Rosemary's Blog


Mamou Screening
November 2, 2014, 5:52 pm
Filed under: Family and Friends

Mamou2014

On Friday, September 12, 2014, our dear friends John and Callie Berzas hosted a screening for our documentary, Space Between Breaths, in their hometown of Mamou, LA. Luther and I have been friends with John and Callie for over thirty years. We met in Dallas at an independent pharmacy convention and bonded instantly. Luther and I attended the convention by ourselves. At the night of the closing event, we chose a table with only two open seats. As luck would have it, we were seated next to John and Callie Berzas from Mamou, LA. Their sons John John and Jacob were at the table along with their friend Chad. From this one night, a friendship was born that has lasted when many others have not endured.

Callie and John have supported us all the years since the deaths of Drew and Jeremiah back in July of 1992. When Callie learned about my documentary, she said she would love to host a screening one day in Mamou. It may have taken us seven years since the premiere in Lexington, KY in 2007, but the event finally happened this September.

The photo at the beginning of this entry was made the day before the screening. Luther and I are on the left with John and Callie on the right. Callie had a surprise for us that day as were arrived at the event location. Note the beautiful banner in the center of the photo. Callie had this banner made from the cover of my book, Children of the Dome. What an amazing gift from our wonderful friends. They shipped the banner to me after we flew home. I used it several weeks later at a TCF Regional Conference in Frankfort, KY.

The Mamou screening was a moving experience. I was able to meet many bereaved parents that I had contacted over the years but had never met. Luther and I also were able to meet many friends and family members of both John and Callie. We both felt like we had always known each person we met that night. They brought enough food to feed the entire town, made a special cake with my book cover as the topping, and welcomed bereaved parents from as far away as New Orleans to the event. Mamou felt like home.

Our son Fong flew in from Nashville to be with us this weekend in Mamou. His professional knowledge is always invaluable at a screening. Fong also loved the people of Mamou. They made him feel as welcome as they did us.

I wanted to share some of the comments Callie received after the Mamou screening.

Message from Callie’s friend Freida, “Good morning, last night was beautiful, you did good, your friends are very special people.”

Message from Callie’s friend Lula who had lost her baby brother in a car accident when he was 15 back in 1982, “Thank you Lord for giving my friend the strength to have done so much for so many people. She is a blessing in my life always. Thank you Callie. I love you my friend.”

Message from Callie received as we were at the airport getting ready to fly back to KY, “I couldn’t have done it without God’s guidance and my love for you and your family and my love for all the children and families from Mamou. Plus, I know my Mom, Dad, Tony, Shayne, Drew and Jeremiah were directing my every step.”

Message from Bonnie, “It was a beautiful evening – a message of Hope for all. Thank you.”

Message from Chani, “The presentation was amazing. My friend Annette whose only son died in May was really touched by the presentation. How blessed are you to have such an amazing friend for 30 years.”

Message from Annette, “It was a very positive message for me that we can have a productive different life after tragedy. What a huge blessing. It is wonderful to listen to people who have walked the journey. It gives me such hope.”

Message from Kim, “Tonight it was beautiful to see so many parents through their pain show strength, courage and love to each other. Comfort and encouragement is a legacy that speaks of the love our children have, and it would be a shame to not extend that love to so many broken hearts.”

Message from Jackie, “It was very nice and comforting to be around so many people who know all what we have gone/been through. I enjoyed myself.”

Message posted by Callie, “Thanks to so, so many people who turned out last night to visit and watch Rosemary Smith’s film, Space Between Breaths. She will cherish each and everyone she met last night. You are all near and dear to my heart. Even though words are not spoken, my love and prayers are with each and every one who came last night. My husband went to clean up and pick up chairs this morning. I want to thank the angels who cleaned and picked up everything before he arrived. God always send angels in our time of need. Thank you to Fong for operating the film and production. And to Luther Smith for supporting his wife in her ministry to so many. He is the Rock Behind the Scenes! Thanks again for supporting their ministry by coming out last night. Love and prayers.”

Message from Mona, “Thank you for allowing me to be a part of that special event! I enjoyed being with everyone.”

Message from Suzanne, “It was wonderful and I’m so BLESSED Benny was there with me. Thank God for Rosemary and Callie and everyone that helped.”

Message from Jenny, “Everything was perfect!”

Message from Heather, “Thank you so very much for thinking of my parents and for their angel and book. The Smith family are truly genuine people with hearts of gold! God had y’all meet for a reason, and I’m thankful for the chance to meet them.”

Message from Tammy, “Callie Berzas, anyone who knows me knows that I am never at a loss for words! LOL I never shut up! But, congratulations, Callie, you shut me up! After what I saw, heard and felt Friday night, I have no words to express to you how much I love and admire you! You promised me a long time ago that Friday night would come true and you made it happen! I finally met Rosemary and it’s all because of you! Thank you for one of the best gifts I’ve ever gotten! I know that you had a lot of help getting it done, but anything and everything has always got to start with one person, one voice! Friday night started with you and your voice! I really do have to mention your WONDERFUL husband, John! When I would see him look at you Friday night, I could see in his eyes the love he has for you! That’s something a wife can’t buy! It’s there or it’s not! And I know the love you have for him! Thank you, thank you, thank you Callie for making a dream of mine come true! May God bless you and yours.””

Message from Jency, “I heard the event was a huge success. I hope it blessed all those who attended with comfort and peace for those that they have lost.”

Message from Tiffany, “You did an amazing job Mrs. Callie.”

Message from Marettie, It was a great turn out. Thank God for Callie and Rosemary.”

Message from Bettie, “It was really nice and I really enjoyed everything. I was so happy for the turnout in spite of the weather. You did a beautiful job with everything. Glad I got a chance to meet Rosemary.”

Message, “Although I was unable to attend, I am reading Children of the Dome. It helped me through a very difficult yesterday, my son’s birthday and also the day my daughter Angie got her angel wings. When grief is shared it diminishes the pain considerably. Thank you, Rosemary, for an inspirational message.”

Message, “Callie I so enjoyed myself Friday night. Rosemary, Luther and Fong are so blessed for being wonderful people, they took us as people they knew for a long time.”

Message, “I really enjoyed last Friday night meeting others who have lost children. It helps so much to talk to someone who knows how you feel and also enjoyed watching Rosemary’s film. Thanks to everyone involved.”

These wonderful comments show you the love and compassion shown to us on our visit to Mamou. Luther and I loved getting a chance to reconnect with Callie and John’s sons, JJ and Jacob. Meeting their wives and children was the highlight of our trip. The Berzas family truly do God’s work.

Rosemary C. Smith

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