On May 5, 2012, my mother, Annie, died. She was 93 years old. As her body began to weaken several years before she died, Mom started to talk about how much she was looking forward to being reunited with family and friends who had gone before her. She specifically wanted to talk to her mother about the hats she made and sold as a young depression-era bride.

Mom went with me to visit Vincent's grave shortly after he died. I believe she was 85 at the time. As we were leaving, I heard Mom leaning over the grave and saying to Vincent, "I'll see you again soon." That brought a great deal of comfort to me.

Mom's promise to Vincent also changed my perspective on grieving. People think that the pain of losing a child would be unbearable. I can tell you that is an accurate perception. However, I could also see that my mother was suffering on multiple levels. She lost a grandchild whom she loved dearly, of course -- but she also had to watch me, her child, suffering in a way that she understood but could do nothing to stop.

I wrote Annie's Going Home as a tribute to Mom's compassionate response to me and my family after Vincent's death. I hope that the lessons she taught me come through in this story and help comfort others who are mourning the loss of a loved one.

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On July 24, 2004, my oldest son Vincent died suddenly and unexpectedly. He was 17. My family was devastated.

During the months and years that followed, my children and I have had many conversations about Vincent. We have discussed the sadness we feel over his death and the happy memories we have of our time with him.

The story that became Molly's Pollywogs evolved from these discussions. It has helped us come to an acceptance of the tragedy we experienced.

I believe this story will help other children who have lost a loved one -- and their parents -- through their grieving process.


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