The Value of Community

Losing Jack has been no less gut-wrenching than losing Isaac. However, this experience has been very different in a variety of ways. Obviously we are at a different point in our lives this time. We have three living children to care for. We are not away one vacation in New Hampshire, but we are in our forever home in Pennsylvania. One of the really significant differences has come from having far more friends and a larger community of our own these days. In 2016, we had just moved to Pennsylvania. My husband, Warren, was still commuting to Aberdeen, Maryland regularly. I’d reconnected with a single high school friend, who had introduced me to two other women (these women are still my close friends and an amazing support system). That was pretty much it for our social circle in 2016. Everyone else we knew locally came from working as an attorney at my own father’s company, and it was easy to use my parents as a buffer against what was probably much needed contact with the outside world.

The people we knew then were extraordinarily supportive. They made donations to Speare Memorial Hospital in Isaac’s honor, sent kind words and care packages and would have done anything if we had asked. However, nothing forced us to interact with friends or the real world. My three girlfriends checked in regularly, but somehow I managed to avoid all in-person interaction until months after Isaac died. Things are different now. Our kids go to a local private preschool that has created a really amazing and supportive community. We have actual parent friends from this community. On the day Jack died, I had someone I trusted to call to help with the kids overnight. This community has banded together in the aftermath of our loss. I don’t even. have words to express how great they have been to us.

Within a week of losing Jack, we had a month-long meal train established. People we haven’t even personally met yet lined up to make sure we were fed. They have cooked for us. They have donated to provide gift cards for food delivery. New friends dropped off the most thoughtful treats and notes to help us heal. People offered to entertain our kids. They gave my husband a way out of the house to blow of some steam. The school’s pastor even visited us in the hospital and wrote the most touching letter to us. My memories of the ICU are spotty, but I know multiple friends came to see us. It’s been three weeks, and the support has not wained. The community hasn’t forgotten us. They still invite my kids to get out and play. They still want to visit. They provide options to get me out of the house and respect that I am not ready for outings yet. I don’t know when we will return to some semblance of “normal” socially, but I have all confidence that this community will be waiting for us when we do.

This has turned into somewhat of a jumbled rant, but I’m just trying to express our gratitude to our school community and friends. You have made such a difference in these hardest of days. We are so fortunate to have your support. Thank you.

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