Death and life are incomplete without the other. There can be no death without life. There can be no life without death. Seed must die to bring forth the new life of autumn crops. The crops must die to produce the seed for planting in spring.
As the Lion King gave special meaning to this constant with the heart-stirring “Circle of Life,” the tune failed to soothe the heart and soul when death stirs its ghoulish head, as life seeps out of what once was vibrant and strong. This becomes even more pronounced when it seems that the Dark Angel comes too early, not within the usual order or course.
It is then when parents cry.
Down through the ages we have accepted that parents produce children who later in life care for parents and tend to their final needs. Children may mourn and greatly feel the loss, but the loss of parents from a child gone too soon seems to be more tragic and tear more deeply the heart.
So it is even now as my own parents, doing their best to cope, watch with trembling lips, tear-laced eyes, as each day I move ever closer to the river and the ferryman beckons. Emotions are raw, laid bare upon the altar.
What will the next phone call, text, knock on the door reveal?
The great 17th Century author John Donne had to deal with the loss of his son. Donne gave us these immortal words which continue to provide strength and solace when parents cry.
Death be not proud, though some have called thee Mighty and dreadful, for, thou art not so, For, those, whom thou think’st, thou dost overthrow, Die not, poor death.
So when parents cry, remember:
- Reach out and touch.
- Sit and listen.
- Cherish the pictures shared.
- The pain is real.
- The hurt unimaginable.