Sunday, January 8, 2012

How to Bury a Child

"A parent is not supposed to bury a child."

I'm sure you have heard this many times as I have.  This statement is so very personal and true for those of you who have lost a child.  I have often wondered how a parent does bury a child.  How does a parent deal with one of the most painful of all losses?

Bob and Amy Hazelwood of Granger, IN have had to not only answer that question, but live their answer.  Their Angie was born in Hawaii in 1974 and celebrated her first Christmas there.
A few years later they moved back to their home in Northern Indiana where Angie grew up as a vivacious, out-going young lady.  Her parents were always very involved with all her activities, such as making this pinata for her class Christmas party.

Angie grew up and followed her mother into the dental field by becoming a Dentist.  I did not know Angie personally, but have heard so much about her and know from others that she was such a loving and giving person.  Let one of her friends share a memory with you:
She was in the midst of dental school and all of a sudden she just shows up on my door steps with these amazing stuffed shells. I asked her what she was doing at my house and that she didn't have to bring anything over and in true Angie fashion she answered "Isn't that what friends do when their friends have a baby -- they bring over dinner?" As if she had any time to be making me dinner and bringing over a baby gift and gifts for the boys.....but that was so Angie -- always making time to be a good friend.
How a person consistently treats their friends says so much about them.  This is another friend's memory: 
When my dad died last year, everyone was very nice, and generously took food to my grandma's house. But what meant so much to me when Angie showed up at my house with pizzas and drinks for our small little group. I just will never forget her friendship and how much that thoughtful act meant to me.

Doesn't she sound like a person you would love to have known? Better yet, she is a person I would like to emulate.

Because so many people knew and loved Angie, Bob and Amy were the recipients of a sharing love this Christmas.  Being next door to them, we woke to find their yard decorated and wondered what it all meant.  I'll let Amy tell you about it.

We already knew we were blessed with many amazing people....and no one will admit who did this, but we were surprised by a huge box of presents with an angel statue on our front porch this morning. Decorations were hung all over the front yard and porch. It had to be from those who knew Bob likes chocolate and movies, and knew Angie's special colors. Gifts of warmth & kindness and messages of Peace & Believe were on some very special items. How did you know that the special little lime green tree I have in Angie's memory would go so well with everything? I was not quite sure what Christmas Commandos were, so I looked it up on the web site: 
"The Commandos is an foundation that brings the spirit of Christmas to those who need it most, especially during the holiday season. On Christmas Eve, the commandos visit homes where there is great sadness due to a tragic death of a child or parent with children at home. The commandos leave gifts of love in hopes to bring joy to the remaining family members. Decorations of garland, ornaments, and candy canes are hung around the yard and an angel statue is left in memory of the lost love. Since 1999, the commandos have brought Christmas to over 350 homes and joy to over 1,500 family members."

All I can say is thank you for helping ease us through this challenging day.

 

So, how does a parent deal with the death of a child?  I have no idea what I would do.  I want to believe I would handle it in the Lord's strength with faith and courage.  I read recently of a mother who has told the story of her daughter through paintings.  Let me share with you how Amy is dealing with her loss.

She is sharing her thoughts and memories of her precious daughter and friend with those who also knew and loved Angie.  Because of Amy's sharing Angie, I have gotten to know her myself.  Because Amy loves to talk about her daughter and to hear what others remember of her, she not only is healing her own great grief, but is helping others who are also experiencing loss to heal.  Amy will still tear up and cry as she shares something especially meaningful to her, but those tears fall over a beautiful, tender, loving smile.

Let me share with you one of Amy's treasured memories: 
Last summer, (2010) I had a dental assignment in New York City and invited Angie to go with me since she had not been there. The week before, the ad agency called to say that things were being rescheduled for the following week.
 We could have cancelled the trip, but decided to go anyway. I had made my plans just did not want to miss the opportunity to hang with Angie in NYC.
Looking back, Angie's lymphoma was there, but we did not know it yet. The decision to go turned out to be so good...created some super memories.
As a result of this trip, Amy shares this timeless advice:  "Don't pass on opportunities with loved ones." 
 

Angie lost her fight against cancer in October of this year.  She is no longer here, but because of the impact this beautiful lady had on the lives of those with whom she came in contact, and her mother's sharing this life with others, her memory is.
I think this is how you bury a child.

4 comments:

  1. Oh, my goodness, what can I say? What a lovely post.

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  2. This is an email response from Amy Hazelwood regarding this blog:
    "I got on your site, and cried some sweet tears. I think you have a wonderful way of expressing things exactly the way I would want. I am going to direct my email audience there. Isn't it amazing how connections are made?"

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  3. Thanks for sharing as always you make me smile and cry at the same time. I love this so much I am sharing with all my friends and family so they know how much Angie was loved and still loved by all when we hear her life stories. I see her now floating above all of us smiling with that amazing smile she has. She makes the sunshine day and night with all her memories! Love and prayers to all who have lost.
    Diana Warner Blimling

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