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 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6VqRlO3wa1A) 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.