The Ultimate Loss
A friend from high school lost her son in a freak accident yesterday. I did not know the young man and I haven’t seen my friend since high school. We have never been close. But thanks to social media we have reconnected, at least tangentially, in the past few years.
I have been able to see her life from a distance. The joys, the sorrows, the fun. She is not a Facebook happy person. She tells it like it is...well, at least that is the way it appears to me. She has always been that person. I remember thinking about how real she was in high school. Seeming to know who she was while I grappled with an identity crisis that well may still be ongoing...
She was always kind, pretty, witty and just an all around loving person. And from what I can tell, she still is.
From online posts, I have learned that she lost her husband some years ago. The father of her children and now she has lost her son. There are no words to comfort either tragedy...and it pains me to see such a wonderful person so stricken with such sadness. Seems I always tend to believe that happiness and goodness can act as some sort of barrier to pain. Perhaps a cover, but never a barrier. Nothing in this life stops pain. It comes willy nilly when it is our turn. Seems like she has had too many turns.
As I celebrated my daughter’s 14th birthday yesterday, there was not one moment that I did not acutely feel my friend’s loss. Every time I looked at my kid, I was struck with what a privilege it was that I got to do that. And my thoughts immediately turned to my friend and her grief. Her despondency. Her pain. I didn’t want to feel this way yesterday anymore than I want to be crying right now...but I did and am.
No one should ever have to lose a child. The pain of that loss is unfathomable. It cuts me to the core and takes my breath away. All day yesterday whenever my mind was free to wander here or there, I thought of my friend and her daughter. Slugging through the aftermath of the death of one taken too soon. Way too fucking soon.
I didn’t want to think about them. I wanted to enjoy my day selfishly. But my mind had other ideas as it often does. So instead of trying to out run my mind’s need to focus on her loss, I just allowed it to go there. Just allowed my thoughts to turn to her and her family and each time that I did, I said a little prayer. I took a deep breath and tried to take some of her pain. She being given way too much. Each time I did this yesterday, I sent out a sincere desire for my willingness to breathe in her pain, for her pain to be lessened even for just a moment.
I thought of her all day, and as I write I know that I will continue to be haunted by her loss. I am railing against the fundamental unfairness of her son’s death, the loss of her husband as well, and how completely fucking unfair that all of this has happened to a person that I believe and have observed to be good, kind, loving and of service to those around her. It makes me afraid and I return to the place where I believe that somehow I can avoid these situations myself. And I am confronted again with how precarious this life really is...how in the blink of an eye it can all be over.
My heart and love and prayers go out to her and her family. I can’t stop thinking about them and so I won’t try. With every thought I will send out love, compassion and healing light with the hope that every time I think of them, that if even for the briefest moment, my willingness provides her some tiny moment of relief. I know it won’t but that is my intention. That is my hope. That is what I will put out into the universe. The same universe that took her son. The same universe that took her husband. The only universe that we all have...unkind, unfair and wrathful as it may be.
I ask that any one of you reading this perhaps do the same...think of her and her daughter and send some love and light to them while they walk naked through the gut wrenching grief. Stripped bare to loss. Do this with the hope that for that brief moment you are willing to feel their pain, you are giving her one moment less that she has to feel the ultimate grief of a mother who has lost a child. Please.
Namaste to all the mothers who have lost their hearts, their joy, their love, their purpose in this life. To my friend, I am here sending out the only thing I have to offer...a space to acknowledge your pain. To breathe it in deeply with the hope that this in some small way alleviates a scintilla of your suffering.