When Children Die

There is a lot of joy in that video but I find it is tempered by new from my Facebook feed. Today I found out that death crept into the house of a friend and stole her son. He was nine months old and they don’t know the exact cause of death, but in many ways that doesn’t matter.

It broke my heart to read the news and when I found out that it happened several months ago I felt worse. I can’t say that we were the best of friends or particularly close but there was enough of a connection to merit sharing things on Facebook.

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This is not the first time that Facebook has been the bearer of bad tidings nor do I expect it to be the last. Truth is that social media has introduced me to some very exceptional people and among them are both triumph and tragedy. I have read more than one blog post about lost children. I have been swept up in their loss and grief and wondered why these things happen.

Yet I know full well that there are no answers to the questions that I ask. These stories that I read are nightmares that you don’t just wake up from. They are the monster under the bed that every parent fears and if you don’t feel a sense of dread than I wonder about your sanity and compassion.

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I know too many of these stories. Some of them are because I knew the child or the parent and some are because I know the blogger or have heard of them. And every time I hear these stories I hug my children tight and stare at them. Every time I hear these stories I wander into their room at night and watch them sleep. Their slumber is carefree and removed of worry and slowly I exhale and relax…grateful for what I have. These stories are the harshest reminder that we can get about how things could be worse.

The horror of it is just so very shocking and I only wish that I could more than say I am sorry. But I haven’t found a way to perform miracles so my efforts have to be exerted in other areas. I made a point this morning to write my friend a letter expressing my sincerest condolences. I made a point to keep it simple. I let her know that I was sorry and that there are people out here she can talk to.

I don’t expect to receive a response nor do I need to. I don’t know what this is like or how she is feeling and I won’t lie by saying that I am grateful I don’t. But I am confident in saying that it is important for mourners to feel like they are part of a community. They shouldn’t feel like they have to do this on their own. I am not equating my pain with theirs but they should know that our hearts are broken by this too.

I haven’t the words…so I’ll end by saying that I am really sorry for your loss.

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12 Comments

  1. Julie September 23, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    I had an unnatural fear of SIDS before my first son was born, and it turned out I spent the first year watching him breathe on an apnea monitor. Since then, a mother lost her child from taping over the speaker on the same monitor. Locally, a man backed over his 2 year old and killed him by mistake. We find kids in canals and drowned at pool parties. Best we can do is watch over them (our own as well as others) and be grateful for the time we have with them. I don’t want to/can’t think about the pain of that kind of loss.

    • TheJackB September 23, 2011 at 4:15 pm

      @Julie | A Clear Sign Julie, I get it. I hate reading/hearing stories about kids getting hurt. I have a dear friend who works as a doctor at Children’s Hospital and his work stories are often horrific.

      The kids who get hurt in those million to one moments end up in his office. He is the final gatekeeper and if those guys can’t help you well….

      But thankfully most of the time our children thrive and grow up to become part of society.

  2. Hajra September 23, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    I have no words to express the hurt it might be causing. My condolences.

  3. KDillabough September 22, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    A dear friend of mine, whose eldest has a brain tumour and youngest was paralyzed, recently lost her middle child, unexpectedly. The depth of her sorrow, and the depth of sorrow we feel when children are taken, knows no words beyond what you’ve said: I’m so very sorry for your loss.

    • TheJackB September 22, 2011 at 11:10 pm

      @KDillabough Kaarina, I am so sorry to hear that. That is just so wrong and unfair. I am very sorry for your friend- how unreal and how terrible. Just another reminder to be thankful for who we have and the opportunities we are given.

  4. BruceSallan September 22, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    We are NOT supposed to survive our children! Period.

    • TheJackB September 22, 2011 at 11:06 pm

      @BruceSallan No, we are not. But I have been to more than few funerals for children who were outlived by their parents and I never forget the look of horrors on the faces. It is unnatural but sometimes that just doesn’t matter.

    • subWOW September 23, 2011 at 6:49 am

      @BruceSallan I am with Bruce on this one… there is a chinese expression: the worst farewell is when the white-haired folks see the blackhaired people off. I cannot even see any movies where the death of a child is depicted because then I start trying to empathasize… I amvery sorry for your friend’s loss.

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