I need to continue my story about our darling friends, the Olivers.
I gave Mr. Oliver the names of a couple of good baby sitters on the street, and wished him a Merry Christmas.
1976 and David dies. The Olivers are there along with the other neighbors on our lovely street. They see us through. 1980 and Dougie dies. The Olivers are there, and they see us through. Now it is only my mother and me. Over the years we have grieved with them over Charlie junior's illness. When I used to pray, I prayed with them. When I used to pray, they prayed with me over what seemed then to be real tragedies in my life.
When I married and had children, the Olivers celebrated our blessings. When I divorced, they understood.
No one can imagine the deepest abyss of Kaye's pain right now, except perhaps my mother. Before I closed her house and brought her here to live with me, Charles senior and Kaye kept her going. But especially Charles, always smiling, always willing to help her with her garage door, get her a half gallon of ice cream. It isn't that our other neighbors were not unbeliev ably good to us and to her, but she connected with Charles as a grieving parent connects with another grieving parent. We all watched those precious Oliver children play in the cul du sac. We know the resources and the love those parents put into their children. Nothing was spared for Charlie junior to help him with his extreme mental illness. No love was spared. No money was spared. No time was spared. Every resource available was utilized for Charlie. Yet, it was not enough.
So if you pray, pray for strength and understanding. And if you do not pray, pause for a moment and reflect on the life of a good man who did "the best he knew how", and do not forget his gravely, fatally ill son.