Death is a strange thing. It’s the one thing we will all face in our lives. It is inevitable and yet it is an unknown. This morning, on the radio, they were talking about a college tour bus that crashed last year. Ten people died. Ten almost adults lives were ended. As a mom I can only imagine the feelings of those parents. And like many (if not most) tragedies it made me think of my nephew.
My sweet, adorable, perfect nephew drowned 9 years ago. He was two. Losing someone you love is always horrendous. Losing a child is exponentially worse. It doesn’t really matter if they were two or 22. No parent imagines that when their wee little babe is born that that sweet little being will be gone before they are. It’s just not how it’s “supposed” to go. I was thinking about how painful it was to lose our sweet nephew. All the loss of potential. We never really got to know who he was and we never will.
I guess that’s the quandary my brain is attempting to work through this morning. The parallel pain parents feel when they lose a child. For those who lose a little one they mourn the loss an unknown. When our little D died my heart ached for all of the nevers. We would never hear him speak. We would never see him as a boy or a teenager or a man. We wouldn’t know how he felt about almost anything and the loss of potential still burns in my gut.
When you lose someone who has lived their life you feel some of that. When my dad died it hurt so much that he would never see any of his daughters marry. My children would never know their grandfather, and oh what a grandfather he would have been! But more than that I mourned the loss of his companionship. It hurt that we would not be able to talk and visit. I walked by his desk for months after his death and still felt startled when he wasn’t there. I lost a known being.
And that’s just it. Loss of the known verses the loss of potential. I’m having a hard time wrapping my mind around how two different feelings can hurt so equally.