Page 23 - 2017 Spring-Summer Issue
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his dreams. But, it wasn’t until later, as I began to learn to  “My Romeo,” I said to him and kissed him, bathed him, and
live with the loss of Mack, that I came to appreciate that the  dressed him in his favorite D.C. United sweatshirt, a daily
thieves did not make it upstairs.                               act that now seems sacred.

Our upstairs is intimate. In our home built in the 1970’s, the  But, I have come to appreciate over these past four years
four bedrooms are separated by a narrow carpeted hallway        that death doesn’t rob us of everything. There are some
down the middle, making it cozy and warmer than the rest        areas of ourselves that are untouchable even to death.
of the house.
                                                                The upstairs of life remains. My love for our children, our
My husband travelled frequently so often the kids and I         most intimate moments of care: bath, bedtime stories and
would head upstairs early and take our showers, put our         prayers; nights of sickness, hurtful days, hiding treats under
jammies on, and snuggle together in our big king-size bed       their pillows, sneaking in to watch them when they sleep…
to read and watch “The Voice” when it was in season.            these remain.

It is an intoxicating feeling and one that I can close my eyes  None of these were robbed by death; in fact, they have come
and recall with ease: my arms around each of them, their        into sharp relief as unreachable treasure that are not within
heads resting on my shoulders, Mack’s hair tickling my          death’s grasp. Love is truly stronger than death, and this
nose, Izzy smelling like baby powder, so safe and warm and      awareness has empowered me.
                                                                Death is a downstairs thief.
In that afternoon of New Year’s Eve 2012, I scooped Mack
up in my arms and carried him upstairs for a bath before        Elizabeth and her family honored one of Mack’s dreams by establishing the
his Dad took him to the doctor’s office.                        Mack Brady Soccer Fund to train and recruit the best goalkeepers to Penn
                                                                State men’s soccer. Elizabeth teaches at Penn State and her essays on learning
                                                                to live with loss can also be found on and

How I Found Hope ...                                                                       © Galyna Andrushko/

    In the very beginning, Hope felt like an ugly, evil, impossible word that
    tormented me. But I opened my heart to realizing that my daughter,
    Robyn April, didn’t END; that my love for her continues to grow, just as
    her love for me infinitely grows. Love became much More Powerful and
    Stronger than The Pain. Through that Everlasting Shared Love, I was able
    to create light in the darkness and, from despair; Beauty, Goodness, and
    even Hope.

                                         Bettie-Jeanne Rivard-Darby, Forever Robbie’s mom
                                 TCF East of the River CT Chapter Leader Manchester, CT

                                                                We Need Not Walk Alone|2 3
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