my deepest condolences
June 2, 2009, 11:45 pm
Filed under: Stuff | Tags: , , , , , , ,

i’ve been thinking a lot about death lately.

someone i am not close to, but knew from way back, lost their 3 year old son to cancer a few days ago. i cannot comprehend what that would feel like. some people can, but i can’t. my wife lost her younger brother when she was 8 years old. he was 5. 5 years old. 3 years old. in these moments there are no answers. a young child. so innocent. so naive. so beautiful. and life is gone. there is nothing you can say. nothing you can do. no right way to feel. no possible way to move forward. in all that happens in this crazy messed up world, there is not much that shakes me as much as the death of a child. it is one of the few moments where i really wonder, “where are you, God?” 

i went home after finding out about this and found my wife and daughters had gone for a walk. i knew where they would be, so i hopped in my car and made the short drive down to the park, where they go every day the weather will allow. most days, i would go home and sit in the quiet, maybe read or play online poker until they got back, but today i needed to see them. my heart lit up at the sight of my daughter running back and forth from the bottom of the slide to the top. before i even got out of the car, i could hear her laughing. i made the short walk over and as our eyes met, she yelled ‘DADDY! i’m so glad to see you.’ and there was nothing she could have said that would have sounded better than that. i kissed my wife and knelt down to see my other daughter asleep in the stroller, her deep and heavy breath fighting through the summer heat. she was at peace, and as i felt that breath as i leaned down to kiss her, i was so thankful. images-2makena had never flown a kite before, and so i drove home to get her kite as the wind had picked up. i knew she would love it. she is always so adventurous, so excited to try new things. flying that kite was easy as anything that day, as the wind would pick it right up off the ground and take it wherever it wanted. any other day, i would have held the string tightly as makena held the handle, to ensure it didn’t blow away. and i did for a minute, but gave up soon as i realized it stopped me from being able to watch her. and so i let go and watched. i watched her run with the wind blowing her hair into her mouth and the kite going higher and higher. i knew she wouldn’t be able to hold on if the string got out too far, but it didn’t matter. because she was so happy. so alive. and i needed alive in that moment. because death is terrifying. and a 3 year old boy had died that day. and i was wondering where God was. and i needed to see life. sure enough, she let go and the kite went soaring across the field and into an old ladies house. the string was tangled in her tree, and she was annoyed, but i didn’t care. i know that makes me a rude neighbor, but my daughter was so happy in that moment, i didn’t care. i needed to see her alive. and i hope i don’t sound heartless, speaking of a moment with my daughters that will forever remain with me while someone else has lost someone so dear to them. because it breaks my heart to know the pain they are going through. i just so badly needed to see some beauty in that moment of feeling totally broken and helpless. because if that did happen to my daughters…i would be lost. i wouldn’t know what to do. 

life isn’t fair. and someone can be alive one moment. and they might be gone the next. and we feel powerless. we feel hopeless to control the steady march towards death. most days we manage to ignore it. we push it beneath the surface and pretend we are invincible. we pretend time will never catch up with us. and then a 3 year old dies. and time stops. and we wonder, “where are you, God?” and that’s okay. it’s okay to ask those questions. i have to believe that God is okay with that. if i really wanted to be cliche, i could tell you the story of the footprints on the beach. or i could call up this distant acquaintance who just lost their 3 year old, and tell them, ‘he’s in a better place, now.’ that might be true, but i think those christian cliches mean little in the face of tragedy. but i do believe God is with us in the midst of that pain, stupid footprints story or not. and so if, God forbid, i ever lose someone the way these people have, please don’t hit me with christian cliches. because i might punch you. right in the mouth. because i am wondering today where God is in the death of a 3 year old, and i don’t have an answer. and neither do you. i can’t see him. i can’t understand why he let’s this happen. and i’m angry. and trivial words spoken with positive intentions can’t stop the pain of those who have lose someone. but i believe God can. and i believe he is there in the wreckage of life. and as people on this broken earth, we can’t offer much.

but we can sit. and wade through the pain alongside them in silence.


1 Comment so far
Leave a comment

Son, I love you! You are so wise and real! And yes, there are no words! Thank you for stating so well, the reality of the pain! and for going home that day and making the most of the moments with your sweet little ones and Melissa! Thank you!

Comment by Mom

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: