Sunday, March 18, 2012

Speaking with our loved ones before their death

Yesterday I attended an event marking the first anniversary of Owen Brezitski's death. Owen was 8 and was killed while walking with his family in a crosswalk in the Harrisburg, PA area. The driver was a teen who hit the gas instead of the brake. Owen's mother spoke about the last conversation that she had with her son. She told him how proud she was of him, how she so admired him for many of his attributes and all who heard her speak could feel the love that she had for him. She also said how thankful she was that Owen knew how she felt about him. As I listened in tears I recalled the last conversation that I had with Casey in which she told me she was happy. It has made my mourning easier knowing, that in addition to living a very full 21 years of life and positively affecting so many others,that Casey was happy. I was struck by the "coincidence" of parents, immediately before their children's deaths, being given the gift of a deeply meaningful conversation with their children. It is something we can hold on to as we think of all the things that will never come to pass for us as parents and for our children. As life goes on and I become more open to others I am feeling as time goes on that the coincidences are not coincidental. As I do grief counseling with families whose loved ones have died in hospice I see that despite the advance knowledge of impending death, many families do not have that meaningful conversation before their loved one dies. How fortunate we were for this gift.

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