Dear Carolyn

On Sunday’s I’m posting poetry written by my mother-in-law, Bettie Lou. Writing poetry was a form of therapy after losing her husband and then her youngest son in 1985. Today marks the anniversary of her son, Mark’s death.

Dear Carolyn,

You were wrong when you said, “I need Bettie Lou. She is the only one who will know who I feel.”

Carolyn, I don’t know. No one knows how you or any woman feels when she has come face to face with the death of her son, but

I recognized the pain in your eyes,


I felt the sorrow in your voice.

I felt my throat choke when you inhaled and let out puff of air like a two-year-old thoroughbred breezing.

You were doing what all performers are taught to do.

Get rid of anxiety;

breathe in,

puff out.

It used to work at ordinary performances,

but it doesn’t work now.

What does a director know about the death of a son?

Does he know the pain in your chest –

The ache in your heart?

Did he know that darling child who rode his tricycle up and down the driveway showing off his new “authentic” Superman suit?

Has he experienced the calls from a son asking, “How do you always know when I’m feeling down? Why do I always receive a note or card just when I need it most?”

Let’s pray for peace within that will allow us to confront the reality of death.

Let’s ask God to lift burdens

We cannot bear, and

Smile when He leaves us with

Cold, clammy hands that we must make warm and useful.

What did God promise?

— A ring of gold?

— No hurt or pain?

— A life today the same as yesterday?

            None of these – only

“I will be with you always.”