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Friday, June 5, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Connecting Helps Ease Uphill Journey

Imagine that you are Terri Moore and your daughter has been brutally murdered. It’s hell, but one other woman understands your despair. Her name is Sherry Shaver, and her daughter was murdered by the same man. At the news of the man’s conviction, you hug and say: “There’s no one else who can understand a mother’s loss better than another mother.”

Imagine that you are the parent of a child ill with cancer. At the Ronald McDonald House, you meet Craig Stucky. The pediatrician no longer practices medicine because of a stroke. But he is a godsend to you because he reads to your child and translates medical jargon if you ask. His care feeds your hopes.

Imagine you are sitting in a church pew and the preacher is Barbara Novak. Two years ago, she lost a son and a nephew in a terrible accident, and she talks about her struggle with grief. You are experiencing grief, too, and Novak’s words speak to your heart. She says: “There are basically two paths in life, two directions we can go. Both contain grief and sorrow. But only one leads to life, grace and healing.”

Imagine you’re a father who has lost his wife. You have young children, and your loss defies words. But then you read about Glenn Seidl, whose wife died in the Oklahoma City blast. During Timothy McVeigh’s trial, Seidl reads a letter written by his 9-year-old boy. The child says: “I will still make Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day cards like other kids.” Finally, someone understands.

The news these past several weeks has been filled with loss, grief and, finally, some hope out of that loss. The McVeigh trial featured victims’ families talking profoundly about their grief. Our newspaper profiled both Stucky and the Novaks in separate stories. None of the stories glossed over the intense pain of the losses.

The bombing survivors admitted feelings of anger, rage and depression. Sherry Shaver and Terri Moore think of their daughters almost every moment of every day. It took Barbara Novak, an ordained Episcopal deacon, two years to preach again. Stucky, who had been one of Spokane’s most popular pediatricians, prays: “OK, God, you obviously have other plans for me. Tell me what they are.”

The hope from all these tragedies comes in the blessing that survivors of tragedy give to others who are experiencing similar hardships. Somewhere, someone understands. This might be what it’s all about, in the end. Mister Rogers, the minister beloved by millions of children, says he lives by this saying framed on his wall: “What is essential is invisible to the eye.”

Imagine that.

, DataTimes The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Rebecca Nappi/For the editorial board

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