Monday, July 23, 2012

Loss Of Your Child

In the wake of the Aurora shootings something has to have been in people's consciousness and that is what it means to lose a child. Anyone who has a child and listens to the news or reads papers or is (essentially) conscious knows that people do lose their children - to accidents, wars, murder, suicide, and other causes. It isn't a difficult intellectual exercise to understand that parents lose children. Yes, as a parent you worry sometimes - will they drive safely, is the park safe, will things just work out alright? Really though, it is something that happens to other people - them, not us. In the right world our kids will out last us.

Then it happens, your child is dead. Your world has gone off its tracks, it has ceased to make sense. I don't think the cause makes much difference, the parents of a combat soldier might have more reason to think it could happen, but even there - it is what happens to others, not us. They were babies, they were kids, they went to school, maybe they got married and they were going to carry on for us. We loved them, even when they made it difficult we still did. No one was more yours than your child and now for some emotionally unfathomable reason they are no more and there is not a single thing you can do. Gone. But they ride around with you, there are so many memories and because that child was so tightly entwined with your life those memories are intense. The memories of the child don't fade and the one that you could wish would go is seared in - the moment you found out.

You belong to an exclusive club that no one would want to join and you're the ones that know. However deep your empathy you cannot get there unless you're a member, you don't know and you shouldn't know. All that is left for the members is to deal with it however they can. It will not go away, dealing with it is a constant, maybe not every moment but it is always there. A stray word or image or just someone asking how many kids you have kicks it in gear. Bang, front and center is the issue. A person asked how many kids and you said two but one is dead and now you need to assuage their worry they've hurt you... It just doesn't stop, there is always something and it is complicated and...

Well, I can't make you understand and I hope you never do. Feel for the people who've lost but don't think you can understand and it's alright that you can't. If you've been here with that sort of loss, I hope I've expressed this fairly well.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Right on.

I'm a survivor of a wife's suicide, with a bullet to the brain, in my presence, and somehow I just can't explain to people how it makes me feel. Little children help just by being who they are. Hugs, real ones close and unrelenting, help. Hugs can be passed along to let someone know you've been there with them.

Losing a child? I don't know if I could survive.