Mourners Surrounded by Sacred Moments

Ever since my daughter died from the injuries she received in a car crash in 2007, I’ve become more aware of the sacred moments in my life.  Before she died I thought I was aware of these moments, but this turned out to be untrue.  I was sort of aware of them.

Other family members also died that year, my father-in-law, brother, and former son-in-law.  His death made my twin grandchildren orphans, and my husband and I became their court appointed guardians.  I’ve had many sacred moments after my grandchildren moved in with us when they were 15 years old.

One moment, and there have been many others, is seeing how much my granddaughter resembles her mother.  As she matures, her features and profile are almost identical to her mother’s.  She also has the same walk, same gestures, and uses similar expressions in conversation.  The first time I noticed this resemblance I wanted to cry, yet managed to contain my tears.

Seeing my grandchildren inducted into the National Honor Society was another sacred moment.  Last week, when I attended the high school Honors Choir concert, I was totally unprepared for the effect it had on me.  As the choir members walked onto the stage and took their places on the risers, I realized again how much my granddaughter looked like her mother.

It was as if my deceased daughter had come to life again.

Then the choir began to sing and I was stunned by their professionalism.  In fact, the music was so moving I began to cry.  “I’m experiencing a sacred moment,” I said to myself.  Indeed, seeing my granddaughter sing with the choir and a duet with her friend made the experience even more sacred.  I was impressed by my granddaughter’s poise and knew her mother would be proud of her.

I wished, oh how I wished, my daughter was there to share the moment.  Though she was not, I felt she was represented by the presence of my husband, my grandson (her twin brother), and the man she had planned to marry. He sat next to me and we discussed the children’s progress.  He took dozens of photos of my granddaughter during the concert and afterwards.  “I look at the photos and see Helen,” he commented.

Attending the twin’s graduation will be another sacred moment.  Both of them will receive medals.  When they leave for their respective colleges, I will be sad and happy at the same time. From the beginning, being the twins’ guardian has been a sacred experience and it will continue through their college years.

With the wisdom of sorrow and age, I now know that I’m surrounded by sacred moments.  You may have come to the same conclusion, for sorrow, itself, is a sacred time.  Our awareness of life’s sacred moments can help us turn sorrow into joy.

Harriet Hodgson

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Harriet Hodgson has been a freelancer for 38 years, is the author of 36 books, and thousands of print/Internet articles. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists, Minnesota Coalition for Grief Education and Support, and Grief Coalition of Southeastern Minnesota. In 2007 four of her family members died—her daughter (mother of her twin grandchildren), father-in-law, brother (and only sibling), and the twins’ father. Multiple losses shifted the focus of Hodgson’s work from general health to grief resolution and recovery, and she is the author of eight grief resources. Hodgson has appeared on more than 185 radio talk shows, including CBS Radio, dozens of blog talk radio programs, and dozens of television stations, including CNN. In addition to writing for Open to Hope, Hodgson is a contributing writer for The Grief Toolbox website, and The Caregiver Space website. A popular speaker, she has given presentations at public health, Alzheimer’s, hospice, grief, and caregiving conferences. Hodgson’s work is cited in Who’s Who of American Women, World Who’s Who of Women, Contemporary Authors, and other directories. For more information about this busy wife, grandmother, author and family caregiver, please visit www.harriethodgson.com.

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