Perhaps you saw it too. For several days I have been following the news about the twelve young Thai boys, and their coach, who were trapped in a dark cave, nearly three miles from the entrance. The boys literally ran for their lives to escape the rising waters caused by a flash flood. For seventeen days and nights, they survived by sticking together, licking water off the limestone walls. The last one was brought out just the other day on July 10th.
After they were all rescued by the heroic team of divers and rushed to the hospital for treatment and observation, one of the doctors commented on their over-all health…“None of them are stressed,” he added. “They took care of each other well in the cave.”
No doubt there will be more stories told about all that happened as these young boys huddled together, hoping that someone would find them. This much we do know from the doctor’s words, they took good care of one another while they waited in total darkness.
I thought about those seventeen days the boys were stranded nearly three miles deep in that cave. Then, I thought about the years of darkness that fell over me and my family after the death of our son, Denny in 1991. We felt trapped and totally alone. There seemed to be no end to our suffering. For years it seemed we all sat in darkness. After a while, we discovered a group that could help us, a group of people who understood…”The Compassionate Friends.” This is an international group whose sole purpose is to support families who have lost a child.
Each month, at TCF meetings, we gather in a small group to tell our stories and help support one another. Some of us have survived for many years while others have just arrived to the huddle. As we share our stories and listen to one another, we cry and hug. Even though the cave of grief is dark, we can see our way through the darkness to hold on to each other . What was said of the Thai boys can also be said about us…We take good care of each other.
In just a few days (July 27-29) there will be well over a thousand bereaved mothers, dads, siblings and grandparents who will gather for The Compassionate Friends annual meeting in St. Louis, MO. There will be special speakers, workshops and careful attention given to helping grieving family members. Some will be recently bereaved while others will have been on the journey for many years. If you know of anyone who has lost a child, grandchild or sibling, you might pass along this information to them. This may be the lifeline for which they are hoping.
By the way, next year this same gathering will be held in Philadelphia, PA July 19-21