After my grandson Connor’s death in May, Reverend Mark Puckett, pastor of the church my sons and their families attend, kindly and thoughtfully included me as a recipient of a series of books, “Journeying through Grief,” by Kenneth C. Haugk and published by Stephen Ministries. How grateful I am that he did!
This morning I read a chapter in book three that I believe will change forever how I interact with others who grieve. The chapter addressed the fact that people often avoid mentioning the deceased loved one’s name for fear of making us cry, and the pain it causes when no one does, as if the person we are grieving never existed. I’ve been guilty of this because of an incident that happened soon after my mother’s death. It must have been only a few weeks after, since she died in the middle of August and we had just started our school year (the 6th grade for me) when, as I ate lunch, one of the teachers came up and told me how sorry she had been to learn of my mother’s death. Of course, tears filled my eyes and my chin quivered. I saw the two kids across the lunchroom table whispering when one asked the other why I cried. All these years I’ve shied away from bringing up the names of those recently deceased for fear of causing more pain, but now I realize that my experience as a 10-year-old doesn’t necessarily apply in every situation.
I’m proud of Connor’s parents, my son Jack and daughter-in-law Kristen, and the way they celebrate Connor’s life and honor his memory as #TeamConnorJ, along with Elizabeth, Connor’s little sister. They participate in running events and fun runs, most recently in Florence for United Cerebral Palsy of Northwest Alabama’s “Life Without Limits Race”. They don’t let their grief overshadow the love and joy Connor brought to their lives, and I learn from and am inspired by their example. Thank you, Kristen for sharing your photos!
Elizabeth, member of #TeamConnorJ!Photo by Kristen Jacobs