She comes with the hummingbirds

Wed., Aug.14, marks the third anniversary of my mom’s passing. During those early weeks and months after she slipped into the great mystery, I wrote a lot about grief. This column and my blog became healing outlets. Kind, compassionate words from friends, readers and even complete strangers held me up during those early days following her death. 

The before and the after — living with grief

There are only a handful of life experiences that result in a definitive before and after. I now know that losing a parent is one of those. 

My mom passed away on Sunday, Aug. 14, after a three-year battle with cancer. While she had been sick a long time, her death was unexpected and sudden. The week before she passed, she took my two little boys to the North Carolina Zoo. We knew she was getting worse, but she was fighting and still responding to some of her treatments. We thought she had much more time left in her. 

Watching grief from across the street

op griefBy Melanie Threlkeld McConnell • Guest Columnist

He usually arrives in the late afternoon, always before dinner time, and he doesn’t stay more than 30 minutes or so. Sometimes I see him arriving, sometimes leaving, his old maroon Oldsmobile crawling along Shelton Street. If I’m out walking, he always waves when he sees me. I wave back. We smile. 

But mostly I see him when he is parked, his car pulled over just enough so others can pass, always next to the same row of graves on the Veterans Drive side of Greenhill Cemetery, across the street from where I live. For several years now, I have witnessed this man, likely in his 80s, sitting alone in his car, always at the same spot. Who does he visit? A late wife? A brother or sister? A child? We have never spoken, nor do I know his name, but his vigil speaks volumes. And his isn’t the only one.

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