Words of Wisdom, Hearts of Love

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by Joe Mudd on March 27, 2011

We just attended our second TCF Frankfort KY Regional Conference, titled “Words of Wisdom, Hearts of Love.” This conference was scheduled for Friday and Saturday at the Capital Plaza Hotel in Frankfort, KY.

The Best Plans of Mice and Grieving Parents

We only live 30 minutes from the conference site, but we planned to spend the night at the hotel on Friday. It’s just more relaxing and simpler to just walk down the stairs from our room to the Saturday morning breakfast, rather than getting up early enough to drive in from home. We also get a chance to meet more people attending.

But we have once again been reminded we aren’t in charge of life.

My uncle Nick died a week before the conference. The funeral mass was to be on the Saturday morning of the conference. Se we canceled our hotel room and only went to the Friday session.

Are Conferences a Good Thing?

I’m still not sure how I feel about these events.

It’s good to be with other bereaved parents. They know what we’re going through. The folks that have been missing their children for many years and have found a way to rebuild their lives are inspiration. Getting a chance to share experiences and feelings with others in the same boat helps us see we’re not alone, and the things we feel don’t mean we’re crazy.

But I wonder if going through these events makes us just keep remembering the pain and hold on to it longer. Is it healthy to keep reminding ourselves of how unhappy we are? I’m not sure. I’m leaning toward the benefits are bigger than the risks.

I also think we need to be there to help other, newer grieving parents if we can.

The Sessions

Our Friday session began with a welcome from our chapter leader, Dusty Rhodes. We then had a nice talk by Pat Loder, the current Executive Director of The Compassionate Friends. After a short break we had our first workshop session.

I went to “The Workplace and Grieving” workshop. The main take-away from this session was employers have no idea how to deal with bereaved parents. I understand this. We’re all different. Employers can’t have a nice step-by-step management plan, so the current plan seems to be just ignore the issue.  They also have no idea how long this problem takes for us to deal with and regain our balance. They don’t like problems that last for years. Newsflash for you – we don’t either.

The next workshop session didn’t have anything that really jumped out at me, so I picked “Impact of Stillborn & Infant Death.” I chose that because I have a friend and former coworker that had a miscarriage. I wanted to learn more about the issues people like her face. I don’t think our society does a good job of supporting parents in this situation. It was interesting to listen to the other couples there.

The Slideshow

Dinner followed the two workshop sessions. We had a speaker during dinner, a former TCF Executive Director whose name I didn’t write down. He gave a good talk. He was a pinch hitter for Gen. Mark Graham who was scheduled to give the dinner time presentation, but military duties called him away. The general made a video for us and we watched that.

A short session of music followed, featuring Alan Pedersen, P. Taylor Reed and Mitch Carmody.

Next was the slideshow where slides of our children were shown on two large screens. There were many infants and small children, but it seemed that most of the slides pictured teens and young adults, like Richard. So many bright, beautiful young lives gone too soon.

Unlike last year I hadn’t heard many sobs or seen many tears in the early sessions, but this changed with the slide show. It’s just so hard to see your kid up there.  My eyes were watery and Debbie was sobbing when Richard’s smiling face hit the screen.

Candle Lighting

It began with a few short readings by local chapter members, including Debbie (pictured above). I don’t know how she was able to read after the emotional slideshow session. She’s one brave and strong lady.

We each processed to the front to light our candles and say “We light this candle in memory of our son Richard Mudd” into the microphone. Of course, other parents/grandparents/siblings said the name of their lost loved one. But you knew that, didn’t you?

Then we all held our candles up as Alan Pedersen sang.

There is a powerful feeling in the air during these candle lighting ceremonies. It’s something you can feel. Very intense.

We took another short break.

Mitch Carmody was scheduled for a session called “Whispers of Love, Signs from our Children” which sounded interesting but we had to leave.

We checked out the vendor tables when we were leaving. I think there was a celebrity at the conference. Dennis Apple had some of his books on the table for sale. I didn’t get to meet him, but someone told me they spoke to him, and his son’s picture was in the slideshow, so I think he must have been there. I recommended the book to a couple of people I saw looking at it.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank&Kathy November 12, 2014 at 5:11 pm

I suggest that maybe my wisdom is missing cause it was pain and try to prevent that as Myself got oldier:
If thier is missing then I seem to pray for it if any advice as a young memory should we suggust to follow our DREAM’S and to allow the pain as we seem had decided;

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Frank&Kathy November 12, 2014 at 5:12 pm

Are is it too just ran and not let thee truth hit?

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Frank&Kathy November 12, 2014 at 5:14 pm

Already truthful and how do we find thee truth

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