By Mitch Carmody —

In December of 1987, our 9-year-old son, Kelly James, died following two arduous years of fighting brain cancer. That ensuing Christmas, we were so numb in our grief that much of it is now a faded memory. But that following Easter, we received a gift, a gift that I share it with you now.

When Kelly died, his sister Meagan was 6 years old; our only child now, she was left with two grieving parents who were in a deep funk for the most of a long Minnesota winter. We had fought so long to save her brother, tried so hard with everything we had at our disposal. We won many battles but ultimately we lost the war. We were wiped out, apathetic and at the lowest ebb in our lives. Thoughts of spring could not even penetrate the thick penumbra of grief that covered our souls.

Then our darling daughter gave us a gift, a homemade Easter card on Easter morning that not only penetrated that cocoon of sorrow but brought sunshine to our hearts.  It was one of the first indications that Kelly had survived his physical death and reached out to us in our pain. And he did it through his sister Meagan.

Easter morning, Meagan was busy in the kitchen making us a breakfast that only a 6-year-old could make, while we waited patiently and tried not to intervene. On the table, she had a homemade card made from the stapled pages she had ripped out of a 3″x5″ spiral notebook.  On the front page, she had a crayon drawing of an angel underneath a rainbow that said “Happy Easter Mom & Dad.”  The text in blue crayon scrawled on the next pages read thusly:

“To Mom and Dad, Please don’t be sad just for me, I hope you are happy, I love you and I am glad up in heaven, but I miss you… and Kelly said Happy Easter Mom and Dad, I make Meagan do it, but I put it in her brain. Love Kelly.”

As you can see, Meagan was a very thoughtful and talented 6-year-old with keen insights into helping her very sad parents smile again. Or perhaps it was the power of her brother Kelly’s undying spirit using her to communicate to us that life and love is eternal. I believe both happened. This first whisper of love penetrated our darkness and we again saw hope at Easter time.

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Mitch Carmody

After suffering many familial losses from a young age and ultimately with the death of his nine-year-old son of cancer in 1987, Mitch Carmody, has struggled with the grief journey and how grief is processed and perceived in this country. He published a book in 2002 called “Letters To My Son, a journey through grief." The book has now reached the bereaved in every state and 7 other countries. From the book’s success he now travels locally and around the country lecturing on the grief process and/or conducting workshops on surviving the loss of a loved one. He has also conducted a variety of workshops with The Compassionate Friends and Bereaved Parents USA as well as a sought after speaker for many keynote presentations. As a trained hospice volunteer, he has also helped many loved ones and their families through the dying process. Mitch has published several articles in national bereavement periodicals, is a frequent contributor to TCF Atlanta On-line and currently a staff writer for Living with Loss Magazine. Through email correspondence on his website he council’s the bereaved on a daily basis. Since the death of his son 19 years ago, Mitch has dedicated his life to helping those individuals and families whom are trying to navigate in the uncharted territory of death, dying and the bereavement process. Through his compassionate insight and gentle spirit he will touch your heart and hopefully give you tools to aid you on your journey Mitch lives in rural Minnesota with my wife of thirty years, he enjoys riding my horses, gardening, writing, helping others, giving blood monthly and creating works of art. He is also a proud first time grandfather to the daughter of their surviving daughter Meagan. To learn more about Mitch and his work, go to: Mitch appeared on the radio show “Healing the Grieving Heart” discussing “Letters From My Son.” To hear Mitch being interviewed on this show by Dr. Gloria and Dr. Heidi Horsley, click on the following link: Mitch appeared again on the radio show “Healing the Grieving Heart” discussing the Holidays, Helpful or Hurtful? To hear Mitch interviewed by Dr. Gloria & Dr. Heidi Horsley, click on the following link:

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