Thursday, October 16, 2008
I don't know how else to describe how I'm feeling. I'm not afraid or particularly nervous, just overwhelmed.
The Viking and I lost a son to SIDS ten years ago this month. Recently, a friend of The Viking's told him of a couple in his church whose 4-month-old son died of SIDS just three short weeks ago. He asked if he could give them our number. We said of course.
The mother called me tonight.
We talked for an hour.
The four of us are getting together next week.
And I am overwhelmed.
I feel such sympathy. I know how shattered this woman is, how numb she and her husband are, how impossible the road ahead of them seems. And I know how terrible the road ahead of them is. I know what it's like to have to walk around and pretend to be normal when you feel like you're hemorrhaging inside. I know what it's like to wish you could go crazy because it would bring some relief. I understand why people start drinking, gambling, or shooting up after the death of a child. I know why most marriages don't survive it.
But I also know how my marriage was strengthened because of our son's death. I know what it's like to stare your worst fear in the face and not only survive, but come out the other side stronger, wiser, more compassionate and more mature. I know joy, not just the happiness we chase so tirelessly and fruitlessly. I know perfect peace; peace that makes no sense but comforts perfectly. I know hope, not positive or wishful thinking. I know the benefits of perseverance and the refining purity that comes from suffering.
I feel such sadness. While I may not feel the pain anymore, I still remember it vividly. And talking about it always brings it to mind, especially this time of year. Our son died during the last week of October so I always get wistful and a little weepy right before Halloween. And this year marks the 10th year since we lost our precious babe so I'm even more vulnerable. Already I've been crying a little more than usual. He's been on my mind so much lately.
I also feel a huge responsibility. Someone is reaching out for my help. Someone is hurting terribly and greatly in need and I have the opportunity to help them, simply by sharing my story. Simply by understanding and knowing. The notion that my suffering can be used in some small way to bring comfort, even healing, to someone else who is suffering is incredibly profound; a tangible example of something good coming out of something bad. I am honored and humbled by the very thought.