Wednesday, September 9, 2009


My friend lost her son this weekend. He was twenty and full of life and vulnerable and now he is gone. I am terribly sad for her family but my heart aches, especially, for her. I worry about how she can possibly survive this. Will she be able to remember his life before his death, will she be able to divert her constant focus away from that awful morning to re-remember the joys of his life? Will this void ever be filled? How does a mother go on after such a tragedy?

At the memorial service, there were posted many photos of a happy family, celebrating this son’s life from the moment of his birth. A number of people commented, "What a beautiful boy." He was a beautiful boy, more beautiful than most. How life has changed now from the scenes depicted in those photos. Who, back then, could have anticipated what was to come?

No one said that children turn eighteen and all the worrying is done. There is no line of demarcation which, once crossed, is safe. Despite the many joys of motherhood, some of us wish to escape, just for a little while, from the often emotional burdens that come with guiding our children through their journeys from infancy to adulthood. But we never wish for this. We’d multiply the burdens a million-fold not to have to do this.

It’s so hard to see people we care about in pain, especially if it is the worst pain we can imagine. If only friends’ love and concern could envelope her, and hold her until the hurt goes away…that would be the next best thing to turning back time.

Photo credit: Picasso's Mother and Child,

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