Sunday, April 28, 2013

Heather's Story: A guest post by Kenneth A O'Shaughnessy

Heather is on the far right. I'm guessing she's dancing up a storm in Heaven!

Wednesday, I got a Facebook message from a friend, she had messaged several of us from the gym, letting us know that the news just broke that the police found Heather. Heartbroken (I have overused that word but there isn't a better one), I posted the link to the news story. Seemingly within minutes, Ken sent me a crushingly perfect poem. I asked him to tell us about the process. I didn't expect his kind words, but I appreciate the encouragement so much.

I met Sharaze through my best friends, and over the course of the past year I've become somewhat invested in her story. As I've followed her blog and Facebook posts, I've been impressed with the way she's responded to the various events, both the dramatic and mundane, that God has brought into her family's life. During this time, I returned to writing regularly myself, especially poetry. I was privileged to write a number of pieces during their recent adoption saga, the first a poem of an adoptive parent explaining to the child how they came to be with them, and the final one a prayer to God about the loss of something hoped for but never received. You can read these here.

Kenneth A O'Shaughnessy
I didn't know Heather, Sharaze's friend, but Sharaze imbues her blog posts with so much feeling that it was not difficult to feel as though I were involved in this latest chapter as well, not the least of which is the feeling for a friend who is missing a friend. So when it came to an end, I was struck primarily by a thought for those left behind - especially those who would be most affected, the children. The thought of someone having to tell these kids what had happened to both of their parents captured me to the point that, like when I heard of the loss of Grant, I had to write something to be able to process the thoughts. The way I explore hard questions is simply as questions - and sometimes, questions just have no satisfying answers. When I first wrote it, I was unable to do anything with it other than send it to Sharaze; I finally did post it a few hours later here where you can read my early thoughts about the piece.

I wish I could say I hope this poem helps somebody, but I know it simply organizes some questions, and gives no answers whatsoever. I think the only thing it may do is bring a focus on the grief inherent in a situation like this one, and maybe help us to feel in a situation that leaves us numb. I hope at least that it becomes useful to those dealing with this situation in some way - that's why I write.

How Do I Tell You?
by Kenneth A O'Shaughnessy
How do I tell you
That the one who gave you life
Has had life taken away from her
Without taking your life too?

How do I tell you
That the one whose love made you
Inside the other one who loved you
Has now unmade that one?

How do I tell you
That the God who cares for you
Cares for you best by taking away
The ones who care for you?

How do I tell you
You are really and truly loved
When all you loved in the world
Is really and truly gone?

How do I tell you
When I can't even tell myself
And I just want to be held
Like I'm holding you?

Donations to The Connor and Ava Jones Charity Fund can now be made at any Regions Bank location nationwide or mailed to Regions Bank Germantown-Poplar Branch, 7744 Poplar Avenue, Germantown, TN 38138.

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