Tag Archives: support

from the archives | a little help from his friends



In reflecting on the upcoming one-year anniversary of mosthopeful.com on August 23, I’m throwing some of the posts that readers have looked at the most back into the mix. Thanks for allowing me the space. It’s been a most humbling experience.


View the original post and comments from April 2, 2012

a little help from his friends | guest post by Rayna Bomar


rayna bomar guest posts

This is the first guest post here on mosthopeful.com, and I couldn’t be more convinced of its appropriateness. Hugh and Rayna Bomar have become friends of mine these last few years, and their ongoing journey of remembering their son Sam has had an impact in my own life. I hope you glean from Rayna’s words about what has helped and what has not helped as she has been on her own very personal journey with grief. 

In August 2009, as my son Sam started his senior year of high school, I happened upon an essay by a woman named Mimi Swartz entitled “Empty Nest: In a Week He’ll Be Gone – And I Can’t Stand It.”  Her son, also named Sam, was leaving for college a year before my Sam would leave, and I read her words to prepare for what, I thought, I would be experiencing the following August. And, the following August, I did share some of the life changes described by Swartz – dinner for three became dinner for two, my schedule no longer revolved around the school calendar, and the “mundane rituals of child rearing,” just as Swartz had predicted, were gone.  But my role as a mother changed for a reason not anticipated. My Sam didn’t leave for college. Instead, he died on May 4, 2010, ten days before graduation.

There are many things that I could say about the past almost 23 months, but what I would like to do now is share some of the ways that others have helped us get through those months – and a few things that have hindered us.

My husband Hugh and I quickly realized that all grief is personal. What you have experienced losing a loved one, even a child, is not the same as what I have experienced losing Sam. My experience is not the same as Hugh’s experience. Therefore, things that I mention that have helped (or hindered) us may not help (or hinder) you.  I am an expert only about my own grief.

We have been most touched by the kindnesses that have been shown by Sam’s friends. We are in awe of the young men and women who are so naturally compassionate and who have put aside their own grief to help us with ours. They have taken us out to eat on Mothers’ Day and Fathers’ Day, visited on holidays, designed t-shirts and bumper stickers in Sam’s memory, mowed our yard, shared stories about Sam (what we love the most), written letters and sent cards, laughed with us and cried with us, helped with chores, preserved Sam’s spot in the high school parking lot, invited us to their celebrations- I could go on and on.  We are greeted with open arms and a hug. Sometimes we get more than one hug. They tell us that they love us. They share their lives with us and allow us to be part of their future. Their actions are drops of water on parched ground.

What they don’t do is, perhaps, more important. They don’t tell us that it’s almost two years since the accident and it’s time to “move on.” They don’t give us any advice.  They understand that our world changed when Sam died and that we will never be the same. They don’t expect us to be the same because they will never be the same after losing their friend. They don’t try to “fix” us. They don’t make any demands on us. If we feel like a visit, that’s great. If we don’t, they understand, and they don’t take it personally.

Maybe because of their relatively young ages (late teens to early twenties) they don’t have any preconceived ideas about how we should act or feel. Therefore, they don’t think they know what’s best for us, and they don’t try to impose their own feelings on us or try to dictate what is appropriate behavior.

Instead of trying to make us be who they think we should be, they already know who we are. We are Sam’s parents, and we always will be. That’s good enough for them, and it’s good enough for us.

“Death ends a life, not a relationship.” Robert Benchley.

One of the upcoming ways you can join the Bomars in remembering Sam is by attending the 3rd annual Sam Bomar Night at the Jackson Generals. Half of each ticket pre-ordered with the promo codeSamBomar goes to the Sam Bomar Scholarship FundClick HERE to learn more, and to buy tickets for the event on June 23.  

For other most hopeful posts on grief, loss, trauma and resilience, CLICK HERE.


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ten years | a guest post by ashley gill

ten years later

Ten years after the suicide of her sister, these words speak to the experiences of grief, healing and community by a sister over the ten years since her loss. You can read more of Ashley’s work by following her blog “There is no later, this is later.” Thanks, Ashley, for sharing your words. 


In the early morning of this day ten years ago, I slept in blissful ignorance. When my dad woke me up, I opened my eyes to see his, red, but dry. My blissful ignorance vanished as he spoke.

I can count on my two hands the days that have passed in the past ten years without thinking about my sister. When she sneezed, it sounded like she was yelling. When she walked, her right foot stuck out ever so slightly at the wrong angle. She hated board games, and changing plans. She drove a hideous car, the horn screaming from the red frame like a dying animal. She was great at being a sister. She was a good listener. She quickly admitted when she was wrong, and forgave even faster. She taught me how to love without even realizing it. She never owned a cell phone, never had a Facebook account; she is forever nineteen years old.

I’m not sixteen anymore. I feel like a completely different person. It still hurts to remember her, to think about her for too long. I am not writing this to dwell on the past or to make a shrine to someone I’ve lost. The reason for this post is to thank all the people that have been in my life for these past 10 years. I wish I could list you all by name, but it would take ages and I would of course probably forget more than one.

So I put you in groups.

My family. We talk. We talk about Meghan and we laugh about all the silly things she did. I have never once felt afraid or guilty about bringing up her name. When my parents lost their daughter, they did not forget about their other children. They loved us well. My brother stopped yelling at me. He let me sleep on a mattress in his room for the first week. My extended family never counted the cost. They traveled for miles, just to sit with us. They helped me get ready for my prom. They took pictures at my high school graduation. They sent me birthday cards. Years later, they acknowledge that it still hurts.

Meghan’s friends became a part of my family. They talked for hours on the phone. They listened to me recount all the memories, trying not to forget. I got to sing with them while we all cried. They love Mom and Dad like they are their own parents. They love my brother and me like we are their siblings.

In high school, I had two best friends. They never made me feel dumb for being sad at the wrong time. They threw me a surprise birthday party when I thought my birthday had forever been ruined. They tried to make me laugh, even when I felt guilty for smiling at anything. Through trips to Lubbock, a certain Italian food place, and countless other tiny things; they made what could have been the worst days of my life into some of the best. They continue to be my best friends.

Over the past years, I have made so many good friends who never met my sister. They have remembered her birthday, listened to my stories, asked questions about her, and asked to see her picture. They acknowledge and validate a part of my life they likely don’t understand.

My brother hasn’t always been known for having the best judgment. But he married this girl that is fantastic. It’s been a joy to have a sister again. Like a breath of fresh air, Klaire, my niece, was born in March, three years ago.

You have all been the bandages God has used to patch up a wound I never thought would heal. He has used your hugs, letters, phone calls, laughter, time, money and flowers to show me that He is good. He can create beauty from ashes. And He does. Every day.

Some of you don’t believe in Him the same way I do, but He’s used you just the same. This restoration of my heart is what He’s done for us all. He’s taken our shame and guilt and replaced it with Goodness. He is the Great Physician. Even though I’ve doubted Him, I’m reminded, today more than ever, that He is good and He heals.

Grief is the most difficult thing I have ever experienced. I miss my sister very much. I wish things could have happened differently. But I think she was healed too. Judging from the sixteen years that I knew her, I think Meghan would probably want to thank you for taking such good care of me.

You smell like a banana!


For more work on grief, loss, resilience and faith, click HERE. 

For Rayna Bomar’s guest post “A little help from his friends” click HERE

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