By the time we arrived at the fairgrounds, the parking lot was full. It turned out to be a lovely afternoon, so it would be a wonderful opportunity to speak to all the people who had just shared a life changing experience with us.
Wonderful women helped organize the meal and there was enough food to feed the entire county. And that was the way it should be. Food gives comfort and that is what we wanted--comfort from the unbelievable pain of a broken heart.
The Youth Building was full to the brim and the noise that rose from it was almost joyful. Even though we were missing an important person to us, our family and community were still intact. We went outside to eat. It was a little breezy, but it was a relief to be in the cool breeze. I looked at the table across from us--it was full of kids. Even though my life would never be the same, it gave me comfort to see those kids smile again.
We spent some time with friends looking through all the different pictures and items we had on display in the Pavilion. How did I have all that stuff in my house? It was fun to remember the events that surrounded the different pictures. Soon it was time to begin cleaning up. So many helped that it went quickly. We thanked the ladies who had done so much. We took a little of the food home for later. We left. Yet we had one more place to go.
Many of the flowers the kids had given to us had been brought to the Youth Building, along with the other flowers. But they needed to go back to the cemetary. So we went back up the hill one more time. The only thing I wanted left on Andrew's grave was the wreath of cabin greens and a spray of red and gold flowers from the Dayton FCC. Now we would add the flowers from the kids. We stood staring at the spot where our son's ashes would be for the rest of our lives. Again, I didn't want to leave him. What kind of mother am I? But in the end, we did leave and I really didn't feel he was alone. His great-grandparents--three sets-- were there. Our dear friend George Wood was just over the hill. Aunt Hubba was just around the corner. One thing a friend told me was that she was sure her mother was with Andrew now. I have this very vivid thought of Donna Davis pushing Jim Helm out of the way to greet Andrew. Knowing that all the saints who went before him welcomed him home, helped me leave him that night.