As I sat listening to the speeches of gratitude, and the listing of accomplishments, I stared down at my hands and felt that familiar horrible longing for being somewhere else. Somewhere where I was not a professional women, but a mom at home complaining about not being fulfilled. I see a little hand wrap her hand over mine. I feel my daughter's hand upon mine and I close my eyes. She leans her head against my shoulder and pushes it into my chest--that snuggling mothers cherish. And I rest there with my dream--or was it an angel visit--it felt real and I didn't seem to be actively imagining it--rather the images, the physical sensations came to me. I hear her tell me through love that "it's OK, I'm here." I exhale and open my eyes and wait for Ann's speech.
It was short and lovely--about books and libraries. There was sincerity in her words and she was smiling and I saw a bereaved mother who was surviving and finding a way to thrive. I had my computer and camera for later work and I snapped a pic, because it seemed to be a part of my grief journey. I thought about introducing myself to her, but was sure there wouldn't be an opportunity. While everyone was moving past the jazz combo, working their way toward the refreshments, I took the quickest way out. And it happened that Ann came down the podium steps at that time.
An interesting side note: I had an appointment in a nearby city that evening and missed the exit I needed. In winding my way to my destination, I found myself in slow moving traffic on side city streets. At one point I come to a complete stop, and I look around--and see the congregational church where that bereavement group meeting was held.