Small Maine towns are knit tighter. Because the lasting connections run deep, wide, long.
Partly because we are in common families. That DNA overlaps with community events we all pitch in and pull off together. You see each other a lot in small Maine towns. Traveling the same circles.
Our Maine children intensify the closeness too.
Family is everything. All you need. But sporting, musical, church activities come into play. Causing the lasting friendships beyond just lucky enough to be related. To lots of strong, neat people in small Maine towns that work together to make them extra special.
So what do you do, say, are suppose to feel when one of the local children, young adults sprouts wings?
Flies away heaven bound way way too early. But leaving a sea of emotions in the wake. To rock, reel and recover from in the days ahead.
For comfort, peace, the healing of raw wounds to begin. To fill the void. Shared by not a few but so many touched by the child in the small Maine town.
Any parent would agree that there is no greater loss to suffer than of a child.
And you, I would hands down be unanimous it must by far be the single worst possible situation to find yourself in. But how do you truly know that sucker punch feeling where no air fills your lungs? Unless it happens to you. That wakes you up if you sleep at all. Hoping it was just a pretend nightmare. To try to process, to begin to accept and recover from the shocking news.
Delivered by a doctor, a family member, the police or soldier holding a telegram. Head bowed, hat in hand and wishing the news was different. Cling to that Eagle watching over the household for days before lift off.
Have a friend who was blessed with five kids. A tragic backyard accident involving an oak tree, a swing took the life of one son, injured another. And he described the funeral, what people said wanting, trying to help. “Well at least you have four other kids” as if you were pushing the limits. Somehow overdoing it anyway.
Or in the long line where the grieving family members suffering the loss are in a row. In shock, exhausted, totally numb. But having to hold it all together standing up front not sitting down in the back. To be the much needed support for others at the funeral that file in to pay their last respects.
My friend who lost a child said you would hear from other parents too that knew childhood death early.
You would think their story would help light the pathway ahead. Make them feel less like a parent that is now an orphan. But he said it did not help. He was angry and growing more hot under the collar.
Because they started out saying “I know just how you feel” while he thought no, no you don’t. And then the next twenty minutes he felt like their grief counselor while they cried, relived the pain they suffered step by step. Putting his on hold in the process where all he can do is listen. Like it or not. While he and his wife, the other kids were struggling to even pick out, identify the individual feelings churning inside.
People want to help, are sincere in those attempts. But celebrating the short life, highlighting the bright spots, finding something positive. To enrich the lives of those left behind is the sermon goal.
And one by one, every member of a small Maine town tries to do just that. Offering comfort in their own individual way. When a small Maine town loses a child. It is not limited, contained to just the four outer insulated walls of the family home. And extends, ripples thorough the community. Where everyone has a hand in the healing. Because they share the pain.
The best support for the family that has lost a child is saying I am sorry.
I don’t know. I can not begin to imagine what you are feeling right now, in the days ahead. But I am here. Now, tomorrow, forever. Cooking, supporting, running errands, providing child care, hugs, the two ears are yours just for listening.
Not full of advice, not assuring you this too shall past. Who are you trying to kid? They, not you lost their precious child. So stop crying, carrying on or do that part in private. Otherwise you make the parents, brothers, sisters, family all feel bad. Responsible for what it is doing to you. For something they could not stop. Had zero control over.
Instead try praying on your knees without ceasing for them. Lots of silent private prayers day and night. That’s how you help behind closed eyes, holding clasped hands.
Then listen, embrace, think of small ways that you can help in deed, in actions. Not just at the funeral where there is more than enough well wishing. But later during the long stretch of twists and turns ahead. Providing not just words, cards, money, all the pictures dug out and shared on posts. But you are off to the side ready to hop into the middle. No matter what is needed to lighten that load. To show you are not going through this alone parents, family in a small Maine town.
Where the star is the one of the new twinkles, sparkles over your right shoulder in a cold winter sky.
Look. See it? Now parked with a slightly pink hue radiating that separates it from all the millions. Picked out easily. Up on the backdrop of black velvet.
Make a wish upon that star to cause good to come out of the sad times. To replace the empty feelings of a big hole when a small Maine town loses a child.
In my small town in Northern Maine, it will be hard today unless you are totally blind to not notice a sea of pink for Hannah.
I’m Maine REALTOR Andrew Mooers, ME Broker