We are 13 women who lost…

14 children,

            10 high school graduations,

            11 college graduations,

            countless birthday celebrations,

            14 weddings

            and many hoped-for grandchildren.

We lost…

            our innocence,

            our hope for the future,

            some of us, our faith,

            all of us, confidence in ourselves as mothers,

            for a while, control of our everyday lives,

            and too many days to the darkness of grief and despair.

And then came this writing group…and each of us has found…

            12 soul sisters,

            24 understanding and compassionate ears,

            countless hours of therapeutic writing and sharing,

            even more hours of easy camaraderie,

            and one place where we can leave off the masks we wear for the world and know

                        we will be accepted and loved…just as we are.

We are 13 women, who, through our writing and sharing

            have moved farther along in this grief process,

            have learned to balance tears with laughter,

            have experienced the healing power of a small baby,

            and who, once again, look to the future with some hope.

13 hearts beating…

            in unison,

            in loving memory,

            ever stronger

for the 14 hearts that will never beat again.

This is Breath of Sol.

~Kathy Shoaf, 11/19/2005