Me too, Miss Gish

I wrote a book, and it has brought me the gift of meeting mothers and fathers like myself—parents who have lost children. We have a bond. We have survived life’s severest experience, perhaps its harshest test.

They amaze me with their resilience, their unbridled, limitless bravery. I am honored to be in their presence. Like war veterans, they have the faraway gaze of someone who has been to hell and back. But in that gaze and behind those tears is also love, love of that child that even death cannot eradicate. Love connects us to our children forever. It is our bridge to them, to the place where they continue to exist, on the other side, or unseen, by our side. They are as real as the sunrise, and as constant. They are with us every minute of the day, whether their presence is clear and forward in our minds or is lingering quietly in back of every thought.

Talk of a spirit world is not frightening to these parents, nor is it off-putting, not to the ones I have met. They seem to know instinctively that their children are still close, still viable. It took me awhile to know that. And then I learned the same thing was true of my mother and father, and my husband. Don’t ask us how we know. We know. Of course, there is evidence. The spirit world is not without its resources, its abilities to communicate. We can go through all of our lives without hearing it, without feeling it, until we have to. And then it becomes as clear as a bell—as a truth that is beyond man’s ability to explain, or to prove. Trauma takes us there. Death takes us there.

And when we talk to each other, it is in this language of knowing. I have found it and heard it in everyone I have met. These, my kin and their children, have helped me discover a goal, a purpose for my book and my life. The Messenger was only the beginning. It has brought a few parents to me, but now I will go out to find more, because finding each other, knowing each other, and talking to each other is so healing, especially for me.

There is a great movie from 1955, called The Night of the Hunter, in which a former prisoner, disguised as a preacher, hunts down two children he believes know the whereabouts of money stolen by their father, his former cellmate. The children are sheltered and protected by a kind woman played by Lillian Gish. She has one of the great lines of the movie. It comes near the end, when she says, I’m good for something in this world and I know it too. I’m going to try and make that true for me too, Miss Gish. Me too.

More later.


The Messenger IMG_0416

Look for The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide by Helen Delaney at

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