potentially awkward situation entirely.  I'm working on that though.

There were a couple of weeks of post after the loss, and a lot of things that I am sure people wondered about. I personally stopped wondering about anyone and just pray when I am not sure what exactly is going on. Then, nothing. Or at least nothing that was showing up on my Facebook radar until tonight.

Honoring Angels Like Owen (HALO) is a non-profit started by my friend and his wife  to "develop, promote, foster, and support the spiritual and emotional needs of families who have lost a child from 20 weeks gestation up to the age of 2 years old. " I say amen! For too long there has been such a gap in this sort of support for women and men and families experiencing the loss of a child.

Like I said, I have been blessed in that I have not had an experience like they had. As a mother of two though, I can completely and totally sympathize with the pain that would result from losing a child before you were really formally introduced to them. There is so much dreaming that goes on during those nine months that to not be able to live out even one day seems cruel.

HALO currently serves the Montgomery, Alabama area and needs your support. Please take a minute to visit their page http://www.honoringangelslikeowen.org/index.html,; say a prayer,; donate your time, talent, and money; help them help others.

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