I was certain that life was good. My son married and realistically content; my young daughter an endless shining moment coming to me late in life. There were two granddaughters, age 8 and 3.
Nine days after my daughter’s 13th birthday, my three year old granddaughter died in a car accident. Her father was driving. In the emergency room, I covered her cold forehead with kisses telling her how much I loved her while my son sat there in shock.
The easy current of our lives became a riptide.
Nothing can ease the endless, overwhelming pain involved in the death of a small child.
Sudden death does not allow the small consolation of saying goodbye or relief for the end of your child’s suffering. It is grief beyond words, a chronic malevolent pain that consumes you.
My son’s marriage suffered; there were suddenly cracks in the walls of their emotional house that had never been before. Their surviving child withdrew because of so much pain around her.
Within a year, another child was born to my son and his wife. Their family had survived; they had not given up on life or each other. A small significant amount of joy returned and began to grow. Their family’s healing was taking shape. A sigh of relief went up from us all.
Eighteen months and eleven days after his daughter died, my son was killed in a car crash. I expected his death; I had feared it for eighteen months. I was not surprised – I was crushed. At the viewing, I stroked his hair and thought his little girl lying so still in the hospital.. I thought I would faint.
Could I measure one grief against the other? How? Why? Grief is not a contest where one can compare band-aids. Grief does not leave. I worked at encouraging the joy of good memories to walk side by side with my pain.
I know my son is safe and beyond all further harm from this earthly world. Reunited with his beloved baby daughter, they await us all. The soul is too great to be lost. It will be my joy to see them again.
My daughter and I dedicate as much of our time as possible to being with my daughter-in-law, granddaughter and grandson. They are the only family we have left. We celebrate every moment they are in our lives.
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