We Mourn

This is happening way too often. Children are leaving their parents.

Has it always been like this? Or am I just now noticing? Or maybe when I was younger with so much less to lose, it was easier to push things to the back of my mind. But lately, the “it can't happen to me” file is bulging at the seams. All this heartache and anguish, this cloying funeral home stench of dying flowers and old wood, is getting harder to ignore. It's less abstract all the time.

A friend's sweet child dies of cancer. Another friend's grandchild is killed in a pile up on I5. It seems like tragedy is stalking us, like a hungry panther in a dark forest. It is stronger than us. It is relentless. It is picking us off, one by one.

How do we cope? You have pictures and memories. You look longingly at your beautiful children and remember the hugs and the laughter and think, what the hell? Just what in the fricking hell? You want to hold her again, you want to smell her hair. You want to tell your boy, “I love you, son.” You wonder, as you flip pages in your photo album, did he know that? Worse, why them, and not me? Why couldn't I save my child? Where is the Hallmark card for that?

I can't pretend to feel what my friends feel. I would be lying, though, if I said I can't imagine it. Because I can. It's what keeps me up nights. That hole in your chest. The empty arms that reach and find nothing.

The platitudes mean nothing. It will get better, they say. You'll always feel the loss, but in time, the pain won't hurt as much. The light comes back.

Maybe it does. But it will never be as bright.

For now, maybe joy is gone. Maybe it's so dark and cold that it feels like the sun will never return.

Until the light returns, we will mourn with you.

We will mourn, because you are our friends. Because, you are our family. Because, you are part of our lives, and because of that, we love you as our own.

Because of all that, your children are our children.

So, we mourn.

Until the sun warms your face and dries your tears, we will mourn.

Until peace returns and your hearts are calm, we will mourn.

Until. Until.

We mourn.