Good Grief

"Summer has come and passed.
The innocent can never last.
Wake me up when September ends. . ." - Green Day

I had a charmed childhood. Although my grandfather Jake had passed away when I was very young, I did not have to deal with the understanding of what loss meant.

It wasn't until I was in my mid-twenties that my great-Grandparents passed away, within ten hours of each other. We took great comfort that they had gone together. They'd lived a full life in ninety years, held their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great grandchildren.

In recent years, I've lost three grandmothers. I knew those were coming and handled them with due dignity. It's normal for old people to pass away - it's going to happen to all of us, hopefully waaaaaay down the road.

When my beloved stepDad died in 2007, I felt like my whole world had fallen apart. But I watched my Mother and followed her example of strength, and I passed it on to my kids. I still miss him every day, especially on this one, when I could really really use his practical advice.

This morning, I woke the Edge (of 17) so that she would have time to get ready for the funeral. While she knew the 15 year-old, they were not close. She is, however, close to some of his friends. "They're too young to even drive themselves, Mom. I'm going to take a bunch of fifteen year-olds to a fifteen year -old's funeral. That sucks."

What words of comfort do I offer her? What can I say that can heal the wound caused by a young life cut way too short?

Muddling through, I could only tell her that it would make this young man's parents feel good to see all the people there, that she was a good person for being there for her friends. I asked her if she wanted me to go with her, and must admit that I was relieved that she said "no."

I reminded her of one of my Mom's favorite quotes: the deeper sorrow carves into one's being, the more joy it can contain.

"You know what I just realized, Mom. It's 9/11."

"Yep, it sure is. But you know what, Baby, we all got up on 9/12 and kept on going. . . " she walked over to me and I opened my arms.

Days like this can sure make a parent feel lame (teen word! I know, I'm so hip!) But even in our lame-ness, we can still offer the one thing that makes everyone feel better - a hug from Momma.

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