One thing that I think we can all agree upon is that 2020 was a hot mess. I am so grateful for our police, firefighters, EMS, doctors, nurses, hospitals, teachers, work from home parents, truckers, farmers, grocery workers, postal workers, and the list goes on and on. You are true heroes.
I feel blessed that no one in my family became seriously ill with COVID-19. However, we have friends who suffered through the viral illness and who also lost loved ones. Isolation and loneliness pushed us grieving parents into another realm of ugliness. We had too much time to wallow in the “what if” or “if only” mire of grief. Dammit, we miss our child.
There was also time to rejuvenate our mind, body, and soul. I will be the first to admit that I succumbed to the drain of COVID-19 fatigue. I was scared. I missed my family. I lost my job. I needed a hug that would convey to my heart that everything would get better. I fell into a workout mode that bordered on obsession even though it was a healthy activity. What I couldn’t wrap my head around was not doing something I love, which is writing. I read a lot of books, but I couldn’t compose a coherent paragraph to save my life. Writer’s block to the 10th degree pressed down on me, hard.
Prior to the pandemic, I had begun working on the second edition of A Far Cry…From Home. I hemmed and hawed about how I wanted the updates to look and feel. For the first few months of lockdown, nothing was accomplished. Not one word felt right. One day, while mindlessly browsing through Facebook, I came across some memories that lit a fire under me. I read and reread all the wonderful conversations that I’d had with grieving parents over the past decade, and I knew what needed to be done.
I changed the original cover to a photo that I have loved from the moment I laid eyes on it. An afterword was added with my current thoughts and updates. I composed a list of books, songs and groups that help me along my journey. Most importantly, I added a special dedication page to the angels that have touched my life over the years. For I believe, the kindest way to comfort a grieving parent is to say their child’s name.
The following review is from Renee Daugherty, a member of our club, that I had the pleasure of meeting not long after she lost her son. There was an unquestionable connection the moment we shook hands and hugged. I am in awe of her strength and resilience, through the loss of her son, but other hardships as well. Her friendship is a precious gem.
“Sandy Richards has written a true story of the unbelievable pain and loss she felt after the death of her son, but also the unending love and hope on her path to healing. Everything hit home for me because I lost my son, Devin, too. I cried through some pages, smiled through others, and felt as if I had known Sandy and Tyler all their lives. I have read several books about losing your child; and while they were all good in their own ways, what sets Sandy’s book apart from the others is in having it written from her angel’s perspective. ‘A Far Cry…From Home‘ is a must read for anyone who has lost a child and needs to heal. I promise it will help.”
Reach out to others with a handwritten note, phone call, text, Facetime, or messenger pigeon. Connection keeps us whole and moving forward. We will get through this and be better for it.