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September 09, 2012

Blessed empathy

No matter what we go through in life it truly can be a gift to develop real empathy.  After our losses I have done a huge amount of soul searching and self analysis.  Through my social work training I always could display empathy and always felt very deeply for other people and animals. It is not until you experience real loss and extreme sadness that you can begin to empathise with people on a new and different level.  As fate would have it on the return flight home after being in my home town for the past week for a funeral of a dear old Auntie I was seated next to a lady flying to Ireland to see her first grandchild.  She was a lovely warm lady with a country background such as myself and we just clicked.  I felt a moment of real connection when she shared that the last time she flew to Ireland was 2 years ago when her Sons first child, and her first born grandchild died at birth.  My heart sank first and I thought oh my goodness how can I hold back the tears, but I did and I was able to say how sorry I was for them.  Having been lucky enough to have read many stories through the baby loss community I had the right words to say.  I didn't talk about my own losses as I didn't feel it was the right place but I certainly could relate deeply to her families heartache and their struggle to conceive their rainbow baby.

I had returned to my home state to attend the funeral of my Beautiful Auntie Edith who was 94 years old.  She was such a lady and a person who I have really admired for her strength and courage.  She lost her husband 30 years ago, as well as laying to rest over the past 20 or so years her brother (My Grandpa) and her 3 sisters. She has also buried 2 of her adult daughters through breast cancer and a sudden brain hemorrhage and lost a Son in law through suicide.  What has stood out to me besides her amazing cooking! was her true kindness and generosity of spirit.  Despite the many many tragedies in her life which gave her every reason to be angry and bitter she never ever was.  Sometimes she may have been a bit sad but she would pick herself up, pull back her shoulders and get on with life with the great poise and dignity .  She is a hero to me and I have drawn on her life experience to give me courage with our grieving process over the past year or so.  I haven't had grandparents since I was 12 years old so this dear old Auntie was all we had left.  I didn't feel sad at her funeral, just happy that she lived an amazing life and died peacefully in her sleep after a short illness.  I hope one day I can be everything she was.  As I placed a flower on her lowered coffin I said thank you.  Thank you Auntie Edith for showing me what it is like to have real blessed empathy.  Here's some roses for you, your favourite thing xox




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