“Don’t Cry Because it’s Over, Smile Because It Happened”-Dr.Seuss

Don’t cry because it’s over…. well that’s a lot easier said than done, especially when your 25 year old child was senselessly murdered, in front of his younger brother and 3 other young men.

A random act of violence.

Billy did not know the man who decided to kill him that dreadful night.

You can read more details on my website and on my blog post titled: Murder, Homicide, Bloodshed and Crime.

Anyway…Smile because it happened. Not that death happened but that life happened.

I think that’s why we have memorial services or celebration of life services.

We hear happy memories and see moments captured in pictures presented one after the other in a slide show.

It does help you smile because it happened.

They happened.

They brought smiles and caused smiles.

That’s what I thought last week as I was sitting at the Celebration of Life service for my friend Amy’s brother.

Lynn died unexpectedly at the age of 56. He left behind a wife, 2 daughters, 1 son and grandchildren. His Twin brother, an older sister, a younger brother, a younger sister(my friend Amy),and a Mother. His Father preceded him in death.

Since Amy and I met when we were 12,and she was the youngest, I didn’t get to meet her older siblings, except her brother who still lived at home. I heard lots of stories though!

Amy and I spent weekends at each other’s houses while we were in Jr. High and even High School.

Her Mother would sit with us at the table and tell us stories of the maternity ward that she worked in.

It turns out that Amy’s Mother, who I still call Mrs. Newswanger, was at the hospital working 3rd shift, in the wee morning hours when Billy was born.

I was so relieved to see Mrs. Newswanger.

She really helped me through the last 20 minutes!

We got to the hospital at 3:45 AM and Billy entered the world at 4:08 AM with the encouragement and instruction from Mrs. Newswanger.

25 short years later, Amy and Mrs. Newswanger were at Billy’s memorial service.img_0240

It was hard for me to see her because she helped deliver Billy and now he was gone…I was strong until I saw her, then I cried.

When it was my turn to pay my last respects to honor Mrs. Newswanger’s son, I learned things about him.

I got a peek into his personal life with his family and friends and learned how he made a difference in peoples lives by being who he was.

He was a gentle giant. “Let your gentleness be evident to all.” It was evident from words shared by friends and family and the snapshots on the screen.

The main thing I understood is that no matter how old your child is, a Mother is a Mother for life and a Mother should NEVER have to bury a child no matter how old that child is.

I had a much deeper understanding, I was more thoughtful and introspective and the tears that flowed during the service were for Lynn’s family. Especially for Amy and her Mom.

The tears that flowed on the ride home were for Mrs. Newswanger and for me…..

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