More than a year and a half ago, I came across an excellent online post about non-verbal communication. I was preparing to give a workshop on that topic at the time and emailed the author (a “Ms. Forman” if you go back to look at that first email) to ask her permission to share it with the parents at the workshop. She most generously said “yes”. As it turns out, I also shared “Ms. Forman’s” blog link with Susan Etlinger in San Francisco who had, just a day or two before, created The Family Room blog where I would be guest posting on occasion. I was happy to discover at the BlogHer panel where they both spoke last weekend that my email is how those good friends first became acquainted, a fact I didn’t know but that explains exactly why this networker send links hither and yon. Because you just never know.
One of my favorite and most often shared posts of Vicki Forman’s is “The Mother at the Swings“, which was posted at Literary Mama in January 2007. In it, she discussed an important and difficult topic, which is how to talk to parents of typically developing children about raising a child with special needs, and how she would like to respond to the other mothers who watched her son Evan joyfully swinging at the park with interest and curiosity. If you have never read the post, I urge you to take a moment to read it now; if you have, read it again. And then pass it along to everyone you know. (And along those lines, I strongly recommend reading Vicki’s most recent column, written earlier this month, called “Mothers Like Us: Contemplating My Tribe“, which is just wonderful.)
In honor of Vicki’s beautiful son Evan who tragically and unexpectedly passed away on Thursday, a Flickr group has been created. Those of you who wish to express your love and sympathy to Vicki and her family but cannot make it to the services for Evan are encouraged to place flowers on a swing near you, take a photo, and upload it to the Flickr set for the family to see. The photos that are there already tonight are absolutely gorgeous. Go take a look.
Since I am already in San Francisco this week, I am able to fly down to Los Angeles tomorrow evening to be there for Evan’s funeral service on Tuesday morning. If anyone doubts the power of a supportive blogging community, I would like that person to see how many of us are going to LA for Evan’s services on short notice and/or finding beautiful, creative ways to support Vicki and her family from afar. It is truly amazing.
Now, mothers and fathers at the swings, get thee to some flowers.