Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Two kinds of loss

When I heard of the accident in Washington last week, I thought, "This is the worst nightmarish thing that could ever happen to a parent."

But I also remembered something my brother told me…

This is the second time that a family I knew lost five children at once. The other was the Richard Thayer family of Kansas. Four or five years ago they had a house fire and the mother plus five daughters died. The dad and five other children survived.

Richard had met and married his wife at our little church in Minnesota, then they moved away some years later but came to visit fairly often.

In the last few years there was another family, Bill and Carol, I’ll call them, who with their eight children also attended the church in Minnesota. Unfortunately, they had a rocky marriage and eventually Carol, who to put it mildly was not a nice person, took the children and left. She was very difficult to work with, and made it as hard as possible for her husband to have contact with his children.

Over this time, Bill would call Richard and pour out the agony of being separated from his family and stuck in this impossible situation. Richard, who knew plenty about grief and loss, tried to walk through this valley with his friend Bill.

Richard’s conclusion, my brother told me, was that what Bill was going through was actually harder than what Richard himself had gone through.


Quote of the Day--
"Already, one powerful message emerging from this event is this- that love, compassion, forgiveness and reconciliation are far more positive forces for good and healing than hatred, scorn, bitterness, and alienation."
--The Schrock family


  1. My heart goes out to anyone with this kind of loss. I am a mother of two and I cannot imagine having them suddenly being gone. My Husband rolled his semi milk truck 2 weeks ago and we thank God that our 3 year old wasn't with him at the time! If he had been we probably wouldn't have him today. My husband was wearing his seat belt so only suffers a broken collar bone and some bruising. And when I look at what these families have gone through we have so much to be thankful for! I've never been aquointed with someone who had a loss like this untill Jeff and Carolyn's. I know who they are through my Aunt, who is married to his Uncle. I feel the hurt in my heart, though I don't feel it as deep as they do...We are praying for them.

  2. funny...i have a bro. Bill who's wife's name is Carol and they live in MN!! (they have 6 children) and as far as i know get along!!
    that quote is so true!

  3. So true about the difference. Thanks for that insight. It seems Jeff and Carolyn recognize that as well as they are taking it very well. Their children are safe! Praise the Lord!

  4. I know the Richard Thayer family as well. That was an overwhelming loss. I was just reading an old online news article on the house fire, and ran across your blog.