I know far too many parents who have lost children.
It’s been nearly 8 years since our son Jacob died of an overdose. Over those years we have been called upon a number of times to comfort parents that are new members to the club.
I remember the faces, the tears and the comfort provided by bereaved parents when we suddenly entered into our sorrows in late March 2014.
We received that phone call again on November 30th. A call from a bereaved sister to another bereaved sister to share the news that their cousin had just joined the club.
You know the journey all to well. You know what is ahead of them. You know the healing process and you know nothing but time will ease the endless pain.
You’re taken back when those calls come. Back to a time and place that you know all to well. A place of surreal numbness and unbelievable pain and a place you don’t want to return to but you must.
So we went to them. It’s best that words be few in these times. It’s a time to be silent and mostly listen to the hearts of the grieving. A time to embrace and wet each other’s shoulders.
I remember their joy when they discovered that they were going to be grandparents. We were so happy for them. Now that child is without a father. Their daughter in law is a widow and they are without their only son.
It’s easy to rejoice with those who rejoice. It’s not so easy to enter into familiar pain and weep with those who weep. But we go gladly remembering the club members who came to us in our first hours.
For those of us who are unfortunately familiar with the grief of losing a child it’s different. We have words of knowledge but for the most part they are better left unsaid. In time the bereaved will learn what we know and those comforting discussions will happen later down the road.
Perhaps the most common thing stated in the early stages of these horrific days is, “I don’t know what to say.” And we don’t. So I suppose it’s not even necessary to say that. But we do. And that’s OK too.
So we left to enter into the joys and sorrows of those we love and to, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” Romans 12:15
Sometimes, especially in these times, letting our shoulders become tissues is the best and only thing we can do.