Friday, June 19, 2015

And it hurts anyway.

A friend of mine lost a child.

It seems so common these days to hear of this kind of loss, and yet it still stands in the corner of my life, like a shadow in the periphery, the hint of something that does not happen in my vicinity. It's still something that only happens to other people, over there, on the outskirts of anything that directly affects me.

And we all try to be "good friends" when it happens. We "can't imagine the horror." We'll "pray for the family." We hug and we send plants and flowers and donations to cover the expenses because it's "the worst, simply the worst thing that could happen," right? We love our friends. We want them to know that we care.

And all the while, we really couldn't imagine the horror.

But because we're not heartless people, we try. We think about our kids, and we wonder how it would feel if this had happened to one of ours. How could we live through that phone call? How could we look our friends in the eye who are only trying to be comforting, and all the while knowing that they are sad for us, yes, but also relieved that it's not happening to them?

How would we not grow bitter and hateful and angry at everyone, including God, who doesn't really exist, because a benevolent God would never allow an innocent child to die? A benevolent God would never allow a mother to have her heart ripped right from her chest to be stomped on, to be left to rot.

How could we even get through one more day?

And I imagine the anger boiling inside me when I think of any of my children being torn from this world by any means at all. There are so many ways it could happen, and life is so fragile. I want to gather them up into a soft, pillowy cocoon so they'll never be hurt in any way. They'll be safe from torture, from fear, from pain, right?

But what if that's not even enough? What if what kills them comes from within? How do I protect them then? What kind of deals can I make? Who do I see about making a trade?

And it really doesn't matter, all this imaginary anger I feel when I think about all the things that could happen, but haven't happened.

Because I really can't imagine the horror of losing a child. Because the real horror of it will last forever, and my imagination is only good for about five minutes before I give up on thinking about that kind of Hell, because it's just too painful.

It's just too painful.


  1. Powerful in empathy, imagination and wisdom.

  2. Yeah, I believe it's almost impossible to relate to something like that when it happens to someone else.

    The good news is that when really bad things have happened to me in my life (and there have been a couple), I really didn't need anyone to relate to it. Just knowing that someone was there was as good as it was going to get.

  3. I have no idea how anyone could make it through the loss of a child. There are some hurts that are too big for the heart to handle.

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