"If there is one thing a grieving parent needs, it is the mellowed
perspective that can come only from hearing other grieving parents share
the stories of their losses. Rosemary Smith’s Children of the Dome
brings the reader together with the therapeutic accounts of the traumas
and recovered hopes of twenty-eight fellow travelers through the valley
of the shadow of death.”
“Rosemary Smith has created an important work in Children of the Dome. She tells her own story of loss and helps other bereaved parents tell their stories as well. Yet these stories are about more than loss. They’re stories of hope, stories of rebuilding faith, and stories of love which opens up in ways it had not known before. This book can offer hope for anyone who struggles with parental loss.”
Many of us have been "fellow travelers" for several years. We have never missed a parent support group meeting, and we've read everything we can get our hands on. We tend to feel as if we've said everything there is to say, and have heard everything there is to hear about grief for a child. Obviously, because I thought my child would live forever, I've been wrong before. I was wrong again. The first thing I learned from this book is that we should never become complacent about our grief.
Twenty eight families have written chapters about their lives before, during and after the deaths of their children. The children died at all ages and from many causes. As I read each of these stories, I found myself constantly referring to the photographs of the children and, by the end of the chapters, I felt I'd been in sharing session with the parents and "knew" the children well.
These parents described events in the lives of their children that helped me remember a forgotten moment, characteristic, or experience of my own child's. Many of the parents' grief experiences were similar to mine, but they had different perspectives. I found it healing to review my own grief processing from different angles. I was able to reconsider issues I had previously dealt with, and to make new resolutions. One story in particular helped me reaffirm that children are people who have choices to make; they make decisions for themselves no matter what parents say or feel or do.
All of these families have found ways of coping, so readers will find ideas for their own lives. There are new ideas for creating memorials. Most of these families describe 'signs' or communications received from their children. I would recommend this book to all bereaved parents.
[The dome in the entryway of the Cumberland Inn in Williamsburg KY
is painted with cherubs and symbols of children who have died.]