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Mixed blessings
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This weekend will be bittersweet. While many will celebrate their children's graduations, the beginning of summer and Memorial Day, others will be soaked in grief as they continue to mourn.

 We certainly have a lot to celebrate. Many of our children have worked hard to accomplish incredible academic and athletic achievements.

 We breathe a little easier as we whisper, "We made it."

 We beam as we brag to patient listeners.

 Our eyes become moist as we look at our children and wonder where the time has gone.

 We have never been prouder. It is a wonderful time for all of us.

 However, there are folks among us who will be holding back tears as they just try to make it through this weekend. It will feel like the longest three days of their lives.

 Once again, we have had to bury children.

 Shock, rage, confusion and despair still linger as we grieve for too many lives lost. Deep, relentless pain exists as we ache for those who died in freak accidents, combat or from disease.

 We mourn all of the memories that we will not be able to make with them - their own graduations, weddings and children.

 In many cases, instead of supporting each other through this painful time, we are fighting.

 Some people actually feel guilty for celebrating.

 Others feel obligated to "put on a happy face" as they drag themselves to attend endless events that serve as a reminder of their emotional agony.

 I believe Jesus Christ calls us to be both authentic and compassionate.

 When he taught us the Beatitudes; he reminded us that he is always with us.

 He will rejoice with us in our gladness and comfort us in our grief. He needs all of us to work together as one.

 No, it is not easy. But, then again, he never said that it would be. So, this weekend, how will we answer his call?

 Lisa Hetzel can be reached at