The Death of a Child

December 23, 2012

I originally wrote this brief piece right after President Obama’s speech earlier in Newtown. The community is rather affluent so I don’t know how I could help them other than with my deepest empathy with the loss of those children.  In all honesty, I also wrote it for myself, for my own catharsis. Our son Kane, 17 years old, died in an automobile accident over five years ago.

Tonight president Obama made a heartfelt speech in Newtown to the parents and community that lost so many children in a senseless violent attack on an elementary school. My heart goes out to them and the pain they are feeling.

I know a thing or two about that pain, the loss of a child. Any death, be it a stranger, neighbor or even a relative is painful. Most all of us, whether we want to think of it or not, will suffer the loss of our parents. We will bury them or deal with their death as we can. It is the natural order of things and somehow embedded in our DNA. It is hard and it hurts, but even harder, even more painful is the loss of a child. kane2

The death of a child is completely different. I don’t think how a child dies matters, be it illness, accident or homicide. Dead is dead. But losing a child is different fundamentally than any other death. The death of a child is the death of the future. You don’t get to see him grow up, rather he is frozen in time. She doesn’t grow up, he doesn’t go the prom, she doesn’t graduate, he doesn’t marry, she doesn’t have children. They don’t because they aren’t.

A dear friend commented “the Newtown parents have joined us in a club we would have given our lives to avoid belonging to. We know what they are feeling and we are sad for them and angry on their behalf. And we can honor them and our own lost children by staying that way.”

When your child dies, the future dies, and it hurts in a way that can’t be imagined. Tomorrow we can talk about how to work as a society to reduce these deaths. Tonight we grieve.

4 thoughts on “The Death of a Child

  1. Susan Graham

    I had read this when you first wrote it.
    Thanks for sharing the image today.
    I cannot even imagine the pain…

  2. bob Post author

    Thank you Susan, probabluy the hardest thing is that it is a difficult thing to talk about, but so important. Shortly after Kane’s death I was surprised that other friends had also lost a child. It’s as if we can only talk about it among our selves.

  3. suzan Koechling-Lydon

    Bob, I just saw this when you posted on Old Hippies, so I read it. The things you say and feel are the same as i know and feel. The loss of the future, their future and yours, leaves you stuck in the past in many ways. My Dylan was a passenger in a car accident also. I know the deep pain, that is always hanging inside, all you do is try to learn to live with it, the best you can. It is soo hard for many people to talk about it, even those who have lost a child. I sometimes think it’s like others look at us as their worst nightmare, and they just can’t go there.
    I was blessed that my Dylan had many great friends, they stayed with me and together we grieved, told stories, cried and laughed. I still have their friendship’s and I’m not sure why but 20 years later, they are still a big part if my life.
    I am one of the club, but I keep my arms open to any parent going through this, no matter how long. They soon realize that speaking of it does not upset me, that sharing takes that fear of offending away and gives us all a chance to keep them alive in memories and stories of how special they still are.
    You have a friend, same club…but it’s a good club if we stick together. I celebraite your sons life with mine…and I know they just met, or they helped us meet!?
    PEACE !! Suz

  4. bob Post author

    Thanks Suzan, Kane was 17 when he died also, he’d be 24 today. Life can be terribly cruel at times, and we don’t get a choice, we have to go on. Peace


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