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Yesterday I anticipated four bereaved mothers, including me, sitting at my dining room table for dinner. We are all mothers whose teenage daughters died: two from sickness, one from an auto accident, and one from murder. You might think of this as a dreary dinner, but Mary, Jen, Barbara and I have become good, sympatico friends.

In preparation, I removed two table leaves, took away two chairs, and pushed the leafless table together to form a perfect circle.  Perhaps four men would have liked the distance created by a large table, but women like to be close and confidential.

As it turned out, there were only three of us because Jen emailed that she couldn’t make it. Her son had a migraine. I took away one place and was glad I’d made the table smaller.

At 6:30, my Mary and Barbara arrived, dinner was in the oven, and drinks were served. It was obvious from the start that only two of us might actually be eating dinner. Mary was fighting a migraine. She took two pills, but finally gave up and declared she was going home to bed.

Now I was really glad I’d made the table smaller.

As it turned out, it was a wonderful dinner. Barbara and I sat at the table eating and drinking much too late. She had to get up early the next morning, but we had important things to discuss. Topics flowed: life eternal, grief and its effect on friendships, early morning blues and saying goodbye.

Barbara had an interesting thing to say about the last topic. She said, “Life moves on, but as I move along, I will always take my daughter with me.”

I agree with her, our children are always with us. Even though four friends couldn’t be there, there were still four mothers and four daughters at that table last night. It was then that I wished I’d made the table bigger.