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I am a teacher and a writer. Yesterday I attended the funeral of one of my students. She is not the only one I have lost over the years. Several died in car crashes or as the result of them while I still taught. The tragedy of young lives lost made me ache for the young people, their parents, their siblings and other family members, and their friends. For many death was only a concept, but it became a reality. The students who have died recently are adults, some mothers and fathers, and some parents and even grandparents. I will miss knowing they could appear in a local store or on Facebook with great news or funny photos.
In Haunting Refrain I write about loss for characters over 2 lifetimes.
The church had been filled to overflowing and the service had seemed to last forever. Only the strength of Walter’s big body at her side and his big hand gave her strength to hold onto her daddy’s clammy one. The heat and closeness of so many hot bodies and the odor of sweat mingled with the smell of death threatened to make Sarita lost what little she had eaten this morning. The tall windows had been opened to let in fresh air, but people fanned with hymnal covers and papers. Still there was not enough air.
What difference would all the words make? Mama had survived the war, but succumbed to pneumonia. Everyone had loved mama and wanted to say a few words. She had helped every family in the area at births, nursed the sick, and found help for the needy.
Each eulogy reminded Sarita she would never see her mama again. The neighbors had lost a friend and would mourn her but, damn it, this family had lost its heart.
I know some people at the funeral yesterday felt they had lost their hearts. Not so. The survivors carry love and memories in their hearts.
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