Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Bow

You know how when a character in a movie or book dies, there is usually something great that follows to make the death seem somehow worthwhile? I just read a book where the patriarch of a family on his death bed urged his son-in-law to love his wife forever. He knew they were on the brink of divorce and somehow with his last breath was able to convince them to give their marriage another shot. (Seriously, if I ever write a book, I promise not to make it sooooo cliche.)

I read the novelization of a movie called "The Ultimate Gift." Not to give away the ending for anyone planning to read/watch it but one of the sub-plots is a spunky little girl who dies from leukemia. Senseless, right? But through her spunkiness, she befriends a man who appears homeless but is merely a playboy in a phase of events mandated by his deceased grandfather's will. The girl introduces her divorced mother to the homeless man and of course they hit it off. (What mother in the midst of caring for terminally ill child wouldn't be attracted to a smelly, seemingly crazy person?) Anyhoo, after the girl's death, the man completes the tasks and is given a large chunk of change. Since he has repented of his superficial ways, he uses the money and his influence to create a center for families of critically ill children which he names after the memorable child of his new girlfriend. (Hardly believeable but a good story.)

In a moment of delirium a month or so ago, I watched "Extreme Home Makeover". (Why do I watch that show???) There was a teenager who was killed in a car accident and his organs were donated. The recipient of his heart was a talented, humble 20 year old woman. The two families were united in a moment of deep sorrow matched with gratitude that would leave the most cynical person brimming with emotion.

Though I know they are just putting a bow on their package to make it palatable to the audience, I find myself expecting a comparable thing to happen as a result of Lillian's death. Unfortunately there is not much of a call for organs filled with chemo. And I have yet to inherit a million dollars. Still, I am hoping something good comes from all of this. And I know God is working even if I can't always see the results. I think that's what they call faith, right?


Katie Newsom April 24, 2007 at 9:41 AM  


I have been reading your blog, unsure of how to say hello, but when I read "The Bow" I knew I had to...I almost choked on my cereal I was laughing so hard.

You are so funny, and incredibly insightful. I too saw "The Gift', and agree that a smelly man (or any man) may not be on my radar while caring for my dying baby...however, I liked the message and family friendly rating.

I am always looking for that silver lining in life and have asked many times "where the hell is it"? My niece died 3 years ago, and I still don't see "The Bow" neatly tied around her death, maybe that is a weakness in me, maybe it takes longer than 3 years, maybe that is just life. I do know it is our story and good or bad I am glad to be in this one.

You don't ask for help, or even reassurance, but I want to tell you anyway that Lillian's life mattered to us, and so did her death. You may be looking for the difference your life can make from this, but she left a huge impact on this world. She is the silver lining in your story.

I have a theory about why children die, I believe that God sends them down, and then misses these precious babies so much, he has to call them back. Like taking your baby to daycare, by the end of the day you are running to greet them, now imagine years of missing them. I bet he really missed that sweet girl and was running to greet her.

Thank you for staying in touch with all of us, and please write a book are hysterical!!!

I am a really good coffee date if you need one!

Jen April 24, 2007 at 2:10 PM  


I have not seen that movie but I can see how it would play out from your writing. Many people have mentioned this over the course of lillians illness and death and your new blog, you should write a book. Even if it is just a diary/blog , I dont want to say based, but i cant think of the word i am looking for, oh, yeah, style, I think that people, even those that are not families going through this particular situation, anyine wh has had a loss at anytime could and can relate to your writing.

We are behind you 100% in whatever you do!!! Your family LOVES you!!!

Jen, Sean, and Ana

Anonymous April 25, 2007 at 10:53 AM  


You just have a way with words. I am in awe of the strength that you have to even write humor right now. I read something the other day that made me think of you. This article was a similair situation as yours, and it said "I knew a mother's love was stronger than a mother's grief." Keep your faith in the Lord. We are all praying for your continued healing.


Dorothy Garcia

Anonymous April 25, 2007 at 2:00 PM  

Hi Lori,

Thank you so much for continuing the blog. The loss of Lillian was so real for me each day when I would do my 'internet routine' and check the Lillian pages. "The Next Chapter" seems to both permit and buffer the grief.

As a psychologist I listen to people dredge through their pain and internal torture 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. With each therapy session I become better acquainted with the intensity of grief, sadness, anger, etc...all the 'bad' emotions, the 'vulnerable' emotions that leave us feeling lost and alone. I see how much we want to avoid heartache but I know that, to do so, will result in prolonged agony. So we choreograph a dance between experiencing the depths of our hurt and attempting to continue on with life.

I wish I could tell you why ‘these things happen.’ I wish I knew ‘God’s plan.’ I wish I knew the purpose of all the pain in the world. I do not, however, wish there was a pretty, shiny bow I could put around this experience to make it palatable to the world. There is nothing palatable about the death of a child. This is the pain you have to dance in and out of each successive day following the loss of Lillian.

What I do believe is this: Life is about relationships. It’s about your relationship with Lillian, with Jeff, with your family, with your friends, with God. This pain, while I imagine it feels like the loneliest place in the world, is connecting you to others. Your blog, your expression of the grief, loss, longing, sadness, is connecting you to all of us.

Yesterday a client said to me, “just when I think my pain is so much worse than anything anyone else has ever experienced or anyone else could ever understand, just when I am feeling the most isolated and alone, I learn that someone else has felt this way or that I’m not the first one to feel this bad. And I don’t necessarily feel better, but at least I feel connected. At least I don’t feel so isolated, which I decided is the most important part of life anyway. I don’t mind the sadness as long as I’m not alone.” (How many 21-year-olds have this kind of insight? Seriously.)

By sharing your thoughts and feelings in the wake of such profound loss we are all drawn into deeper relationship with you and each other. We can feel your grief and walk beside you as you make sense of life after a senseless loss. Thank you for allowing us into your world and for strengthening these relationships.

Take care,
Cousin Sara

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