A couple of months ago I shared with you the story of an amazing woman who I have been fortunate to friend who is the person who can find the silver lining to even the darkest cloud.
Donna McCart, mother, wife, daughter, and sister, is truly an inspiring and "full of life" woman. In a previous blog post here I shared what became her new normal 356 days ago when her husband Ray was diagnosed with the rare cancer Glioblastoma Multiforme IV.
On April 2, 2012, Donna's darkest cloud presented itself. Ray lost his battle to cancer at the age of 47.
At his memorial service last night, as I expected it to be, it was standing room only.
Despite not knowing Ray for long, and for only a short time before he was diagnosed with this beast of a cancer, I was surprised when I couldn't hold back the tears as his friends and family shared kind and funny words about him at the service. During the nontraditional service, I even cried when we were asked to sing "Take Me Out to The Ballgame" as Ray loved the game, especially when the Phillies played and won. He also loved it when his biggest star, his daughter, a passionate and gifted collegiate softball player, competed while he watched her shine.
Who knows, my tears could have been because I am an overly emotional human being, or that I re-felt the pain of what it was like to lose my father nearly 12 years ago to cancer as well, when I was in my twenties, just like Donna's daughter is experiencing now. Or, it could just be that I feel terrible pain for Donna and her daughter's loss and cannot imagine the void his loss will be in their lives moving forward.
What I do know is that because I am in a loving relationship and a mother as well that I couldn't imagine either my life without Daniel or Sarah or for them to have to endure such a great loss.
As I write this now, even more tears stream down my face, wishing Donna and her daughter, and their friends and family, strength, peace, and love during this difficult time in their lives, and pray that they are able to move forward, with their many memories of the wonderful human being Ray McCart was to them and others.
In a previous post here, I shared how I have tried to explain death to Sarah, who is now four years old. It's not an easy thing to do with a child, especially one who has such a vivid imagination, and who I don't want to scare.
I happened to share this approach of helping Sarah understand loss with Donna during one of our many conversations over the past year when we lived next door to them.
When I saw Donna the day Ray passed away I mentioned to her that we would be casting off a green balloon for Ray, and she smiled.
Therefore, today, we will be casting off a green balloon into the sky for Ray McCart, in loving memory of this wonderful and doting father, husband, brother, son, friend and more.
Ironically, the picture above just so happens to be in the backyard across from Donna and Ray's home. On that day Sarah was casting off a green balloon when we lost our beloved kitty Sammy.
Teaching young children about death is not any easy thing to do. It's not a one size fits all approach either. I am even in the process of trying to identify a good book to read with Sarah to help her understand a bit more, as her questions have become more and more as people and pets have passed on during her early years.
This blog is dedicated to the memory of Ray McCart and in honor of his family, his survivors, who need to pave the way moving forward with renewed strength.