Wednesday, May 22, 2013

How we interpret death

I find a lot of similarities between other parents who have lost children and myself but sometimes I am startled by the dissimilarities. Because of those instances, I have tried to stop making general statements-the same way that I have stopped trying to convince people that I have a right to be sad or grieve. (Seriously, if they don't get it, they're not going to get it.)

Not too long ago I was talking to a friend of mine who lost two of her children in an accident at the same time. I knew both of these kids and it was a terrible shock and loss. Their funeral is something I will never, ever forget. In this particular conversation, though, I was talking about what had happened and made some comment about it being a "bad thing" when she interrupted me.

"Oh," she said. "I don't consider it to be a bad thing."

"You don't?" I asked, surprised.

"No," she said. "They were going to die either that day or the next so I am glad that it happened the way it did, when they were asleep. At least they didn't get hit by a car or suffer."

I should mention that this family is very religious and that the accident was a fire. The children were asleep and it is unlikely they ever woke up and knew what was happening to them.

I was startled for a moment and then just kind of shrugged to myself. Hell, if that makes her feel more at peace, then who am I to say any differently?

How we interpret death is so individualized. I have come to peace with Toby's death in a way that I don't expect other people to understand.

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