My friend’s child died a week ago today.

I got busy helping where I could:  helplessly preparing food,  being with others, agreeing when they said, “It’s just not normal when a child dies  before a parent”, giving and  receiving hugs of comfort, smiling with hope, and “just doing” – avoiding memories of the losses of my own loved ones, not wanting to be reminded of that pain.    I spent the entire day before the funeral mindlessly watching “Miss Congeniality” over and over, alternatively eating Lay’s classic potato chips and plain M&Ms.

 I went to the funeral, stoic with the resolution to be strong.  Armed with that resolution, I almost succeeded in staying within my cocoon of numbness.   It was the final song, “You Raise Me Up” (Josh Groban when,  heads were bowed in prayer while others looked straight ahead, as if seeing something that had been or was yet to be, so that when I looked into the eyes of the grieving parents,  I recognized my own grief.  Startled, I allowed silent tears to create a crevice in my armor.  The cleansing pain entered my heart as I remembered why it is important, although so very hard, to find a comfort in saying good-bye to the loved ones that we are so fortunate to have had in our lives.

My friend’s child finished a tremulous journey in a most magnificent way by being the child God sent to touch others’ lives in ways unknown but to God.  God’s child, my friends’ child, made a difference in his young life.  He made a difference to me as I reflect on what is left for all of us to do and to be before our work here is done.  This gives me strength, the sparkler in the darkness, and I am grateful to have his gift.