Thursday, March 05, 2009

The Unspeakable


Tonight I’m going to a funeral home. With my daughter.

A school friend of hers died suddenly from a brain aneurysm. Leaving a fifteen-year-old daughter and a beloved husband. And her parents. I worked with this young woman’s mother back in the day and knew her daughter. Tonight I’m going there for the mother.

Last year while I was in Newfoundland, another friend lost her son, very suddenly. He had beaten cancer but died rapidly, and ironically, from pneumonia as his immune system was compromised from chemotherapy.

I grieved with her via mail and email and saw her last Saturday. Visible pain encased her whole body and it is eight months later. All one can do is hold her fragile body really tightly. There are absolutely no words.

I had dinner with my daughter last night and as regular readers will know, she is not well. Looking at her, I found it unimaginable to think of losing her.

Outliving one’s own child is by far the greatest tragedy of all.

14 comments:

  1. There can be nothing worse. My best friend lost her daughter 5 years ago. It was sudden, an asthma attack and she didn't get emergency help fast enough. My friend will never be the same. I can still hear the sadness in her voice when we talk on the phone.

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  2. Sorry to hear that. Premature death is one of the worst things, so unexpected and totally shocking. And when the person still had so much life left to look forward to and enjoy.

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  3. As I'm not a parent I can't begin to imagine the pain.

    Life is so fragile.

    I sympathise with you, your daughter and your friends, WWW.

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  4. How sad.

    We expect to outlive our parents and know there is a possibility of losing a spouse but our children are the future. Sudden or expected the death of a child is always very difficult.

    My thoughts are with you and your daughter.

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  5. oh that is sad. my mother has lost two children now. i work with a man who lost his baby daughter to a brain tumor. there are these sad stories everywhere you look. and as you say, no words. just hug your loved ones, and love them hard.

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  6. Now that I'm past 70 years I am sad to read the obits of anyone younger than I, but especially of young people who die from preventable accidents. My son, now 48, lost his two best friends in high school in an automobile accident, and this tragedy hurt him to the core. He feels this changed his life forever. As parents we can never find the appropriate words, but we can give them an embrace.

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  7. 20, that is the saddest part, the open wound stays, there is no healing.
    How awful for your friend.
    XO
    WWW

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  8. Nick:
    The parents outlasting a child should never happen. Life never gets to be the same again.
    XO
    WWW

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  9. T:
    Thank you, it's odd this. I went for the mother whom I spent some time with, but then spent a lot of time with the father whom I barely knew before.
    XO
    WWW

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  10. GM:
    I think I'd collapse under the weight of that kind of pain. I don't know how parents pull themselves together and meet and greet the mourners.
    XO
    WWW

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  11. Laurie:
    Amen to that, it brings us more fiercely into the moment and I am so sad to hear of your sibling losses.
    XO
    WWW

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  12. CW:
    Welcome!!
    Yes, words are superfluous at times like these. Hugs say volumes.
    XO
    WWW

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  13. Imagine a serious wound - a deep, slashing open sore requiring many stitches and weeks of care before the agonizing pain and suppuration finally ceases. Skin closes over the wound. Life goes on; the days pass by, but the scar will ache, or itch, or both - not all the time, but enough to let you know it's there, and a part of you for evermore.
    The healing process is long. In the years to come you can occasionally forget the scar, the violence and trauma that created it, but only until, for no good reason you can fathom, it begins to itch and ache once more - an uncomfortable reminder of its permanent presence.

    I lost my beloved son to an automobile accident when he was just twenty-five years old. It was more than a decade ago, but from time to time, the scar still itches and aches.

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  14. Oh I am so, so sorry RJA, how truly awful. There is no recovery, I cannot imagine your pain and the pain of my friends last night. the world is never the same.
    Words are superfluous.
    {{{{hugs}}}}
    XO
    WWW

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