Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Remembering the Families Who Have Lost a Loved One, in the Longterm

An empty kitchen can feel very empty indeed when people stop calling, and stop coming by.

     For today I'd like to discuss how we treat those who have lost a loved one, particularly a child, in the long run.  Most people who lose a child or a loved one suddenly and deluged with casseroles, relatives staying in their house, both welcome, and not, and a host of neighbors and friends from a local church or two.  This is fine, and to be expected. People need to try to help those who are grieving, just as much sometimes, as we need fellowship, companionship and support ourselves in such a circumstance.   Those who have had a child disappear for some reason, experience a similar course.  At first, churches, local groups, the local police, everyone descend and in a way help to give hope some additional buoyancy.
              However, today I would like to remind you that when a family loses a child to illness, accident, or any manner of unexpected passing that  most people go back to the lives they were living fairly quickly. Most never mention the child who has passed, no matter how much the family who has lost him, would like to hear their recollections of their child. Many people are fearful of mentioning the child who has passed, fearing that they will open old wounds. Most families however, would love to hear how their child made a difference in the world while he or she were here.  Today I want to remind you to be brave enough to mention the loved ones by name to their families. Most of the time they want to mention them. For the few who cannot just now, you will know quickly enough, and then move on in the conversation.
              The second group I wish to mention are those who have had a child abducted, child or young adult or not, and have never heard anything afterward.   This group definitely wants to hear that you too think of their child and wait for his return One family with whom I am in touch told me that no one ever mentions their son, and they were wondering if he ever existed, if anyone other than they, knew him.   I know it can seem like that sometimes.  Be brave my friends, all of you.  Be brave enough to mention the missing, as well as those we know have passed.
            I was thinking a fair bit about this, this week. A six year old drowned in a freak accident while fishing with her grandfather in waters which were more turbulent below than was expected for the area. Several people tried to rescue her, but were unable to, due to powerful underwater currents.  For a time, people will surround the family.  Her school will talk of a memorial for her.  Counselors will come to her school.......and then eventually............nothing.   Let's make sure that we remember this family and those families who have lost a loved one, through sudden death, through disappearance, through kidnapping, or by service to our country.  Remember that a loss of a child for any reason, to their family, is a potent and palpable loss for ever, and ever while they reside on this Earth,  regardless of the faith they may hold.


  1. So true. Now that we've just passed the one year anniversary, I've noticed that almost no one mentions my son. He is ALWAYS in my thoughts and I do wish others would mention him and share memories.
    Of my two brothers, one is always willing to talk about Graham or listen to my thoughts. My other brother is uncomfortable and seems to want me to "move on". He doesn't understand that I simply can't erase almost 24 years of my life and half my heart.

    1. Thank you for your post. Yes, some people understand that your child will forever be a part of your life, both here on Earth and for eternity afterward. For others, simply contemplating such a loss, which is a potential for us all, is too difficult, too daunting to even visit for a few moments. Most of us find a group of friends with whom we can mention our child, or who will mention our child who has passed to us, along with their own recollections. In my life, it's running half and half. Half of the people who knew Daniel approach me and mention something he said, or did, or that they did together, and about half seem to avoid the subject entirely. Interestingly, pastors and ministers who should understand loss better than they do, often also urge parents "to forget and go on". This of course is absurd. None of us will ever be the same people we were before our beloved kids were born. I don't want to go backwards. I'll move forward with the memories of Daniel, and you should keep every memory and cherish every memory of Graham that you can. Fondly,

  2. dear Jane - i will remember Daniel with you, though my memories are of the future kind. i won't meet Daniel for a while yet, but when i do, i know that we will be fast friends and have many memories together. that is what i remember with you. and i know that many others will not understand my comment, but i know that you will. i look forward to meeting Daniel with my whole heart.

    your friend,

    1. Thank you Kymber, He would no doubt be very happy to meet you and would ask you all about all the lovely things you cook ! Then, as an officionado of beautiful places, he would likely want to show you some beautiful places he had found there. Thanks always for visiting and for your kind words.


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