FROM FRAN JENNINGS
MICHAEL JOHN LOMBARDO: MAY 22, 1981 – DECEMBER 14, 2011
On May 22, 2012 my son Michael John Lombardo would have turned 31 had he not passed away on December 14, 2011. My beautiful young man was bigger than life. Funny, loud, a story teller in which every story started out with “wait till you hear this.” I think it is hardest not to hear his voice. Technology has preserved his words in print and sound, as well as his days wrestling, body building, dancing and kidding around, and for that I am grateful. Still, his death, his physical absence is so painful that watching or listening to those snippets brings me to tears. I think they always will. I am grateful for those thirty years, for being his mother, for his love.
This grief stricken road is horrendous, intensely painful, lonely, and ambiguous. Only those who have traveled it before can understand. They are like wise sages with their hands outstretched and their hearts open and allow themselves to be vulnerable to your pain. Most, I have found offer words of wisdom, practical strategies and hope. I am appreciative of them.
As therapist who has helped others, I now stand with my broken heart and ask for guidance. I journal dreams and what I perceive as spiritual signs, as well as process my thoughts and feelings, receive massages, read books that offer hope and consolation, and talk to others who wear my shoes. My son always wrote “I love you” on every card or letter, and I had it traced and tattooed on my wrist. It has been such a comfort when I am driving or writing and twist my wrist to see in print his hand writing the words I long to hear. I use an aromatherapy grief blend a friend made for me before bed, and sometimes wear his hoodie when I am cold. These are some things that I have found to offer some solace, and at the very least keep me distracted when needed.
On the first birthday since his death I will attend a mass being offered for him with his siblings and some friends. I will visit his resting place and just spend the day remembering him, his humor and celebrating his life. I miss and love my son, that is a constant. Still, my life is different. It will never be the same, but I have to live as fully as I can for my other son, Matthew. He too, has suffered a tremendous loss, and it is a joy to be his mother and present to him. So, I am learning to live with this incredible void in my life, managing. Some days are better than others. This road is new and I am still raw, so I pray that in time I have more better days than difficult ones.
A friend told me that Michael lives because I do, and so I share him with you so he lives on. Happy 1st Birthday in heaven Michael, my beautiful son.
FROM ROSE ANOLIK
RACHEL ANOLIK-PETRSORIC: SEPTEMBER 7, 1969- MAY 2, 2007
May 2, 2012 marked five years since our daughter Rachel passed. It has been very difficult, as you all know, and will continue to be forever life changing. This year, 2012, the days of the week were the same as in 2007; May 2 was a Wednesday. The day Rachel passed and May 4 was a Friday, the day of her funeral.
This year a dear woman we affectionately called Grandma Millie, my son-in law Bryan’s grandmother and my grandson Ben’s great grandmother, passed at the age of 91. I had not known her that long but I admired her very much. She had been quite ill for a few weeks. She passed on May 2, 2012 and I found myself at her funeral on Friday, May 4, 2012. While I see Millie’s passing as a natural part of life and Rachel’s passing as a tragic part of life, I could not help but think of the irony of the dates. Actually, Rachel knew Millie for a short time and she was also fond of her.
After the funeral Ben came over and asked me if Grandma Millie will be together with aunt Rachel and, of course, I answered they would be.