Monday, January 18, 2010

1/21/10 Hello Harrison, Goodnight Sweet Charlotte

I know that there are other things going on in town, but I am only talking about babies today: a baby arriving and a baby leaving. Here is how the world keeps on turning, and how life comes and goes.

Please welcome our newest Ashland resident: Harrison Edward Amos, born to our Town Director of Planning, Nora Amos and her husband Josh. Harrison was born on Jan. 10th and weighed 7lbs, 8oz. He was welcomed home by his big brother John Henry. Everyone is healthy and doing fine, and we are so, so glad that Harrison is here!

Three days before Harrison arrived, we lost 4 year old Charlotte, and her memorial service this past Saturday was tough to sit through. I kept getting nervous beforehand, and I'll admitt that I had to make myself go. As beautiful as I knew it was going to be, it was not something that I wanted to go to. I did not want to celebrate her short life; I just wanted her to still be here.

If a funeral can be beautiful, this was one. The music was lovely. Smiling Fred Horn played his piano while the children's choir of First Baptist sang, and then he bounced along the keys as Susan Greenbaum sang "Frosty the Snowman", "I'll Fly Away", and "Let's Go Fly a Kite." We all smiled when Mary Poppins rushed onto the stage to join in the last number. I don't know how they got their voices to work without choking up, especially on "Frosty" which was Charlotte's favorite song: "And he waved goodbye saying 'Don't you cry. I'll be back again someday..."

However, you could not help but cry, and there were moments during the service when I wanted to run out. I brought a handkerchief instead of a tissue, because I knew it would hold up better, and it was soaked by the end. My only relief was that people all around me were crying too, and that I was not alone.

At the end, we stepped out into the late afternoon sunlight, and took a deep breath of cool air, and that seemed to help everyone. On the steps of Blackwell, we held pink and purple balloons, all tied with our messages for Charlotte. We counted to her favorite number- 4, let them go, and we all watched them until they were far off in the distance. We stood and talked, and went over to Duncan for the reception where Gypsy Roots played "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and "You Are My Sunshine."

It was really an excellent example of how to say goodbye. By the time I walked into Duncan, I felt exhausted and empty, and the first thing I saw on the tables were silver bags of M&M's with the message, "Chocolate Makes Everything Better" attached to them. There was a chocolate fountain and tables of sandwiches, sweets, and fried chicken. And isn't food love? What better way to come back to the real world than to eat a little something, hug friends, and listen to good music? Thank you, Roger & Rachel, for helping us feel better. I hope that the day did the same for you.

Lastly, here was my message that I tied onto the balloon for Charlotte: "I am so sorry. I wish that I could have done something to save you. I wish that I was a brilliant scientist who could have found a cure, or a high priest who could have brought a miracle, or a clever witch who could have worked magic. Thank you for letting me write about you- it was all I had to give."

Send me your Ashland news:, or 310-5320. Have a wonderful week.

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