Tag Archives: Virginia C


Yesterday the weather was cooler, but I stayed indoors most of the day. I wrote a couple of posts, one of which had to do with the bereavement group, The Compassionate Friends, that meets the first Tuesday of every month in Santa Clara.

I said it didn’t ‘hold appeal’ for me. One of the reasons is that they have a kind of a ceremony they do at the start of every meeting. They light candles and recite first the birth dates and then the death dates of those now gone for that month. When I stopped going to my original bereavement support group early this year, I felt that there was too much emphasis on sorrow and not enough on looking forward. I told my Rosalie story to them . . .

( I just went and looked. I was sure I had posted my Rosalie story but I can’t find it. Essentially, it’s the fact that she knows about Zach and what happened but she doesn’t let it interfere with the business of living life to the fullest.)

. . . and it didn’t seem to have any effect. Well, why should it? Perhaps I should have given it more time, Perhaps grieving is different for everyone and that’s not their style.

At The Compassionate Friends, I found a group that fit my mindset a little better. Their stories were all stark, like mine, of lives ended before their potential could be reached.

But the dates thing has bugged me. So far, neither of Zach’s dates have come up but I’ve found myself wondering what I would do when they did. Would I skip those months? I know early on, anniversaries were important to me. Now, the loss of Zach has all settled into a kind of dull ache that flares up every so often. Plenty of things remind me of Zach without adding reminders of his death date.

On the other hand, there was a moment last spring at the Compassionate Friends when I thought I could see myself as a kind of elder who could support those whose grief was fresher. Looking ahead to my schedule for the rest of the year, all the first Tuesday evenings are impacted one way or another. I don’t think I’m invested enough to make a heroic effort to get down there. Pace Virginia and Don.

All the bereavement support groups meetings will stay on my schedule so it’s possible I will go to another one this fall.


So, I punted my opportunity to write about this last night when I had time. This morning I woke up with the feeling that I really should do this now. I have about half an hour . . .

Mom & Dad have a regular get together with some friends from the Mission ‘community’, as Dad calls it, at a local coffee shop every Thursday afternoon. One of the group is a feisty lady named Virginia. I happened to be sitting next to her yesterday and had some very interesting conversation.

She started by telling me that she had had her blood work done last week for her annual physical and it was ‘perfect’. Naturally, she was very pleased about that. Oh, actually, the first thing we talked about was her new car. Well, new last October. She had shown it to me in some detail the last time I was down there a couple of weeks ago but forgot. She loves talking about that car. I had been hearing about it for some time but finally got the tour. She used to drive a Cadillac El Dorado but had to give it up because it couldn’t pass smog. Her new one is some kind of Buick. Quite a bit smaller!

Virginia is 92, worked at NACA in Langley in the early fifties before it became NASA, played organ at the Mission Sunday Mass for 30 years, and still plays organ for weddings at various churches. One of her sons is a mathematician who works for the NSA. One of her other sons was killed by a Santa Clara policeman 15 years ago.

I had heard the story but hadn’t thought about it too much recently. She had never brought it up before in my presence. Yesterday I got going talking about Zach, though, and she told me about a bereavement group they (she and her husband Don) go to in Santa Clara. It’s just for parents who have lost a child. They’ve been going for 15 years. The next meeting is Tuesday. I am scheduled for work so I told her I would try next month, but when I got home I found that there is nothing in the evening next Tuesday at Davies. I’m going to go.